we went to church this morning, but stayed only in the tourist areas, strolling about taking pictures (which i will try to post later this evening) of the thirteen geese that represent the thirteen years of saint eulaulla's all too short life back in 800 ad and the automatic votive candle dispensing machines. we did eventually enter the enormous gothic cathedral and began watching the catalan sunday service but, you know, it was church and really the best part was the choir of young boys singing awesomely in a way i had never heard music before, so foreign that it took me a while to even recognize what was making the sounds.
we ended up over by the museum of contemporary art, but had so little interest in going inside that we needn't even discuss it. instead, we took pictures of the terrific graffiti outside and while amanda discovered the gift/bookstore i watched boys ride skateboards and a girl with bright yellow and orange hightop tennis shoes try to ride a unicycle, and big dogs talk with and sometimes try to fight one another.
barcelona though is quickly coming to a pleasant end -- the only thing of real interest left to do is go see the sharks in the aquarium that has a transparent tunnel at the bottom that you walk through while being surrounded completely by them. yes. that is the thing to do. then onto the south of spain.
i am in barcelona. i will admit i am slightly tipsy after drinking wine and talking politics with all the american, canadian, and australian boys at the youth hostel. ( i think i won! they all asked me about war and oil and economy and history, and i had all the answers and they listened and nodded and became more enthusiastic after proclaiming themselves on the fence and even asked me to tell them all about che guevara. ) sam, the australian medical student, whom i immediately got into a conversation about cognitive science with after arriving late last night, i realized this morning is actually going to egypt in two weeks too... which would be neat. it would be neat to know someone, a friend-like person, other than my sister while i am there. though i am so looking forward to seeing reema! and my cousin noorah the journalist! and her boyfriend aghiad! everyone is going to egypt! ... but spain is great, too. it is easy and nice and cheap enough and will be hard to leave, and leave just before carnival at that. carnival! i want carnival! i missed carnival by one day when i was in cuba, and it seems i am heading for a repeat... oh oh oh, this is enough for now, ay? the only other things, the only notable things really i can think of, is:
1) walking underneath one of the enormous gothic cathedrals in barri gothic (our neighborhood) and being amazed by it so much that i wanted to be catholic (and tomorrow is sunday and maybe i will even go to a morning service to consume the body of christ in the presence of god).
2) walking down to the dogdey beach after dark, drinking a bottle of wine and watching little kids run away/towards the ocean and then screaming at it at the top of their lungs, so much so that they convinced theire tiny little sisters snug in their strollers to shriek at it too.
3) walking underneath a bridge between what must have been two cathedrals or churches, with stone saints and sheep sheep sticking straight out horizontally from the walls, their faces/hooves to us... it is a hard scene to describe, gravity-defying scene. i will just have to take pictures of it with my wonderful digital camera, ay?
yikes. i was already full of shots and viruses that made my arms sore and my head foggy, and now at half past two in the morning, i am all blurried eyed from last minute preparations for leaving tomorrow--er, i mean today... which seems both so soon and not soon enough.
egypt via spain. amanda and then my sister. the first part of the two year independent intensive international affairs program.
was there something i was supposed to do for you? have i neglected to write or call? i'm sorry, but listen -- i'll be home in a month. about a month. i'll return and do it all. i promise.
Wednesday. Again I get back down to Richmond very late at night and apparently miss all the people who showed up with fresh homemade samosas waiting at my door -- the regrets are all mine and many. Jonathan and I are sleepy, but we end up happily at Evrim Dogu's to see him, recently returned from London, and Emily Pilachowski, on her way to Maine in the dead of the winter. We eat the best olives in the world and look at pictures of people taking pictures.
The next moring, we eat avocados and toast with Emily at Kuba Kuba, and she tells about how she is going to work at the Anti-Gravity Center as we drive her to the bus station. We find Evrim again in the afternoon and eat thai curries together before going to see Adaptation, where I laugh too loud and ellicit mean looks from old ladies who cackle later. I end up at Andrew Bourne's that evening, making him spaghetti, and man oh man, I'm not gonna do that again anytime soon. That's when it started to snow.
