within seven days: week no. 26

I tried fried pickles for the first time.  The thing about pickles is, I know I am fine with the taste of them–however, they never sound desirable to eat.  Last night at dinner, my husband ordered some fried pickles as an appetizer and I ate one.  It was okay.  I don’t think I would eat one again, unless, for some reason I was in the mood.

within seven weeks: week no. 25

Eurobus 2015!  Some of my BSU EuroSpring classmates and me.

Eurobus 2015! Some of my BSU EuroSpring classmates and me.

Selfie at Brits Pub in Minneapolis!

Selfie at Brits Pub in Minneapolis!

As I mentioned in my pervious post, Ten Years & Ten Images, I didn’t attend my ten year high school reunion.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, it was simply that living in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, made travel back to the US more than once a year difficult and expensive.

I attended EuroSpring through Bemidji State University back in 2005 during my junior year of college.  It was a phenomenal experience with amazing people, resulting in a lot of personal growth and fantastic memories.  We had a little five-year get together back in 2010.  I was living in England at the time, so a quick trip back to Minnesota to meet up with my classmates wasn’t very feasible.

This year, now that I am living in Grand Forks (a quick five-hour interstate drive from Minneapolis), I was able to attend our ten year meet-up event.  Since I have never been to reunion, I was really irrationally nervous.  I still know a lot of these people.  I keep up with them-ish on facebook.  However, catching up with a group of people I hadn’t seen in years scared me.  Reunions (similar to each birthday) cause inevitable introspection–Where is my life going?  Ten years, and this is where I am?  Is this where I thought I would be?  Where do I want to be?  Am I happy?  Is this happiness?  

I went.  I loved it.  I stayed with one of my best friends, Sam.  I attended a delightful outdoor version of Two Gentlemen of Verona presented by the Classical Actor Ensemble.  On Saturday morning, Sam and I wandered through the Stone Arch Bridge Art Festival.  When we finally met up with our fellow EuroSpring classmates that evening, I wasn’t nervous.  I was only happy.  I was excited to catch up with everyone.  I felt relieved to be able to fully be my weirdo-self in a social setting.

within seven days: week no. 24

Grand Cities ArtFest 2015

Grand Cities ArtFest 2015

Interior of my ArtFest space.

Interior of my Art Fest space.

Painting detail, photo by Steve V. 2015

Painting detail, photo by Steve V. 2015

This week I took part in the Grand Cities Art Fest 2015 (my first art festival ever).  This is a regional juried two-day outdoors art festival that (conveniently for me) takes place in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.  I was accepted several months ago, and taking part costs a couple hundred dollars.  I was nervous about the investment, but I felt it was worth a go to gain some local exposure of my work, and potential sales.

The weather, thankfully, behaved for the most part.  I did sell enough to essentially break even for my entrance fees and the cost of my canopy. I also received a lot of positive feedback from various lovely and interesting humans.  However, I did discover that the energy, set-up, organization, etc. involved in taking part in this sort of artistic adventure didn’t seem worth the investment.  I am glad I gave it a try.  However, I think festivals just aren’t the ideal venue for my work.

I tend to describe myself as an outgoing introvert.  I can connect with new people, I can converse politely with strangers, and engage an audience with my art.  While I do love talking with people about art, meeting other artists, and all that loveliness, for me, at the end of the day it is utterly exhausting.   Hour after hour of social interactions with strangers in the hot sun takes a lot out of me emotionally and physically for some reason.  The first day I came home at 6:30 pm and fell asleep by 7 pm, and I was out for the night.  I didn’t even eat dinner.

I did meet several other local and regional artists who are fantastic people and I am grateful to have met them.  And in the grand scheme of life, maybe someone will have seen my work there and it will lead to some other artist opportunity.  That being said, I am glad I did the Art Fest once, but I do think once is enough for me.

within seven weeks: week no. 23

Wine with lovely ladies. 2015

Wine with lovely ladies.  Helix Wine Bar, Grand Forks, 2015

When moving to a new city, it is always difficult to make new friends.  With my social anxiety, I have a tendency to very-much-genuinely want to spend time with new people when they invite me.  However, by the time that day comes around, I get super nervous–what will we talk about?  Am I dressed okay?  Will they get my sense of humor?  What if they figure out I am weird?  Many times, these anxious thoughts win out, I get nauseous, and end up making some excuse to not go out.  This week, I didn’t let myself do that.  I felt all the same fears when this lovely lady, Hillary invited me out to a local wine bar with her and one of her friends–but I pushed through it, and I went.  I also had a great time.  We were out for almost 4 hours, eating, chatting, and drinking delicious wine.