"Your voice is one of the most magical and wonderful ones I have ever heard. You are making the world a better place by putting it out there. I am so grateful I get to hear you sing!"
How did she react?
She hasn't yet- I think she is still recovering from her final presentation.
How did I feel?/What is the story?
Wherever I go you come along.
Together we have been to more than 17 cities in four countries- in less than 5 months!
You have moved twice with me and covered a total of 14 000 miles. Some of my best friends are close to you, too, just like the people I admire most.
Shedding some tears, laughing hard, dancing by myself? You have seen me doing that. All of it. - And danced along.
Dear reader, tomorrow will be number 100. I want to stop for a minute and say: "Thank you." Spending this year with you is one of my all time favorite experiences. I am glad we make it through all this together! Sometimes knowing you read this is what keeps me going. At the end of each day I do love the project, no doubt. Complimenting, writing and reflecting are three of my favorite activities and I do miss writing when I don't post. Another favorite of mine is sharing. The first three work without a counterpart, the latter one does not. Thank you for being my counterpart, thank you for reading what I share and thank you for standing on the opposite side of a major ingredient to my life, this project. It would not be the same without you. And my year would not be the same either: I have never lived through twelve months as flush with change as these ones are. Next to all the beauty this project wills my life with it provides stability. Complimenting is a practice for me. Wherever I am, whatever happens, at some point I will go and find someone to point out to why I think they are beautiful. And, if I have time, a moment to write about that. What a wonderful way of structuring a year!
A few days ago I realized that there lies another gem in this kind of stability: The diary effect. I picture myself finishing post number 365 and then scrolling down, all the way to the very beginning, reliving my year, thinking "Oh, yeah, when I was there I had just applied to FU Berlin! And this guy, right, he got me hooked on furniture design! And aww, right, Oslo! Feels like ages."
If you read this blog regularly maybe you might hear me on this one. Either way it is not just my year, right? It's your year, too. It's the compliment candidates' year. 365 days on this planet, with 365 of their moments highlighted here. While I might compliment someone the day I pass a horrible exam, meet my future husband or discover my new favorite food it might also be the compliment candidate's birthday or they might have just broken up with their partner. We all have our stories which constantly continue. A major catalyst for these stories are encounters, and they are this project's purpose, too. I think of our stories are as strings, converging and diverging, some of them closely intertwined, others never meeting. Together they form a massive spiderweb. Today a fellow student approached me and said: "So you ran into Katja and Ole yesterday, huh? That's funny! They are friends of mine! I saw the post on facebook." To me, Katja and Ole were strangers. The compliment sparked an encounter- or a crossing over of two strings in a story spiderweb- which caused another interaction- my fellow student and I's- and so on. So basically this project illuminates parts of this year's spiderweb. But what about the events in the web that are not caused by compliments? That's simple. Turn on the news, you will hear all about those. Israel-Palestine. Plastic in the ocean. Kim Kardashian. You could check your agenda, too. Or keep the tv off and your agenda closed: If you want to hear about another string - someone else's life - you can just read this post. Because I have been waiting to write about this particular candidate for a while. I knew from the beginning she was going to end up on here, but last week she took the next step in her life. I realized: This is the perfect moment. So let me introduce to you Zola, newly minted master of music.
First of all: Congratulations, Zola!
Second: I am not surprised. I always knew you were the master, way before you finished your studies.
Third: While reading the following, dear reader, you might want to press play here:
One night a year ago David turned off the lights and said: "Good night, Rosa. This has been a great evening! We fell in love." He paused. "With Zola."
He was right. We had been to a concert of the BuJazzO where Zola had enchanted both of us and initiated what was about to become David's and my only dogfight: We had both fallen for her but only one of us could marry her. It was on! From then on the two of us did everything to exceed each other's Facebook likes from Zola, take pictures with her (I will spare you the collection for privacy reasons but trust me, there are many), let alone have drinks with her.
While our rivalry got a little out of hand every now and then it remained a joke at all times as were the marriage plans- in oppose to our instant falling for Zola and her voice. Both David's and my feelings were completely honest.
What is Zola's magic?
The best picture for my experience is the next concert I went to. It was in late November, I had been choked by a row of assignment deadlines at that time and urgently needed a break. She sang at a small Cologne club. Dimmed lights, dark colors, spotlights illuminating the stage. No one took note of me lying down on the floor. I knew I had to the minute I heard her sing. Here's why:
If I had not entitled this post "The master of music" I would have called it "The Sound Healer". Because even though Zola does not call herself that it is exactly who she is does to me. She triggers cure. Taking you to a place that makes everything bearable she strews scented flowers over your pain. You can watch deep emotional wounds shrink under her music, observe heavy thoughts dissolve or feel stress release. Whatever you struggle with, Zola helps. While I was resting on the floor I noticed my heavy, mid term disfigured body getting lighter with each note she sang. She filled my back with softness and my forehead with space. Her singing caressed every centimeter of my skin. Three songs later I got up- and was 20 pounds lighter. My eyes, that had been under a constant pressure, were now resting in their caves. I felt like a newborn right before falling asleep in an oversize sheepskin.
Another thing I love about her: Most singers act. They fill the stage -their personal one- 24/7 and once they actually are up there they put on a show that surpasses drama à la Chinese state circus.
Zola on the other hand does nothing but one thing: She sings. That's it. She has the balls to be herself and put her marvelous voice out there. Closing her eyes she stands still, or gently sways from side to side, and threads the pearls her tunes are out of her mouth. They sparkle their way into the audience's hearts, no detours. Because they come straight from Zola's heart themselves, her dedicated smile promises that (see picture above). She is the most real singer I know. Her sounds get to me immediately; No wonder David and I fell for her on the spot. We probably both did so within her first tone. And at first glance, for her songs come with the most beautiful appearance. Yes, Zola is very pretty- Look at her! On top of that she shines. Spreading a tender, angelic vibe she does not leave anyone wondering, instead people in the audience sigh, lean back and - let it happen. They surrender to her charms.
Coming back to that particular concert of hers, the one I fell in love with her at, I actually complimented her afterwards. I went up to her I told her about what she had made me feel like. It was one of the first compliments I ever gave to a stranger (Okay, let's be honest- she was not a total stranger, being friends with one of David and my best friends herself, but I had never talked to her.) and I was nervous. So was she- but she did give me the soft eyes saying "I am moved." and replied, "Really!? Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!"
Months have passed since then. I have started getting to know Zola. The girl with the edenic voice is beautiful as a person, too. Empathy, humor and devotion are the qualities that first come to mind when I think about her. I can't wait to spend this year with the David's and my dream wife! Actually we have got something planned that will be another milestone for me this year: A vocal-Yoga-teaching-tandem. I am picturing the big, red heart on the spiderweb whenever Zola's and my strings overlap right now. I can't wait to start! --- And, by the way David, I am so, so sorry. Seems like I am pretty close to winning.