Friday, October 2, 2009

dear blog

i am sorry for abandoning you for so long. life has just been a little crazy for the last few weeks, but more of the ugh-why-do-i-have-to-deal-with-this-bs crazy rather then hey-i-should-blog-about-this! crazy. i did not intend to ignore you for so long but i'm ready to revisit you anew.

some exciting news;

*i love my apartment and living with kate and clayton

*my windowsill garden seems to be doing well. hopefully within a month i'll have lettuce, spinach, chives, and radishes ready to go. the carrots probably won't work but i'm holding out hope for them anyway

*i've been applying to non-profit jobs left and right and i'm getting a better idea of what i want to be doing (direct services combined with program management in a socially conscious organization). haven't heard back from anything yet but i'm staying positive

*i have an interview at lush on monday. certainly not something i want to do long-term but i think it'd be a fun place to work until i find something more permanent. and the discounts!

*i bought an unlimited monthly subway pass this week and so far it's proven to be the best $90 i've ever spent, if for no other reason then because i'm forced to go out every day or else wind up feeling guilty for not taking full advantage of the money i spent. i love exploring this city

*i think i want to start on my MSW in the next year or so?

life is good.

Friday, August 28, 2009

oh golly!

a real update is coming soon, i promise! in the meantime, enjoy some of the music i've been making with my sisters.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


i am coming to realize that one of the ways in which my trip most profoundly affected me was with my relationship to food. working on organic farms, being intimately involved with the creation of the food i ate, seeing how these farmers had to struggle because they received so little governmental support, really changed the way i view eating. i have always been a fairly healthy eater--i was vegetarian for years (though i am decidedly not anymore and even after all of this consciousness-raising i've decided that ethical omnivorism makes more sense to me than vegetarianism) and i shy away from processed foods as much as possible. but what i am truly interested in now is creating my own food.

i find few things as satisfying as making something myself that i would have otherwise bought. it started out with crafts, specifically clothes, but i am beginning to expand on that. i'm making sun-dried tomatoes, sprouting mung beans, culturing kefir and yogurt. it may seem simple or silly but i take great pleasure in the feeling of connectedness it gives me with my food and the sense of accomplishment that comes with self-sufficiency.

and for the things i can't make myself i would now much rather buy them from a local farmer whose name i know than a big faceless company. or, if the farmer's market turns up dry, a small locally owned business. i think nice was the place where i first realized the joys of market shopping--the daily market in vieux-nice was huge and the array of vendors was astounding. there was literally a stall that sold only salt, at least 30 or 40 different kinds.

next to that was the olive oil man who could advise you on which oil to pair with the wine that you planned to serve with it. and because i worked at one of the farms i realized that these people NEED your business. it is their livelihood and oftentimes they are just barely scraping by. but they are doing something they believe in or carrying on the family livelihood and in the process are providing a necessary public service. because the difference between fennel that i had tried previously from supermarkets and that which i had in nice (picked that morning and driven no more than 10 miles) was astounding.

i was also shocked, throughout europe, to see how many people grow their own produce. as i trundled along the continent by train the vast majority of houses along the tracks had at least a small garden that was bursting with vegetables and fruit trees. even in suburbs just outside of cities i was amazed at how much produce people were able to fit into their backyards. to me gardening has always been something people do as a hobby, something that we did sometimes to give us a few tomatoes and zucchini, but not a viable source of food. i'm beginning to realize that i've been duped--i think that's a very american concept--"i'm going to use my acre of land to grow a lawn that i have to water every day and mow every other week and i'll buy all my produce from wal-mart." that's not to say europeans didn't have lawns--there was just usually at least a 10'x10' patch torn out to make way for edible plants. i am beyond excited that my new apartment in brooklyn has a rooftop terrace where i will be able to create a container garden.

this is not to say that i now only buy locally or eat things i make myself. though i would love to get to that point (a la barbara kingsolver) right now that is simply not feasible. but i'm trying to move in the direction of living a life that is more sustainable, more community-oriented, and far healthier in the long run.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

all good things must come to an end

after 162 days i am finally back in the states. our last night in munich was wonderful--jenn and i ate chinese food and gelato and stumbled across a phenomenal string quartet busking in front of a department store. it was absolutely spectacular and reminded me of just how much i adore good classical music.

yesterday i got into jfk with no hassles and was met by clayton, libby, ann, and arlene waiting for me at the gate. it's funny how quickly you fall back into routine--it truly feels like i never left. i am incredibly excited about our new apartment and can't wait to bring my stuff up from maryland so i can move in properly. i think dad is going to drive me and the girls down to annapolis on sunday and i'm planning on spending 2 weeks or so there before coming back to brooklyn permanently. i want time to see all of my friends and soak up plenty of mom-time.

even though this blog was originally intentioned to be about my travels i plan on keeping up with it as i adjust to my new life in nyc. updates may not be as frequent (and possibly not as interesting) but it's nice to have an outlet. and besides, i'm hoping on taking many more trips in the future so i need to have a place to write about them!

Monday, July 27, 2009

nearing the end

jenn and i just got to munich. it was supposed to be a 6 hour train ride but we missed the first train (by an inch! we went to the wrong station and we literally just missed it) so we had to wait around for 4 hours and then the train we caught was late so we missed our connection and had to wait 2 more hours. in total we were in transit for 14 hours. but now we are in munich so i am happy.

we only have one day in munich so i think we'll do a free walking tour to get oriented with the city and then explore on our own. jenn still hasn't tried any kind of german sausages so we need to remedy that. then on wednesday my flight is at 1030 am so i'll have to get a bright and early start. i can't believe i'll be back in new york in 48 hours. insane.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ich bin ein berliner

berlin is absolutely amazing. yesterday jenn and i went on a free walking tour which hit all of the major sites (the brandenburg gate, the berlin wall, checkpoint charlie, etc) and that provided a really great overview of the city.

today we went to sachsenhausen concentration camp outside of the city. it was a sobering experience. walking into the barracks i was hit by a wave of nausea and i couldn't stay inside for long. i didn't take any pictures either because it seemed cheap. the point was being there.

we decided to stay one extra day in berlin so we'll be going to prague on friday morning. we've booked the rest of our hostels now so we're all set for the rest of the trip, which is a little bit bittersweet. i still can't believe i'm going home so soon. but it's coming at a good time because homesickness has pretty much settled in and it's getting mildly unbearable. i'm still enjoying myself, of course, but i kind of can't wait to get home.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

i'm famous!

remember how i said i was interviewed for an article on couchsurfing? you can find the link to it here at my host romy's blog. she kindly translated it from swiss-german into english.

also, my comment on architecture was totally silly. she asked me what i noticed about the area we were in and i couldn't really think of anything so it just sort of seemed like the right thing to say. evidently it wasn't but whatever, i'm ok with coming off like an ignorant american every once in awhile.