Friday morning, Jason Laferrara shows up after a long night and gives us delicious milky candy and a Pat Benatar CD, which Jonathan and I immediately play each of our favorite songs on while we tuck ourselves into ever warmer layers. We collect Kelly and Dana, and between the four of us we've got three boogie boards to use as sleds. We head for Forest Hill Park, where there are a million people spinning down slick hills. We wander off into the woods and find dangerous and incredibly fun runs to sleigh down inbetween big tree trunks and little saplings, always trying to stop just before the creek. We take breaks and tell stories about bicycles and surfboards and big waves and hurricanes and horrible accidents and almost horrible accidents that involve almost being hit by trains.
All tuckered out, we head towards Tony and Rebecca's, who give us tea and get us to babysit for their two daughters. Asilyne is only eight months old and had never ever been away from her mom before, and she cried the entire time, which was cool -- we understood and Jonathan and I took turns carrying her about the house, looking for her parents, while little Hana who is three I think was very good and helped me put peas in the pasta sauce. Tony and Rebecca came home just in time for us to go meet Ryan McSweeney at the Byrd to see the Ring, which was scary. Jonathan and I stayed up at night, huddled together, hearing spooky sounds and giggling about how scary it was.
Yesterday morning, Ryan and I had breakfast together, and last night I went over to his house and fried plantains for a million people at his potluck. He opened up the good wine after we were all sloshed on the bad stuff, and I drank it down with the fig preserves he presented me, insisting I eat tiny spoonfuls of it. Jakey was there -- she is from Philly and got a tattoo of my octupus t-shirt on her leg that turned out gorgoueus -- and we talked excitedly about cooking, promising to trade secrets about sauces and tofu when I return. Poor Jonathan finally pulled me away and when he got me home, I bugged him and teased him until we both couldn't do anything except fall sound asleep with Beezus curled up on top of us.
It all feels like a going away party and I guess really it is just that. I wanted to write it all down here, while eating a breakfast of a sandwich and a beer.
My father bought my sister the tinyist digital camera ever and I cannot get my shots -- hep a, typhoid, and polio -- until the 22nd. I sat and stewed and tried to think of ways to combat and control feelings and rememberances I ought to be able to reconcile rationally... I decided on making turkish coffee. I tried calling Evrim Dogu so he could remind me of his method, but he is busy with the first day of class/richmond. So I poured the single cup of cold water into the pot, topped it with a heavy spoon of coffee and turned the flame on. The lumps of coffee looked as if a monster was pulling them down into the developing swamp, and when I dropped the sugar in and let it boil briefly, the bubbles on the edge looked like thousands of drowning men scrambling to find a hold on the slick white walls ...to no avail.
I drank it all then used the saucer as a lid on the cup, flipped it all over and waited until the saucer sitting upside down was cool to the touch. This is what I saw in the grounds: pyramids in the desert radiating up towards the sky ethereally, a forest -- no, mountains -- mountains with someone in the sky over them dark and watching, a woman falling from the sky in a loose carefree dress, a tear drop I think, something big and dark and indecipherable -- black clouds? clouds of smoke? from bombs? war -- in the mountains at the edge of the desert, and a man drowning in a sea of land, his arms up and waving. I almost didn't see him.
My friends are being tried today. I hope they are okay.
I drank a few beers and then went to work on the richmond imc website... but you can't see any of that yet. Reema packed into the night...we'd bought her packages of underwear and first aid kits earlier in the day, and looked at musical things like mp3 players and cd burners though in the end she ended up with only some rechargeable batteries and a White Stripes cd.
