I am seeing orange all over the city of Amsterdam! Last time in the Netherlands I was singing in Rotterdam at De Doelen days before the new King Willem Alexander was being crowned. This time around it is all about the world cup! In the US, we are a little behind the rest of the world with our fascination and excitement of all things soccer. All over Europe, people go crazy as their national symbols battle their way to the finals. Here, all of a sudden loud calls, wails, and cheers echo from the many bars and dives that nestle themselves in the winding streets of the city. Even as I boarded my plane to come here, they delayed closing the gate just so we could hear the final score of The Netherlands versus Costa Rica. All of a sudden everyone was screaming, and “off in La-La Land Kaitlyn” asks- what is everyone cheering about? We just advanced to the semi-finals! Everyone on board for dinner received a complimentary flute of champagne- and that NEVER happens!
Who says Venice is the city of canals? Scattered with beautiful scenic walks, everywhere you go there is water! Outside of my hotel room window- tiny boats are docked lazily floating back and forth in the calm water as little orange flags and banners wave on every window and roof. A grandma takes her grandbaby out for a spin, and all I can think is, “Oh my goodness that little boys is so well behaved because Lily would be hanging over the rails if I left her alone like that!”
On the flipside, like New York City and parts of LA, there is a grunge, boho chic appeal here. A resting spot for those who may be outside the current norm and popular trends. A modern day version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest”. In my very hotel the famous picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono spreading words of love “Hair Peace. Bed Peace” happened on my floor in room 902 in 1969. The various ethnic backgrounds that have come to call this city home have created a conglomerate of cultures fostered since its infancy as a port for the ever-expanding Dutch, and as such you feel that continuity of variety in its people.
After my concerts in Rotterdam each year, I was only able to enjoy Amsterdam for a brief time, always flying in and out without much time to explore. The more I travel, the more I realize that a distinct imprint from each destination stays with me. You always hear about the Red Light District, the availability of the “recreational” smoke, and the home of Anne Frank. Yes- those are all here, and hand on the bible (and as a wife of a man in the military) I have yet to partake in any of the a-fore-mentioned : ) I had herring, the Dutch pancakes, and loved every second of the “traditional” Dutch foods that mix with everything from Thai, African, Indian, Argentinian cuisines- its all here!
The music was once again so exciting reunited with Ludwig alongside the Het Gelders Orkest and the Brabant Koor. Sometimes the energy to make it through these movies, all of which are over 3 hours, can really drain the musicians after three performances. But everyone here rallied around us, driving home yet another successful run of concerts. Plus it was my debut in the absolutely beautiful Concertgebouw. The acoustics are amazing, and it was beyond thrilling to sing on the same stage that almost every classical artist performs in as a kind of right of passage. I am certainly never going to be a Cecilia Bartoli, or Maria Callas, but felt so excited to be sharing my own voice in this very same hall. My dear friend Kevin Lacy on sound always makes it so easy for me both onstage and off. Always the man to share a drink or meal with (as music is only made between meals as the daughter of a trombonist I have learned this well!) he was never far off from a round of his beloved Heineken : ) My touring family all showed their world cup colors as the eclectic bunch we are: Thiago Tiberio the assistant conductor is from Brazil, Jeffrey Markowitz has family from Argentina, myself and Kevin were simply playing “Switzerland” and we were surrounded by the audience in the hall as we all watched The Netherlands play in the semi-finals round of the World Cup in the Concertgebouw on the huge screen! How much cooler can it get! In a sea of orange we could feel the tangible excitement! Win or lose it was so great to be apart of it all!
I landed in Fayetteville at 6:56 and headed straight back into my everyday life as a military wife. I did my hair and makeup in the lounge of the airport and we headed straight to his company’s military ball. I love being dressed up with him, and seeing my husband all dapper in his uniform. Nothing like having your soldier all decked out in his Army regalia. We always have such a great time together, and even with the two kids we love being able to have our quality time together as a couple before he deploys. It is bittersweet coming home and realizing a count down has sort of begun, but we will be spending the next month in PA with family and our dearest friends. You certainly learn to appreciate the small things of your life together as a family when you realize you may not get to have them again for a long time while they are away. We have lots planned including our annual LOTR BBQ in the Poconos as well! With our new addition Weston and some Creamery Ice Cream in tow, we are all sure to have a blast! Next stop is Chicago for the final installment of the trilogy at Ravinia with the Chicago Symphony. It is sure to be an amazing performance and I cant wait to fill you in!
There is always an elevated sense of patriotism that exists in my everyday life at Fort Bragg. In the US we revel in the patriotism of July 4th and our love of all things USA, I realize here in Holland they partake in just as much nationalism. Rather than fireworks once a year, it is instead exhibited in their smaller day-to-day life. They pride themselves on being avant-garde, having an open-armed culture, a love of nature exhibited by the bikes and windmills found everywhere outside of the city limits. The beauty of the Netherlands can be found in their simple love of gardening, flowers, and the bloom of a tulip. No matter how a culture shows its heritage and love of country, I bleed red white and blue, but love that I get to see and experience the world in its many colors!