Cows, bells, and cheese.

So you know how there are animal herds up in the mountains in the summer? Well, today we saw two different herds of cows, both black, and we could hear all their bells. Every cow has a different sized bell so the herders know each cow by the sound of their bell. Also, the cows fight for leadership of the herd, and the winner gets the biggest bell. And you can have a bunch of different herds from the same village all with different flavoured cheese – depending on the area they grazed in during the summer and things like that. It’s crazy how high up some of them go! We drove up a ways, and then continued on foot parallel to a bisse – a man-made stream for the cows to drink from – to come to the little waterfall that was created because of a landslide I  believe. We couldn’t really see much of the waterfall because we were viewing it from the top and you couldn’t cross the barrier they had in place for everyone’s safety. Jean reminded us not to fall in – I had already tripped and fallen – because the water was -5º as it comes from the glaciers up top. And as a side note, if you want to see the glaciers in Verbier, Switzerland you better get on that because in about 40 years or so they’re predicted to be gone they’re melting at such a fast rate. It was so beautiful up there. We were walking on a narrow path with the chilly water on one side and a steep drop on the other all surrounded by trees. I got a lot of great pictures!

According to Jean I fall gracefully. Well, maybe graceful isn’t the word he used, but he was impressed. Thought maybe I had some training in how to fall. The truth is I eventually realized that letting myself fall and using my butt or whatever to break my fall hurt a lot less than trying to stop myself and landing on my hands and knees. That just results in scraped and sore hands and knees. I don’t think I rolled my ankle that time, I think I just got it caught on the dirt road somewhere. I did however roll my ankle this evening on our way back from the restaurant. It’s the same restaurant we went to back in March, but this time I shared a mushroom fondue with Lisa. Anyway, I was holding Bastien’s hand when I went down so he went down too. I was afraid he hurt himself and would start crying, but he was completely fine. Maybe because he had his soother, I don’t know.

I can’t believe I almost forgot this! This morning I went to a masterclass, a voice masterclass with Tim Carroll. The Academy is putting on the opera Cosi fan tutti. I have a feeling I spelled that wrong, hum. I’ve never seen the opera in its entirety, but they’ve done excerpts at Laurier and they’ve always been extremely entertaining. Unfortunately I spent the hour and a half we were there (my Mom and I) being frustrated. I did take away some acting tips on the importance of listening though, so that’s good. It started at 10, I didn’t know how long it was supposed to go, but Dad and Lisa dropped us off and went and did their own thing and when they were done Lisa came in to see if we were still inside or if we had left already. We were still there, but we left because I didn’t know how long it was going to be and I was actually getting mad. The entire time people were coming in late, they were coming and leaving, leaving the curtain open (the usher had to keep closing it, and closing it, and shushing the people out in the lobby). I know we had to stand up two different times within 11 seconds to let people into our row…and that was an hour and a half in! I mean sure, it’s free, but that doesn’t mean that the people who are there don’t care if you disrupt everything. It was in the cinema and we sat in the balcony on the outside so we could get out with ease once it was over. Instead we left early and I didn’t care because everyone else disrupted it for me! It brought back memories of when I went to see another Mozart opera, Don Giovanni, at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener with a group from Laurier. Most of the people in that group had never been to an opera let alone a concert hall like that. There were some sitting in my row who treated it like a movie theatre. They brought food into the hall (a BIG no-no), they might have had a camera (another no-no) and I know the one usher told them off for something. I was only in first or second year and they were older than me so I didn’t say anything. Then, as we left, they left their garbage on the floor! Like I said, it’s not a movie theatre; not only can you not leave garbage on the floor, but you’re not even supposed to have food in the hall to begin with. That incident sort of leaves me fuming. I realize not everyone is used to concert etiquette and I get that, but just look around you at what others are doing and follow their lead. Don’t eat in the hall, don’t clap between movements, try your best not to cough in the middle of a piece (especially in a quiet section), if you must cough, do so during a really exciting section that should be able to hide the horrible noise you’re about to make (I know, as soon as you can’t cough you need to. I’ve been there, it’s not easy, especially when you’re the one performing, you’re sick with a nasty cough and you’re second row center!), and don’t talk during the music. Brphgmrg…now I’m riled up, and just before bed too.

So, we’ve done all the packing we can for the night, and we’re planning on being out of here by 9. Then we can drive 3 hours, stop for lunch, then drive the last 3 hours to Germany. I’m almost positive the next hotel has wireless…just in case I’m going to cheat again ^_^.

I was a little hesitant to go to the masterclass in the first place, because I didn’t really feel like it, but I’m really glad I went. It’s always good to learn something new and see things from another perspective. All the masterclasses I went to in university were with people I knew and had heard sing before. The teachers were different, some known, some unknown, but it was neat to be able to have some comparison. And because I know this is an F.Y.I. (for those challenged by acronyms – don’t worry, I am too – that means ‘for your information’ :D) you all need/want to know I’m going to tell you that if you try to put the word masterclass into the search bar in YouTube on your iPod, it auto-corrects it to ‘bastardization’ or something along those lines with bastard at the beginning. I’m not sure where that comparison comes in…

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