Hello Hello Hello!
So the title of this post will make a little more sense later on in the post… it has been a busy week! Here is a sneak peak of what’s to come.
But first, I bet the anticipation has been killing you… the long awaited blog post about the most amazing eventing I have had in Leipzig so far. Haha, well I hope that it lives up to all my self-created hype.
So a while back now, Kristan and I had just gotten back from Munich and we woke up to a cold Saturday morning. We were anxious to get the to studio after having been away, but also needed to get groceries before the market closed. When we walked to the store, we discovered that there was a street fair/festival happening right on our street, Karl-Heine! We had no idea!! We got distracted from the store and decided to walk a few blocks and check out the festival. It was a strange mix of food carts and tables selling things – people from established stores, flea-market-style tables, hand-made things and a lot of independent artists. What we thought was going to be a quick walk up a few blocks before the market turned into about an hour of window shopping and Kristan buying a beautiful, handmade ring from this Australian guy! We wanted to stay and walk the whole 6 or 7 blocks, but we also still needed to get groceries. So we quickly went to the store. When we got back, I grabbed my things for the studio and left the apartment. Abbie had already left, and Kristan was staying back to make lunch before she left.
Walking around the festival by myself was awesome. I loved getting to look at all the art and things that people had made. Most people spoke English, so interacting was a little easier. There were live performances happening every couple of blocks – folk bands, people singing “La Bomba”, and Capoeira dancers! I got a really good bratwurst with mustard for lunch and took my time walking. My walk to the studio (which normally takes 20 minutes) turned into a really nice and relaxing 2 hours or so – the festival was even bigger than we thought! There was this huge open field that they had cleared for more vendors!
I ended up buying this beautiful, handmade leather wallet from this really nice woman who was about my age! She offered free repairs for up to a year, even though I wont be in Leipzig that long :( My favorite part about the wallet is the screen-printed fish on the inside. I am so glad to have something to take with me that will always remind me of Leipzig, and of this perfect day.
So, in Germany, they call soccer fusbol, not football. I always knew the table-top soccer as fusbol, but they call that kicker here… it’s all a little wacky. But, we went off to this really wonderful beer garden on our street that is right by the canal to watch the game.
It was the best way to watch a game. Our friends, Val and Nina, from Halle 14 came and sat with us. The crowd wasn’t too rowdy (I’m used to American sports fans), and the people we were sitting around were all wearing these all-white outfits…. I thought that they might be capoiera dancers from the festival, but during half time they all got up from the tables we were sharing with them and lined up for a performance. They were apart of this percussion group!! There were about 30 or so people in the group, separated into different parts. THEY WERE AMAZING. They had a conductor who was my age or maybe a little bit older, and it was amazing how they all worked together. It was obvious that what they were playing wasn’t an arranged piece, but the mixing and improvisation of the conductor, who led the group to be cohesive and beautiful. They played the whole halftime. Kristan, Abbie and I danced with some other people off to the side, it was a great way to spend the normally really boring half time.
Then, the game ended and the group started playing again! This time it was even more improvised and meshed together than the half-time. It also seemed like it would never stop!! At one point, the conductor had everyone yell “I like to move it, move it”, it was hilarious. Then, all of a sudden, just a few of the drummers kept playing, and the whole group started marching into this back ally behind the garden. I immediately followed – it was kind of like I was in a trance hahaha – I wanted to know where they could be going.
Following them is what led to the most amazing thing that has happened to me on this trip. It seemed like we had reached a dead end in the ally, I was kind of sad that the music and fun was going to stop. But then, the band, 30+ audience members and I squished into this tiny clothing store someone had opened up for us. Because I had been so eager to follow the group, Kirstan Abbie and I were right in the front of the audience. For the next hour (???) or so the band kept playing, and me and a ton of strangers danced our butts off. I have no idea how long we were actually in that store… it kinda felt like time had been suspended and we were all in this magical world where everyone was a stranger but no one was a stranger at the same time. All of us, the band and the audience followed the every command and request of the conductor, dancing low to the ground and then jumping up once “the beat dropped” (I feel so silly using that phrase but I cant think of anything better”; we all yelled out chants and cheers in time with the beats; we all danced without worry. There was this amazing energy I remember feeling in the room – it was the happiest, most random and serendipitous positive glow that I have ever come across. I just remember looking around the room and EVERYONE was smiling. I know I am gushing, but the synchronicity, connectedness, and joy that I felt after a random chance performance after a World Cup game was just incredible. The pictures are terrible, but you can get an idea of the store we were in.
THAT was the best day I have had on this trip. It had everything. Sleeping in, a surprise festival, bratwurst, working in the studio, World Cup, beer gardens, and dancing. The best parts were all by surprise and chance. I hope it was the first of many days like that.
The rest of this week has bee filled with watching the World Cup, working hard in the studio, and a bit of ping-pong, or as the Germans would say, table tennis. Our friend Valerie left this week, and had an open studio before she did! about 30 or so people came, it was great! We played this awesome version of table tennis where there aren’t really teams. Instead, each person runs around the table hitting the ball in turn, back and forth. If you miss it or mess up, you are out and the game keeps going until it is just two people left. Then, the two play until one of them wins a point. It is really fun, but after a while you get tired and really dizzy!!
Also since my last post, we had studio visits with some of the artists in residence in another building on Spinnerei, and it was really motivating for my own work. The people we met are students at the New York Academy of Art and were all working on these HUGE and amazingly skillful figure paintings. It made me want to work big… so I am!! Kirstan and I split this HUGE bunch of canvas. I am not sure how big it was before we cut it up, but I couldn’t get it all in one picture.
For the US vs. Germany game, we went back to the beer garden. We made sure to wear whatever red, white and blue we had!
We thought that people would be really excited for the game and got to the garden early. Turns out, we were a little too over eager. No one was there yet! While we waited, I decided to go to this baked potato place for dinner. Yes, I said “baked potato place”. It is this cute little shop on Karl-Heine that I had been wanting to try for a while. They have all these different toppings! it was really good, except that there was SO MUCH sour cream on it. I swear there is a baked potato, chicken, cheese, and veggies in there somewhere…
For the rest of the World Cup games, we met our new friends at from the New York Academy of Art at this really great bar that is about a block from our house called the Theater Bar. It was really fun for the Germany game the other night – there were a ton of people! I look kinda crazy in the picture of Kristan and I with our Deutschland facepaint on… but I was just really excited haha.
You can place bets on the score of the game, and Kristan and I of course bet for our team to win. The best part about the Theater Bar is that they have their own two dual-announcers commentate on the game. They are these hilarious guys that loved that we were both American, and especially thought it was funny when Kristan and I stood up for the national anthem haha. Most of the time, I have no idea what they were saying, but when I could understand them, it was really funny – it just made watching more fun! Last night, they each had wigs on – one that looked like a Belgian player, and I think one was supposed to look like the (German) US coach, Jürgen Klinsmann.
It has been a really great week or two here in Leipzig. We only have a few left!! Tomorrow, Kirstan and I are going to Amsterdam for about 4 days!!! I absolutely cannot wait. Both of my parents studied abroad there, and it is kind of the reason why they are married (they first met when someone suggested they talk about the Amsterdam study-abroad program at Wheaton. The rest is history). We have planned out each day and they are all going to so busy, there is too much to do! I also cannot wait to be in Amsterdam to watch the Netherlands play in the quarter-finals!!! AHHH!!! I will try and be good about updating the blog each day (or at least typing it all out) so that I can get a post up quick after the trip!!
Until then! xoxoxoxoxo4evr
ps. Here is this awesome neon sign in the pub district of Leipzig. I’m obsessed with it.