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Last Prayformance in Lisbon and Flight to Amsterdam!

Sunday August 16th 2015

Our last day in Lisbon.

I didn’t sleep well. I got myself up at noon despite having gone to bed at 3am. I could have slept a few more hours. I didn’t want to stay up all night tonight, since our flight to Amsterdam is tomorrow at 10:55am. I was tired all day. I took a little nap around 5pm. “I don’t want to get up.” I said to Thoth. “You don’t have to.” he said. “I have to do my makeup. I’ll be kicking myself if I don’t do any fun makeup on our last night.” I said. I managed to get up and do makeup and I started feeling better.IMG_20150816_191657532

It was an eerie evening. The cloud cover was unusual. IMG_20150816_201023760We got ready to play at 58 Rua Garrett and I started taking pictures of my look as usual. As I was about to walk outside to take some pictures in the street, I ran square into Laurence! I sort of screamed when I saw him, I was so flabbergasted. He’s the man who works at St. Giles in Edinburgh and heard us perform on the steps of the church every day. He’s the one who made our gig at that church possible, the same day Thoth lost his passport and we couldn’t go to Rio. I knew he was a fan (I sent him our new album and he loves it) but I never expected him to fly all the way to Lisbon to see us prayform! “Did you know it was our last day?” I asked. “Yes.” he said. He had a t-shirt on with our picture on the front and our name on the back. “I had it made.” he said. Wow. IMG_20150816_203351585IMG_20150816_203357720To my knowledge, no one has ever done that before. He even brought his wife, who is wheelchair bound. They, along with another couple who’s seen us before, stayed for the entire prayformance. Laurence got to see the opera live for the first time. I’m so happy he saw it when he did! Thank you Laurence for making our entire summer!IMG_20150816_203217 IMG_20150816_202933291 IMG_20150816_202955729 IMG_20150816_203009623 IMG_20150816_203531194

We had a fantastic prayformance. We finished on time and the guard who came to close the gates was friendly. Nuno and Sarah were supposed to come see the final show, but they arrived just as we were packing up. “I sent you an email. We were helping Sarah’s mom.” Nuno said. I was touched that they came to hang out with us before we leave. We had dinner at the Nepalese place. All of the waiters and cooks knew it was our last night. “We’ll miss you. We’re all fans.” they said. We took pictures together outside the restaurant. “You should have a partnership with them next time.” Nuno said.IMG_20150817_240538439 IMG_20150817_240838483

We hugged Nuno and Sarah goodbye, went home and got in bed.

Monday August 17th 2015

I didn’t sleep. At all. I never can when I have to fly. I’m too nervous and stressed out. That’s 2 nights of not enough rest! “This is going to suck.” I said when Thoth got me up at 8:30am. We dragged our heavy bags down several flights of stairs and hailed a cab in the street. We got to the airport by 9:10. “Not bad.” I said. There was a long line to check in, but it moved quickly and the people checking us in were friendly. We were 3 kilos over the weight limit, so I took my bag of makeup out and stuffed it in my already overly full backpack. Isn’t that ridiculous? The same amount of weight is going on the plane anyway, but now I have to lug it all over the airport. Stupid. Flying is unfair and it sucks and there’s nothing I can do about it. I remember when flying used to be fun. Food and drinks were included, now we’re not even served water! The flight was ok, we filled our bottled with water from the sink. Nothing was free on the flight, not even water, and it was a 4 hour flight. It was like being in a mall the size of a sardine can. My row mate was elbowing me and the preteen behind me was kicking my seat any time he moved. Ugh! At least I could sit on the isle and I didn’t get sick.IMG_20150817_104731088 IMG_20150817_191827867 IMG_20150817_191814961

We landed in Reykjavik and waited 3 hours for our 2 hour flight to Amsterdam. I got us sandwiches. Of course they didn’t accept coins, only bills, so I had to go back and get cash. Why? It’s all money! I freakin’ HATE airports, ripping you off at every turn and getting away with it. They treat it like a bus service. Being so high in the air in a cramped, dry environment and not being fed or accommodated in any way is very stressful on the body. They should be trying to help people instead of doing everything possible to hurt us. The second flight wasn’t as bad. It was only 2 hours, but still no water.

We finally landed at 9pm and took the train into Amsterdam Centraal. It was drizzling as we carried our bags to Wim’s house, which isn’t far. He helped us get our bags up the very steep stairs and we sat on the carpet with him and Marja and talked. “We’ll give you a key and you can do what you like.” Wim said. They insisted on bringing our suitcases upstairs while we went out to have dinner. So sweet! Wim loves reading my blog. He says I write “like a river flowing.” He loves my style and said “You say whatever you feel, even when you’re not feeling good.” Yup. It’s funny because he’ll read this. Hi Wim! Thank you and Marja for being such good friends and giving us a place to rest and relax in one of our favorite cities in the world! We’re so blessed to have friends like you and be able to travel as we do, even though traveling seriously does suck.

