1/22: today we drove a long time. Now, by camp standards this was pretty typical, but eight-and-a-half hours of driving for one who has been conditioned to be sedentary in an office or desk is horrifying. Well, not that bad, but I did have a massive charlie horse by the time we were done driving for the day. During the course of the trip we watched both Pitch Perfect and Mrs. Doubtfire, while intermittantly reading, listening to sick beats on my iPod or sleeping pretty hard. But after the trip we got off the bus in Miles City, population 10,000.
Here we were treated to sandwiches and a lovely concert at Custer County High School, most of which was sung by the University of Montana Chamber Chorale (aka Us), then we were split up into our host homes. Myself and a sophomore, who is actually two years older than me and a former marine, were placed with the school's principle. Upon getting situated in his Ford truck he asked if we were okay with stopping to get some food. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, we said yes and asked him to take us somewhere unique to Miles City. He told of a place called the Airport Inn, which worried me. Upon our arrival, however, we found it to be a small restaurant just across e river from the high school. Our host jogged inside and placed an order for "finger steaks" even though they were closed (our host: "well, we're in Mayberry!"), and said it would be ready in ten minutes and there was something he wanted to show us.
We drove two minutes across the road from the restaurant and by the light of the city below all we could see was an apartment building somewhere off in the distance. Thinking it surely couldn't be the main attraction, I was taken aback when our host began to tell us all about how the man who built this apartment building was a concrete pourer and would use this building as a way to get rid of extra cement at the end of a job. Sure enough, we were able to see the layers in the walls from multiple pours. Amused and thoroughly caught up on anecdotes of the complex we arrived back at the restaurant to pick up our order. Ten minutes later we were sitting in his dining room having met his wife and two daughters eating away at our "finger steaks" which, for those of you who are like me and have been kept in the dark about such things, is basically strips of beef that have been fried - small country fried steaks. But instead of sausage gravy, a bit to my disappointment, we were given ketchup mixed with sweet relish. After a hearty meal of fried delicacies we were given full reign of the basement until that point at which we decide to sleep. Bedtime never sounded so good.
Rest if the trip: So I wasn't as good about writing each day the rest of the tour, but we sang several times at different high schools in Billings, Laurel, and Miles City, all the while learning more and more about each other. Now, before you think I'm just being sappy, it should be noted that choir tours are THE BEST way of getting to know the other people in your choir. From staying at home stays together to having to fill a hotel room to capacity and sleeping on the same bus as forty other singers, you come to have new appreciations for those singing in your ensemble. Even when watching movies such as Dodgeball, you can learn who has a skewed sense of humor and who doesn't.
The case of the matter is, tour was good in a weird way, per usual, and school begins tomorrow. I am extremely nervous about starting with a new group of students for another semester and making sure I do it right, but I know God will bring me through it. Prayers for general life stuff for me a well appreciated.