in three days i will be in honduras.
it seems crazy and unbelievable right now.
i have crammed my life into tiny jansport and am carrying with me 75 rolls of kodak tri-x 400.
go for long walks, indulge in hot baths, question your assumptions, be kind to yourself, live for the moment, loosen up, scream, curse the world, count your blessing, just let go, just be.
i've been going to bed early so i can wake up and enjoy the morning.. pancakes at hamburg then collaging and drinking tea and reading.. and a little studying here and there.
ten days from tomorrow i will be in honduras.
i hope for lots of sun and wine and good conversation and wide eyes.
at 11:32 AM
ginseng tea/music in the ped mall with heith/hendrix t-shirt/sam's pizza/pigtails/meeting an amazing girl friend/boulevard wheat/running in the rain/a message from nic/fleetwood mac/lunch at baldy's with michael/a-plus on my essay/afternoons in the darkroom/m&m's and red stripe/dancing in one eyed jake's/a new breakfast place
today i wore my silver ballet flats with pink bows. i got a haircut. i almost fell asleep in the bathtub. i had an almond cappuccino with betsy and alana. i smiled at strangers today. i danced around to postal service in my apartment.
i'm falling in love with life again. after two months of moving too fast i became terrified of standing still. i chose to make november a month of tea and daydreaming and used bookstores. i want mad love/traveling/daisies/old records/good stories. i want to live a life that reflects those wants.. i want so many moments piled on top of one another. i am lucky and feeling so grateful.
"throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back - a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."
at 11:30 AM
so this is my last entry from this seven-week excursion.
last night was full of craziness. nathan and i only have one key to our apartment so we made plans to meet at a coffee shop near our place at 4 pm. by 5:30 he still hadn't shown up and i felt like an idiot so i just sat outside of the coffee shop until 6. (there is nothing worse than being in the red light district in a peach sundress..) i was terrified that something had had happened to him or that he had lost the key and i'd never be able to get home. at about 6 he comes running up. he had managed to lock himself in the apartment for four hours and had to throw pennies at bums below to come unlock him. how did i survive this?
as for yesterday, it was a wonderful last day in amsterdam. i woke up early, considering i have been going to bed way too early to be in amsterdam, and had a bagel covered in jam and a big glass of real oj then went to the van gogh museum and waded around in a reflecting pool in vondelpark and bought more presents for people and got lost a lot and got mistaken for being dutch a lot. i have about six hours left in amsterdam then it's off to massive headache of train rides, connecting flights and on-flight food. the last few weeks have been a complete ball of chaos, but i think i'm seeing things in a way i wasn't able to before and i already have a long list of more places i need to see. it's actually quite calming to see how very very small and insignificant you are to the world, as we tend to see ourselves as the center of the universe. i'm just thankful i've got what i've got and love what i love because it's what makes me tick.
through travel i first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that i found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it. eudora welty
at 11:29 AM
before i left london my horoscope in "the guardian" advised me not to travel until after the 15th of august because i would run into problem and problem. after spending eighteen hours in an airport in treviso, italy i see why.
venice was beautiful. i often took my journal and my headphones down to a bridge over a canal and just watched and wrote and enjoyed BUT it was also a complete tourist trap and we quickly tired of paying double for everything. the prices reminded me of being in london. we decided that after two days we would try and fly standby so we took a bus to the treviso airport only to find that it was not an option. we decided not to waste our money on a hotel and save it for amsterdam so we slept on my towel on the floor.
craziness. here's an excerpt from my journal: " it is six a.m. it is my sixteenth hour in the goddamn treviso airport without a book, or even a phone call. i'm not sure how i survived this. almost an entire day in the smallest airport i have ever seen eating only kit kats and fococcia."
arrived in brussels to find that the train station was on a strike which was going to be our way to amsterdam that day. like magic, they went off of their strike and we were on our way.
arrived in amsterdam around three o'clock to find that there were NO hostels or hotels available because it was gay pride weekend and everything was booked to the max. i am now staying in an apartment in the red light district that actually came equipped with a bong. it's a really nice apartment in a notsonice place, but don't worry mom and dad, i'm not leaving my apartment at night without nathan and there are like four hundred locks on the door. this morning i woke up early and walked to the stedelijk museum of modern art to see some chagall. i wandered into a little coffee shop on one of the canals and met the most adorable dutch woman who told me all about her life in amsterdam and made me a big cappuccino and fed me dutch cheese that was delicious. i left, wandered around and fell head over heels with amsterdam. i swear my eyes have been as big as saucers since i arrived - if not because of the complete debauchery going on around me then because of the beauty of the side streets and the slow pace of the locals.
