Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The hills are alive...

Well, not quite hills. More like mountains. Giant, imploring green mountains surround the small town of Aspen, Colorado, where I'll be spending this summer. Let's begin with a few points of reference: I was born in urban China, moved to the flatlands of the Midwest at age 3, and have remained there ever since (minus, of course, the current stint in the also relatively flat terrain of eastern Massachusetts). A handy chart, for comparison (information courtesy of Wikipedia):

State Highest Point (ft.)
Average Elevation

Aspen itself is at an altitude of about 7900 ft., and you can definitely feel it. My sinuses have been acting up a lot since getting here, and every now and then I suddenly feel short of breath. I'm completely stoked about getting to the hiking trails, but my roommate Manasseh advised me to wait about a week before actually engaging in any sort of real physical activity. Also, another funny thing - even though it's about 80 or 90 degrees by midday in the sun, there's still snow on the ground.

For now, though, I've been spending most of my time at work every day, compiling itineraries, phone and address lists, and all sorts of goodies for the guest artists this summer. As an Artist Liaison, my main responsibility is to make sure that each of the guest artists have an pleasant stay while they're in Aspen. That means making sure that all of their flight/hotel arrangements are in order, configuring all of their transportation, and organizing any dressing or practice room reservations and requests. The festival doesn't officially start until the week after next, though, so right now I'm just a glorified secretary to people liks Richard Goode, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Marin Alsop, and even Condoleezza Rice (who was once a piano student at Aspen). Yes, that means that I'll actually be calling some of them on their personal cells. And yes, we do gossip about who's more high-maintenance than others. But no, unfortunately, I'm not allowed to share that information with any of you.

The cutesy, picturesque building in which I spend my days.

Still to come: Aspen's freakishly expensive economy, the ups and downs of not having HUDS around, and the joys of Microsoft Outlook. Stay tuned!