The SOUL Language

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I didn’t write for a very long time and since many things have happened since my last blog post, I’ll do it the boring way, and I probably won’t mention most of it anyway, but here we go.

March 5th- Performing in TN and Huntsville, AL
We left our Nashville hosts early in the morning, so we could perform in an elementary and later in one community college in Tennessee. Somehow, though, due to a little misunderstanding, the only person who knew about our concert was the sound engineer. We set up the room, but no one was there, except for Bo, the sound guy. So we ended up performing for Bo! But… when people who were passing by the stage saw us performing, we got ourselves a very supportive crowd. So it turned out to be a really nice intimate concert, and very rewarding in terms of being able to actually get to know people who sticked around and decided to listen to us.
soul1 The SOUL Language
We arrived to Huntsville in the evening, and performed there the next morning. We worked for two hours with two elementary school choirs and the third class was the performance. It was that one performance during which I looked like a train wreck since I slept 3 hours that day, because I was trying to edit a video of a previous performance. I didn’t put ANY make-up, I didn’t brush my hair, I didn’t eat breakfast, in fact, the only thing I cared about in the morning was to close my suitcase, because that becomes harder every time I open it. I never ever in my life looked worse. Try to imagine an average 63-year-old bold fat male with no front teeth. You did? Are you sure? No front teeth! Okay, well, I looked about 3x worse than what you just imagined that morning.
But, of course, it’s needless to say it was that one time we had a person with a professional camera taking pictures of us performing.
Anyway, I taught the choir ‘Zeko i potocic’. They were very cute.
soul2 The SOUL Language
I need to write just a few sentences about one of my host sister in Alabama. Julia is really special! The evening I met here she was wearing a costume, just so she could greet me wearing a costume and she took it off right away, because that was a part of the show. On a parking lot.
She told me all about her ex boyfriend, who was a ball, called The Earth, because he was very cocky and self-centered. I also heard a story about Julia going to a birthday party, to which all the kids brought their toys. Julia decided to bring her slinky (who also happens to be her ex daughter), but before she went to the party, she asked her mom:
-Mom, but what if the other kids would bring toys cooler than a slinky?
-Well, Julia…
-Hahahaha I’m just kidding! What can be cooler than a slinky?! Haha well, maybe two slinkies!
Also, right before the two of us performed in their living room with a stuffed- animals band, I asked her what song are we going to perform, she looked at me like I was a little cuckoo:
-Of course we’re going to perform Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, can’t you see which glasses I’m wearing?!
soul2 The SOUL Language
After that, I had a deep conversation with myself. It went something like this: Sonja, you silly, silly girl. Oh. (Where ‘oh’ stands for deepness)
This is the pic shortly after our performance (by then, the star glasses became so boring).
soul4 The SOUL Language
March 6th (and the following few days), Hattiesburg, MI
If I’d have to pick the worst part of the touring experience (and apparently, even if I didn’t have to, I still would), it’s arriving to the new location. Sometimes, it’s great and a lot of fun. But sometimes… and I know I’m fully responsible for that, but it’s just hard. I get used to the people I’m staying with in one place, and then I have to leave. And the thing is… by this point of the tour, the five of us (singers and James) developed our languages. Inside jokes, stories that we tell over and over again, like a big creepy family; experiences, all the good ones as well as the bad… and I know that no one can really understand that, except for the five of us (and I’m getting freaked out by the very thought of what’s going to happen after we’re done with the tour). It’s all real. It’s all so real now, but once we go our separate ways, I think we’ll have a hard time keeping it real.
Well, anyway, our host families and people we meet on the road get to experience a bit of that reality. And sometimes… if they’re really weird, they understand our SOUL language, which is not always easy. We explain most of the jokes, but you need to be willing to listen to the boring explanations of the jokes in order to make the jokes yourself in the future. And not everyone wants to do it- which makes me appreciate more the people who do.