a few things that make me smile.. flower boxes along the canals/dutch cheese/girls on bikes with fake flowers tied to there wheels/nathan calling amsterdam a carnival and us actually walking into the center of a carnival no less than five minutes later/the gay pride festival/deep fat fried waffles with powdered sugar/tulip bulbs sold everywhere/the hat i bought for grandma (don't tell her mom)/the cutest dresses ever that i bought at h&m/everyone on bikes/the cooler weather/how people start speaking in dutch but can switch to english as soon as they find out you can't speak dutch ...... everything is slow here. people are nice. it's such a breath of fresh air after the grind of traveling. i keep remembering being here when i was twelve or thirteen or however old i was and how excited i was by the city. i was kind of scared that i wouldn't feel the same way anymore as i tend to bring too high of expectations to some experiences, but this is meeting every single one. i'm home in three days. all in all, i have been extremely fortunate that this trip has gone as smoothly as it has considering we have had no reservations or plans.
i still find each day too short for all the thoughts i want to think, all the walks i want to take, all the books i want to read, and all the friends i want to see. john burroughs
at 11:28 AM
venice is as gorgeous as i have heard it described. i am paying four euros for an hour on internet time which is absolutely ridiculous so i will have to write more about it later.
love to all.
at 11:28 AM
i'm leaving rome for venice in about an hour. we are taking a train from termini station to a station in venice and once again crossing our fingers and hoping we find a decent hotel or hostel. wish us luck. i had a croissant and espresso in a sidewalk cafe this morning and met some boys from germany who were backpacking. the lady at their hostel was clearly trying to screw them out of their money, which was clear as day even in italian. i gave them the name of our hostel. yesterday nathan and i fearlessly.. okay so not fearlessly, i was almost in tears.. navigated rome's underground system which is terribly confusing and sweaty and smelly to get to ostia, a beautiful beach on the mediterranean. we drank fruity cocktails and ate fresh coconut and sunbathed all day and swam in the sea. it was what i needed. now i'm back to my brown-ness which i oh-so missed in london. sunday nathan and i saw all of the "sights" including the vatican. apparently there's a dress code at the vatican which my halter-top skirt ensemble clearly didn't pass but i had a cardigan in my bag from earlier that morning and the security guard said "just go go, i no looky!" i thought nathan was going to pee his pants. rome really is beautiful but it's too crowded with tourists and smells like stinky people.
p.s. i LOVE gelato.
i slept on the floor of standsted airport friday night and hopped a flight to rome at six in the morning. i felt pretty sick all day yesterday since i had no sleep and its incredibly hot here but after a night of good rest i'm ready to see more. rome is absolutely beautiful.. its so cliche since i have heard it so many times, but it really is just breathtaking. will write more soon.
i skipped class today to spend time with nathan. i seriously cannot sit through four and a half hours of theatre class when the sun is shining and nathan is in london! i finished my seven-page theatre paper last night and then went to a club with aaron, quinn and nathan. it was pretty fun but nathan was jet lagged and i was tired, so it was an early night. today we are on our way to the camden market so i can sell some books to a used bookstore (too heavy to backpack with) and buy my little brother something from london. i'm so very ready to be done with classes and then so very ready to travel and then i think i am ready to come home and go to the lake with my family and read at prairie lights and buy mate tea from the tobacco bowl. that all sounds very fine.
yesterday i was panicking because i thought nathan was supposed to be in london at six in the morning and i hadn't heard from him. i was wrong. i woke up at seven thirty to him calling me from downstairs. we went to breakfast at the hollywood cafe and i had the ham and cheese omelet once again. it's so good to have him here. i'm very anxious to travel.
