For a while, I wasn’t sure if I should go to Hong Kong. There was a lot to figure out. Would the timing work with my stop in New York? Was it worth the expense? What would be the best use of my time there when I arrived?
However, I did want to meet our two new technicians: Macho and Neway. They contacted me over a year ago to get involved with FPF, and we’ve been working to get them set up in Hong Kong ever since. I figured that by going to visit, I could better determine what our approach should be for this area.
On top of that, I’ve been trying to spend more personal time with my co-workers, and to get to know people better in general. Macho’s family was kind enough to offer me a place to stay, so I decided to go for it. I booked a flight from NYC to Hong Kong.
There’s this phenomenon called brain crack. Have you ever heard of it? I remember the term was introduced years ago, by a vlogger named Ze Frank.
Basically: when you have an amazing idea in your mind, it’s easy to just keep thinking about it. Over and over. Planning all the wonderful details, crafting the perfect plan, dreaming up how great it’s going to be.
But you never actually do it.
You just get addicted to the idea. And there’s no way, if you actually did it, that it could ever live up to the idyllic concept you’ve created. So there you are, caught in a feedback loop, addicted to brain crack.
May 17-19, 2016
After my short but full stay in Cartagena, I flew into New York City. I was excited to return to the Floating Piano Factory home base, catch up with friends, and re-discover the beauty of this town. While I was there, I stayed with friends in Long Island, a couple that I came to know through a long chain of music-related moments…
May 10-17, 2016
It was time to take a break.
I’d been exploring Peru, finding rogue pianos, producing concerts, doing pro bono tunings, hunting down elusive piano technicians, and all the while running Floating Piano Factory from afar. The lines between my work and personal life had become increasingly blurry. I needed a little time to re-center.
Much like paddling into unknown waters on a surfboard, I do have a plan in mind as I move forward—but until the waves come, it’s hard to say exactly how things will turn out. I just keep trying to follow the paths that open up to me, and to pursue the things that feel most worthwhile. Taking some time to travel and relax seemed like a good way to gain some perspective.
Well, just as I started to paddle out, that’s exactly when the waves rolled in. Waves of emails, actually. I’d submitted a scientific paper to an academic journal, it was under review and I found out it would be considered for publication—if I was able to make an array of changes. Here I was, arriving in Colombia, hoping to step away from my work, but this was an assignment that just couldn’t wait.
It was finally time for me to depart from Arequipa.
My destination was Cartagena, which was the best option for a connecting flight to New York. Originally, I’d had grand plans of how I’d get there: I could take a train through Equador, stopping at hostels along the way, or I could climb aboard a river boat in the Amazon and wind through rainforests en route to Colombia. But after all my visits and adventures preparing to leave Peru, I was now a few days behind schedule. I’d have to go straight to Lima, where I could hop a flight directly into Cartagena.
Okay, so there were actually a few more things that happened before I left Arequipa.
I returned to La UNSA to work with the music students once again. This time, we pulled apart a piano so they could see how it’s assembled. How the various pieces all fit together.
This is a rare opportunity. As a student, you don’t usually get the chance to take a piano completely apart, because once you open it up and start poking around, it can get really delicate. There’s a lot you have to learn in order to explore without doing any damage.
But I’ll come back to that.