Thursday, November 30, 2006

You To Thank

I'm not sure exactly what everyone's Thanksgiving looked like this year, but I have a pretty good imagination. Since Jackie and I were in Greece on Turkey Day, we created our own slightly belated version of the holiday. We planned everything out on the plane on our way back to Brussels and we were not prepared to skimp on anything. The menu included turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert. We were ready to have quite a feast.

As we wandered down the three aisles of our grocery store, it became obvious that our menu would need some amending: turkey, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are apparently not grocery store staples at this time of year in europe. Our turkey was replaced by chicken. For rolls we had a choice of croissants or baguettes, so we had pringles. Pumpkin pie turned into chocolate mousse pie, which consisted of squished frosted cookies with pre-made mousse dalloped - ok, piled - on top. Basically, it was one of the more memorable Thanksgivings I've had on a Monday. Ok, it's the only one.-Ben Folds-

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can't Get You Out of My Mind

So I didn't have much of a turkey coma this year. But I did just get home from five wondrous days in Greece. I can hardly begin to describe the place and my complete obsession/fascination with it. But here is my ode and a few favorite photos:

relics, ruins, oh so pleasing
tossing waves and winds a'teasing
boat rides leave me nauseous, cautious
autumn winds leave locals freezing
wanting, wishing, nothing more
than time upon Aegina's shore
sunshine shines on coastal boulders
kisses lips and toes and shoulders
temples touch a foreign sky
I dream -
I gaze -
I wonder -
O, marble city on a hill
where Paul once taught and people still
find solitude in Pagan cries
of earth and sea and sand and skies

Here I am with never-ending Athens. It really seemed to go on in all directions forever.
There were beautiful orange trees lining most streets. They were just so appealing, I had to pick one. With one bite I discovered why they were still on the trees - it was the most bitter sour citrus experience of my life.The Plaka stayed alive after sunset. There were plenty of Greek sales people trying to lure us in to buy their cheap mini parthenons. We only succumbed to one sympathetic shoemaker from whom we each bought a pair of sandals.Here I am with the Temple of Zeus. See how tiny I am? That's just how big the thing is. It is still blowing my mind.First modern Olympics: 1896. Yessss.
This dear little woman tends the church at the top of Lykavittos Hill. She was so quintessentially Greek, I just had to do a discreet photo shoot of her.
And here is the church with the bright blue sky. When we arrived, a storm threatened and the scene was completely black and white.
On our way down from Philopappou Hill after sunset.Jackie and me on Aegina. It was so so sunny and warm. We were pretty happy about that.We saw a pretty amazing sunset from an unassuming dock in the fishing village of Perdika.
There are all kinds of intimate little churches around the coast line of Aegina. On Sunday morning we rode bicycles around the coast and rang the bells of all the churches hoping to fill the tiny chapels. It didn't work.We left the islands and the seagulls in the sunset.

Ok, so I realize that this blog barely skims the surface of my 800+ photos from my Greek experience. Here's a video so you can experience everything I did. Well, kind of.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Gift

Every once in a while, I'll receive a gift and wonder if it was a mistake. I don't mean that to sound like an expression of ingratitude. But often the implications of a gift go far beyond the gift itself. Whenever I'm left wondering what misdeed was done to deserve such a thing, it's typically not a good sign.

I am reminded of the time when I was 13 and babysitting frequently for a family in my neighborhood. When I arrived one Tuesday around Christmas, Beth graciously handed me a beautifully wrapped package as she headed out the door to leave me to tend her daughters. I'm pretty sure her husband was the one to take the next shift and I took my gift home to open it alone. I removed the bow and carefully peeled the tape from the corners to reveal an extra large men's pajama top - green and covered in alligators. The term 'complete shock' come to mind. I'm sure I spent some time looking through the paper to see if the pants were somewhere. They weren't. Then I wondered if maybe I had accidentally received a gift that was intended for her extra large husband. If I were to confront the alleged error and it weren't an error, I would look like a fool. And if I thanked the family for their gift and they realized the error, we would all look like fools. And if I said nothing... well then we could all just pretend it hadn't happened. Husband could enjoy his alligator pajama pants with a t-shirt, while I swam in my own sea of reptile fabric, forever uncertain of the intention of such a gift. And that's exactly what happened.

My thirteen year-old mind didn't really project any intended meaning into the awkward gift, I simply accepted it as strange. But perhaps the cynicism that comes with nearly 25 years of life has changed me. When I came into work on Monday and saw something strange on my desk, I first asked my coworker what it was. When she didn't know, I realized immediately that I was once again victim to the strange gift syndrome. Only this time, nothing was done to conceal it. Alone on my desk, wrapped only in clear plastic, was a single placemat and set of chopsticks. Later, my boss came in and confirmed that it was, in fact, intentional. It was to "thank me for all my extra work in making Medica a success." Sure, it was thoughtful of them to get me something, but since then I've had a while to develop different theories about the true origin and/or implications of my gift.

