On the flight from Newark to Heathrow: I hope hope hope no one sits in this row so I can lie down. Everyone stay away! Fat girl needs her space.

I snore. Will anyone share a room with me, a known snorer? Will I be able to sing 5 hours a day?

What I think it will be like: Crowds of badly dressed and poorly-toothed dark-haired and fair-skinned people looking at us, the fat white American singers mispronouncing their lyrics. Standing up for five hours a day, jetlagged. A hotel spare and echoey, serving heavy meaty meals that smell of salt and steam, no pool, sharing a room with 1 or maybe 2 or 3 or 4 other people.

I want to fit in; I want to bond with this group, Village Harmony, of which I know nothing. Yet I am the observer/writer and that sets me apart. Being the embedded reporter might be good if people want to tell me about their cleverest and most funny observations. Might be bad if I’m jetlagged and unable to sleep at night in my shared room and exhausted in the daytimes and unwilling to write or have fun, or if no one wants to talk to me because they’re all bonding over the music or because I’m too fat and they’re all old friends & know Goran and want to talk about their musical Macedonian memories and mates.

I plan to leave the hotel early and often but that’s going to be difficult since I can’t walk. How will I do with eating meals with the same people each day? Do I have to? I hope it won’t be like the US Navy ships. It probably won’t. Maybe it’ll be like being with Joan’s friends, the Balkan Boogie Band, “I Solisti” I think they were called.

These people are Vermonters, maybe unfriendly and withdrawn. Maybe they’ll be interested in the article and helpful. Maybe I’ll write a good article or two or ten. I should call one of them “Low Expectations.”


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