Skill U: 3.1

Journal of H. W. |

Week Three, Day One – Sophomore Year

Editor’s Note: Honey’s journal entries are numbered according to week and day of the week. As she does not keep daily entries, gaps appear in the numbering. Please see the Table of Contents for the full listing of entries.


Today I played on a piano whose keys have been touched by the fingers of some of the greatest musicians ever. When I played it, it didn’t feel strange to me–it felt like home. Every note came out like honey–sweet and smooth and rounded. As I played this instrument that’s been part of the history of music, I felt how it will shape me to be part of the future of music.


I am in Windenburg!

To help with finances, I took an au pair position available through the year-abroad program. I’m staying with one of the oldest and most established families, the Villareals.

Luna, Hugo and little Max live with their dad, who’s older and who, according to the au pair placement service, isn’t the most stable influence. Without a mom at home, it seems like this family can, at least, make good use of someone who can cook, repair appliances, and clean. That would be me!

In exchange, I get to live on a huge, beautiful estate and to play on one of the best pianos ever crafted.


The youngest son, Max, is a handful. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be emailing Mom and Dad a lot to get some tips for dealing with a kid who takes mischief into mean.


So far, I just tried diversion and shifting the conversation to more positive things.

“Beautiful place you’ve got here!” I said to Luna, hoping to diffuse some of Max’s aggression.


I realized that maybe the family was hungry! I know I always get cranky when I need to eat.

I made a dish from home: breakfast scramble. Nothing like good old home-cooking to put a smile on everybody’s face, and it seemed to work.


I had all of Sunday afternoon free, so I called my maestro to see if he could come over for my first lesson. I’m so excited! Maestro Fernando has been assigned personally by the program to work with me! I grew up listening to recordings of him playing Brahms piano intermezzos. He’s one of my idols. And now! I get to study with him.


“Play for us, ma cherie,” he said.

As I played, he and the family gathered in the music room and filled it with conversation and laughter. Jacques seemed happy and calm, Luna soaked in the music, and even Max relaxed and joked.


Later, as the family went about their activities, the maestro and I played the Brahms violin sonata  in G together. He was patient while I hit wrong notes, and when I played with good intonation he purred like a big gray cat.


It felt so natural to be playing with him, here in this grand estate on the top of the ridge, with the snow-topped mountains lining the horizon out the window.

The landscape, the scents, the sounds, even the air is all so different from what I’ve experienced before. The funny thing is: even though it’s different, I don’t feel far from home. In fact, I feel like I have finally found my home. I feel like here, I truly can be me.

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