Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I have met all the good people there are to meet.

Five years ago I went to Alaska to work at a Girl Scout camp. At Girl Scout camp counselors give themselves names. I chose the name Tendu. And the best friend I made there chose the name Belly. Belly is from Melbourne, Australia. She has been traveling around the world doing student exchanges and taking occasional time off for the last year and a half or so. She left Montreal to go to Toronto and made it down to Pittsburgh to see me before she headed back up to New York to go home to Australia.

I greeted her at the Greyhound Bus station and she brought her inspirational energy into my and Jocelyn's home.


Other people spent a long time in the kitchen and we ate delicious food outside.
me, jon, brad


We laughed, climbed, swam, and had moments not wanting to be anywhere else in the world other than exactly where we were.





At one point I stood next to Belly and Brad and was completely amazed that these two people from different parts of my life were meeting. Belly was not so surprised. When we left Alaska we genuinely promised to see each other again. And when Belly was in Pittsburgh she reminded me that she said she would come visit me. Simple as that. I haven't met many people outside of Japan that I feel like I could travel with. But we talked about places we have yet to go to. And she is true to her word.



All the good people are spread across the world. If we were all together it would be much more dull. And I wonder if there are anymore good people out there to meet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How a day can be spent when you work nights.

I have an electric kettle and a sink in my room which means leisurely mornings and late nights with tea.


And I have daytimes that are spent doing only pleasurable things.

downtown sunshine
It will work for summer.

Lindsay's Roses

on the bike

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Neighborhood

I love this article, titled "The Struggles of the Global Placeless." My favorite line refers to people who "find that their connections can run worldwide but only an inch deep. They may find it easier to ask friends in five countries for a favor than to ask a neighbor for sugar." Somehow I understand these friendships that are spread across the world best.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Company You Keep

Most things seem to revolve around the company that one keeps. I could be living anywhere or working anywhere and be tremendously content if I have good company.

I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.”
Tallulah Bankhead

Friday, March 26, 2010

In Pittsburgh

I now live in Pittsburgh. Supposedly in Highland Park. But everything about the space I live in says East Liberty (which borders Highland Park).
Pittsburgh is cheap. People here have horrible accents and fashion. There are a lot of drunk people and people in tennis shoes with bags of fast food walking around downtown in the middle of the afternoon. And this winter was really cold. But, I have found my Pittsburgh routine to be a good one. Just under the surface there are some exceptional ways to spend the day. I finally managed to get a bunch of jobs. One here, here, and here. And those few days that felt like spring were fabulous. I even found a $10 bill on the ground one afternoon when I decided to walk instead of take the bus.
Every Wednesday Jocelyn and I go to modern dance at Dance Alloy.

And before we go we do things like eat salads in the kitchen in our leotards.

When I am not going to modern dance I go to Amazing Yoga which is now a donation based studio and my favorite place to be. I promise I am going to stick a big bill in that wooden chest when I finally get paid.
And when you live in Pittsburgh there might be a dumpster in front of your house one day and a kid standing on top of that dumpster.

And I can take a deep breath and put my hands on my hips and say, "I get this weird city I grew up in."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Catching Up

I stole these ideas from a book that Rachel owns. The book came after the website Learning to Love You More. I feel like these are good ways to catch up on my blogging hiatus. I like these exercises of sorts because I feel like they can be incredibly personal without saying much and without the reader really knowing much.


This is what I was wearing my second night back in America after 14 months away. Everyone was so drunk and kissing each other. And I realized that being back home was not really going to change things between us.


This is what I was wearing when I fell in love with yoga.
This is what I was wearing when I dressed up as Pippi Longstocking for Halloween. I used pipe cleaners to keep my braids up. I drank keg beer, thought of no one but myself, and had an amazing night.


This is what I was wearing when I found out he has a baby.


This is what I was wearing the last day I had with an ESL student who genuinely seemed sad to say goodbye and the first time I had a boss go out of their way to tell me they would be more than happy to be a reference.


This is what I was wearing at an Americorps job interview in NYC. The man who was interviewing me interrupted me to smell his Subway sandwich for pickles. At that point, I started asking myself if I will ever get the things I feel like I deserve and I have not really stopped asking myself that since. I did not get the job.


I got this scar in a car accident when Brad and I were on our way to yoga. We were both already upset and angry about something and I did not really want to go to yoga. I was driving straight and I remember seeing the back of some woman's head as she looked right and made a left turn. I put my hand on the horn and slammed my foot on the break. She turned into me and my foot was smashed against my shoe and the break. No one was really hurt but both of our cars had to be towed away. Immediately after it happened I stopped being angry.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Worth It

On October 13th, while I was on the train to Celano, I wrote, "there are just so many things I want to take with me that I have learned."
train station in the early hours
Among many things, I think what I wanted to keep was knowing how generous people can be. We met so many people that gave us their stories, food, places to stay, and advice without expecting anything in return. I want to have such traits and keep those kind of people in my life.
Outside of the Vatican

Here are links to the entries about the trip. From Japan to Beijing, Italy to New York City and everything in between:
The Bus Out
Heat in Beijing
Pick Pockets
Border Crossing
Familiar Soviet
The Train
Cats and Cigarettes at Galina's

