May 31, 2009

2 days in Israel are down.  It is hard to explain all I have seen because it is jumbled, mixed in with olive groves, eternal sunshine, ancient sites that are written about in the Bible with little kids kicking a half-flat soccer ball against it.  It is loud, chaotic, people on cell phones everywhere, lots of skin showing by Israelis while the Muslims and Druze are more covered as you would expect.

I am in northern Israel, about an hour south of Lebanon.  Yesterday we visited a Druze village and I had my first exposure to Israeli food, hummus, tahini, different salads, pita, lamb and rice, man oh man is it good! They also make a good lemonade in this country.

There was some folk dancing down on the beach last night and today we had a full day, visiting Nazareth and then driving through a small village next to it where Jesus performed his first miracle turning water into wine and then to the Sea of Galilee, visiting a kibbutz and a place for christians to go and be baptised in about the same spot that Jesus was baptised.  We had a great fish lunch on the eastern side of the Sea and it was fantastic.  We made it to Tsfat, the home of Jewish mysticism and then got back around 7pm tonight.

Tomorrow is Akko where I plan to take 2 rolls of film hopefully, some grottoes right next to the Lebanese border and then Tuesday off to Jerusalem!



Sotomayor is a racist?

May 27, 2009

I have to stop reading news sometimes because it upsets me.  In fact, the more I learn about the world, the angrier and more frustrated and hopeless I can feel.  But I also have to know what is happening.  The world is being shifted by a few major players in the world (and mostly with reference to the US) and I have to know what they’re up to.  And sometimes, my little, probably-monitored phone call to a congressman or congresswoman, might have an effect on the weighty decisions they make.

I had a long day, taught 4 classes, Franziska left this morning to go home for a couple of days, she’s there now and we’ll see each other on Friday again.  I have 4 more classes to teach tomorrow and then I am off work for more than a week.  I am drinking some Disaronno amaretto that I got for my birthday and watching the Champions League finale of Manchester United vs. Barcelona.  Much love ya’ll…

ps congrats to commenter/friend Mooney who got engaged last week.  Good for you, bro!

The day after 35

May 25, 2009

A hot lazy weekend was my 35th birthday.  Hung with some friends on Friday afternoon and evening, then spent the whole day on Saturday with Franziska.  We hiked to the top of the local mountain which kicked our ass and then we got back and she cooked an amazing dinner of asparagus and schnitzel, then she baked me a cheesecake for my birthday which was perfect!

Sunday we slept until 11am and then after a nice breakfast, met some friends for a late lunch early dinner at a restaurant outside of town.  Simple food, cheap drinks and warm weather was a nice capper to the birthday.  We got home around 8pm and spent the rest of the evening just being together and having a great time.  We woke up around 9-9:30am today and both were grateful we didn’t have to work today.  I got a haircut, did some lesson plans and now am trying not to melt before I do some typing.  I have about 75 pages typed so far and I’m quite happy about that.  I plan to do some writing this weekend so that when I come back from Israel I can just write about Israel and it will be fresh and real in my mind.

How are you?

What does 35 mean?  It seems to have meant more to others than to me but I am quite happy with my life.  I would like to change a few things, namely healthier eating and living, being more productive and less lazy.  However, I like who I am, I love my life, I love the woman I am with. It’s important to find the happy medium between satisfied with life and striving for more.  I am somewhere between those.

birthday week

May 22, 2009

I gotta tell you, this week has been great.  I went jogging in the humid morning still tired, then couldn’t take a shower because we aren’t getting hot water, yesterday I hung out at Franziska’s the whole day and it was fantastic, just chilling out, watching a movie, some tv, reading, relaxing, making a kick ass dinner of  lemon and garlic roasted potatoes and broccoli, yum!

Tonight there is a plan but no definitives if it is happening or not.  A band from Green Bay is playing in Swamp tonight and they play like 60s surf rock or something.  That is the plan but I’m not too sure about it.  Right now I am tired and dirty in my place, thinking of taking a nap.

