Monday, April 29, 2013

Thank you.

The extended honeymoon's over, folks.
so some thanks are in order!

thank you:
1.elements, planes, trains, cars, buses, and suitcase wheels for getting us home safely. We had an INCREDIBLE four months and a world (literally) of adventure. But it is so so good to be home.

2. body, for waking up at 4 am so I could try to finish these fifty pages of writing I have due tomorrow. (ilovegradschoolilovegradschoolijustneedtokeeptellingmyselfthatilovegradschool)

3. n e w l i f e. We kind of feel like we were playing pretend marriage and now that we're back we're just dating again. We flirt more and fight less... it's funny. but. we don't have a place to live, a car to get there in, or a phone to find them with. That means A D V E N T U R E once again! Only it's just the one country kind this time-- The one country we belong to.

4. Everyone who helped see us off on the chance of a lifetime. Now that I'm back I'm seriously panicking about wedding thank yous. So I drafted up a couple this morning.

What do you think?

the back of this one says "we are the luckiest".

The back of this one says "thank you for helping us feel FABULOUS on our wedding day".

Do you think it's finally time to, like, get all of our wedding pictures? I'd say so.

love, jet lag, and big-time migraine medicine,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Springtime for Hitler

Don't think I'm being weird with this title, it's just the song from The Producers that was stuck in my head the whole time we were in Berlin.
You know... theatre nerd....yeah.


One of the first things I noticed about Berlin was that "um, I think the whole city is under construction" (my words). I was yet to learn that the city is known, in fact, as "the eternal building site" (our delightful tour guide, Michael's, words).

The other thing I noticed is that no one sleeps and no one appears to go to work. These impressions were smilingly confirmed by a chatty local on the plane back to London. 
I also noticed currywurst pretty quickly.
What's more famous than Checkpoint Charlie? Checkpoint Curry, of course!

It's basically a hot dog slathered in ketchup, mayonnaise, and a sprinkle of curry powder. Wait... that's exactly what it is. I won't reveal what my sentiments on the dish are, but all I can say is...well, it's historically significant I guess.

 The third thing I noticed is the preponderance of this little grafittied detail on the upper lip of poster people.

I guess we don't really know all that much about Edward's political aspirations, now do we?

If Twilight isn't your thing, then how about the Ishtar Gate? We're talking about the gate to ancient Babylon. Like, Babylon Babylon.
Jacob was so excited, I'm pretty sure he wet himself. I'm just excited that he's growing a beard.

Or the Pergamom alter, perhaps? It's stunning.
I would have photshopped myself out, but then there would have been a hole in the stairs....

Um... and we saw some super ancient porn.
 Don't look too closely.      
...Speaking of Hitler, Berlin is just impressive on so many levels. I didn't much know what to expect of the city. I'd been to Rotterdam, which was also completely bombed out in World War II, and to me it felt distinctly lacking in identity or local flavor. It was all new buildings, new people, and a new future to look forward to without the painful inconvenience of harping on history. To me,it was a city that had been murdered, and though it did rise from the ashes, it wasn't a reincarnated phoenix. It was a new bird altogether, and one who wasn't lookin back. Nu uh.

The second largest remnant of the Berlin Wall

But Berlin is different. Eternal building site and all, it is, indeed, an adolescent phoenix determined to rebuild itself. But it isn't about to forget where it came from or what it's been through. I was surprised to see the way the city has deliberately left ugly monuments to ugly bits of history. A simple wall, for instance-- broken and scribbled-- stands as a silent, poignant reminder.

 The people petitioned to protect Stalin era propaganda emblazened on Nazi buidlings which are now used by the German government. These people don't ever, ever want to forget. 

 Most impressive of all, though, is the fact that the city has blocked out this huge area of prime real estate in central Berlin to memorialize the murdered Jews of the holocaust. Though the memorial itself is both loved and criticized for all sorts of reasons, its existence is, to me, such a sign of deep, profound maturity that I couldn't but help leave the city with an awful lot of respect. There's no sweeping under rugs in Berlin.

 They deliberately leave bullet holes in the gorgeous collinades of museum island. Rather than being angry, ashamed, or apathetic, they let history remain the horrible scar it is. They live with it every day so that they can live better, fuller, more peaceful lives.

They've learned.

And it's beautiful.