at 11:26 AM
brighton was a major letdown because not only was there no sun, there was pouring rain. ofcourse i showed up at the trainstation in a mini sundress with a beach bag and flip flops and matt looked at me and said "aren't we feeling optimistic about today?" it struck me as funny then but unfortunately held true for the rest of the day. when katie, tim and i were on the boardwalk i tripped and broke my flip flop and had to wear these horribly corny ones with the british flag on the bottom. i must say that there is nothing a big hot chocolate won't fix though.. i ended up holing up in a bookstore and reading anais nin and watching the rain and trying to get rid of what seemed to be permanent goosebumps.
when i got home, i forced myself to sit down and write my essay for class. no getting up until it was done. after that, tim borrowed somebody's laptop and we watched "lost in translation" which i have always loved but hadn't struck such a chord with me until i started traveling.
speaking of traveling, i am going to rome on the 31st then to venice then to brussels and then to amsterdam. i'm so excited.. i love london, but i need warmth and sun and red wine and cherry tomatoes.
today i woke up around nine and put the finishing touches on my essay and then purposely got lost on the bus so i could see more of london. ended up at notting hill (no hugh grant unfortunately) and explored the portobello market. listened to a lot of postal service on my headphones today and bought two cute (cheap!) shirts and bought my grandma a tiny english tea set that i will try very hard not to break while backpacking.
today was my first day without coffee in about a month. i feel much better. i'm on way to dinner with steven bard, one of my aunt's friends.. since he's london he said he'd feed me a good dinner! i'm not sure those exist in this city though.
i'll let you know.
love you and miss you all. i miss iowa city where people don't hold their bags tightly if you smile at them.
at 11:24 AM
i spent the day wandering around london.. in and out of shops, a couple of coffee shops, came back and started a paper. every once in a while i have these pangs of homesickness and start longing for iowa. i don't want to be homesick because i know my time is limited here and i should be enjoying it and sucking the life out of this experience, but right now i just want a bubblebath and a big mug of chai.
i feel disconnected and drained but it will pass. it always does.
at 11:23 AM
everything is finally taken care of. my parents wired me money to get me through a couple of days until my new cards arrive, the london underground is sending me a new tube pass and i have a new school ID. my friends here have been amazing - lending me money whenever i need it, asking if i'm okay and the guys in my flat practically went on a headhunt after it happened. i really can't believe what a hassle this has all been though.
tonite i might go to a concert, tomorrow night i'm going to this famous club called fabric and saturday i'm going to the english beach town of brighton and i'm seeing wilco and belle & sebastian play. after sulking in my room all weekend i am dying to get out.
at 11:22 AM
at 11:22 AM
i spent all day yesterday on the phone with credit card companies, the london police department, the london underground helpline.. and no one was much help. after a call to my hometown banker in iowa i felt much better.. my parents and him were able to fed-ex a card to me. in the meantime, quinn is allowing me to live off on his money and food which is really nice.
the next time i try to predict life, i want someone to tattoo "you have no idea!" on my hand because it's the only thing that really seems to hold true.
at 11:21 AM
this morning i toured the globe theatre where shakespeare put on all of his productions. i'm going to see "measure for measure" there in a couple of weeks. i'm not a huge shakespeare fan, but it's a good london-y thing to do.
my afternoon class was cancelled because the teacher has the flu. what a shame. i spent the earlier part of the afternoon in the tate modern and saw original picassos and henri cartier-bresson. aw. love it.
i decided to check out oxford street and i bought some hot pink lip gloss and silver ballet flats. i'm having a heart attack over the clothes here. the best vintage clothes i have ever seen. i'm a top-shop addict now.
katie and i have decided that london has stolen our hearts and that we need to switch majors so that we can make cash and live here. then i can sit in sidewalk cafes in my silver ballet flats and leave hot pink lip gloss imprints on my espresso cups.
at 11:20 AM
i woke up at six this morning and couldn't fall back asleep. i grabbed a newspaper and headed to a cafe down the street for some toast and coffee. we don't have a television or radio in our flat and i haven't been picking up the paper, so i truly had no idea what was going on in the world, outside of the saddam trial. that is really pathetic for a journalism major.
i made a big pasta dinner for the guys last night and they brought a couple bottles of wine. we went to the pub for a drink but i ended up going back to my room around ten.
the sun has been out all morning. it reminds me of iowa. i woke up missing my strawberry waffles and iowa city and bubblebaths and big mugs of chai and my family and laying in the backyard in a bikini with a book but it will be okay because like he said, there will be ups and there will be downs and they seem more extreme when you are traveling.