I worked until 3am and slept until 1pm, warning my family to not wake me up. I plugged the stereo into the bathroom wall socket, took a shower, and listened to that one song by Bright Eyes very loudly ...where is the kid with the chemicals?... a thing I used to do way back in high school that I noticed my sister now does. At least she got something good from me. I'll make her special spanish omelets before she leaves this evening, and try to find a way to get my own shots for Egypt before I too am gone.
A long day of a single graduation party full of grown up family friends and their children. We drink wine and eat arabic food and I talk about everything to everyone, trying to answer everyone's same question in a different way each time. So what are you going to do now? I am going to start a hostel, I am going to go to Egypt, I am going to play only videogames all the time now. Sally Haddad who is wonderful and the most talkative ever pulled my aside and told me at length about her friend Jeanette who has psychic abilities and finds dead bodies with them and who is moving to Richmond and who has two psychic daughters I should babysit for, and then Sally promptly called her on the telephone and Jeanette and I talked happily about all that while one of her daughters ran around happily, naked and shrieking at the talk of her lungs in some indecipherable language.
Towards the end of the evening, only the arabs were left and we talked about diseases and politics and the men broke out into poetry, arabic poetry that is older than everything, that raises and falls with their faces and smiles. Pictures were taken and wine bottles finished, the last the devil's food cake was packed away and my sister started packing for Egypt.
Last night I had a very bad dream and woke up in the morning in a state of overwhelming terror and dread. It ruined me all day long -- I felt ill and shivered and did things slowly with great pain, if I even did them at all. Jonathan left and I held onto him as much as I could before that. We played poker with my parents, using slim little netherlands chocolate as our betting chips, and Jonathan cleaned up with straights and flushes, while Reema's friends conglomerated and watched very bad movies very loudly in the next room.
I thought: this is ridiculous -- I am going where? without him? for how long? and the only thing that helped was him winning all my chocolate with 1 out of 65,000 chance hands.
so it is the year two thousand and three and capital letters aren't all that important.
i am sitting here, it feels as if it is very quiet, but really dntel is playing quite loudly. it is just because there is no one else in the house and there have been a lot of everyone elses around lately. i am calm and content after days of flustered fast-paced trying to get shit done before i leave town. i uncovered the beautiful green lotus tea cup contraption kyong brought back for me from korea forever ago that had promptly broken itself after i proclaimed it was my favorite thing, and now here in the present tense i am patiently glueing it...and my fingers...back together. since i am leaving.
since i am leaving, i bought a two hundred and sixty-four disc CD book. it is enormous, the biggest ever, and still i got all the way to R before i realized that not all of my music was going to fit. and no, i am not bringing it all with me. that would be silly. i am just trying to safety proof it for while i am gone and it is not under my watchful eye. i'm pleased that beezus finds the massive book a comfortable alternative to my previous precarious rows of cds. she is curled up sleeping on it.
in neglecting to write, i have almost entirely forgotten what my interval of the unwritten past has been. there were holidays...they were good. uneventful in a good way, restful for the first time ever. um...new years eve was spent in geometry/concrete park popping champagne bottles while jonathan slide down triangles. brent cody caught it all on videotape. i hear it hilarious. there was a lot of bike riding in the rain and finally we got ourselves to parties, though not the same ones. i invited jonathan on a date in our house by ourselves not answering the phone all day long on the second day of the new year, and that was rad. the most fun ever. we ate only luxorious eggplant persian stew and watched movies and enjoyed each others company all day long....
there is the more recent past, which is spent finding people and catching up with them, dancing around to interpol and all that, watching good movies and reading good books. it's not, you know, so interesting. nothing caught on fire, no one dropped dead. we are all still standing, as are all the buildings around us. elizabeth c. is in town, which is terrific as always. we go on successful xmas shopping sprees that conclude in us buying amanda lewis a plastic flask even though what we really wanted to get her was an enormous crystal chandlier....
...is that enough to remember? because this is what this is for -- for my memory and not so much for you, but then yes, for you too actually.