Four Year Old Birthday Parties
International Hostel
High on a Mountain Top
Kitsch and Drama in Slovenia
The Food

The Food 10/12-10/16

Once we found a hostel in Rome we walked to a restaurant across the street. The waiter insisted that we order wine. At first we felt ripped off. Then we realized that is just the way in Italy. We drank the wine and ate our two pasta dishes. I never knew that pasta can taste fresh. Like eating a fruit that is perfectly in season, the pasta tastes fresh. We then had coffee and tiramisu. It started to pour rain and it felt really good to be so close to the hostel. There were women behind Brad sitting at a red checkered table, playing cards, drinking coffee, beer, and wine. We commented on how the entire restaurant felt like a prop. Saying "grazie, bonjouro, and ciao" felt almost phony. We were afraid Rome would be cheesy and too touristy. But these prop like restaurants, phrases, and people were all real. And it was wonderful.
It was almost like a stage prop

That was the beginning of eating in Rome. We never looked at prices, we only thought about how amazing the food would be. And we were never let down.
Center of the City
Lip Bites

We took a side trip to the town of Celano, where Brad's paternal relatives come from.
We ate more delicious food. Eating that ravioli was like making love.
Mouth wipe
We met more characters. And through the help of google translator found a place to stay.
We sat through a Tuesday evening mass in an old church to stay warm.
There were wooden confessionals and the ceilings were painted. When the mass ended we wandered into a dress shop. The owner told us it was the oldest dress shop in Celano. I splurged on an Italian dress. In my fantasies, Brad's great-grandmother had bought dresses from the same shop.

Once we had returned to Rome we had big plans for our last meal in Italy. At this point, we were really good at scoping out the atmosphere of restaurants. We decided on one with retro decorations, including a motorcycle. Wine, appetizers, pizza, pasta, and desert. We were there for well over two hours and spent about fifty euros. We had done a good job staying within our $50 per day budget for most of the trip. We gave up in Italy and it was all worth it. We got back to the hostel and did our final pack, a little drunk.
Last night of packing
We ate chocolate croissants as the sun was rising the following morning. Then we stood in line at the airport with other Americans for a nonstop flight to New York City. I watched a woman eat a hot dog with too much ketchup while she was on a bus to the gate and I wanted to vomit. Brad talked to an eccentric woman with a puppy who, in American fashion, felt no need to keep any secrets about herself. We were going home to unpack our backpacks. On the plane, I noticed the ownership that one does not feel when they have lived out of a backpack for three months. And then there we were in New York City.

Kitsch and Drama in Slovenia 10/3-10/11

We took the train from Prague to Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg was full of expensive things and people that were staring at my knee socks and Brad's shorts. It was Sunday and no grocery stores were opened. Luckily, we had some left over food and managed to eat without spending money in an over priced restaurant. We got the train to Slovenia and took a sigh of relief.

We arrived in Bled, Slovenia and sat down with a pizza and red wine. Italy is famous for such delicacies, but Slovenian wine and pizza was, perhaps, even more amazing. We then took a bus to Bohinj to do some hiking in the Julian alps. We walked to the youth hostel and drank two large glasses of red wine. Our hostel was empty and reminded us of The Shining.
drinks at the bar
The next morning as we started the hike a dog followed us up the mountain. And continued with us for the rest of the walk.
Brad continued to walk ahead of me. The dog seemed to be more concerned if I was keeping up.
Best Dog
We got close to the peak were we had our standard bread, cheese, and tomatoes lunch. The ascend had taken us longer than expected and it was clear we needed to get back.
We arrived at a place where the path diverged at 4:15 p.m. A post said that it would take 2 hours and 50 minutes to reach the bottom of the mountain. That was discouraging to say the least. The dog stayed by our side the entire time and my legs felt like jelly. Brad stayed ahead of me and we held onto the hill side as we descended the steep mountain at dusk. When we finally got to the bottom we both talked about the emergency scenarios we were going over in our heads if the sunlight had beat us. At this point we were starving and tired. But the dog was still with us. I insisted on knocking on strangers doors to find out where she lived. No one knew and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. The dog sat under our table as we ate in a hotel.
dinner in the hotel
Our last day in Bohinj was spent eating pizza, drinking wine, and marveling at our surroundings.
Bohjin map
Wine to match my hat

Then it was off to the capital city of Ljublana where we would meet our Slovenia friends from Russia that we made promises of visits to. Gasper and Klavdija were perfect hosts. They are both theater stars in Slovenia. We got to see free shows and we seemed to be perfect guest cast members in the theatrical life that is Gasper and Klavdija. We had a beautiful Sunday road trip on our way to the Italian border. We made stops along the way and learned about Slovenia, a country that is 40% forest, much of that land being untouched to this day.
Disappearing Lake

Our last stop was at the border town of Piran. Gasper and Klavdija continually referred to it as a "kitschy town." It was sunset over the Adriatic sea. We sat down at an outdoor restaurant. Gasper and I indulged in some herbs and my feta stuffed calamari arrived. It was the most delicious meal I have ever eaten, the definition of perfection. We barely made it to the train on time. The weekend ended with appropriate drama. Brad and I jumped on the train bound for Rome and waved goodbye to our hosts.