Friday, June 29, 2012

Farwell Europe Photo Tour


Thanks for my postcard!! You should have thought of this months ago – I could have sent you lots and lots of post cards and not just the one :)  

This is my I don’t want to pack procrastination post. It’s also my last post from Hungary which makes me really sad. I’m already all nostalgic for Budapest. I came in from Romania last night and was like I’ll probably never use this exact metro station again. Granted it was a night bus and I hadn’t really slept, but still great big sad face!

I saw your post about Baltimore jobs (fingers and toes crossed for you by the way!!) so does that mean you’re defiantly making that your next move? From your last long post it sounds like it would be perfect if all the pieces fall into place. Definitely keep me updated! It’s my turn to live vicariously through you well I’m stranded in Oneonta for the year.

If my Peace Corps medical and legal screenings go alright I will be leaving for Africa next June which seems like a really long time, but in all actuality will probably fly by. They don’t give you all the information about your placement at the nomination stage, I’ll have to wait until I pass medical and get the official invitation, but this is what I know: I’ll be teaching English in a French speaking country, rural because there may be no electricity or running water. Based on past leaving dates and country profiles from the website this means I will most likely be in Cameroon or Burkina Faso. I’m kind of hoping for Cameroon because they also have a large Muslim population and I think it would be a fantastic blend of cultures, but obviously I’ll go wherever they want to send me!!

Since my last post I’ve been making the most of my remaining time in Europe!! I visited a few other Hungarian cities Balatonfur​ed and Visegrad and also made it to Krakow, Poland and a few cities in Romania (Bran, Rasnov, and Brasov).

Balatonfured is one of the cities on Lake Balaton which is like the Hungarian Myrtle Beach – everyone makes there way there during the summer. The policy department took us as a ‘yay you’re done!’ gift which I thought was really nice. Basically we all just sat around staring at the water. I sat with a friend for over an hour watching some guy fly fish – an hour! Needless to say not much was accomplished in the way of touring the city, but I got some good pictures of the park and the lake itself.

Visegrad is apparently at a strategic point of the Danube which means that once upon a time that’s where Hungarian kings (and further back Roman army’s) ruled from. Now it’s just a tall hill with a lower and upper castle that attracts lots of tourists. The exciting part was that it’s located in an area that you can take a boat to get there which was amazing. On the way back we saw this incredible rainbow which was seriously the widest rainbow I’d ever seen, but I couldn’t find my camera so no picture. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

Krakow was lovely. The main attraction in the city is the square which of course makes you think you should be in another century. On every hour a trumpet player stands at the top of the tower and reenacts the warning call used to sound a coming attack. It ends abruptly because it’s a memorial to the all the men killed while holding this position. I was actually up in the tower completely by accident when he played and I got a really cool picture. There was also drunken Karaoke with a couple of English guys, a trip to the salt mines (where there was a chapel made completly of salt - check out the chandelier!), and a Bollywood movie filming right outside of my hostel.  

Auschwitz is about an hour outside of Krakow so we went on the day tour. Take Dachau and multiply it by 100. There was such an oppressive sadness in the air. But you know as well as I do that there are no words to describe visits like these except maybe it really puts our own small problems into perspective... They saved everything there were rooms full of shoes, of dishes, of glasses, and the worst a room full of human hair. I couldn’t even stay in that room. It was awful and brilliant at the same time and the tour guide was very good – I learned things I’d very much like to forget. On a lighter note between Auschwitz one and two my flip flop broke and I had to staple it back together – thank you random lady who owns one of the book stores!!

After a quick stop in Budapest I headed to Transylvania! I didn’t meet Dracula (though I could have bought several t-shirts saying that I did), but I did tour Bran Castle that’s the cover of one of the book editions and a fortress that dates way way back. Took a gondola (swear free because you weren’t there to appreciate it with me!) to the top of a mountain where they have a Hollywood sign only it says Brasov, toured a church, walked around, ate some traditional Romanian food, and spent 6 hours (twice, not to mention the 8 hours on a bus...) on a really slow train which was saved by the views of rolling hills and herds of sheep out of the window.

I can’t believe that I’ll be home in less than a week it’s completely surreal, but at least it will be easier to keep each other motivated for Camp NaNo in August!!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

The I Forgot A Title The First Time I Posted This Post

Dear Ashley,

So I'm not sure I made this clear in my facebook post, but I love, love, LOVE everything you sent me from Europe. It totally made the longing I feel to go back there even stronger. I definitely printed and framed the picture of the graffiti that says 'to always finding our way back.' That hit me so hard the day I saw it, that I almost cried. It means a lot of things to me, some of which there aren't words for, but most importantly it is a reminder to keep working at my goals and make it back to Europe. Soon.

I can't wait until we find a new apartment so I can frame and hang the art that you sent- and the postcards, at least until we have that bookstore and can put them up there. Here's the mask- back in one piece, although I haven't found time to grab paint. it's okay. I love it just the way it is, too.

I hope your thesis is almost done, since it's currently almost 4am on June 8th. Your time, anyway. It's not even 10pm on June 7th here. That never fails to amaze me. You're in a different day. At least, as far as our totally meaningless construct of time is concerned.

I'm having a terrible time with CampNaNo this time around. Hopefully August will be better. I have 517 words, and I believe I've reached the point of never catching up. I might set a new goal of 10,000 for myself, but the real goal is finding a new job. We're seriously considering Baltimore. There's a great Irish music scene there for Ben, along with his teacher Billy, and there's the University of Baltimore that I've been looking at. That's the place with the combination Creative Writing and Publishing Masters program. So it takes you from creating the book all the way up through publication. That would be handy. I'm also still thinking about PhDs and UMass and Cornell and lots of other things. I've got some time, as I don't need to apply until this fall for the next one, but I'm thinking at least.

I did get some good feedback about Letters last weekend. Overwhelmingly positive, which made me feel good about myself. Their idea was the make the "letters" and the scenes with dialogue separate, using italics or something, because they said they had a hard time reading it the way it is. They were in the mindset of letters, but then there was all this present tense stuff makes sense. I'll have to look into that.

They also said the things that allowed them to be okay with Ariah and Tristan's relationship was that a) there was no sex and b) Zach finds out at one point that SHE started it.

They also didn't have as much of a problem with Ariah's flatness of character as you and I did. They thought that if she was any less mature and kind of above the whole high school thing that her relationship with Tristan would be a lot less acceptable. I'd still like to develop her more though, because she bugs me a little. But I definitely don't want to make excuses for her relationship. So it's going to be hard.

There was also talk of getting a high school class to read it, to gauge their reactions. The book club ladies are all teachers, so I was really interested in their response, but the more I think about it, the more I'd be curious was juniors and seniors in high school thought of it too. I might email Ainsworth, my 12th grade english teacher, and be like "hey, want to help me out?" It's totally not what he teaches, but maybe he could get the AP class to read it, or the creative writing club. Actually, that last idea might be the best. There's all ages of high schoolers in the creative writing club.

Also, I might need to change Ariah's name. My friend Josh read it, and pointed out that there's apparently a show called Pretty Little Liars that has a girl named Aria having an affair with a teacher. I mean seriously, what are the freaking odds? And it's not one of the four shows I watch, so I had no idea.

Finally, just to have another picture (omg Spain is beautiful! I want to go to Candyland! And the beach...dying for sand and saltwater. So pretty. Oh, and the Holy Grail! LOL! "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!")

Anyway. Here's a picture of the baby sweater I'm working on. (For Mike, my boss, and Lauren, his wife. Not for me. Don't panic :) )