Thoughtsgiving Day Three~ Hopes and Dreams

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
― Louisa May Alcott

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Hello! I’m so sorry to be a day late. In a bit of irony, I was unable to reach my hopes and dreams of completing this post yesterday, as I had all kinds of issues relating to my kids. They needed lots of my attention. Since my husband’s mom passed away in June, they are having a hard time with the holidays. They miss her so much, and they have been “difficult” to say the least, with my husband and I. I have learned that kids act horrible in the places they feel most comfortable. I’m glad they trust us….but good gravy, it wears me out. 🙂 I had all of the posts pre-written, with all of the photos and such, but I create the projects spontaneously as a “meditation” of sorts. 🙂

Today’s song is instrumental, but one of the dreamiest I can think of. Sometimes it makes me cry, it’s so moving. It has been used in a few different movies, but was written for “American Beauty.” My favorite use is in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, where the Baudelaire children see the burned remains of their family home….but the sun shines brightly though the charred beams. It’s hopeful. I think sometimes we all stand in the charred remains of our dreams, and think they are gone; but then, there’s that beam of light. It’s beautiful, and illuminates the shadows. Sometimes the dream should die, because something else, something far better, is on the horizon.

When I finished my story on day one….I was driving off into the morning, to something new. I’d love to tell you some more of the story. A more hopeful and beautiful part.

In the month before all of the messiness of my former marriage, I had applied (as what I saw as an extreme long shot) to a summer institute of study abroad in Italy. I had made a tape of a few songs they requested, and sent my application and the tape. I figured I’d never hear from them. I remember I had even mentioned it to my parents that I would like to apply, and asked them about helping me with the costs. I remember my dad saying “Well, I think you should worry about getting in….”

One day in the late afternoon, I stopped by the house I had shared with my husband, to pick up some things for myself and my daughter. I knew that he would not be home, and so this was a good time. As I walked in the door, the phone rang. I almost didn’t pick it up, because I was sure that there was no way it was for me; anyone looking for me would know I wasn’t there. I did pick up the phone, and from the other end, an unfamiliar voice said “I am looking for Amy, could I speak with her?” She went on to tell me that I had been accepted to the summer program in Italy, and….they would like to offer me a scholarship paying for the entire tuition. I would have my meals paid for as well. I almost dropped the phone at that point. I started to shake and I could hardly talk. I absolutely could NOT believe it.
The next few months were focused on learning dozens of new art song pieces and an opera role, as well as applying for a passport, looking through Frommers and Fodor’s travel books, learning basic Italian,and securing a plane ticket (paid for by my fabulous, flabbergasted parents, hee hee). For the summer, my daughter and I lived with my parents. It was an early summer of study, and enjoyment of time with my family and child. In July, I boarded a plane. My parents were terrified. They couldn’t believe I was okay with going to a foreign country, knowing not one soul, and only a few words of the language. I felt nothing but liberation, pride, happiness, and excitement.
When I arrived in Italy, I met with other Americans waiting for a bus to the convent (that had been renovated just prior to our arrival, after being closed for 200 years). I knew right away I was in the company of world class musicians. I felt a tiny bit intimidated…okay, a lot intimidated. 🙂 I remember choosing my room, and looking out the shuttered windows, that looked out over a courtyard, and the dome of the duomo. It all felt surreal. It felt like a dream.
During my time in Italy, I discovered myself. I was on my own for the first time in years, since I had a child I was responsible for. It was as if God placed me in the greatest place of my dreams. It was like a reward and a gift for all the pain I’d endured. I did struggle while in Italy, I felt inadequate, but I kept working, and moving forward. I also met a friend I will have for a lifetime. I learned to sing with passion, I drank in culture, and ate and slept music for months. I’d fall asleep listening to the strains of a beautiful violin, cello, or piano piece, and wake to same sounds. I relaxed during siesta time, sweating and eating enormous fresh grapes. I ate the best food I’d ever tasted. I drove through the countryside on a trip with friends, to Verona. I sang in cathedrals, and on stages on a piazza. I lived my dream. I fit years of beautiful living into the summer months.
The day I left to go back home, it stormed. It hadn’t even rained. We felt as if the town was sad to see us go. I know as I sat in the airport, sipping fresh cappuccino; I debated not getting on the plane. I thought……”What if I just had my baby come here? What if I tried to make a life here…I could start over?” I knew that wasn’t responsible, or rational. So, with tears spilling down my cheeks, I went home. I went back with bigger dreams, dreams fulfilled, and hope in my heart. I had found a big piece of myself….and I did find a lovely new life.

I began with again using a piece of clear acrylic. I decided that I would use the acrylic as a clear frame over the top of the photos. To make this possible, I used washi tapes to adhere the photos, and then glued down a book page on one side.

To create sort of a shadow box effect, I placed threads, strands of yarn, and punchinella in some of the windows.

Because of one of the photos being  a type of “window,” I think it communicates how my biggest dream is to travel…to have a big window on the world. I want to travel to every continent. An old woman with a backpack and a bed roll…….exploring exotic places. Macchu Picchu, India, Iceland, Europe, China, Japan, Brazil…..goodness, there’s really nowhere I wouldn’t go. 🙂

**As another aside, it is kinda hard to photograph an acrylic page! So much glare! Yowza! ;)**  The photos on this page were taken at the Nelson Museum of Art in Kansas City. The Bodhisattva image is from an ancient Chinese village, and is housed within the frame of a thousand year old Buddhist temple. While I am not Buddhist, this area is simply the most spiritual of places. It is quiet, and serene. It is a place to ponder dreams, indeed.

Thank you so much for visiting Thoughtsgiving today. 🙂 I appreciate your patience with me!! Tomorrow’s Thoughtsgiving will be preceded by an awesome blog hop post…where I showcase the cover to my Thoughtsgiving album, and a few other goodies. 🙂 So, please join me, and hop with the gals of May Arts and Helmar!!

Blessings,
A

 

 

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5 Comments on “Thoughtsgiving Day Three~ Hopes and Dreams”

  1. ava g says:

    Man oh man, Amy you have accomplished so much more than my routine straight and narrow lifestyle……….. Good for you girl!!!! Thanks for sharing…….
    ava g

  2. Scraps says:

    What an amazing experience that must have been! And, yes, it does seem right to think of it as a reward for pulling through the negative time before.

  3. Peg says:

    I am loving sharing this journey with you!
    I have not created anything yet but am squirreling away ideas and inspirations, it is definitely a ‘Thoughtsgiving’ experience for me.
    xx

  4. Scarlett says:

    Oh how I am living vicariously through you!! I dream of going to Italy!! I have been playing the viola since I was 9 although it has been sometime now since I last played. I was part of the Lake Forest Youth Symphony in IL back in the day and loved every minute of it – twas my escape. Music has always been a huge part of my life as well and when I was teaching in Milwaukee at an inner city school I wrote a grant to attend a world drumming course. I was trained in that and its amazing! I love running drum circles and getting all sorts of world percussion involved. good stuff Amy! good stuff!! I have many hopes and dreams surrounding this training as well as bringing back my love for strings as I can play them all – music has power to connect in amazing ways!

  5. Holly Johnson says:

    What an amazing adventure! I just found your blog and am so enjoying going back through your posts. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself!


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