Thursday, May 26, 2016

An honest reflection

I've nearly reached the three month point of my stay here in Europe. 3 months will be exactly on June 4th. I know that because that's the date I've been fixated on, stressing about, and getting myself all worked up over.

You see, I'm currently here on a Schengen tourist visa. I have already obtained my work visa for Switzerland this summer, but that does not begin until June 25th. The tourist visa lasts for *only* 90 days, and June 4th is my last official day of that visa. I have already submitted all of the necessary paperwork, obtained the jobs, and found a place to live. But unfortunately for me the Arbeit Agentur (work agency) is taking forever to respond to my request. Until they give the thumbs up on me being able to take an English teaching position in this country, there's nothing I (or the visa office here in Leinfelden) can do.

For the first few weeks that wasn't a problem - I was taking a German class that was sucking up all of my time and energy. But a few weeks ago that course ended. I was able to fly home for an unexpected mother's day / birthday / parent's anniversary celebration and also go to Switzerland for a long weekend. But even with these positive things happening, even though I'm in a place that I'm excited to be in, living in a great flat with good roommates, and able to visit my boyfriend more often than ever before (other than when we lived in the Laramie together, which seems like ages ago) I've been slipping into a depressed lull.

No work visa means no job. No job means no new money coming in. No new money coming in means living off of my savings. And living off of my savings means that they will eventually (read: NOW) be depleted. So rather than enjoy myself, I've been dwelling on the eventual lack of money and resources that is coming.

I've been fixated on my student loans, my ridiculously high insurance premium, my rent and food. And as everyone knows, focusing entirely on financial things (especially when, well, you know, you don't have much money to begin with) can become a black hole of despair and depression.

So rather than feeling proud of myself for making it to where I am, I have been focusing on the few things that I can't control.

I'm proud, and at the same time a little ashamed that it took this long, to say that as of today enough is enough. I've decided to start training for a 10k next spring, I want to do the race in under 56 minutes. I've decided to take advantage of this time of unemployment with a much more intense and serious flute practice schedule. This is basically the time that I've been dreaming of since I finished my Master's - essentially free time that I can devote to all of the things I want to work on with my flute. That means an extremely in depth study of the traditional excerpts for audition lists, a focus on Telemann Fantasies and the tonal and articulation issues that I have with music in that register. Here is my chance to explore and grow without feeling bad for taking time away from something else.

I literally have nothing else!

It's time to finish my website, write up my studio and parent contracts for future students, and reach out to my contact who is going to introduce me to some of the conductors in the area.

Rather than fearing how I'm going to make my money in the immediate future I'm going to pursue the future that I really want - an orchestra career and a thriving flute studio. That all starts with a return to the basics. Long tones, scales, articulation. Everything that I know and love.

It is a bit frustrating how often I swing back and forth from serious study to distraction. I'm sure my old teachers, some family members, and friends are probably tired of hearing this. But I think that I just need to embrace that this is the way I get sometimes.

So now the things that I can control - my physical fitness, the food I eat, what I do with all of this spare time - these are the things that I'm going to focus on. No more depressed focus on the fact that my work visa hasn't arrived. In a few weeks I'll be working in Switzerland and getting a consistent pay check for the summer. I'm not going to end up homeless. Not yet, anyways.

Now with the beautiful weather of early summer arriving, so too will my refreshed perspective. And with that perhaps I can expect more success in the arena that is of utmost importance to me: music.

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