A few weeks ago my little sister Lili and I were in the kitchen, preparing dinner. Whilst she put the cutlery on the table and I filled the water jug, we talked about where our lives were heading. I was just finishing the last pages of my master’s thesis and she had some important exams coming up. The question that lay upon us was “What next?”.
Whilst Lili struggled with deciding which courses to focus on in order to get into a good university after school, I had to decide what to do after finishing my Master’s studies in Digital Communication. I’ve been self-employed for a year already, and one good option would be to stay at home and focus on my business. Yet, I didn’t feel like I was quite done with learning yet. Lili, on the other hand, didn’t even know what she wanted to study and was therefore trapped as well. What would she become when growing up? What would I become?
I asked her that very question: what do you want to be when you grow up? She hesitated, before quietly confessing it: “I have always had a secret dream. I see myself on a West End stage, performing in Les Miserables. That’s what I’ve wanted ever since we went to see it together.” (At this stage I have point something out: if there is one thing my sister can do well, and one thing my sister loves, it is singing and performing. She is constantly singing, dancing, learning scenes from musicals.) And you won’t guess how our mum reacted to her speaking her dream out: “Well, if that’s what you want, you have to start working on it NOW!”
After that it all went quite fast. We had heard about a musical theatre school (a high school with musical theatre as part of the curriculum), which was located about an hour from where we live. One week later we went there to take a look at the programme. Only 1,5 weeks later Lili moved. The school happened to have a free student flat and it was the start of a new semester, so she could easily join in. It’s crazy how fast it all happened! And this school (which is Rantasalmen musiikkiteatterilukio btw!) is incredible! Lili now has three hours of singing, dancing and acting rehearsals on each Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and vocal lessons, piano or music theory on Tuesdays. Lots of weekends are dedicated to musical rehearsals too. She’s been there for less than a week now, and this has been her amount of musical rehearsals so far: Fr: 3hrs, Sat: 6hrs, Sun: 6hrs, Mon: 5hrs, Tue: free, Wed: 5hrs + press conference, Thur: 5hrs. It’s not long until the premiere, so they’re rehearsing like crazy. And it’s so professional too! They have got two acting teachers, two choreographers, one orchestra director, one vocal teacher, professional lighting technologists, costume designers and makeup artists and the most gorgeous costumes you’ve ever seen. Oh, and they’re doing a production of Oliver!, the musical based on Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist this year. I am in awe. (ps. you can see sneak peeks of the rehearsals on my Snapchat ‘veryberrylottie’!)
In order to catch up on the music theory lessons (which she’s never before had) and in order to have more time to concentrate on her musical theatre studies, Lili will repeat tenth grade and attend the musical theatre school for three years, until she hopefully carries on to London’s West End stages.
And I have never seen Lili this way. Whilst she maybe wasn’t the most hard-working student, she now won’t stop learning lines, practising choreographies or singing “Who will buy”. And I can’t express how happy I am for her. She isn’t repeating my mistake (although it wasn’t fully my fault). I love love love singing, dancing and acting so much too. I used to have vocal and acting lessons and competed in dancing for over ten years. But then we moved to China – Poland – Finland – Germany… and it was so hard to stick with these hobbies. I gave them up. Which means that I gave up on one of my dreams, which was performing in a musical. But Lili isn’t. She’s working on it, and she’s working on it hard! And I am so proud.
What about me, then? I have now spent a week at Lili’s new place with her and it makes my heart sing of happiness. I could stay here forever and watch her strive. But then, I remind myself of my bucket list. Is it my dream to watch someone else live her dream? What have I always wanted to do that I didn’t have the time for? Here it is: study Graphic Design. And: live in London. My first plan when I finished high school was to get into graphic design. I know I never want to be a full-time graphic designer, but it is a skill I already use a lot for all kind of little projects, and I definitely want to get more professional. So I found this amazing course in London, that will train you into a professional graphic designer in only three months, which I will start in September. It will be crazy hard: classes are from 8am-5pm every day, plus homework. But graphic is something that I have dreamed about, researched and even applied for for five years now, and now that I’m done with my MA, it’s time to bring this dream to live.
Oh and I’m also planning to do a little musical theatre course by the side. Lili really inspired me, and once again I reminded myself that it’s never too late to work on your dreams. I will never be Cosette in Les Mis, but maybe I can still one day be one of the “people” in the ensemble, whilst my little sister shines as the lead? Who knows?
What makes me happiest about this news, is that we’re both doing it. We’re both living according to my motto: she lives her dream.