Thoth and I walked in the rain (with an umbrella borrowed from Wim and Marja) to Wok to Walk and had a filling dinner, then we got ice cream and waffles on the way home. We’ll probably go there several times before we leave. We’re only here for 2 weeks, then we fly back to the States for our big opera debut at Martha’s Vineyard! When we got home, Wim and Marja showed us to our room and I jumped around I was so happy!IMG_20150818_240333573 IMG_20150818_240340507 IMG_20150818_000459IMG_20150818_240353410 IMG_20150818_241214174

Anyway, it was a hard day, but I am so happy to be here with our friends in such a beautiful city!!!

MY WEDDING DAY, THE DAY I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR FOR THE PAST 4 1/2 YEARS!

Saturday May 17th 2014

I slept well because I took some Rescue Remedy last night. Nana fed little drops to me and Bunny like we were kittens. We lay on our backs and meowed. It was adorable. When I woke up, I couldn’t believe today was the day. I am really getting married! Bunny was there. He kissed me good morning. “You’re dad brought 2 dozen balloons in his car. Check them out and let him know if you want some more. We’ve already popped a couple. Sis came upstairs. “Guess who is here? Guess?” she said. “Who?” I said. “Will!” she said. I got dressed quickly and ran downstairs. I almost cried when I saw Will. I haven’t seen him in at least 7 years. Will was my first mentor when was growing up in Nashville. I met him when I was about 15 years old. He’s the announcer on 90.3 WPLN Nashville Public Radio. He’s such calming presence. He and I sang live together on the classical station when I was 17. We sang a duet from “The Abduction from the Seraglio” by Mozart. It was an amazing experience for me. I think the same night sis and I won the high school talent show singing “We are Women” from ‘Candide.” Anyway, I was so thrilled to see him!

Sis, Dad, and Will went next door to the cafe for breakfast. I said I’d meet them there, but I needed to call my caters to double check what time they’d come. Once everything was set, I left the house to meet them. They were walking back. Oh well! I couldn’t eat anyway, I was so nervous. Dad went home to relax. “I’ll be back around 3:30. I’ll pick up some more balloons for you.” dad said. Sis and I sat at the piano. She improvised in C. I took a Babe, a bear dressed as an octopus, and had him “play” with his tentacles. It made us laugh, a lot. Will filmed us. He thinks we’re so cute. I then played a pretty little ostinato and sis improvised on top. “Jamie can you take me home?” Will sang. “Can you come right back when you drop Will off?” I asked sis. “No, I’m leaving forever.” sis said joking.

I helped Nana and Thoth with last minute set up. I went into the garage and organized the roses into bunches to put in vases. It was 2pm and we needed to start getting ready. Thoth and I went upstairs. I had him get his outfit and anything else he needed out of the bedroom so I could get ready. I didn’t want him to see me in my outfit until I walked down the “aisle.”

SIs arrived a little later. She came upstairs and got ready with me. I covered my face in concealer, then put on white foundation and covered it with baby powder. At first, I didn’t really like it. I almost washed it off, actually! I painted some decoration around my eyes, which I didn’t like either until it was finished. It was so hard to do makeup. I wanted it to be perfect and my hands were shaking. I was so nervous! “Does it look ok, sis?” I asked. “You look beautiful, sis. Really.” she said. Once I got on my hoop skirt and headdress, we dressed sissy. She wore one of my decoden bras and a pink skirt of mine. “Will you do some makeup for me? Make it kind of like yours, but not as extravagant. The bride has to look the prettiest.” she asked. I painted some wispy white decorations around her eyes. She looked beautiful, too! Deborah came in and gave me a gift. “You know in weddings it’s ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.'” she said. I opened her gift. It was pink dangly earrings! I didn’t have any earrings to wear, so I put them on. They matched my outfit perfectly. I asked Deborah to bring me some roses to make a bouquet. I had ordered a bouquet online, but they never arrived. I tied the roses together with some ribbon.

