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?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This one will be quite short. My observations in Egypt are as follows:
I enjoyed it more so in the financial aspect, because it is such a poor country, it felt more accessible. At the same time, in a cultural way, it is incredibly inaccesible. Those that know me well enough, my Mother in particular, know from elementary school I've had a strong opposition to injustice. This is proven by a bathroom incident involving myself and a third grader. So, one might understand how deeply I felt the oppression of women in Egypt. A strong believer in, "Anything you can do, I can do better," I constantly felt the need to influence a change in one way or another. I think through my experiences thus far in life, I've figured out that any human rights work I might fall into would have to have something to do with the education and empowerment of the female status in societies. Education, in my opinion, is key. I have reason to believe I am backed up on this aspect by many scholars - as well as the Millennium Development Goals. These goals were set out to help improve the lives of those living in still developing countries, some of these goals include education and status of women, ending poverty, reducing child mortality.. improving child health. I don't wish to say this intentionally as an insult, but rather a hard observation. At the hotel for example, it was clear that the women working were completely inadequate intellectually. It wasn't about the language barrier, it was a genuine lack of knowledge. I did get used to the head coverings, and had expected them... but found it difficult to get used to the "ninja style" where nothing shows. NOTHING. Wearing all black, gloves included, women see out of mesh eye slits. I wonder what this feels like? I wonder, had I grown up in this society, and let's say not been exposed to tourists or any other outside world - would I even notice the injustice? I am sad to say, that even being the stubborn ass that I am, I do not think I would. This is a depressing thing, you nearly wonder why we as women aren't born with this innate instinct to knock men off their high horses, when they ride them. If given the opportunity, and the appropriate situation I would only ask of these women one thing," Are you satisfied this way?" Although I fear with what I have studied and learned about this religious practice, the only response I would get would be along the lines of being satisfied because the husband, children, and Allah are satisfied.
Today Varvara and I painted nails, I did hers.. She did mine. Anything to get this munchkin chuckling. We've made a new deal, everything I teach her in English, she gets too teach me in Greek.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Yia Sas! I tell you, it is truly good to be home. Now 2 days back, it's hard to imagine ever wanting to leave Thessaloniki again. However, over the course of my Spring Break I saw parts of the world I had not anticipated the opportunity to see at such a young age. I'd say, for the amount of time I've been on this earth, I've been incredibly fortunate to do some of the things I've done.
The Break started in Naples, after a full 24 hours of unnecessary traveling. Six hours train to Athens for a cheaper 2 hour flight to Rome, of course waited in the airport for 7 hours for the flight. When we finally reached Rome we took a train to Naples. The money I saved was not worth the sleep I lost. At any rate we arrived and spent our days in Napoli eating pizza, seeing the waterfront, taking advantage of cheap shops, having daily doses of true gelato, and seeing the first ever Opera house. While in Naples, we used our location to take a ferry to the island of Capri. Capri houses the blue grotto, which unfortunately we could not see due to chopping waters. However, we spent the day wondering through cobblestone streets, window shopping and hiking to views of the island. While you enter the port of Capri at sea lever, you reach the city of Capri by taking a cable car up for the island is like one big rock sticking out of the water. Hm, is that the definition of an island? Well, with clue-green water, crystal light reflecting sunbeams, and plant growth that seemed of imagination.. Capri was truly a wonder. It's one of the beautiful places in the world that just makes you want to sit down. Another day we took the metro to see the city of Pompeii. While the girls and I found it easy to get lost in this expansive tragic city, and still dispute the accuracy of the map, seeing the remains of a city once destroyed was intriguing. I think at one point you begin to think of the people living there when the volcano erupted. This could be caused by the display of preserved bodies found in the vineyard area. What appealed to be is the preservation of the frescoes on my of the walls in the houses. Some still maintained substantial coloring.
After Napoli, we ventured to Rome. Our first day, upon arrival, we saw the Colosseum and the Roman forum. The colosseum was probably my favorite part of Rome, the idea of gladiators I think for me has always been a subject of fascination. The structure itself though is absolutely larger than life. On our second day we saw the Vatican museum and St. peters Church. On Wednesdays the Pope makes a weekly 2 hour speech in front of St. peters, luckily we went on a Wednesday, so I was able to see the Pope. It's just too bad he's rumored to be a pedophile, the hundreds of people standing int he courtyard seemed to really adore him. Within the Vatican museum I saw countless works of art, like Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel for example. It's sad how much art has changed since that time, it seems somehow less important today. The remaining days in Rome we saw the Spanish steps, castles, Trevi fountain, a local art gathering, and lots of McDonald's coffee. After 3 days, I think we were all ready to leave Italy.. so the next two days we spent dragging ourselves around.
I don't believe I can bear to write more tonight. Next blog will be about Egypt. Tomorrow, back to school, nannying, and 6 days to the Marathon.
Friday, April 2, 2010
We are in countdown mode, 4 hours until train to airport... 7 hours overnight in airport. Plane to Athens, an hour between flight to Egypt, then a day of rest before we begin on Sunday at the pyramids. Will be riding camels, pestered, and sweating, but we hope the time will fly with enjoyment. I think we've had enough Italy :-). Just an update on my whereabouts, will be speaking to you again in about a week all. Let's hope for our continued safety.