First of all, I was thrown off by the fact that it was a single place mat. Don't placemats usually come in sets? Who did they pawn off the other placemats on as gifts? Past interns? Who knows. The fact that there is just one makes me wonder what they must think will come of me - maybe that I'll become some lonely girl sitting in an apartment alone eating chinese take-out alone. Well, you never know... but who are they to assume it? Basically, I've decided that it was just some rejected house deco. For as much as I would have liked the Buddha statue instead, I've learned that gift recipients cannot be choosers.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

City Rain, City Streets

It looks like the real Belgium will be making an appearance all week.-Ryan Adams-

Trying to Sit Out

I just returned from a week in Germany. I was there for work, to participate in Medica, the world's largest medical exhibition. Over the course of the week, whilst I ran around 17 exhibition halls and did my best to make a dent in talking to the 4,000 exhibitors there about entering the European market, I learned a lot. There are some things that I never even wanted to know but am now sure of. Sorry, I realize that I just ended that last sentence in a preposition.... deal with it. Among the highlights:

1. Twenty-four hours a day with the family of a family business of which you are an employee but not a member of the family is way too much.

2. Hearing your bosses voice whilst in your pajamas is super freaky.

3. Seeing your boss in his pajamas (or lack thereof) is even more freaky.

4. These people really are work-aholics. The show opened at ten. What time did we get there? Eight. It closed at six. What time did we leave? Eight. I got home from the day at 11:15 pm each night.

5. Talking to people from America or Brazil will always make me a little nostalgic, regardless of the level of coolness of my current living situation.

6. Five Israeli men + One French man + One American girl = Six people actually picking up my fork and knife and trying to teach me the "correct" way to hold my utensils. I was pretty upset when this happened. I think they could tell and backed off.

7. Despite the amount of laughter that accompanies a conversation, Hebrew is still not funny.

8. Getting a break from the office is... not as fun when you're still with your bosses and doing work.

9. It is possible to get car sick - even in the best Mercedes on the market - if you get lost in a parking lot for over an hour while trying to follow a GPS that is unfamiliar with the territory.

10. Day six of 24x7 with me and my 30-year-old-son-of-our-CEO manager = me saying things to him that I would normally regret immediately, but cannot and do not because of his joyous reaction at me actually speaking my mind.

him: "How old are you again?"
me: "Twenty-four, I'll be 25 in a few weeks"
him:"TWENTY-FIVE?! What are you doing with your life?"
me: "I don't know. Maybe I'll work for my dad and let him pay my cell-phone bill."
him:"Ouch. Good job."

11. If you want to get a word in edgewise, sometimes it's best to just find the nearest medical dummy and vent to him.
-Field Music-

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Delicate Place

Every time I go to the Grand Place I have a different experience. And with each one I think I fall a little more in love with the place.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Just One Thing

first thing I noticed this morning:
-blue sky, yessss

random thing I appreciate in a person:
-ability to write well

thing I miss right now:
-my mission

thing I decided today:
-I'm joining the peace corps when I turn 30 (if I'm not busy with other things)

another random thing I appreciate in a person:
-good taste in music and/or appreciation for my [fantastic] taste in music

random thing that I'm a little OCD about:
-the organization of dishes in the dishwasher

thing I haven't done in a long time that I need to do:
-listen to an entire CD, start to finish

thing I'm really good at:
-keeping in touch

thing I wish I were better at:
-giving advice

another thing I haven't done in a while that I should:
-sit down and write a good, old-fashioned handwritten letter... but to whom?

thing I need to develop more tolerance for:

-boring people (or do I?)

thing I'm listening to right now:
-La Boheme, though I'm not sure it exactly exhibits what I would consider my traditional fantastic taste in music... it's Sunday

thing I ate today:
-the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life - how could anything in europe with cheese not be good?

thing I'm really excited about:
-going to greece next week!

thing I wished for today:
-better public transportation in more american cities

thing I'm trying not to think about:

-well, admitting it wouldn't help the cause very much, now would it?

-My Morning Jacket-

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You and Whose Army?

Yesterday we missed the train to Aachen, Germany by a few minutes. Instead of waiting two and a half hours for the next one, we decided to explore something a little closer to home; Armistice Day in Waterloo. We climbed 226 stairs to the monument in honor of the location where Prince Guillaume of Orange was wounded. We enjoyed the view from the top of Butte de Lion. We mourned over the loss of 40,000 people. We played with toy guns in the gift shop. It was a good day.

I can say I was a little depressed to discover that I (almost) single-handedly allowed the Democrats to take control of the Senate by not being responsible enough to somehow obtain an absentee ballot in order to cast my ever-important Virginian vote. I'd like to apologize for anything bad this could - and probably will - mean in the next few years. I'm sorry.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Million Ways To Be Cruel

I've noticed this trend in the blogging community, of telling twelve unidentified people anything you want. Reading Jared's, Christina's, Becca's, and Adrienne's lists had me pensive and itching with curiosity. I thought about doing my own. I thought about writing twelve things to one unidentified person. I thought about twelve people and what they might want to say to me. I thought about writing haikus to twelve people. So what I'm trying to say is, I'm trying to come up with a way to copy everyone else while maintaining some originality. So far, mission unaccomplished. But when I come up with something, you'll see it here.

-OK Go-

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cold To Colder

I'm not really cold right now. I am quite toasty. But I am looking out my window at the cold, black night and I'm still at work. Realizing that sends a cold shudder down my spine like the fierce icy wind that is yet weeks away. Work has been a drag today, but you can't say I didn't accomplish something while I was here. I present pallindrome haiku:

i am so tired.
think and sit. you sit and think,
"tired? so am i."

-Sasha Dobson-
Blog Widget by LinkWithin