Monday, June 7, 2010
THERE'S no use in weeping,
Though we are condemned to part:
There's such a thing as keeping
A remembrance in one's heart:
There's such a thing as dwelling
On the thought ourselves have nurs'd,
And with scorn and courage telling
The world to do its worst.
We'll not let its follies grieve us,
We'll just take them as they come;
And then every day will leave us
A merry laugh for home.
When we've left each friend and brother,
When we're parted wide and far,
We will think of one another,
As even better than we are.
Every glorious sight above us,
Every pleasant sight beneath,
We'll connect with those that love us,
Whom we truly love till death !
In the evening, when we're sitting
By the fire perchance alone,
Then shall heart with warm heart meeting,
Give responsive tone for tone.
We can burst the bonds which chain us,
Which cold human hands have wrought,
And where none shall dare restrain us
We can meet again, in thought.
So there's no use in weeping,
Bear a cheerful spirit still;
Never doubt that Fate is keeping
Future good for present ill !
Charlotte Bronte, "Parting".
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Aside from weekends in Xalkidiki, today I got caught in the middle of a Sports induced riot. It became a risk to cross the street.. due to motorcycles and crowds.. so I crossed the street. In the midst of my crossing an English speaker asked what was going on, I was able to translate Greek to English with the other members caught in the streets. An incredible accomplishment. Upon crossing, I ran to my apartment building and grabbed my camera. The results are presented above. I'll have you know I had to work for these photos, specifically the ones of the police. It's illegal to photograph them you know, unless you do it from behind poles and bushes. Of course, upon reaching the point when they noticed me, the quick, " I was just viewing pictures at eye level" move came into play, and I promptly walked home. What great opportunities there are for photography here. I suppose everywhere, but today was a great day for such things. If I only knew what team everyone was so enthused about... I forget. Paok black and white, Arsis yellow and black.. OpA! who is blue and white?
Has anyone seen my rock bucket? After the age of 3 I seem to have lost it.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I spent the weekend at the beach. I am spending this coming weekend at the beach. More specifically, I am spending the weekend in a lounge chair by the mediterranean at a cafe/bar literally serving myself and friends at waters edge. Dahling, if jealousy weren't so awful...I'd almost shame any without envy. This is the part of Greece people think of, its uncommon to hear of the cities. It's too common to hear of the islands and historic structures. While wonderful.. these things are such a small part of Greek beauty. Try mountains, valleys, roads carved between - now this is a common beauty. At any rate, the beaches beauty may make up for its landscape size proportion to cities.. mountains.. etc, etc, etc. Even my bath water isn't so clear. So incredibly gorgeous, a picture simply won't express. I dare say predicaments like this are frequent lately, when life and experiences get too unreal to properly remember in a picture.
Monday, May 17, 2010
My apologies for the severe lack in writing over the last week.
Another quick note on the state of Greece, the bus tickets which were originally raised in price by 10 cents and limited to one bus use, have been changed as per demands of the city. We can now use the bus tickets once again within a set time frame - how many buses? Nobody knows - have at it! This is something to be pleased about.
Additionally, a few days ago a bomb went off in the Courthouse here in Thessaloniki. No one was harmed, as the officials got a tip on the bomb and were able to evacuate the building. For those concerned, I am never in areas of target (such as government buildings) and if ever I am in the vicinity, I feel assured I am safe. The goal of the anarchists is to create attention, not hurt people, hence the tips. So, as long as I evacuate if I am ever told I will be just fine. Please have no worries, Thessaloniki is a safe and wonderful city - how wonderful to live in a place where self expression is prevalent!
Might I also add that Thessaloniki was listed as the 3rd best city for nightlife in the world ( by some publication I have forgotten) however, since I cant reference that, I also found this - http://www.mothertrip.com/10-best-night-life-cities/ for those interested in a run-down of its appeal. Some of the other cities on this other list may surprise you! Tel-Aviv.. Dubai..
