Preparations are being made here for New Years Eve and ringing in 2008. I made a giant vat of this soup last night, which took about two hours, but would have taken a LOT longer had I not had these:
Yes, we are now the proud owners of a set of Henckels Pro S Series Chef's Knives. Nick decided to spend his Christmas money on these puppies, which he's been coveting for a very long time. Frankly, knives scare me, especially giant ones such as these. I've always had a thing about blood, and I guess I have a thing about knives too, since they are apt to draw blood. Last night, in an attempt to show me that the knives are harmless, Nick sliced his arm open with a bread knife. Case in point. And needless to say, I was not happy or convinced at the harmlessness of the knives. We are planning to take a knife skills class at some point in the near future.
However, it did make the chopping of the veggies for this soup WAY easier and took about half the time it normally takes me to chop, which was awesome. I read somewhere that it is good luck to eat red lentils at New Years, and I had tasted this soup at a party a few weeks ago and LOVED it, so I decided to make it, despite its having about 339480342 ingredients. We had to go on a wild goose chase up Devon Ave. (for those of you non-Chicagoans, Devon is basically little India) for the garam masala, but I was thankful I did, because it really makes the dish. While the soup was cooking, we made our vasilopita, a Greek New Year's cake.
You bake a coin into the dough, and whoever gets the coin in their piece is the lucky one! I have loved learning about Nick's Greek traditions and turning them into our own traditions. We will be heading to our friends Allison and Ryan's house in Aurora for a party tonight, which should be a great time. It's going to be a giant adult sleepover since nobody wants to drive back to the city (or their respective suburbs) after midnight. So now that the preparations have all been made, it's time to think about the year 2007 -- so here goes.
I'm not much for New Year's resolutions. I feel like I give up quite a bit for my career -- financial security, time with loved ones, to name a couple -- that I really don't need to punish myself further at the start of a New Year. Maybe I've got the wrong idea about resolutions, but I feel like it means focusing on things you don't like about yourself or your life. Sure, we all need to lose weight or tone up, we all need to save more money, we all need to spend less time on our careers and more time with our families. I've got all of those same goals. If nothing else, 2007 turned me into an adult. I left the comforts of academia, began repayment on a giant amount of student loans, gained weight, started to make a home with a "significant other", and tried my damnedest to get ahead in my career. People over forty keep telling me that I should "enjoy your twenties" and that it's "the best time of your life". My guess is that those people weren't trying to make a career as a classical singer in their twenties. Yes, it's a fun time, and yes, I enjoy being childless in one of the greatest cities on earth, but I can't help but feel...well, old. No, I don't have to buy diapers or strollers or baby food, but my disposable income is pretty much non-existent thanks to student loan payments, voice lessons, coachings, audition fees, plane tickets to New York, and the slow growth of my teaching business--my primary income. Yes, complaints you've all heard a hundred times over, but it's the truth. I have a baby, and it's called my singing career.
But you know what, I'm doing it. I look back on 2007 and I don't see the increasing debt, the failed auditions, or night after night spent in rehearsals or teaching instead of with my boyfriend. I look back and see the day that I vowed to quit temping forever, and did it. I see a finished Masters degree that two years ago seemed insurmountable. I see the day that I got hired by OFY, my first real opera job (my bio is up on the website by the way, check it out!). I see a December full of lucrative holiday gigs, earning me more money as a singer than ever before. I see the fact that I am making a living as a voice teacher and performer, something I thought might never happen in my lifetime, let alone my first year out of school! Career-wise, it was a very good year.
My personal life has been good, too. In July, Nick and I moved in together, which was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I know now, more than ever, that I want to spend the rest of my life with this man. And I think he feels the same way;) We survived a 6 month separation in 2007, while he took care of family business in Greece, and back then we dreamed about the day when we would have an apartment together and sleep next to each other every night instead of chatting on Skype. Well, that dream came true, and he's been snoring in my ear ever since. :)
Lest you think I'm a total Pollyanna, let me say this. 2008 will undoubtedly present new and unheard of challenges and obstacles. It is always interesting to figure out how I will stretch a dollar to pay all my bills, and the ever-changing existence of my singing career (basically: existent or non-existent) makes life an endless surprise. When you are a classical singer, you honestly never know what will happen next. It's terrifying and exciting all at the same time. But ever since I left undergrad, life has only gotten better. And I expect that life will only get better in 2008, as long as I keep looking forward but remembering the past in such a way that makes me thankful for every single thing that happened to me.
Cheers to a New Year, my friends and loyal readers.
Summertime, And the Living Isn't Easy
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