Tomorrow Franziska and I are going to give hiking another chance, the weather should be cooperating.  Saturday night we are going to either cook something amazing or we are going to go out to eat.

Sunday is my 35th birthday.  The only plan is to go to outdoor restaurant in the black forest for an early dinner or something like that.  A movie might also be good this weekend, who knows?

I’m getting more and more excited about Israel.  I started doing some packing today, it will be the first time with my new backpack, which is a bit smaller and more compact than the one I have been using the past 8 years.  Can you believe that? I’ve been using the same travel backpack since my first trip to Europe in June of 2001.  The only reason I have a new backpack is because the daypack I had needed repairs but Eagle Creek said that I was eligible for a whole new bag because they didn’t make that pack anymore.  So I chose one, then returned it and ended up getting exactly what I got Franziska for Xmas and I really like it.  It’s got some different features that I will have to get used to but I’m getting excited about taking it on the road.  I could still very well use my old bag because it is in perfectly fine shape.  That bag has been to about 40 countries.  It has seen some life.

June 20th, my new exhibition date

May 19, 2009
from San Pedro, Guatemala, this little guy may just become the flyer for my new exhibition.

from San Pedro, Guatemala, this little guy may just become the flyer for my new exhibition.

I got the call today, it’s been confirmed that my next photo exhibition will be on June 20th at Jos Fritz, the location of my last “big” exhibition in July 2007.  If I’m not mistaken, this is my first exhibition in a year and a half.  It’s about damn time.

But, what while watching Office Space in a business English class less than 3 miles from the Swiss border, I wrote in my journal that I want this exhbition to be SIMPLE.  I have spent hundreds of euros on exhibitions before and I want to minimize costs and set up.  I need to buy the black boards and paint to put the photos on.  That will cost 50 euros. I will buy 10 bottles of champagne.  That’s another 20 euros (no, it’s sparkling white wine, not (ahem) champagne).  I am willing, at this moment to put another 30 euros of costs into the exhibition but on what?

On a different note, I can’t believe the media would rather let the “torture story” to drift to Pelosi v. CIA instead of Cheney promoting torture and on investigations.

I went jogging today, need to shower before getting dinner with the roommates.  One of them is moving to London so…

Remembering the Mayans

May 16, 2009
This isn't a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon, is it?

This isn't a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon, is it?

I just painted this, thinking of a sunrise that Franziska and I saw in northern Guatemala in late August of 2008.

Roommate S

May 11, 2009

It appears we may have a new roommate.  We had two girls come over today and hang out with us for a second time to see if there was a connection.  The first girl was certainly nice enough, a medicine student from Heidelberg but I have to be honest that I had trouble understanding her, mostly because she spoke with a smile.  You know how some people just have more saliva in their mouths than other people?  The second girl, Roommate S came in.  We had had pasta with the first girl and with the second a glass of wine, hanging out and talking and letting them see the apartment again.

They were both very nice people and we can’t go wrong with our decision but the second girl just seemed a bit easier to get to know and connect with.  It’s hard to explain but some people are accessible as individuals and some aren’t.  And there are many shades in between.  I mean, just because I’m an open book in many ways doesn’t mean that others are.  That’s been one of the hardest things about growing up, is realizing that just because I am this way or that, or feel a certain way about something doesn’t mean that others will feel the same, even with things that I feel there shouldn’t be another position to hold.  You just learn to accept that some people aren’t going to be like you.  Well Roommate S was a bit more like me in the respect that you had the feeling you could get to know her as a person more easily, thus having more to talk about and more importantly, the brief encounters in an apartment between roommates can be smooth and easy.

You know what I’m talking bout.

So we’re sleeping on it tonight but for now we’ve made our decision.  I am ripping more cds to my harddrive after I have already done a couple hundred in the past month.  The last cd was Fiona Apple 12 May 2000 Osaka.  I have not listened to it twice in 6 years but it will be in my harddrive as data that I can access when I feel like it and you know what, I listened to a song and the sound is fine and I’m stoked that someday, when disposable income is not spent on cds and concerts, I will have a plethora of things to listen to to keep me entertained.