Reflections on 2019…

This year, my whole life flipped upside down. I tripped and stumbled my way through so many ‘Big’ life events; a move across the world, a wedding, a Greencard application, many new jobs and hustles… However, having somehow arrived at the end of the year feeling joyful and excited, I know now that it is not any of these things that truly shaped my 2019, or left me with any real lasting impression (other than relief). Rather, it is the myriad of little things, the people I met and places I saw, the books I read and first-time experiences I encountered, which made a real difference to me personally and which I thought important, perhaps more so than any other year, to look back on as we lead into the new decade.

Books, Shows, Films & Media

I can’t deny that, in the throes of my long visa application process, I felt like there was NOTHING productive that I could do with my waiting time. But, every cloud has a silver lining, and for me, it was the time and mental space to read and consume as many books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, anything, as I could! And I really discovered some gems. (Having acknowledged this, my heart goes out to anyone still counting down the timer on their application – my advice: steer clear of the internet forums…)

Books:
#1. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Consisting of nine short stories, this little masterpiece was, without a doubt, the best book that I read this year.
#2. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I found this novel to be extremely well-written, an important read, kept me interested until the last word.

Films:
#1. Parasite by Bong Joon-ho
One of the most well-crafted and superbly told stories I have ever seen in film.
#2. Amalie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Obviously, this film is nothing new. It took me almost 20 years to finally watch it – I was lucky enough to see it at my local independent cinema – but I’m SO glad I finally did. What a beautiful movie.

TV Shows:
#1. Chernoybl
#2. Euphoria
#3. The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel
2019 saw so much good TV, with wonderful writing and acting. Frankly, the TV that I watched was mostly a LOT better than the vast majority of movies that I saw…

New Places and Discoveries
#1. Zion National Park
Visiting this place was unreal – perhaps because of the mixture of breathlessness at the sight of such incredible beauty and the physical challenges of the most grueling hike that Logan and I completed together.

#2. ‘Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken’ Restaurant
We stopped here on a whim during a road trip, and I knew when I saw the line out the door and down the street that this was going to be something special. The most insane hot chicken sandwich EVER.

Music and Art
#1. Performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with True Concord
Such an inspiring and liberating musical experience that I won’t forget. I am so happy to be able to work with this group of fine musicians.

#2. Robert Mapplethorpe Exhibition at the Guggenheim
‘Im looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before.’ – Robert Mapplethorpe
#3. Father of the Bride, by Vampire Weekend
This band was a new discovery to me this year and I have loved listening through this album, released last March.
#4. Sylva, by Benoît Pioulard
Of course, I am biased because I am privileged to have been able to collaborate for a song on this album (No. 8, ‘Meristem’), but the entire album and it’s art is gorgeous and must be listened to straight away!

Personal Highlights
#1. Liam
My first pet, my first cat-love, he is wonderful and the power of a pet is extraordinary.

#2. Learning to drive and buying my first car
I’m really quite proud of this one.
#3. The baby shower of a beloved friend in NYC
It is surreal to know that you are seeing one of your closest friends for the last time as a sole individual. It was a real personal pleasure and so special that I got to visit her in New York and to be at her first baby shower.
#4. My writing class at The Writers’ Studio
I had a really wonderful experience taking part in an eight-week writers’ workshop at The Writers’ Studio, Tucson. I explored putting my experiences into words in the form of poems and short pieces of fiction, and I am hoping to develop a performance based on these pieces of writing interspersed with music…

Moments for Pause
#1. Goodbye to my Grampa
No amount of preparation can really brace you for the loss of someone who was so important and present in some part of your life. All of my childhood memories surround my Grampa and my time at his house and I miss him very much.
#2. Politics
Although I feel very far away from my home country (where is home, really, anyway) I felt I must at least nod to the disaster that was the recent British general election, and everything that came before it and is still to come in the new year. My life has never been so directly impacted by my feelings towards politics as it is now, and my experiences living in America, especially in a place like Tucson which presents so many political issues at its city core, makes our actions and feelings seem ever more critical.

Looking Forward
#1. Concerts
Right from the get-go, on January 1st 2020, I am playing some really exciting projects and concerts, and I just can’t wait to get started. Hopefully, I will even be happy with my playing for some of them… More info on Calendar page.
#2. Visits
2019 was all about trying to put some shape on my new life and set myself up here in America. But I miss my friends and family dearly and have been painfully aware of how far away I am from them. Next year, I am really looking forward to heading back to Europe to see everyone and to having my Mom visit me in Tucson (and even having her in the audience of some of my concerts!).
#3. New Ideas!
For so long, I have been focused on the goals of graduating, leaving Germany, moving to the US and finding work here, that it feels strange that these are now somewhat taken care of. Now there is room to actually put my mind to the next goals, thinking up some new ideas and this is perhaps the best thing of all.

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