Archive for the 'Family' Category

Show Me Where You Live Miss Kakalak!

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Delicious lunch!

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Rock Collection

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Bottle Tree

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Sister and Brother and rifle, aw.

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Eeek

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Then we were done shooting, that bottom left one right in the orange, I did that.  First time, no biggie.

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Katie’s face for ‘you can take a picture if you want but you are missin out on petting this cuteness’

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Garlic bulbs and a beautiful bunny

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Zac, Katie, and their flannel love

DSC_0967Does it get any better than that? Amazing.

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Then Katie took me to the Reynolda Gardens

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Then Katie said ‘psst, come over here’ and showed brought me inside a giant Magnolia tree,

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It was pretty much one of those fantastic moments you keep smiling about.

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Magnolia pedal hat.

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Then of course some used books, Little Richards BBQ, and Basti.

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Thanks so much to Zac and Katie and her whole family for making my trip so wonderful!

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Marrakesh

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Flying into Fes

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I fell in love with a stranger sitting in front of me on the flight over, turning courteous considerate gestures into a personality I admired.  He only carried a newspaper onto the plane which is something that always attracts me since I am the girl with the giant bag of two or so books, an iPod filled with podcasts, and some postcards to write in case.  We didn’t speak at all but in the course of the flight I imagined how we met, why I loved him, the troubles we faced together, and the happy conclusion of why it was better that we go our separate ways.  We were both better for having had the experience and would always reflect fondly on our time together.

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The colors of Morocco instantly awoke me and the giant back pack felt like nothing compared to the weightless excitement I was experiencing.  I hoped into a taxi and showed him the address and the hand drawn map I’d copied from google maps at 6am that, no wait, the morning of the day before.  I tried not to think about how little I’d slept in the past week. Too many good things were coming up.

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The taxi driver taught me the word for sunset in french as I clicked away with my camera, he kept looking at my grin and breaking into a smile himself, “you will love Morocco, you are welcome.”  This phrase would come back many times in the next two weeks but hearing it for the first time it felt like it was just for me.

After arriving to the landmark closest to the Riad where I was supposed to meet my Sister (which she had warned would be impossble to find) the driver apologized, he couldn’t drive into the medina.  He grabbed a shop owner nearby that seemed to be a close friend.  The driver pointed to a cart that looked like a backwards wheel barrow, “he can take you.”  I politely declined and started to walk when they insisted I let the shop owners son take me.  A shy boy about 6 or 7 lowered his head and stepped forward.  Soon we were walking throught the medina, a little wobbily in my state, attracting attention from each group of people in each narrow passage.dsc_0137

I made some friends, felt a bit helpless and overwhelmed, but an hour or so later my Sister and I were hugging and swapping travel stories.  We had some delicious dinner before heading to the Riad where we started our Rummy tournament, Morocco 2009.

Sundays

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Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin

I kept going back to this post to finish writing it, saving the draft after writing a few sentences and adding a few photos, then coming back a few days later to find that my thoughts had completely changed.  It started as a post about feeling stuck and rather lazy but then I was going through my photos and I realized I’ve been doing a lot of amazing things.  I suppose I paid more attention to the couple days of guilt ridden laziness than I did to the weeks of work and exploring the city.

The Natural History Museum was fabulous, as Natural History Museums almost always are.  My favorite is the Specola Museum in Florence and of course you can’t go wrong with the NHM in New York.  This one in Berlin holds the record for the tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton though,the Brachiosaurus brancai measuring in at 43 ft 6 in high.  And they had a great Darwin exhibit up.

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Artwork with Matchbooks from the Scala Opening

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View from the second floor of the AA Studio

The whole story of my new home

I’ve found an apartment that I really love.

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At first I looked for studios and one bedroom apartments, they were still cheaper than any rent I’d seen anywhere decent to live in New York and lately I’ve really been craving my own place.  A kitchen that I want to sit and sip coffee in, a hallway with artwork, and a bathroom that is not relatable to a dorm bathroom in any way.

Then I realized I’m moving to a new city where I don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone and I kind of freaked out.  The appointment I had with a realtor about an apartment that required a year lease and proof of income from the last six months, it didn’t help.  Plus most of the places just came with a bed or in some cases just a mattress, and sometimes a desk. So I started looking at the rooms/sublets page of Craigslist and after a week of not so great appointments I was about to buy a plane ticket back to the states.

It was raining and I had taken the wrong train and the directions I could’ve sworn I’d put in my day planner were missing.  How did I get here? What the fuck am I doing here? Argh. I missed my friends and knowing what street signs said and overhearing conversations.

So after six appointments that ranged from really nice to quite scary looking I ended up at what would be my final meeting.  It was in Prenzlaur Berg, lots of coffee shops, cozy restaurants, and a park.  The building was 17/18 and the bamboo plant near the door leaned a bit as if it was waiting to see who was coming out.  When K answered the door I realized how funny I must look.  I was soaked with flakes of snow and my glasses were so fogged I could barely see.  He offered me a cappucino. He was much older than I’d thought and in the hallway I noticed a bunch of kids drawings proudly displayed.