I spent this past weekend in Kastoria, a town from which my dear friend Tina's family is from. Though rainy, it was a wonderful trip and an excellent escape from the hustle of city life. I do, however, struggle saying that.. because I'm not much for escaping city life. How about this - IF someone wanted to get out of the city, Kastoria is a lovely place. Let's see if I can describe this aptly, the city is situated on the side of a lake. Nestled in between mountains, Kastoria, sits in a valley of serene scents and sounds. Only on the few blocks of loft apartment buildings, hovering above small shops, does one get the sense of any kind of hustle and bustle. The first evening we ate dinner at a taverna situated on the lake in Tina's small town, set just across the lake from Kastoria the "city." The second day we prompted her cousin George for a ride into the city, where of course the rain followed. However, once we found shelter, it stopped. I am quite fortunate to have such friends here that do not let bad weather ruin the potential for a great day, we enjoyed our day trip regardless of rain clouds. Furthermore, we enjoyed the evening. With one glass of sweet red wine each, a home cooked meal, and great attitudes we indulged in the ultimate evening of girl talk. Literally, the few topics that come to mind when thinking of "girl talk" were explored in depth times ten. It was "TMI", it was wonderful. Say what you will ( or even what I will ) about the catty politics of girl friendships, but take it to its core and what girls have the potential to share together as friends in life, is truly fantastic. It is so necessary to appreciate each other, we are far too similar to refuse to reach out to one another. We is Partnahs!
Finally, operation get back to fitness has commenced. Bye Bye gyros, I've got 3 weeks to look like me again. Greek curves, Greek Butt, it was nice visiting but I've got the t-shirt and I think I'd rather dwindle back to nothing again. The pressures of American society ensue!
There is a 4 story beer bong occuring as I type. I ask you why is "WOOOOOOHHHH" the appropriate response to all things. "WOOOOOOOH THE BEER IS FLOWING!" .. "WOOOOOH SHES CHOKING"... "WOOOOOOHHHHHHH THE BEER IS ALL OVER THE FLOOR!!!"
Did I mention I went to Mt. Olympus - yeah, I could see why god's would live there, really great Panchetta.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Those living under a rock may be unaware of what "social unrest" has commenced in Greece in the last 48 hours. As a result of this unrest, a true tragedy ensued involving the violent actions of a rogue few in a group up three to four thousand walking in peace. While riots occured everywhere, including my residnet city of Thessaloniki, the prevalent riot I am referring to occured in Athens. A small number of protestors elected to throw Molotov Cocktails through the window of a Bank building. A Molotov cocktails is a home-made fire bomb, a glass bottle containing a portion of alcohol and a rag stuffed in teh open top. The rag is lit, when the bottle is thrown and crashed the alcohol hits the lit rag and a small fire explosion occurs. When these cocktails were thrown into the window they lit a bit more than a small fire, rather what turned into a deadly fire. Most people inside the building escaped in time, with the exception of three people who died of asphyxiation. To make a sad story sadder, one was a woman who was four months pregnant. Some call this a death of four people because of this fact. To be here the next day reminds me of the actions taken by the people of the U.S. after 9/11. While the magnitude of the destruction, and horridity is incomparable; the aftermath appears to have some comparitive qualities. On the day of 9/11, I remember very clearly, daily activities stopped. There was one focus. I, like anyone else alive and old enough to understand, will never forget where I was when it happened and the events that followed that day. For some Americans, this can be a very clear and very painful memory. One of the reprocussions of that day was that in school, every classroom had a television aptly tuned to the news. The video of the towers being crashed into was on a constant replay, and it was all too easily seen that people were jumping out of the windows...stories upon stories high. I assure you, these people were not jumping to their safety, but rather in avoidance of death by fire and a building collapse. And last night, on the major news channels, there was only one story. The riots and the fire. Just as in 2001 in school, education plans switched, and here today I have had no regular class. We have been discussing the event, the unusuality of it, and reading prominent articles on the reasons for the riot. One professor made an interesting comparison, in Turkey it is not unusual to see deaths in riots, but in Greece it is all too unusual. I remember, in the states, speaking to adults about the attack and seeing this terrible hurt in their eyes. In a select few of professors today, I have seen a similar ache. I suppose to some Greeks this tragedy is sad, but not so prevalent while to others it is truly grave. It only took a select few demonstrators to ruin what was the largest protest in Greece since 1974, and very well had numbers great enough to cause a peaceful awareness of the aversion to the IMFs restructuring of the budget. But instead, this feat will be the time that a bunch of Greeks got violent - and you will hear , " violence solves nothing." The protestors may now be given a connotation of people childish and angry, acting out.. when in actuality they were not. This is such an act by such a small number people that ruined the efforts of the thousands that walked yesterday, in Athens and other cities in Greece. Those that go rogue have no idea the fundamental mistakes they are making, now what effect their actions have on their movement. Furthermore I do wonder mr. and Mrs. Molotov - did you think you were the only ones wanting to make a point? Or just the only ones naive enough to commit involuntary manslaughter?
