Choral Music, Still and Again

Here's a little peek into one of the best parts of expat life: reconnecting with parts of yourself that had gone into remission. For me, it's been choral music, a great lifelong love and source of endless joy that I'd stepped away from for a while.


One of the great things about living in a new, far-away place is that it frees you up both emotionally and physically to let your various freak flags fly

Ten thousand hours

In all the time I’ve been sharing little pieces of my world with you, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I like to sing. How from sixth grade through college, I was always in at least two choirs at a time, and it was always my favorite part of the day. How if there’s anything in the world that I’ve logged close to the magical ten thousand hours doing and hardly even noticed, it’s singing.

How when I used to be a normal first-world adult with a car, I would cruise up the Garden State Parkway and bust a lung belting the harmonies to every song that’s ever been popular or unpopular in my lifetime.

Ten thousand loves

How the seven-year-old and I spent an hour last Friday night watching YouTube videos of the King’s College Choir, Renee Fleming, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols, and how we were each trying to hide the tears in our eyes from the other.

How even as I write this, I’m listening to a full-on geek-out alto training tape for the full-on geek-out Messiah sing-in I’m going to at Lincoln Center in a few weeks. How that was the very first thing I put on my calendar for our return to the states in December and January.

Old friends, freckles, and family recipes

I don’t know how I could have left it out and thought you knew me anyway. It’s one of those lifelong fundamentals, like old friends and freckles and family recipes, that always resurfaces even if it’s been in remission for a while, and always colors the way you walk through the world. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t sung as part of a group for more than a decade that I left it out of the storyline. It belongs there, though. So here you have it.

A new, far-away place

One of the great things about living in a new, far-away place is that it frees you up both emotionally and physically to let your various freak flags fly. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I recently joined a choir again. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s once again one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s full of interesting women from all over the world who are part of my new totally rad, wildly overqualified peer group — the expat wives. The Expat Wives. That definitely sounds like a band I’d suck down a two-drink minimum to go see. Or at least a reality show that I’d never deign to watch. Don’t you think?

And tomato soup, to boot

As a bonus, my new little choir is the source of this fantastic twist on tomato soup. It came via our Australian director from an Aussie women’s magazine, and it's approachable yet surprisingly nuanced. It’s exactly the kind of meal should expect from the totally rad, wildly overqualified women who brought it to you. If I do say so myself.

And if you believe that one, have I got a song for you.


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