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view of the kitchen from the window

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kitchen from the other side

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living room

K is American; he moved here about 9 years ago and has 2 kids, Lucy (pronounced Lootzy) and Leon and his girl friend N runs a company that rents rooms and apartments to students and travelers.  The kids are here with him every other week.  I would be taking the room across from the bathroom towards the front of the house, currently Ross was living there, another American who’s doing his masters here in German History. He was set to move to another place at the end of February, I would stay in K’s room until then, and K who was going to Italy in two days with N would be gone for a week anyways.

When I told my Sister and my friends, I kind of sort of didn’t mention the kids.

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book shelf in the living room

So I’m 24, I consider myself an independent lady, I’ve lived away from home in a number of places and situations.  When I imagined my life in Berlin, it was very chic and sophisticated, going to the great parties and dating and being in the know about all those things I’m supposed to be in the know about.  I’d throw dinner parties and have minimalist art work on my walls and start wearing heels more often.  I’ve met the realization that I’m not this person many times, and I honestly don’t even want to be that person.  I like my disheveled collection of post cards and my to do lists and big unflattering sweaters.  And even though it is a bit difficult for me to admit to myself and my independent friends: I really like the idea of living in a home that reminds me that there are things bigger than my take on the world.

dsc_0005my room (for now) the one I will be in is bigger and white.  I’ll post photos at a later date

For right now, that is seeing kids (although not being responsible for their care) and living with someone who will ask me how my day was and being reminded that not only am I not only a hot 20 something artist but that the rest of the world isn’t either.

So there you have it, my new home, feel free to send me letters and postcards!  (just email me and I’ll be happy to give you my address).

La Festa e La Gattina

The Au Pair job was turning shady and I soon realized the offer was indeed to good to be true.  Everything had seemed great, they sent a contract through the agency and when I checked with the agency they said it sounded legit.  But then I started asking more questions, wanted some photos, some back round, etc.  That’s when I stopped getting answers and was urged to fly to London as soon as possible.  We’ll buy you the ticket, just fill out this Visa application.  Shady.  Sketchy. No go. I found some reassuring words here though.

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So it was decided for me in a way, Berlin it would be.  Now I just had to get together the courage to leave my Sisters comfy apartment, jump not knowing if I’d land on my feet.

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While getting together this confidence I distracted myself with more knitting, the gattina (kitten-who I was quickly falling in love with), and a fabulous dinner party for a classmate’s boyfriend.

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Instead of gifts Anthony (above with the fabulous belt buckle) requested everyone bring something they had made that everyone could enjoy.  Being that most of the group is foodies that meant a lot of excellent food, including some wonderful Spring rolls by Jennifer and an delicious Almond cake by my Sister.  I brought my Polaroid and Nikon to document the events and give the Polaroids to Anthony.  Others wrote poems, brought artwork, and one woman performed belly dancing for us.  It was pretty excellent.

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After the dance I stepped outside for a minute, I got to meet Anthony and Rani’s neighbor who works for the Parma Gazette.  He showed me all of his photos and we chatted a bit in Italian.  It was really refreshing to see someone my age working as a photographer in Italy.

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Then, back inside, we all started dancing, even those people who hate dancing, and the apartment seemed to swell with smiles and new friendships (if only for that night).

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby.

When I first arrived in Wurzburg one of the things I noticed was these condom ads everywhere.  When I asked Barbara about them she said new ones are up all the time, no big deal, just a reminder to be safe with some statistics about the spread of AIDS.

I am trying not to be one of those people that travels to Europe and then comes back to the states and is so disgusted by all that is American and can’t stop talking about how much better everything is in Europe.  I know there are great differences in every place and I try to appreciate them rather than constantly compare them.  Having said that; America sucks at Sex Education and most European countries are much better.

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Condom machines are in front of most pharmacies; instead of in a sleazy bar bathroom (usually only the mens!?) or inside the planned parenthood.  These machines are not just in big cities either, this one below is in San Giovanni and it was one of many in the tiny town.

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I know I’m mosty just ranting here, but I wanted to share my thoughts.  Below I’ve listed some statistics and links to great articles I’ve stumbled across concerning sex, sex education, etc.  They are far more eloquent in their rants.

http://www.npr.org/

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/

http://nymag.com/

http://www.unesco.org/

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On the Dutch Model, which teaches children at a young age to openly dicuss and ask questions (SO THEY KNOW) about sex:

To some critics who argue that “talking about sex gives children the wrong idea,” Jos Poelman of the Foundation for STD control has one answer. “Face the facts. We have the lowest number of teenage mothers [in Europe], and Dutch students do not start having sex at a younger age than their foreign counterparts.”

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Also Dan Savage is pretty much amazing and his podcast is free so if you don’t already listen to it you should start!

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove


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