Monday, May 3, 2010
As the weather gets increasingly warm, and continuously sunny, we are plagued with the consistent desire to be outside. Even for the least of outdoorsies, which surprisingly is no longer myself. In an effort to satisfy this desire, I volunteered on Saturday to go to a natural farm outside of the town of Edessa and do a small amount of work while also learning about natural farming. Ok, natural farming as an idea is nice. It is simple, minimalistic, and offers its advocates a zero cost in production benefit in most cases after a few years. This movement started about 20 years ago in Greece, from what I understand mostly at the hand of the man whose farm I visited, and is an effort to bring back the farming trade. It appears that increasingly farming families are dying out and selling their land for corporate and conventional jobs, while farming is taken over by large production companies capitalizing on quantity as opposed to quality. The method of the particular type of farming I witnessed is seed throwing. The farmer will take the balls of clay and various seeds which we created and simply throw them over the land. Whatever seed prospers of the bunch will grow there, which result in fig trees next to tomato plants, peaches to squash. The farmer only waters twice a year in the summer, otherwise the farm is left for nature's caring. The farmer himself was a... simple creature. He was very intersted in not only explaining his farming techniques, but also his way of life. Very.. very.. natural. He says the core of life is relationships with people.. the way he was talking at times I thought perhaps he'd say plants. I don't particularly find anything wrong with this man's very simple thoughts on life and its purpose, but as someone of some education in the good, bad, and ugly realities... a "simple" life stands more to be somewhat of a "fantasy" life. Though, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't consider it a fantasy.. naivety is not a fantasy to me. I wish I could remember more of his thoughts which expressed better what I mean, because I have no argument with relationships being the core of happiness, but for the life of me I cannot. I only remember a distinct impression of (as my mother might describe) "hokey" philosophies.
Following the farm we went into Edessa to see the waterfall(s). Pictures can show well enough, gorgeous. It felt nice to be near water again, sometimes I wonder if I should have been born with fins. And the smell.. so intoxicatingly fresh.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
As previously mentioned, Thursday night I attended a heavily anticipated album presentation by the ever rising - Funky Monkey. As with the last time I watched perform in a separate band, John Gamilis proved to be still an entertainer in every sense of the word. While I have my reservations about the quality of his voice for the songs he is singing, I have no reservations about his ability to swing a crowd. Perhaps this is a more popular technique than I have made myself aware of, but I am consistently warmed by his habit of walking off stage - guitar in hand, and playing throughout the crowd. With a confirmed, "adorable" grin on his face, John will stop and play directly in front of a random group of people. If that doesn't connect you to someone you see as a *star* in one way or another.. I cannot say what will. Of course, the man sweats like no other, so I'd also say that anyone who uses the statement, "I was so close I could smell the sweat".. could have been standing in the bathroom. The band has a camaraderie on stage that presents a friendly atmosphere to the audience, I find that when the band members interact within themselves, it not only shows a bond to the audience but also instills in them an idea that perhaps the band would just as easily bond with you. Doesn't everyone just want to be with the band? It may have been where we were standing, but I did feel the sound system orientation was slightly off, too loud this, overbearing that, but I am in now way informed enough to report an opinion on that. The concert was great, atmosphere rocked ( pun intended ), the crowding was extraordinary, and despite a 3 hour deaf aftermath, I will always appreciate my ability to stand right at the front of the stage. Funk on.
