-Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange-looking international group of people?

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Sometimes James comes to pick us up and sometimes we meet at the location where we perform/ have a rehearsal/ eat/ whatever.

Well, this was one of the situations our hosts took us downtown and we were supposed to meet at Subway for lunch before performing at Batchelor Middle School, Indiana and Indiana University afterwards. My cool host mom Jennifer took me downtown almost 2 hours before I was supposed to meet the guys and she went to work, which worked out great for me, because my favorite way to experience the city is by myself. I could walk for hours just looking at the buildings, taking pictures, talking to the local people (talking to a stranger who asks weird questions totally doesn’t creep the hell out of them), sitting in the park looking at the people (which… really does scare the hell out of them).

Anyway, I had some time to wander around Bloomington, which was our last week’s stop. It also worked out great, because I spent an hour and a half out of 2 searching for the post office so I can send the postcards. And then, that was the quickest visit to the post office ever. I usually write postcards at home, but now I just bought a couple of them and we were supposed to leave Bloomington earlier than we did so I had to do it at the post office… anyways, I seriously admire people who will be able to read that express handwriting. And then there I am… trying to send them… but of course, there is a thousand people in front of me, asking a hundred questions about their monthly ‘I love spending time at the post office, so other people can’t have their things sent’ newsletter.

So I was late. I was supposed to be at Subway two minutes after I left the post office, and it was a lot more likely that I would get there in 10. (Of course, since I’m Balkan lady, in my head, I was already there, so I wasn’t late)

I knew we were in a hurry, and I ran to Subway just like I did in high school that one time that the teacher told me- If you want to get an A, it’s either this, or high jump. And I was REALLY BAD at high jump. Like, people would get their cameras ready to record it. I could get so much more famous for my high jump than for my music. Which is so strange, because one would think that a tall person doesn’t have as many… problems… with that as I did. But at least I was entertaining. To everyone except my teacher, who thought that was just sad.

ANYWAY, I ran really fast! Also, James already left me one time because I was 2 minutes late, so I really didn’t feel like experiencing that again, not knowing anything about details of our program and, without the wifi, having no way of contacting anyone.

Finally, I got to Subway, I was about 5 min late, and no one was there:

-Again?! Seriously? They probably just ordered food and went to the school. And what am I supposed to do now?

So, I can thank Subway for not having wifi in their restaurants… Therefore, I went to lady preparing the sandwiches:

-Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange-looking international group of people?

This is what I got in response:

simon wtf gif  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

Oh my. They’re probably at a different Subway. Who decides to set up a meeting point at ‘Subway’ anyway?! So I panically walked out the restaurant, trying to find wifi… no luck. So, there’s a guy passing by, and… this is my way of connecting with the world:

-Hello there! May I use your phone?

So, long story short, they were all late! SO LATE. I could’ve sent at least 7 more postcards followed by my super ugly- speed handwriting. So late. If I had a car, I would totally take off.

barney  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

And guess what? We were all at the wrong Subway. Because we’ve been told to go to that Subway, but in fact, we were supposed to go to a different one, near Batchelor Middle School where we performed afterwards.

At some point, when we were driving in the SOUL train, Shih-Hao asked me:

-When you called James… was that your number?

-No, my cellphone doesn’t work here. I asked a random guy on the street if I can use his phone. But, hey James, you can give me that phone number, he was kind of cute.

post1  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

And about that school… first, we’ve been told that it’s not Batchelor, but ‘Butcher Middle School’ and then ‘Butler Middle School’. Either way, I’d be really curious about the types of personalities of people who would attend those schools.

In the late afternoon we performed at Indiana University. First, though, we took pictures of it. When I suggested we could use just a few minutes for that, Andy said:

-It can’t hurt!

-Unless you’re ugly…

We performed for a vocal ensemble, and also worked with them on a Uruguayan song Kin Tin Tan that Gabe taught them. It’s easy to work with professionals, and people at the university were all very good musicians.

post2  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

My hosts in Bloomington were Jennifer and Jason, a lovely couple with three extremely intelligent and gifted children. Both Jennifer and Jason are musicians, experts in bluegrass, although they do something different for a living. Thanks to that, though, we got to perform at Atterbury Job Corps in Edinburgh, Indiana (I know, love it), since Jennifer works there and she mentioned how cool would it be if we could perform for their students. She told me I should watch movie ‘The Butler’ before going there (great movie), so I would understand better what some of the students have been through. I was very happy to perform there and I was very moved by meeting some of the people. I met the super-nice and extremely positive Vanessa from Chicago, and inspiring Esperanza, who is from Kongo. I learned a lot from her about her country, but what I was mostly grateful for was getting to hear her story. Each person has a story. To me the stories are equally interesting and beautiful, but not everyone is willing to share them.

And she did. The beautiful inspiring story of her life. And I’m truly honored that I had the chance to be a tiny part of that story.post3  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

Except for performing at Atterbury and meeting Esperanza, I also got a chance to be a judge, along with the rest of the SOUL team, in a competition, in which we were supposed to pick the best cake/ cookie.

Jennifer also shared some of her stories with me. She talked about her experiences with performing and the music industry in general, how she got to meet Buddy Guy in the strangest awkward way (my personal fave when it comes to the possible ways of meeting people) but then she became very close friends with him. Jennifer is a veeeeery interesting person. She has an endless amount of crazy stories of all the awesome things she did in her life. And I owe her big time for giving me a cd of female jazz vocalists (that I’ve been planning to buy for the last couple of weeks, every time I walk into Starbucks where they sell that very cd). Not only because of the cd itself, but because we’ve been listening to rap and hip-hop all the time during the drive, since James is the driver and the person with the cd’s and the iPod (which won’t work anymore, because it’s broken. So sad… And, NO, it wasn’t me. Although I really wonder how I haven’t thought of that myself).

I also spent a lot of time with my host siblings, well, at least compared to the time I spent with other host families, since we had a lot of free time last week. I watched movies with one of my host brothers, took the dog for a walk, spent time in the woods near the river, and went sightseeing Nashville- INDIANA with my other host brother (btw- I love how Indiana is like a miniature version of the world, with all the important cities that are in fact somewhere else). And I am so happy that I got to do all that, because it really made me feel like home. Aidan, the older of the two host brothers taught me a couple of cool- must- know- gangsta- phrases. Like: ‘get out of my kitchen’. Apparently, I’m good at saying it in a gangsta way with all the hand gestures that are necessary if you really want to seem gangsta.

Weak sauce. That was my second favorite phrase. It’s my second favorite, ’cause it’s weak sauce (Aidan would be proud).

post4  Excuse me, have you maybe seen this strange looking international group of people?

On our way back from Nashville (IN) to Martinsville where my host family lived, Aidan told me to lean on the back seat of the car, or above it, or I don’t know how to describe it exactly. But the point is, on our drive back home, we were looking at the stars, while listening to The Head and the Heart’s album which seemed to be the perfect soundtrack for that. Yes, we looked retarded and I’m happy that there are no pictures of us leaning so hard/ far so that we could see the stars us if we were laying underneath, but it was beautiful.

-I feel sorry for blind people.

-Why is that?

-‘Cause they don’t get to see the stars- Aidan said -The eternal nothingness. That’s how I would call it.

That’s also one of the things I could do for hours- look at the stars (while listening to nice music). And if you think that sounds too girly… GET OUTTA MA KITCHEN.

With love,



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