Our guests. Photo by Jamie Stobie

10 minutes before the ceremony, sis and I went into the bathroom. I listened for Nana to ring her bell. Everyone got very quiet. When she rang the first bell, Thoth went to the alter, took up his violin, and stood in stillness. When Nana rang the bell again, Michael came out. He stood still, as if he was honoring the moment. He then danced towards Thoth. Sis and I put our hands to our mouths. They were so beautiful! I was shocked. I’ve seen them dance together. There’s something super sexy about it. They are both incredible dances, very fluid and graceful. You can see how much they love and trust each other. It’s special and very beautiful. “I think I just fell in love with Michael.” sis said. “I don’t know how I’m going to sing when I’m crying.” I said. Thoth picked up his violin and began singing toward the window. I sang to him, then sis and I ran downstairs. “Don’t trip!” sis said.

Flower Girl/Maid of Honor, my sister Jamie Harkin and me singing to Thoth. Photo by my dad, Brendan Harkin.

I got to the door and sis went ahead of me, tossing rose petals in the air while I sang. I felt beautiful.

Me walking up the aisle singing to my future husband. Photo by Brendan Harkin.

Dad was there filming us and talking pictures. I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I went by.

The Ceremony, Photo by Jamie Stobie.

I went to the alter and stood next to Thoth. We finished our “Scottish Song” and Nana came to the stage. Thoth had his eyes closed. I could tell he was terribly nervous. I’d never seen him like that before. He was like a little boy. A few times Nana told us to take a deep breath during the ceremony and she told Thoth twice to open his eyes and look at people. A few times Nana told us to take a deep breath during the ceremony and she told Thoth twice to open his eyes and look at people.

The Blushing Bride: me, and smiling Maid of Honor: my twin sister Jamie Harkin. Photo Brendan Harkin.

Me as I prepare to be married. I’m all nerves! Photo by Brendan Harkin.

Saying our vows. That’s Thoth’s Best Man, Michael Chiaravelotti to his left. Photo by Jamie Stobie.

When we got to the vows, I repeated Nana exactly. I was planning to improvise, but I was so trepidatious, I just stuck to the words she gave me. Thoth, on the other hand, improvised, a lot, and got lost a few times. He did a yelp, which was so cute. I was surprised how quiet our guests were. I was expecting them to be more interactive.

The ring exchange! Photo by Jamie Stobie.

I got teary eyed when we exchanged rings. I really couldn’t believe it was happening. We turned to our guests and Nana invited them to send us blessings or well wishes, either silently or allowed. The only one I remember is Harriet, Thoth’s sister, saying, “Good Lessons.” The final thing Nana said was, “Thoth and Lila, you may kiss!” The instant Thoth pressed his lips to mine, I realized   my face was covered in makeup! He really went for it! I didn’t know what he would do! When he pulled away from me, his mouth was covered in my white makeup! We picked up our violins. Our guests were silent.

Me as a new bride singing “Sea Expressions.” Photo by Jamie Stobie.

Photo of us performing after the ceremony. It was all a blur! Photo by Sunkiss.

“Sea Expressions” went fine, but I completely forgot what key “Pentagram” was in! Thoth tried to help me, but I still couldn’t figure it out. We changed into another rhythm, and then another.

Singing to my new husband. Photo by Jamie Stobie.

Photo by Jamie Stobie.

Photo by Jamie Stobie.

“Was that a new piece?” sis asked me when we finished. “Yes.” I said. Michael joined us next. We started in the key of G. It was very fun. Michael is such a joy to play with. I fall in love with him every time he plays with us. I fall in love with everyone we perform with. He looks at me with such intention. He’s such a great musician and follows so well. Next, Rhan joined us on his bass. We played this time in A, and that was super fun. We each plucked our violins in the air. It was great. “That one had a lot of different dynamics and sections.” Michael said. For our encore, we played in E, which was a bad idea. E leaves us with no real bottom note. We’re used to playing in open strings. Anyway, it was what it was. “I’m very impressed, sis. You’re a real musician.” sis said. “You’re able to improvise with anyone.”

The newly weds! Me and Thoth sitting for pictures. Photo by Rhan Wilson.

Happy Couple. Photo by Jamie Stobie.

Me and my sister taking pictures. Photo by Brendan Harkin.

Posing. Photo by Jamie Stobie.

When we finished performing, I was terrified to discover the food hadn’t arrived yet. My mind started racing. “What if they don’t come?” I thought. “What if we have no food?” I had to run upstairs and call the caterers. Just as I did, Plearn arrived! I was so relieved. I had a message from Pinkberry. “We don’t have Mint Chocolate Cookie anymore, but I’m bringing Salted Caramel and some extra Pomegranate.” the woman said.  I went downstairs. “How do you feel?” people said. “I can’t believe it just happened!” I said. Outside, our friends started congratulating us and took pictures. Nana had us stay up on the patio. “OK, you can come down now!” she said. They all threw confetti in the air! We were so surprised I got some in my mouth! It was funny, and it made me cough! The food wasn’t ready yet, so we had everyone make a circle and hold hands. I said thank you and so did Thoth, then we went around the circle and had everyone say how they knew us. People took longer then I thought they would, so we had to stop before the food got cold.

the-thoth-band 2

The band. From left to right: Rhan Wilson (bassist,) Michael Chiaravelotti (drummer,) Thoth( violin and countertenor,) and me, (violin and soprano) with our Pinkberry ice-creams!

