Well, actually the first day back after the summer hols for everyone else at the theatre - the Intendant had called everyone in for a cheery greeting in the smaller house at eleven, and the place was *exactly* like I remember the first day back at school; excited shrieks of "Helloooooo!!! How were the mountains?" "It's YOU!!!" "Darling you look WONderful..." all at top volume and occurring simultaneously. I am just so glad that I knew at least one friendly face - I remember the sheer terror of a new school (had quite a few for some reason) when everyone else knew each other and you were the oddball looking in from the outside...
However my lovely and generous colleague introduced me all round - I of course immediately forgot all the names and will have to work on German phrases apologising elegantly for the same for the next few weeks - and we listened to the rather nice speech. I reckon I understood the gist of most of it, even if rather a lot of the finer details were lost in the fog of translation. (I'm at the strange stage of language-learning where, given a halfway-normal accent, I can "see" the words in the air as they're spoken. I then have to read them and attempt to translate - by which time, naturally, the speaker has moved on to another topic - but it's better than the flat panic I was feeling a couple of weeks ago.) I even managed to stand up when my name was called out as one of the new bunch, without tripping over my skirts or blurting out anything embarrassing. I'm long enough in the tooth to know not to open my trap without giving it a bit of thought in new social situations, but it's kind of complicated when because of language limitations your options are circumscribed and sometimes things just sneak out unwittingly while you're still trying to think of a response! Notes to self on this subject abound.
I will admit that after the meeting I was exhausted. A combination of heat, nerves, wine and excitement, not to mention the interesting-sounding party being played out on one of the benches underneath my bedroom window, meant I had had pretty much no sleep. Having picked up a schedule for the day in the tray by the porters' office and discovered I wasn't down for anything else today, I therefore cycled home for a rest. Luckily I'd bumped into The Guy to Know as far as music rehearsals are concerned, and he was kind enough to help me borrow a score for my first opera - jolly useful, as my first coaching session is tomorrow... The score was however quickly abandoned in favour of a nap, after which, the heat not having abated, I took my words to the outdoor pool again and let swimming in the cool water work its wonders. With any luck I shall be fresh for my coaching tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
(If you're wondering about the wholly inappropriate picture, well I was going to labour some simile about leaving the nest, or learning to fly, or something cheesy like that, but frankly I'd only make myself laugh. At least it proves that (a) pigeons DO have baby pigeons, we just never see them in London, and (b) they hatched. Weird-looking little coves, like scrawny black-and-yellow ducklings with Wrong Beaks, but there is life in the corner of the balcony!)