What I have learned cannot be expressed by mere photos, souvenirs, or the recounting of endless stories. I´ve lived the experience of merging with a foreign culture filled with people who are much more willing to expand their horizons than the average American. The fluidity of their lifestyle has allowed even the shyest of our group to have a chance to experience an intimate culture, promoting the fundamental principal behind a ¨Friendship Touring¨Ensemble.
My first accomplishment of this goal was entirely unintentional in many ways. My time in Cordoba with the members of the local Suzuki group soon became more than just making music together, but relating our music to one another. For most of the group, they were forced to rely on a translator when they were touring the city. Yet in the walls of the Cordoba workshop we spoke one language that said it all, music. It wasn´t long before I engaged my classroom Spanish droll to make friends, and, with Tim Valint at my side, attempted to immerse into the surrounding culture, rather than being the average American who boasts his own way. As a result of our obvious efforts, they reciprocated. It wasn´t long before all of our thoughts were spoken in Spanish, and their answers were completely in English. By the time we spent a wonderful dinner together with our new friends, the language barrier had practically evaporated, and the moments we shared forged an unforgettable bond that will live with me for the rest of my life.
The whole idea of a ¨Friendship Tour¨ does not purely relate to our interactions with people from a different environment, but also to our growth within the touring ensemble. As a group, we have all become closer than I thought possible when we set out for Argentina about ten days ago. I have uncovered friendships that I believe will last a lifetime, and learned the most personal details about the lives of people I barely knew before the tour. Making music with people is the most effective way to understand them, to be able to read them to the depth of their souls. I believe the hardest I´ve laughed was on this tour. There are not many people in the world that can make me smile until my face aches and for whom I would not hesitate risking life and limb. I´ve had the most invigorating conversations, ones that have the potential to bring me to tears or to help me imagine a future you only read about in science fiction novels. These are people that have the potential to change the world, and I feel privileged to know each and every one of them.
As I sit up writing in Argentina I can only imagine what my life would be like without this incredible experience. As a veteran of the previous tour to Spain, I was familiar with the whole deal, and now older and wiser because of that experience, I soaked up every bit of Argentinian culture I could possibly hold. With my trusty Spanish Translator Christios, obliviously hilarious Cordoba Roommate Eugene, and my slick and dubstepped Buenos Aires Roommate Aidan, I stepped into a whole new world of Argentinian culture; haggling with sketchy street vendors, putting toether french and english to try to bridge the language gap, wooing young Argentinian women…. — the usual things any guy would do with some of his new, close best friends — friends which will surely only become closer in the future. I now know more about EVERYONE on the tour, and thats a great thing! I like taking funny pictures with Will, and I still turn the wrong way when Chris Lu taps me on the opposite shoulder. This is truly what the ¨Friendship Tour¨ is all about, and I wouldnt give it up for anything, except a longer stay in more places with these great people (and chaperones!!) – just with more free time! 😀
This is a small bit of our 3 A.M. morning rant before our flight after Easter mass. Various authors and friends made this entry possible and fun. A special thank you to all those who made this trip so special, whether it be a morning wakeup call, or a reminder that we aren´t the only ones having dinner in the restauraunt. To all of our friends, here in our hotel, at home, and in Argentina, your support and kindness has surpassed all expectations and has made our time in Argentina truly worthwhile.