at 11:20 AM
on my way home from writing in my journal friday night i ran into quinn, aaron and tim on holloway and ended up going to shepherd's bush to see "my morning jacket" on a whim - still carrying my schoolbag with my hair twisted up in a messy top knot.
the first people we met (six boys including one named jeremy and one girl named faith) were from south africa. we talked about ryan adams, michael moore and visas. one of the boys died when i told him i was from iowa. "kerouac said the prettiest girls in america live in des moines." he told me he had a plan to drive through the states and eat nothing but apple pie and ice cream. a noble goal.
tim, aaron and i decided to head back to camden market on saturday, but it was really busy and was making me feel a little nervous. we hopped on the tube and went to picaddilly circus and to the virgin megastore so i could listen to british pop music because it's really dorky and puts me in a good mood and then this girl told me she was looking for people for this new british guy's music video and she thought i looked the part. haha, can you imagine me in a british music video sober? no way.
here's a excerpt from my personal journal later in the day:
"the boys and i are laying in the a park in the center of leicester square. i am enjoying my first uninterupted hour of london sun. people are milling about crowded onto the benches and green space drinking coffee, holding hands, talking.. i have a calmness and appreciation for these moments. moments when i'm twenty - so young, so on the verge, so untamed. i don't feel nervous or anxious about what is next, but just ready and that feels right."
aaron and i are going to make a big pasta dinner with garlic bread and red wine to celebrate the fourth of july. one jackass on our floor said that he is going to run around screaming "i love the usa" wrapped in an american flag. if he does have a thick enough skull to go through with that, then i will be home when he comes home bleeding and crying. i just hope he has enough sense not to. most british people have a definite respect for americans, but nobody has respect for ignorance.
at 11:19 AM
an excerpt from my personal journal from yesterday:
"it's a chilly day - a very busy first of july. i had class in the morning then a tour of the theater museum in the afternoon, a latte in covent garden square, dinner in a delicious snobby restaurant and then saw "iphigenia" - a greek tragedy - at the national theatre. (i sat in the second row and could hear the actors whispering behind the curtain.)
no matter what area of london i'm in, i find myself sitting in a sidewalk cafe sipping coffee just watching the people. i'm not here to sight-see. i hate that philosophy of traveling, snap-shot traveling. i want to experience the people, the life, the ordinary days of london.
i want to live with my eyes wide open."
at 11:18 AM
classes are underway. i don't care much for my theatre in london class because it's held in a room with no windows for four hours, but i love my literary london class.
yesterday tim, aaron and i went for my first plate of fish and chips after class then for some espresso. they decided to go to the pub and after much convincing (okay, it didn't take toooo much convincing) i joined them for a beer. we met a few middle aged men from dublin who thought aaron was this famous swedish soccer player who also has blonde dreads and always sticks his tongue out when he scores a goal. they didn't seem too disappointed when we told him he wasn't and bought him a game of pool and me a very large beer.
some of the girls from the study abroad program started talking very loudly about how "weird" british guys are. with the exception of four girls i have met, most of the girls in our program are very spoiled americans who came to london to hang out only with other americans and have no desire to experience british culture, but to complain about it. well, now that that is off my chest, i will mention that tim, quinn, aaron and i are taking the ferry to dublin in a couple of weeks for a long weekend. everyone i have spoken with has said it's beautiful and i've been reading a bit of james joyce and that makes me want to see it. oh, and we are going to to the guiness factory. jealous?
i found a new cafe to have coffee in in the morning near my place. it's called amici which means friend in french, i guess. besides having a corny name it is adorable and has tables outside with umbrellas and big windows and i spent the whole morning reading there. the workers on the tube/underground are on strike right now.. hopefully for just twenty four hours.. but this means that everybody is taking buses and cabs and holloway road is loud and crowded and resulting in all sorts of catastrophes i can watch from my window. london is one big beautiful mess right now.
at 11:18 AM
yesterday was my first day of class. we went on a tour of bloomsbury which is absolutely gorgeous and spent time in the peace park (where there's a statue of ghandi in the middle) and then to the british museum. after class was over, i snuck away from my american counterparts and ended up meeting a girl from australia who is living here for five months. we decided to share a sandwich and get espresso in a sidewalk cafe on museum street.
