Friday night, after my turn at the orchestral recording session, I had to run to the airport to catch a red-eye flight to Hamburg in order to attend the world premiere of my piece Souvenir du Soleil. I arrived to the airport only to discover that Air Canada is refusing to issue me a boarding pass. Why? Because my return date, the morning of November 26, would be a day over the three months leading to my passport's expiry in February. So...apparently I'm not allowed to fly unless I come back on the 25th at the latest (which is the day of the concert!). I tried to find a flight that leaves after the concert but before the 26th, and couldn't find any. I thought, ok, if my Canadian passport isn't working, my Jordanian should because it's not expiring soon. "Oh, but I can't travel without a Schengen Visa and that takes days to get'. What if I show my Canadian passport upon arrival to Germany? "You can't travel with two passports." You can imagine how annoying and shocking this was after having planned for this trip for months, having to move things around here in Toronto between my work and my CFC residency. I ended up going back home that night after canceling my trip and paying a hefty penalty and shedding a few tears. This was going to be the first time in my life that I miss a world premiere. It was like giving birth and not being able to see your newborn.
But, there's always a bright light at the end of the tunnel. On my way back home while in the metro, I found that the legendary Hans Zimmer had commented on my post...calling me an incredible artist! You can imagine what that did to my spirits. My tears of bitterness transformed into tears of joy. The next evening, Raed Jazbeh sent me a voice message filled with excitement as he congratulated me and told me how well received the piece was. He also sent me photos and made me feel I'm there. This morning, the day of the second performance, I received more photos from my musician friends Rani Elias and Karoun Baghboudarian. And just now, the fabulous maestro Thomas Dorsch, who conducted the piece with utmost beauty and artistry, sent me a video recording of the entire concert, only a few hours after the actual performance, making me feel like I didn't miss a thing....and this time I cried again thanks to the wonderful orchestra musicians of the Theater Lüneburg!
I still wouldn't understand why things got complicated and my plans didn't work out, there must be a reason, but maybe there isn't. Maybe it's just that we win some and we lose some and that not everything we plan for happens. I also felt for the first time in my life what it's like to be denied the right to move around with freedom. Being privileged to have had a Canadian passport for over a decade, this was a good reminder that there are millions around the world who are denied access of exit and entry on a daily basis for no fault other than holding the wrong passport, or no passport at all.
OK I'm done philosophizing and I'm going to renew my passport tomorrow.