Attached is a video of someone U.S. song throwbacks that got the crowd screaming, well perhaps just a few members of the crowd. All of their music is original, but there are a few good riffs of covers here and there. Also is attached is a picture of my new butter melter, used for cookie making and good times Charlie Brown.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I will be sure to write an actual blog in the next day or so, but I wanted to quickly share the papyrus I purchased in Egypt. It is Queen Cleopatra giving offering to the goddess of motherhood. I felt it suited me because of the colors, and the simple fact that my shining light - my dog - (her name) is Cleopatra.
"T'would not be me if t'were not up to som'ting."
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Last night I attended my third live show in Thessaloniki. I tell you, each time it is such a different experience. This band, Jane Doe, produces music with an interesting appeal. The lyrics and melodies have a subtle and enticing sound up until the climatic moments of each song where a true Rock sound comes out. Though I am not sure how the band would take this description, I feel like they are somewhat of an underground rock-indie sound. The myspace link below should allow for your own judgments, though no matter what the description I feel any listeners will be compelled by the songs. My favorite song ,"Le Petit Prince" (this is the name of the first French book I ever read as well) but the last night's crowd favorite was ,"Flesh Police" Dare you not to get it stuck in your head. During the song, "Flesh Police" a back-up vocal is done by the very talented Panos - who is the guitarist. And despite Panos' disagreement in my making this claim, Panos' talent as a live singer is of a stronger note than that of the lead singer's in the bands he plays in. However, his talent as a vocalist is matched only by his talent as a guitarist and it appears he cannot do both at the same time. Can't or Won't? Panos did however do a Portishead cover song where he sang, and videos were obtained which will only be released upon consent of the appropriate party members. Never said anything about photographs though. Make no mistake, Moss (the vocalist) has a voice which indeed fits the sound of Jane Doe and in no way disturbs the band's potential for success. Some of the other band members are involved in a separate band - Vain Velocity, which I have yet to see. While Jane Doe's talent is of no question, the venue's talents as a good host might be. I attended with the hope of being able to take some decent photographs, but the stark lighting made it impossible. At any rate, the sound and acoustics did not seem terribly affected and the band still received a sizable amount of applause and audience members dancing along to the music. Of all my favorite "air instruments", the most interesting has to be the "one arm air drum". Get it girl! The photos above are a collection from last night's performance as well as a separate night terrorizing the city. This Thursday, I am attending a show by Funky Monkey, a band recently signed to Universal Records in the U.S. and who's guitarist (John) I also saw at the Deniro concert a month or so ago. It is my understand that because of John's involvement in Professional Sinnerz, a Greek hip hop band, he and the upcoming Funky Monkey have reached a semi-celebrity status. Who knew, a Greek celeb would serve me drinks? Congratulations to the success of all the bands that I have seen so far, and those I have yet to see - truly my small involvement in the music scene of Thessaloniki only enhances my experience. Ah, what pride to see those I call friends on stage. Like a momma duck.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
As I wait for my chicken concoction to cook, I am faced with a certain dilemma that I fear all have experienced. But first, I am attempting to make Greek Chow mein ( not actually a Greek food) with chicken. Chicken pieces, over rice and sauteed mushrooms as my vegetable of choice with a fantastic tomato sauce over top and melted feta cheese. We shall see how it turns out. Anyone noticed my cooking using variations of the same ingredients? I am too mediterranean for my own good. And I don't know how to cook pork, though I might guess it's quite similar to chicken.
