The good and the bad

In this year and in this project we are living our lives more publicly than we'd normally choose, and we should share the good as well as the bad.

This last month has been difficult. Now the tour has been a success, that's for sure. We are having meaningful, wonderful concerts that are full of lovely and enthusiastic people. We are so grateful for this and I can't wait to tell you about all of the great things that happened this last month. But first, I want to be open about why we're having a bit of a difficult time at this point in the tour.

It's been 10 months since we left our home in the Netherlands: our friends, our jobs, our apartment, our local grocery store, our favorite cafe, our dog park, our bikes, our familiar streets. We haven't replaced any of that. We haven't made a new community of friends. We have met some incredible people, and re-connected with dear, dear old friends, but we stay for a couple of days or at most a week, and then leave. We want all of these interactions to be special - catching up with old friends is an amazing part of this journey, but it also takes an emotional energy that we're not used to exerting all the time, every single week. We lack any stable community, and we are feeling just how important community really is.

We love our little home. We could not do this project without it: without that small piece of consistency, that small space that is truly ours, where we are not guests. But it is small. There are no separate rooms (except for the bathroom). We are constantly moving, rearranging, folding and unfolding depending on the present activity, whether it be sleeping, cooking, eating at the table, practicing, getting dressed. We are always figuring out new grocery stores, where to get gas, where to bring Lucy to run around. It's tiring, and sometimes I get frustrated about how much times it all takes. 

At this point, we're tired. Emotionally, physically, mentally. Tired. We have only three more months to go. I want to enjoy it, to take advantage of this incredible journey and everything it offers. And I know that those special moments are just around the corner - those moments that make this all worth it. If this was all easy, it probably wouldn't be worth doing.

There you go. I promised to share a bit about this last month and all of the wonderful things that happened since I last wrote, and I'm happy to do that now:

After leaving Boston, we spent a really special week in Vermont with some friends from Oberlin who are doing beautiful things with art, dance, yoga, a garden, an old farmhouse and barn. We shared some music but also got our hands dirty with gardening and barn renovations.

Enjoying life on the farm

Enjoying life on the farm

We enjoyed meals out on the porch overlooking the river

We enjoyed meals out on the porch overlooking the river

Evenings in Vermont were filled with music-making 

Evenings in Vermont were filled with music-making 

And during the day we helped out in the vegetable garden

And during the day we helped out in the vegetable garden

From there we went to one of our favorite US states: Maine. It was made even more special because my childhood friend (whom I hadn't seen in years) joined us for a few days. We camped on a bay, Lucy swam all day, we ate too much lobster, and we had an amazing packed house at our Bach & Beer concert in Portland. 

Rising Tide in Portland, ME was a wonderful host for Bach & Beer

Rising Tide in Portland, ME was a wonderful host for Bach & Beer

Michelle's childhood friend Julie joined us in Portland

Michelle's childhood friend Julie joined us in Portland

We couldn't go to Maine without making homemade lobster rolls

We couldn't go to Maine without making homemade lobster rolls

Driving through Montreal with our home in tow

Driving through Montreal with our home in tow

The drive from Maine to Canada was gorgeous. We took our time, driving through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire before crossing the border. Once in Canada we took a slight detour, driving through the bumpy roads of Montreal, trailer in tow, because Steuart had never seen the city.

Our destination was the beautiful Gatineau Hills and our hosts (owners of Motelluxe) lived on a small piece of paradise (here's an article written about their Airstream bed and breakfast). We relaxed on their deck overlooking a valley with cows grazing, ate so well (thank you, Philippe), toured the city of Ottawa, had a boat ride on the Gatineau River, and gave two special concerts. The second concert took place at our hosts home, a renovated school house from 1889. Concert-goers, all 70+ of them!, were treated to homemade artisan pizzas, and wine and beer before and after the show. It was truly an unforgettable evening, especially because we had the chance to talk with everyone for a while after the concert.

Our morning coffee view

Our morning coffee view

Enjoying some poutine in Canada!

Enjoying some poutine in Canada!

Our wonderful house concert in the Gatineau Hills with 70+ people

Our wonderful house concert in the Gatineau Hills with 70+ people

On the beautiful Gatineau River: Lucy's first boat ride

On the beautiful Gatineau River: Lucy's first boat ride

After our time in the Gatineau Hills, we traveled down to Toronto where Steuart played his first collaborative Bach & Beer. Joined by Edwin Huizinga on baroque violin and Philip Fournier on harpsichord, the trio had a great time at the Rainhard Brewery (whose beer is incredible, by the way)! Here's a little video clip of the three playing together:

From Toronto we crossed the border back into the United States. The border agents gave our trailer a good search, confiscated our Asian pears but let us keep our house plants. All in all, the international leg of our tour was awesome! Before heading to Ohio, we stopped in Rochester, New York for a quick visit with a good friend of Steuart's, whom he had met at Kneisel Hall about 10 years ago. It was a really great time of re-connecting, playing some music, eating great food, and for me, getting to know Robin and his wife Ahrim. Next we headed to Allegany National Forest for a couple nights of camping. We breathed deeply, Steuart built camp fires, and I read a book just for fun. It was exactly what we needed. 

An evening of chamber music reading with Robin and Ahrim in Rochester, NY

An evening of chamber music reading with Robin and Ahrim in Rochester, NY

Camping in Allegany National Forest

Camping in Allegany National Forest

We're now in Ohio, presenting a few concerts and getting ready for a special live-streamed show in July. We invite you to join us from the comfort of your own living room (or whatever your "familiar space" might be) on July 17th at 5:00pm (EDT) to watch LIVE on facebook, a concert of solo cello music entitled "ADAPTATION". You'll just need to visit Steuart's facebook page ("like" his page while you're at it), and you'll be able to watch and comment in real time! This concert is being presented with Credo Music, our awesome partner for the tour. Mark your calendars!