A year ago I wasn't quite sure how this would all work out. Now, it would appear, I know.
July 6 2017 I flew with my family to Toronto from San Francisco to start anew in my wife's home country and leave the familiar stresses of America behind. The CSQ had had a great run and we managed to finish on just about the most positive note we could have imagined. Moving away from the Bay Area for me felt a bit too much like we were blindly jumping off a cliff, having chosen the direction to fall but without looking to see where we might land, or what might actually be down there to catch us - or not. A few mutual friends had generously offered to connect us with some key Canadian colleagues-to-be, theoretically laying the groundwork for the beginnings of our new careers as freelancing musicians in the greater Toronto area. But it was impossible to know what would ever actually pan out in terms of real work - would we find enough of this and that to make ends meet in this new existence?
We actually moved to Kitchener-Waterloo in June 2015, my wife and children living temporarily with my sister-in-law in Waterloo before we found a nice house to rent in the central Fredrick Neighborhood of Kitchener, just a few blocks from the Centre in the Square, home of the KW Symphony. The area was and I think still is known as the “musicians’ ghetto” because so many players live within easy reach of each other and, of course, the concert hall. But I was only a periodic visitor, flying in and out for a few days at a time every month or so depending on when I had been able to carve out extra away time in the CSQ touring schedule (thanks to the compassionate understanding and generosity of my colleagues), so I didn't really get to know the area until a year later when my wife had flown out west with our kids to witness the big Farewell Concert in SF and bring me back across the border with them, for good.
It was just a day or two after they'd landed in California to collect me when Elisabeth first felt the lump under her left armpit. We didn't realize it yet, but that was when everything changed.
I won't go into the nitty gritty about her breast cancer battle and recovery experience here - she has written many fantastic posts on a free blogpost blog I encourage you to check out - just make sure you're in the mood for gory details, physical and emotional. She's a wonderful writer, even about such terrible stuff as cancer. It's here: http://elisabethvscancer.blogspot.com - find the oldest posts and start from the beginning of her story.
What I will continue on about here is more about what I found myself doing professionally (this is, ostensibly, my professional website after all!) over the past year - where did I end up landing, and what caught me?
But before I get to that, I have to catch a red-eye flight back to Toronto in a few minutes. So, stay tuned for Part 2, perhaps within the next week or so, if we're all lucky. We'll see...