My dilemma is, "Where am I going?" I continue to be faced with the idea of having to leave Greece, which appears implausible. I will have to leave for a short time, but over the course of the past few weeks/ months I've developed ways to come back. I feel I have developed a life for myself here that I do not wish to replace. But let's say I have to stay in the states, by some horrible mishap. What would I do with myself? My degree is for what? An interesting and new field no doubt, but where does it give me a job? Internationally? That's ambiguous. What do I like? Everything. Literature, architecture, art.. oh how I miss painting and sketching...cooking, law, international relations. The list continues. At which point does something click that says - this is for me? My latest goal is simply this, to do whatever makes me happy.. until it doesn't. I do not want a career. I want a city I love. Be that Thessaloniki, or my dearest Philadelphia, or wherever I discover next. What I want out of life involves a contenment in where I live, this is the essence of me. I elect to find jobs that keep me there. For Thessaloniki, I could teach English, Philadelphia... I could write, I could start a business, be a hairstylist :-). The one thing I know about myself is that I do not have to prove my intelligence, I feel that is something apparent upon meeting me. In the way I speak and carry myself, I will always represent a bright-eyed, cynical, cultured, perceptive, intelligent...cocky... individual. My job therefore does not dictate how I am represented. Perhaps to some cutting hair is a job for those who saw it as their last available option, for me it's an opportunity to do something fun.. and social. Why does your job have to be "smart" for you to be "smart"?
I will revolve my life around the place I want to be, because the place I want to be is the place that I feel truly me.
What a fluffy blog!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saw this show on Friday April 15, 2010 @ Eightball, was an awesome show. Potentially, one of the best I've been to. I felt this band can be aptly described as intoxicatingly mesmerizing. The lead singer, a Greek Jesus dressed as a scottish man was an interesting performer. Clearly high, his spectacular dance moves and waves of the mic stand across the crowd left no question that he was flying on another level. The most intoxicating, however not aptly expressed in this video, was the alternating sounds of the bass. Arguably the loudest instrument, the bass player kept a continuous alteration between a few notes that were loud enough to make you feel totally encompassed by the sound.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Today was the Alexander the Great Marathon, right here in Thessaloniki. The smallest race I've ever experienced, there were about 600 participants - give or take 100. Of these participants, with the exception of a few elite athletes, there were only about 10 women. This completely baffles me, as in the states I feel there is a fairly even disbursement of sexes. As usual, not only was one "one of" the youngest participants, I was the youuuungest participant. Also, the only American. I met some interesting guys on the bus over and while waiting to begin. What I observed is that all of the "regular" participants look a little more than regular. Most were long time runners, training for bigger races. I guess the Greeks don't run as a whole, but those that do REALLY run. It was really interesting to be around such a large group of serious athletes. At races int eh states, there are elites, serious runner, and then those who just run for the experience. I did not meet any runners who were just there...nor did I find any that were using this race as their first. Including myself. That is such a nice thing to say, I guess i really am a marathoner. As for my time, I beat my last race time by 10 minutes. Funny part, I spent 9 months training for the last race, and did not train for this one at all. The most I had run was 6 miles, three weeks ago. Hoorah! At any rate I had a fantastic support team along the way. Two fabulous people braved the closed roads and detours of the unspectator friendly marathon and saw me in 2 spots. I've said it before, they will never understand how much that meant to me unless they themselves experience something like this. It's a complete mood-lifter to see familiar faces smiling back at you. Then, at the finish line were 10 people cheering me across the finish line. I hope that the race was a good experience for all who came out to support! Finally, I dedicated this race to "Greece and Peace in the Middle East". Made a t-shirt to go along with it and if you check tomorrow I will upload the photos on to this same blog.
Has anyone seen my knees?