after she left, i got out my map which i'm horrible at decoding and ended up just wandering around. i bought myself a long scarf at a corner store.
when i got home after taking the tube in the wrong direction not juts once BUT twice, i made it back to my flat and tea like a little english girl and read a few essays by virginia woolf. then six of the guys and one other girl and i found hopped on the tube and found a corner pub and i played typical english songs on the jukebox and drank a stella artois. yum.
at 11:17 AM
london is amazing.. i live in a flat with three guys from the west coast. i've learned a lot of new card games in the past few days. the flat is on the top floor of a place on holloway road in north london. i have a huge window without a screen that looks out over the main road. as you can imagine, i spend most of my time with my head out of the window watching everyone pass by.
on the first floor of our apartment building there is a pub called "big red." my first night in london was spent drinking carlsburg and listening to a beatles cover band.
the weather changes every second. the mornings are a bit chilly and sunny, and by afternoon is warmer but overcast and then the minute you feel comfortable enough to take off your jacket, it starts pouring rain. i've been waking up early.. like around six am.. and finding a cheap cafe to eat some toast, drink coffee and write in my journal in. the rumors are true, the food really is disgusting here. i have been eating toast with nutella on it and drinking carlsburg. i think it's a better alternative to america's no-carb craze.
i had my first class today - literary london. my instructor is taking us on a tour of bloomsbury, where virginia woolf lived, later this afternoon. i think i might go down to camden afterwards. i guess they have a great market and kind of an indie crowd or something.
i'm in an internet cafe right now. the italian guy who owns it started playing a lot of three doors down after he found out i was from the states. he keeps pouring me coca-cola and asking me if i want to go on a date. uh oh, now he wants to know my star sign.
at 11:17 AM
i think i'm seeing the world through rose colored lenses. it has been beautiful here and i have been falling in love with london all over again. yesterday i woke up early because the sun was streaming through my window onto my bed and i made tea and wrote in my journal and then tim came over and we hopped onto the tube. the first place we went was a place the history class toured called st. dunstan's. it is a church that was bombed during the first world war and all that is remaining is the structure. the inside is open to the public and overgrown with flowers. i just laid in the grass and wrote in my journal and soaked in the sun. next up was westminster abbey. i had the BEST sandwich i have ever had. it was called sandwich sofia. perhaps i'll name my first daughter after that sandwich. haha it was avocado, bacon, tomato and brie on a baguette. yummy. we walked to st. james' park (the park in the film "about a boy") afterwards and sat in the sun some more and then went to harrod's where i bought my mother some english tea because that is definitely the only thing i can afford in harrod's. i keep asking myself where this trip has gone? i only have around fifteen days left, five of which will be spent in london. yesterday i was standing on the london bridge and tim said, "i'm really going to miss this place." but the fact is that we are so young that we don't have to miss it. we can keep coming and going, we can keep saying goodbye.
one's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.
at 11:25 AM
i'm sitting in an internet cafe that is playing classical music. it's really warm here today.. probably around seventy degrees.. i just finished doing laundry with katie.. this afternoon we saw "the woman in black," a play that was supposed to be scary but seemed a bit hokey to me. i have one more essay to finish up for class and then i am finished and i'm off on my backpacking adventure with nathan. i can't wait to see him.. i miss seeing the people i know and love every day.. the other night i went to dinner at a four star restaurant called tamarind and sat next to ben kingsley of "Gandhi." i think i got my fifteen minutes of fame through osmosis. it's all over now.
at 11:24 AM
trying to learn to let go/running/drinking iced coffees/reading the prophet/miriam's hot pink high tops/painting my toenails hot pink/missing iowa city and lou henri's/sooo much rain/john's graduation/collaging my journal/driving with the windows down/searching the discount bin at homer's/sushi in the old market/working early hours at a boring job/a love affair with myself while backpacking/finding more silver bracelets/my morning jacket live at sokol/fresh cut flowers
at 11:16 AM
alarm with no radio. chai tea in a bubblebath. opening the coffee shop. digging my fingers into hawaiian hazelnut. ryan adams "love is hell." instant fireplace. lorrie moore. godiva chocolates. queen size bed. running at the armory. ghosts. journal with black cover. watercolors. little brother. poorly made martinis.
at 11:13 AM