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back from France

I'm back from my trip. It was a lot of fun. I took lots of pictures, which I'll probably post on one of my other accounts when I get around to it.

The concert was generally well received. We sang in the Ste. Cecile Cathedral, which is one of the oldest structures in the area, dating back several centuries. The acoustics were great. I felt a little nervous at the beginning of the concert, because I was standing in the middle of the highest riser. The audience seemed very much like the type of audience we get at our concerts at the UUCPA; people from the community. That made me feel more relaxed. We had a couple of miscues in We Beseech Thee and Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal (which were my favorites for this concert), but otherwise, everything seemed to go ok.

I really need to bring a laptop that can interface to a cell phone if there is another choral exchange in Europe. Reading mobile-enabled Web sites on a Palm TX is ok, but keeping up with email is a pain. And there were times when I couldn't even read email, because my hosts in Albi had dialup Internet access, and needed to keep the line free for incoming calls. This means I will probably switch to AT&T or T-Mobile, because Verizon runs on CDMA networks, which are not generally available in Europe (except on cruise ships). I'll probably get something with a 12- or 13-inch diameter screen. Even though the keyboard is (relatively) tiny, it's much easier for me to work with than a Palm.

Unfortunately, no news on the job search front. Google didn't contact me via phone or email while I was gone.

Speaking of job search, the subject of my unemployment came up several times during the trip. I didn't feel comfortable discussing it for several reasons, some I have already written about. I did make a point that I posted a few weeks ago about how I'd like to find the Aurora Singers of tech companies. I didn't say much about losing jobs to people from other countries working in the US on visas. (My host in Cassis plus a couple of other guests are (or were) on visas, and her spouse recruits in countries for people to come to the US on visas.) One of the sons of my host in Albi asked what I did for a living, so I had to explain (in French) how and why I was unemployed, which is something I don't really like to do in English, and don't know enough French to give a more thoughtful explanation. On one of the tours during the choral exchange, I had to give another explanation (in French) of my unemployment; it led to a discussion of how some people in France have lost jobs in factories because the work has been moved to Poland.

So now I'm back, and on my usual routine, more or less. I didn't lose too much piano progress; I made a few mistakes playing Skating at 105bpm, but I think I will reach my target tempo of 108bpm pretty soon. After that I'll start on Linus and Lucy. Hopefully both of those will be performance-ready by the December holiday season.