Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

my thoughts

    This page is...I've decided, where I get to spew and share my opinion. I'll change it as often as my schedule allows and sometimes maybe, even sooner depending on how I am feeling about "stuff". I'll tell you now that it will rarely be about music or playing the violin except for the times when it is. I invite you to spew and share as well. For an archive of my previous opinions, click here. Email

    From Sea To Shining Sea

    I am bi-coastal now. I live in New York City and work in San Francisco. Oh sure, I travel a lot -- I'm actually anywhere and everywhere on any given day -- my career sort of demands that. I know all the hotels, and I know all the airports. Especially the airports. I know where the bathrooms are and where to get a good hot dog. But the fact remains, I live in New York City, and I have a job in San Francisco.

    Now, when you think about those two cities, you'd have to admit, I'm pretty lucky. And even moreso because I get to know all the cities in between as well. Traveling as much as I do is difficult, especially these days, but my attitude has always been the whole lemonade out of lemons thing, so I try to enjoy as much as I can while I'm out there working hard. Like now, for instance. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Memphis. Memphis is a cool town.  I like it.

    They've got Graceland and a nice zoo and the Civil Rights Museum and lots and lots of Blues history. They also have good ribs and grits and fried green tomatoes. So I try to take all of that in while I'm here in between rehearsals and concerts. I always do this: make the best of a hard schedule and absorb local color. I am a chameleon in that way I suppose. Being in different cities influences how you feel and act. It really does.

    I never feel like wearing my cowboy boots when I'm in LA; I feel like wearing a lot of make up on my eyes and then covering them with designer sunglasses. I put my boots on when I'm in Santa Fe -- feels right there, plus it looks good too. When I'm in the south, I mysteriously pick up an accent -- where does this come from??? In Dallas I somehow crave things that are pink -- don't ask. Practically every time I'm in Austin, I have to stop myself from getting another tattoo. In New Orleans, I cannot stop eating. I mean I cannot stop. The only time I'm not eating is when I am sleeping. As soon as I open my eyes, I feel a need to shove something into my mouth. In Milwaukee, it's cheese and beer. Cheese and beer. Throw in the occasional sausage with the cheese and beer, but mostly, it's cheese and beer. One time I went from Milwaukee to New Orleans. Big mistake. I became unrecognizable.

    Back to San Francisco and New York City.

    Now there are good things and bad things about San Fran and New York, the city by the bay and the big apple.

    In San Francisco you can have fantastic clam chowder soup, and they serve it in a bowl made out of sourdough bread. I never see anyone actually eating the bowl of sourdough bread -- but I do. Boy is it good.

    However, if you're in the mood for a bagel, travel east my friend. Same goes for deli: forget pastrami on rye in San Francisco; if someone offers, just pass.

    Historically, SF had the great fire and the earthquakes; but NY had 9/11, so I guess that evens out in some way. In San Francisco everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is green. New York? Not so much. Being green is wonderful I think.  I admire those folks out there and how commited they are to the cause. But I am an east coaster, and there are certain aspects of being green that I just don't get. Or am unwilling to get is more accurate, I suppose.

    No one allows you to wear shoes in their houses or apartments. No one. Silly if you ask me -- and inconvenient too!!! Take your shoes off, put your shoes on, take your shoes off, put your shoes on.  Geez. You think that's going to keep the dirt from getting in? Really??? What about your pets coming into the place with poop on their paws? You could just vacuum like the rest of the country. Then there's the garbage. Here is where you really have to admire them.

    They have a bin for this and a bin for that.  Plastics go here, paper goes there, glass in here, metal over there, plastic/paper hybrid in that bin, newspapers have another place as well. And then there's the compost. Yup, compost. You know how you throw your lemon rinds and leftover lamb chop bones in the trash? In SF, it's called compost, and it goes in a separate place. Each household handles it in their own way, but basically you gather the stuff, then put it in a separate pile outside your home.  Happy are the four legged creatures that live in the Bay Area.

    In NY we recycle for sure; but not like that. I think there would be riots, honestly, if we were made to do so. You really have to admire those folks.

    Last but certainly not least: the hybrid car. The Prius. To residents of this area, the Prius is more like the Holy Savior of Earth. It is a godlike creature: silently gliding on the streets and highways as the owners nod to each other with alien pod people approval. In New York we take the subway.  The end.

    It may seem like I'm poking fun at the Prius, but in all honesty, it is a phenomenal invention, and cudo's to the Bay Area population for embracing it with such fervor!! They could use a few more Prius's in LA I think.

    There's lots these two cities have in common too. Both are on the water; both have a fantastic arts scene: opera's, symphony's, museums galore; both are very neighborhoody; both are geographycally small; both are vibrant and fullof energy; and both are liberal. Well, that's either good news or bad news depending on who's reading this. But ya know, there is a certain type of person who elects to make either of these cities their home. I am that type of person, so for me, it works out just great.

    I love New York -- I am a true New Yorker -- and now I am getting to love San Francisco too.

    My orchestra, The New Century Chamber Orchestra, is based there. I love my orchestra very, very much. With all my heart and soul and spleen and liver, too. I would love them if they were based in "terrible city of your choice," but the fact that they are in San Fran -- well, I'm a lucky gal.

    What's the point of this editorial?? I have no idea.

    Just sitting here in a hotel room wanting to reach out to you all -- looking out the window and thinking what a country this is. My God, we have it all.  Somewhere or else, we have it.

    For those of you who don't travel as much as I do, believe me, it is the greatest land on earth.

    Be proud of that, and protect it. Don't forget to vote.  And please, vote for the right candidate -- the one I'm voting for!!!

    Aw, what the hell do I know...


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