Wednesday, August 29, 2012

House of Blues... and Blessings

Things have gradually been falling into place. I still miss my friends and family in Sac, but I've met some wonderful people here, some that already feel like they always should have been a part of my life. I remember having that feeling when I met my friend, Melba, in Boston and hers has become one of the most genuine and deep friendships I've been blessed to know. I went to my brother's wedding recently, which was SO beautiful and wonderful, but it was hard coming back. Luckily, I went out to a friend's gig that night, with some other friends and had a lovely time. I spent that Saturday at the beach and it was GORGEOUS! Sunday, I received a calling at church, to play piano for the choir. Monday, I went to a jam session with my roommate (Carolyn) and my brother and sister-in-law, James and Hina. I LOVED it- it was like stepping into the South! The music was amazing, the food was amazing, the players were amazing, and I can't wait to go back! Now, about the House of Blues: A few nights ago, I was responding to some craigslist ads and I said a silent prayer that Heavenly Father would bless and multiply any efforts I made. I know He's blessed me with a gift and I want to do what He would have me do with it, but I feel lost and intimidated and so unsure about everything. The following day, I received an email from the House of Blues, inviting me to interview/audition for some bookings there and at several other big name venues here in LA. The email said to call the booking manager to confirm, which I did, but a HUGE part of me wanted to run away. I often have that feeling, in varied extremes- when I got my scholarship to Berklee, my first day teaching, my first big solo gig, my Ella concert, and it came back in full force last night. When I have this feeling, the urge to run is so real that I start to convince myself that something bad is about to happen, that this is a warning and I should heed it. But, because of good friends and family who never fail to encourage me, and because of a deep-rooted, bigger fear of regret, I do it. And... it NEVER fails, it always turns out wonderful, just because the feeling of doing something that hard, of overcoming fears, is so powerful, it brings hope! I have decided that THAT feeling is actually the gateway to greatness, that it means we're doing something that takes courage and, because of that, it changes us a little every time, for the better. Anyway, barely hanging on to my sanity, I left for the House of Blues last night. I said a little prayer that I would find easy parking (if you know LA parking, you know that's no small feat), turned the corner to Sunset Blvd and VOILA there was one large parking spot, less than a block from the venue. Long story short, it wasn't exactly an audition- they had already heard my stuff- it was more of a meeting/interview and they're supposed to call today to book some dates. Before you get all excited, it's the Foundation Room IN the House of Blues, which is a smaller lounge. That's a relief for me- I couldn't fill the big room anyway... yet! But they said celebrities and talent agents frequent there often and bookings at their various venues will help with exposure and fan base too. This is an amazing opportunity! This brings me to my final thought for the day: As I've said before, I prayed and fasted quite a bit about this decision to move. It was difficult to leave my job, my home, and my loved ones. BUT I feel that Heavenly Father has watched over me every step of the way, sometimes when I didn't even feel it or have the faith to trust that His plan would work out. I've been trying to be diligent about daily scripture study, about serving and loving others, and about talking with my Heavenly Father daily, so I stay on track. I really believe that, whatever His plan is, it's better than mine and I know He loves me and wants me to be happy. I feel His love and blessings as I meet loving, supportive people, as I'm inspired to write new songs, and as my life unfolds before me. And I'm grateful. Which is a vast understatement. Luckily, the Lord knows my heart and can fill in where words fail. =)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quick Update

I GOT A JOB! =) I will be teaching private piano and voice lessons at the School of Dance and Music, starting in September. SUCH a relief! Also, I attended the YSA conference this past weekend- good times and some really nice workshops, talks and discussions. Met some great people and got to catch up and spend some time with friends! Lastly, things are going better than last week (yes, I know it's only Monday). I was asked to sub at the school before I officially start work, which is a nice vote of confidence, and I feel myself starting to get more comfortable here. It's slowly starting to feel like home. Well, a type of home anyway- I think home will always be Sacramento, but Boston came to feel like home too. Still, I'm looking forward to going to Sac this weekend for my brother, James' wedding! =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Settling In

Here's a quick update: This week has been a little rough because some of my recording equipment isn't working and things have just been stressful in general; learning the area, getting used to the people, making new friends, organizing my place, job searching/interviewing, finances... It's a lot to handle all at the same time and alone. I remember my first month in Boston; I think I cried every night and I was dealing with a lot of the same stuff. The good news is I have NOT cried every night here- success! I like to think I'm a little more mature, and it helps that I've done this before, so I know it gets better with time. I also have some awesome friends who have been there for me. Ang and Melba check in often, Felice sent a really sweet text about how I'm never alone and can call her anytime, and Tupua took care of me my first night alone here, listening to my woes and distracting me with card games. =) This past Monday, I met some nice people at an amazing FHE where we toured the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. They do, (among many other things), transportation design, so they were making car models and there was so much to learn and see. We also had a demo on Typography (see below), where this guy taught us all about the Helvetica font and its history. I promise it was so much more fascinating than I'm making it sound!
Yesterday, I had to co-teach a piano lesson and a voice lesson as part of the interview process for one of my potential jobs. I was teamed up with one of their current teachers who, by a kind twist of fate, happened to be a friend and the husband of my dear, long-time friend, Francesca. I think it went OK, but we'll see. After lessons, I went home where my roommate Carolyn and I had dinner with the sister missionaries. Today was really nice, because I got to spend the morning with Hina (my sister-in-law-to-be, if you're not familiar with her). We hiked up to the Hollywood sign (well, as close as we could get), then went to lunch at the California Chicken Cafe and stopped by Sprinkles for a cupcake out of the ATM!
Tonight, I had signed up to help set up for the BBQ my ward does every first Wednesday. It was nice setting up, but super awkward once the BBQ started. Everyone there was either prrrretty old, or married with young kids. I tried for about 15 minutes to make chit chat and introduce myself, but people didn't really know what to do with me. After the initial "Where are you from", they were at a loss, and it got to be pretty un-fun for me. So... I left and went to the beach. Overall, things are fine. Or rather, I think they will be. But if I can complain for a minute, LA and I have not grown to love each other yet. I hate the traffic- getting around here is like being in a constant obstacle course. People are really not friendly. I've been making a point of smiling and saying hello to people and I can honestly say that 99% of the time, they initially had no intention of even acknowledging me and then after I make the effort, often, they don't even respond. And if I hear one more person brag about what they've done, who they've worked with or how great they are... Anyway, like I said, I know it gets better- this is the tough part, so I'm trying to hang in there but it's pretty much the opposite of fun. Venting over now. As you were.