Well, Hattiesburg was a place like that.
My host mom… was a lot more like a host sister. Staying at Agusta’s house was like a week- long sleepover party with best friend. She let me cook, without being worried her kitchen would explode, we went to the post office and left there enough money to make the third world countries rule the world, we went running (American woods are the only woods in the world where there is, in the middle of nowhere (oh, excuse, between the 70388th and 70389th tree on the left), rest area with the restroom, American flag, bar and a vending machine), we had midnight (and morning) cereal, we skyped with her husband who’s currently in Korea, I locked her out of her car, saw her falling on the ground, and we noticed all the things we had in common which made us certain that we were somehow related in the past life, even though I’m not sure I believe in its existence.
soul5 The SOUL Language
And, most importantly, Agusta was willing to learn the SOUL language.
So, when we first arrived to Hattiesburg, I was a bit grumpy. Uhm, I’m not actually sure if grumpy is the right word.
soul6 The SOUL Language
It’s just that when you spend ALL THE TIME surrounded by (usually many) people, you get a bit tired of it. Well, I don’t know if you get, but I occasionally do. So, I know that sometimes I don’t make a good first impression, because I seem tired, when in fact I just need some time to get used to the new situation. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy the company. It’s just not that easy. I ‘change’ host families every 2, 3, 5 days, and by the time I figure out where they keep the spoons and what’s the name of one of their 4 dogs, I need to leave. That’s not always the case, though. (I was on fire a few days ago. I think that, after meeting me at the big welcome party, my hosts were really terrified that they would need to spend the next few days with a chatterbox)
Well, anyway, during the first big dinner in Hattiesburg I wasn’t the life of the party. BUT right after we got to Agusta’s house, I told her that I have some funny awkward stories regarding the tour that I could share, but I don’t want to share it right now, because I don’t want to make a bad first impression. Of course, I shared those stories 5 minutes later. By the next day, I was insulting her like a best friend. I think I started with sth like: ‘Imagine you got to host a person who doesn’t speak English. I could’ve been a crazy psychopath… why do you host people you don’t know? Are you retarded?’. The first lunch I had at Agusta’s was a tortilla with vegetables and cheese. Again, try to imagine that bold male with no front teeth from the beginning… but this time, the scenery includes a cow on roller-skates. Of course, she took a picture of me, so she could send it to her mom (turned out to be a very representative picture. Agusta’s mom, I apologize for her. She didn’t know what she was doing!)- while I was cutting the cheese, and she said:
-Oh, that’s another thing we say in America! Do you know what it means- to cut the cheese?
I said I didn’t, but somehow, I had a feeling it’s not anything graceful. Feel free to look it up. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cut%20the%20cheese
Agusta taught me a lot of American sayings and phrases. She was also trying very hard to speak with the southern accent. That’s when I started speaking with Balkan one. Now, that was really funny, y’all.
But the thing I love the most about her is that, immediately after I shared the funny SOUL stories with her, she felt like joking about that with the other guys. So, just in order not to make this post enormously large, I >will< share some of the stories and jokes with you, but in a separate post. Esp because those are, by now, classics. Some of the titles, that I just made up, of the stories you’re about to hear: The 7$ Haircut, The Mystery Of The Missing Shoes, The Geography Lesson With The Music Teacher etc. (But those are the three main stories for public)
soul7 The SOUL Language
Back to Hattiesburg. I need to say that, except for Agusta, I’ll remember Hattiesburg for Bob. Although Bob wasn’t my host and I didn’t get to talk to him >too< much, I really enjoyed spending the time that I did with him. Bob speaks many languages fluently and one of them is soul.
Bob and Agusta took us for BBQ. They said we need to try it. In fact, when I talked about what I like to eat with Agusta the night before and told her that I wouldn’t like to go out for dinner, but I can if she feels that’s a must-do part of the hosting experience… she said: -No, it’s fine with me. But you need to go for bbq tomorrow. That is a part of my hosting experience!
