Monday, November 16, 2009

My Atmosphere

I had a dream the other night where I was holding onto the back of a rocket heading into space. The rocket shot up very quickly and I suddenly found myself in space, gazing back down onto earth. I was shaken up at first, a bit scared to be so far up, but then realized I WAS IN SPACE! I became extremely excited and awestruck. The planets were so close! Then, I stopped for a second and said, "Everyone that I love is in a completely different atmosphere". Then my excitement dissipated and I immediately fell back to earth.

This dream threw my feelings out on the table. I am here in France, seeing a new way of life, new perspectives, learning a new language. I am experiencing some things that people at home can't understand, even if I tried to explain as explicitly as I can. A part of this is extremely beautiful, and another part is very sad for me. I want to share the joy I find here with the people I love. It is a bit difficult for me to completely embrace it all. The fact that I am conscious of this struggle helps me to just be in the loneliness and learn from it. So, here I am, with a bit of sadness which I am turning into sweetness.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Toussaint Travels

After a week of discovering the physical capabilities of man, and exploring the tiniest alleys built upon water, I am now welcomed home with the sound of rain and my house sister, Malia, singing songs about vegetables in French. My vacation was spectacular- my mind was blown at least twice everyday. Here are a few highlights... It started in Barcelona, a city that stays up until 6 am and shuts down for naps at 5 pm. I spent a lot of time roaming the city looking at Gaudi's masterpieces; The Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, and Park Guell. My jaw was dropped the whole time. For those who are not familiar, the Sagrada Familia is the cathedral which Gaudi died working on. Gaudi started the cathedral in 1882 and not expected to be finished until 2030, Sagrada Familia is absolutely fantastic. It is a combination of abstract art, cubism, art nouveau, and Jesus. I had the opportunity to go up to the top of one of the columns, and take the spiral staircases down, each level having a balcony which I could see the skyline of Barcelona. It is hard to explain it's beauty, I can't find the words to rightfully describe it.
The nightlife in Barcelona is another adventure. Let me tell you, not the place for people with mono and weak minds-but mono and determination? It works! I went to my first ice bar, where everything is made of ice (of course)! The seats, the walls, the tables, the glasses-it was a new world! We also went to a club where we listened to a live Brazilian band, and another lounge where we met some very interesting locals.
My last highlight of Barcelona was the Picasso museum. I have a new found respect for him and his art. The museum guides its visitors through Picasso's transformation, room by room. The changes in his style were so radical! Even after taking art history classes, I did not have the right impression of Picasso's art. It was a delight to be there!
Then, it was off to Venice! After visiting a few museums (which were fantastic)and a trip to Maurano (the island of venetian glass), I realized the true joy of Venice is getting lost in it. The little passageways and bridges taking you to tiny shops show you the real culture of Venice. Venice has become a tourist attraction, and I felt lost in it for the first day. I feel saddened how populated with tourists it was, and almost guilty that I was a perfect contributor. But- it was insane insane insane! I still am trying to comprehend how this city exists-in the 13th century and now! I wanted to take pictures at every corner, but opted to just experience its beauty without framing it. One highlight was our Gondola ride. At first, we didn't think we would take one (they are incredibly expensive), but we gave in after a charming gondoliere gave us a great deal. Daniele, his name, is a 3rd generation gondoliere. He was extremely fun to talk to, and let me try to steer the gondola! The ride was worth the experience, I saw a different side to Venice I wouldn't have.
The last leg of our trip was a day in Paris. I took advantage of the day and went to Musee d'Orsay. After seeing Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and Renoir, I went to their new exhibit "L'art Nouveau"-it was AMAZING! It showed the beginning of art nouveau and the revival in the 60's. I was giddy throughout the whole thing. Saw a span of chairs created by Gaudi to album covers of Dylan and Hendrix. There could't have been a happier way to end the trip. Now all that is on my mind is where to go next...