We opened up the food containers, but there were no serving utensils! Nana and Deborah ran in the kitchen and got anything they could find to serve the food. It’s interesting how people get things done when they need to be done. I let the little girls Ruby and Lou serve themselves first, then I dug in! The food was delicious. I had pad thai and soup and some fresh rolls. We had our favorite thai place cater, and they did a fantastic job! Thank goodness. I’ve never thrown a party before or catered or anything so I had no clue if it would work out our not. Pinkberry, my favorite frozen yogurt place, arrived with dessert. I was thrilled. They set up as everyone ate dinner. I got yogurt, pomegranate of course. People had already got some. I had raspberries, mangos, strawberries and granola on top. It was amazingly delicious. Everyone loved it. “Good choice.” daddy, sis and Thoth said. It was my idea. 🙂 The band, Michael, Rhan, Thoth and me, took some pictures together.

When dinner was over, Nate asked if I wanted to sing some arias before he went home. We went into the living room and rehearsed. I wanted to sing, “Willow Song,” from “The Balled of Baby Doe.” I went out to tell Thoth I was going to sing. “Get Will.” I told sis. As I started singing, people came in the living room to listen. After I sang “Willow Song,” we decided to try “Green Finch and Linnet Bird.” Sis started singing along with me. When I told her to stop, she started making fun of the song and wouldn’t stop. “Sis, stop!” I told her. She finally did. When I finished singing, Nana said, “Time to dance!”

We all went outside for our First Dance.  I wasn’t expecting us to do a first dance, but it was fun! Charley played “At Last.” Not my favorite song, but we can dance to anything. Our dancing is very theatrical. We don’t just hold each other and waddle our feet back and forth like couples usually do. When that was over, Charley played “Happy,” a song I was actually really hoping he would play! Thoth and Michael and I really went to town dancing for the first few songs, but we got tired fast. Nana danced forever. Michael played his drum for a while, which made it even more fun to dance. We took breaks, then danced, then took breaks, then danced some more. One time, Will and Thoth were dancing to “Happy” and Will sang along! It was so cute! He sang really high. At one point, I couldn’t find Thoth. “Where’s my husband?” I said. “He’s run off.” Dad said teasing me. I found him sitting with our friend Annie. “I hope you don’t mind I’m flirting with Annie.” Thoth said. “Bunny, you can flirt with anyone you want to. I’m in love with everyone here. I really want you to know that just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t flirt anymore.” I said. “Isn’t that amazing she can say that?” Thoth said. “You’re a lucky man.” Annie said. Eventually Michael, Thoth, sis, a bunch of other friends and I were in the kitchen talking and laughing. Michael said something about a “big bahookie.” Sis and I thought the word was hysterical and asked him what it meant. “It means butt.” he said. Sis and I starting making a joke saying, “You’ve got a big fuckin’ bahookie.” with a Scottish accent. It was freaking hysterical. We couldn’t stop saying it. Michael was laughing, too. “You give them something and they just go with it and I say, ‘Wait up for me! I want to have fun, too!'” Michael said. He loves clowning around with us.

Before people started leaving, we gathered Nana, Michael, sis and Thoth together to sign our marriage certificate. Michael and sissy signed as witnesses and Nana signed as the officiator. Michael helped Charley get his gear to his car and came to say goodbye. He gave my sister little pecks on the shoulder. I was shocked. Usually he doesn’t show physical affection like that. “Do it to me, too.” I said. He pecked me gently on the shoulder. It was lovely. We stood in the doorway with Chris and Khalil and talked for a while. Sis was being a clown and talked about sex, as usual. The family members started packing up food and drinks and said goodbye. We went with Sunkiss and Bartoz to see their camper van before they left. “We’re trying to pay it off. Then you could use it whenever you needed.” Sunkiss said. We were exhausted, so we hugged them and said goodbye.

The house was empty, accept Nana and Chris. We went upstairs and I got in the shower while Thoth iced his knee. I sat on the bed and opened cards with Thoth. Everyone was so generous and loving. Our friend John gave us a very big donation. I was shocked. I was feeling so loved, but now I feel even more so. We are doing so well right now.” I said. I put the cards and money back in the basket and got in bed with Bunny.

(PS. These is the first of many photos to come!)