The Brandenburg Gate

The Berliner Dom

My sweetheart

Checkpoint Charlie

Please note how delightfully apropos it is that directly behind the entrance to West Berlin and the stronghold of American power in the Soviet world is... a McDonalds.

The Altes Museum

The River Spree

Site of the famous zip line escape over the Berlin Wall

 Berlin love you? I guess.

The Dom again. I can't help how lovely it is.

So Berlin is the eternal building site, not because they want to cover up history, but because they know how to deal with it. The bombed out building in the middle of all these cranes is going to stay, even though a high-end shopping mall is going up around it. I love that. I want to learn from Berlin. I want to keep reminders of the ugly and the brutal and the hard, evil warfare in my own life so I'll have an even bigger reason to rebuild.

But, this wouldn't be an end to the kind of posts I've been doing lately if I didn't include a cute picture of Jacob and I being in love in Europe. So here it is:
Oh crap. 
I'm acting like a blogger.

Love, wurst, and a new view in a new place,

Under the Tuscan Sun

A fashion photographer friend once told Jacob that he likes shooting in Italy best because the light falls in a special way. 
It's more golden somehow.
It diffuses like particles of liquid honey.

Well, we finished up in London, which was pretty traumatic, so we thought it might be wise to see and feel some bonafied liquid honey sun.

And we weren't dissapointed.

This post will be largely pictorial because
a) I'm feverishly trying to catch up on this whirlwind week and a half we spent tromping around Europe now that our London life is over, and
b) that means I should keep my stupid fingers shut because
c) Tuscany speaks for itself.

You see, the thing about Tuscany is that it actually looks the way it does in calendars.

And even the best of point-and-shoots couldn't do it justice.

It seeped into my veins and filled me with a dazzling new optimism. 
I am so thrilled about existence.

Even  after getting extremely lost late at night and getting off a random bus in a tiny town with no taxis or buses or anything.

And the pizza rocks.

And I am so in love.

Ciao Toscane,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rome if you want to, Rome around the world

Let's be honest. Most of my expectations for Roma came from The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Mary Kate and Ashley's When in Rome (Okay, with an awful lot of Eat, Pray, Love tossed in there. I've read it twice. Sue me). So, according to my experience, I could expect to be mistaken for an Italian pop superstar and live a fabulous double life around all of Rome's most famous monuments, save the fashion world with the help of the ingenuity of my twin and an assortment of friends with pleasantly diverse nationalities while partying on the beach, and pick up a dreamy Italian boy somewhere along the way.

Well, I actually imported  a boy from London, so that part was out. But the rest seamed feasible.

Now, I've been lucky enough to live in both London and Paris for a bit, and they are unique and wonderful and so rich and deep and in all the days I was there I didn't even scratch their glorious, gritty surfaces. I have a HUGE amount of loyalty to those cities (ironic, I know, since one is probably supposed to prefer one or the other).

ohhhh this might get me in trouble.

There is something so... effortlessly glorious in the way ruins pepper the landscape, lazily bathing in the afternoon sun, retreating under the wisteria if it gets too hot. It's like, "I'm Rome. I don't have to prove anything. I'm everything." And I'm like, "Woah, yeah. You totally are." (I really hope London and Paris aren't reading this. But hey, I'm American! Don't I have some sort of immunity here!?)

I mean, what's a girl to do when all the public drinking fountains look like this?

(London, for the record, doesn't have any. Not that I'm bitter... just dehydrated.)

And all the ceilings look like this?

And around every corner is a church that looks like this?

And the cars look like this?

And the houses look like this?

And the fountains make you look like this?

And you sit down to rest your throbbing feet and eat some multigrain Pringles and it just happens to look like this?

And the graffiti looks like this?

And the sun makes you feel like this?

And the statues look like this?

And all the buildings look like this?

And the pizza tastes like this?

And the women drive Vespas in stilettos like this?

And she can get a "Chicken Mythic Bacon" at McDonald's???
Don't judge. We're poor.

And they just know how to deal with chicken at the Chicken Hut!?

And her husband is this cute??

I suppose all she can do is sigh and hope that that one euro cent in the Trevi fountain really does assure her a return to Rome. Maybe, hopefully, an extended one (?).

That, and she can go to Florence. 
Bummer. ;)


I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.

Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a rowboat on the far side of the lake.

They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.

Billy Collins

that's all, folks


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