So we went. Agusta and I arrived first. Few minutes later:
-Oh, they’re coming- Agusta said. And then nobody came in for the next 2 minutes, although she said they were in front of the door. But then again, that’s Agusta…
Two minutes later- there they are!
-KICK HIM!!!!!!!! -that’s also a part of the SOUL language. Shih-Hao started this tradition by saying it with a very Asian accent every time somebody says something he doesn’t like hearing- KICK HIM!!!!!
Everyone else was cracking up.
-Shih-Hao, I think this is the first time you’re saying we should kick your host- Gabe said.
-Kick hiiiiim!!!!!!!!
Well, it turned out that there was this thing on the door of the restaurant.
soul8 The SOUL Language
And Bob made the guys knock on the door of the restaurant. And they did. And they waited for someone to open the door.
It can go only funnier from there. And it did. We were singing in the restaurant- to the waitress, to a random guy’s girlfriend whose birthday was that day, to Agusta and Bob… I think it was my favorite meal during the whole tour.
Shortly before we left Hattiesburg, Bob took me to see the zoo. Guys saw it just minutes before I did, so he wanted to show the zoo to me, as well. We just went to see it from the outside. Now, keep in mind that Bob is a real CHARACTER. He is one of the most intelligent people I’ve met and he spent many years living in Africa. Well, there we were, standing in front of the zoo, hoping that I would see some animals and/ or the visitor’s train. And there it is, a zebra! But it was far away. So Bob made all sorts of click-clocking sounds and noises and, all of a sudden, three zebras are coming towards us! And only minutes after, there’s the train. Bob said:
-Let’s waive to them. You know what’s the worst thing about these trains? You sit there and want to waive to people and have no one to waive to. Let’s just waive to them.
And then we thought we heard a lady, who was sitting in the train, yelling something like- oh, there are singers!
Both, Bob and I, thought that was insane and impossible. How would she know that I was a singer/ we have anything to do with singers… So mysterious!
-Maybe she was at the concert this morning…
-Maybe. But I don’t think so.
When we got back to meet the guys, Bob and I told them about zebras coming to us and the lady from the train saying hello to the singers.
soul9 The SOUL Language
And I couldn’t help but laugh like crazy when I saw Andy’s face while listening to this.
-Am I supposed to believe you?! Kick him!
-Okay, I know it sounds weird… but the zebras came closer.
-We were there half an hour ago and there was no animals! No, no, no! Of course I don’t believe you.
-Sonja, you should tell the story. I think I lost my credibility yesterday (knock, knock). *Sonja bursting out laughing*
-Well, Bob, I think I’m no better when it comes to credibility, but… listen, Andy, I know it sounds strange and you don’t believe me because I’m laughing now… and, as a matter of fact I’m laughing all the time… and I make jokes all the time… but this time it’s really true! The zebras were really there. At first, far away, and then they came closer right after Bob did *click click*, which I thought was crazy! And you know what Bob is like… I thought ‘right, like that’s going to work. I can barely hear that and I’m standing next to him’, but they did! And they came closer! And then there was this lady in the train…
*Andy laughing like crazy*- No, no! Of course I don’t believe you!
Someone else asked Bob how did he call them.
-Click clock tzoo tzoo tzoo click click clock.
(Andy laughing like crazy)
Well, we didn’t convince them. But we did eventually find a person who solved the case.
About the mystery… Bob had a T-shirt that said ‘Singers Of United Lands’.


  • April 2, 2014, 4:45 am  Reply

    Sonja, I just saw this (April 1). I am still laughing. You told it exactly as I remember the dinner and our zebra safari. Both events let me see what a good sense of humor and love of fun you have. Shi-Hao ‘threatened’ me so many times with ‘kick you.’ And Andrew has a wild and spontaneous laugh. Gabe is great fun too and really a smart observer. And James is the perfect manager. I really admire all of you for a demanding nomadic life. I am sure it is not easy, as you said. But you really do all bring joy to so many, and you remind us world peace is possible. The dream lives on as ted kennedy used to say.
    I had to turn away just as the door to your van was closing because I was starting to cry. You have friends here. I am so glad you felt relaxed with Agusta. She is special. Please stay in touch. I am a dreamer. We will all meet again one day somewhere.

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