Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet Suki ^.^

I bought this lovely plant on Sunday. I call her "Suki." She's a dendrobium orchid, still a baby. Tiny adorable flowers, two of which are wilting a little bit, and with leaves a little brown but I hope to revive her. I sang "Moon River" the other morning, and I think she liked it. She'll grow strong with me :)
Suki flowers

Thursday, September 24, 2009

reflection on photography

with the moon on their wings
It’s true that we are never physically able to see with our own eyes that “neat slice of time,” that isolated 100th of a second, for the world is constantly in motion for us. Who hasn’t found themselves swallowed in a moment wishing that just this once, time would stop, freeze, stand still like the undisturbed water of a lake in autumn. We want it to stand still because we want to hold onto it; we want it in our hands so we can really look at it, feel it, caress it, live inside it forever. In that sense, a photograph fulfills this fantasy better than anything that’s been invented thus far. A fraction of time neatly preserved and *gasp!* we can hold it in our hands and gaze for hours, if we so wish.

To me, photography is so much more than just that. It is an extension of reality, a projection of the emotion and breath and life of everything that surrounds us.
While I see the “ugly” insensitive side of photography that Sontag points to, I feel that the ways in which I use photography and choose to look at photographs is very different. It isn’t violent or exploitive or obsessive compulsive, but more of the sentimental “twilight” art that she also mentions…an art that is indeed “implicitly magical.”

It’s true that we experience a sensory overload of visual stimulus, more so now than ever before. Living in such environments, we begin just to see, and not to look. We become passive ! We see the beautiful girls and the exotic two-dimensional scenes before we see the birds that fly overhead, the tree that whispers to its neighbor, the raindrop that dances feverishly in the accumulating puddle across from the bakery where the keeper’s daughter wears a striped pink and orange sweater in the middle of summer. And even when we see these, we do not pause longer to look. Holding the camera reminds me to slow down, to look and to appreciate, to imagine and to feel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to breathe.


p.s. sono un albero.
(i * a m * a * t r e e)

Monday, September 21, 2009


The more languages and cultures I am exposed to, the more I learn to appreciate their subtleties and differences...especially the simple things. With Swahili, I appreciated the simplicity of the verb "to be" which was always just "ni" no matter the subject. I appreciated how words sounded like they were spelled and how it was (to a certain extent) genderless. No he/she, just "yeye." And here, I appreciate the flow of Italian and the simplicity of creating plurals (relative to German at least!) Every language has it's easy and difficult parts, but you learn to appreciate the best of each. It's the same way with culture. Learn to appreciate more often than complain, and we will go far.

An Italian-speaking girl asked me for directions today. I was flattered but had to respond "non lo so, mi dispiace!" indicating that I had no clue. But still, that must be a good sign :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tiny kitchen, endless possibilities.

spaghetti pomodoro
Cooking has become a daily activity. Food is good everywhere, but expensive... So, we cook! When possible, I try to cook as healthy as possible, true to the way I was raised. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, garlic, and very little olive oil. Ezra always looks at my pan & predicts I'll need more (which I usually do). I've moved on from eggplant as a favorite dish to zucchini. If you slice it thinly, prepared with lots of onions, garlic, basil, tomato, & herbs, it comes out delicious. Red wine usually goes really well with the food after all that preparation. . .

twirlred .. red .. wine
Yesterday we decided to have a cooking challenge of sorts. Everyone had to make a dinner dish, the only rule being that you must use oranges. Ezra made chicken fried with thin orange peels, Justin baked chicken with chunks of orange peel and ham on top, and I made a zucchini/mixed vegetable dish with actual pieces of orange. Millie was the judge, but everything was so good that we ended up just all praising each other and high-fiving by candlelight or something romantic like that.

P.s. In case you were wondering, these are all pictures of food I made! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

a beautiful thought.

We look at the water, the stars, the skies, the trees and marvel at their beauty. . . If everything really is one, we ourselves are made up of the same stuff as the water! stars! skies! trees! why don't we look at ourselves the same way? Aren't we just as beautiful?

read the words .


I am too passionate about everything I've found myself engaged in recently, so I'll have to concentrate on one thing at a time. Today, it will be painting.

I stretched and gessoed my first canvas yesterday. It should be dry and ready for painting today! I also started my first oil painting. It's small and the background is painted my favorite shade of yellow. Like a light leak on color film. My painting class lasts 3 hours twice a week at the 'intermediate/advanced' level. All that really means is that you get to take your work in any which direction you want... whether it be oils, acrylics, still lives, portraits, installation pieces. No concrete assignments, but rather a space where each one of us has the freedom to create. There are 9 of us, working in one large room, just painting. The first stroke felt like my mind was flowing out, the brush becoming an extension of my arm ~~ the colors that I see shooting through my fingertips! Nothing to stop me. So far, my favorite shade of yellow and a mesh of tree fingers. . . and love.

Elmo's Diner ~ best banana pancakes in North Carolina
( the color of the sun ** )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Magic. ***

my dancing shadow friends
"I like to believe that life can be magic."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ciao, Firenze

How do I possibly go about summarizing the past week and a half?? So much has happened, and I've only given you a glimpse of my room (as well as some lasting ties -- pun intended? -- from dear old Tanzania). I can't do everything justice in one long post, so you'll have to keep checking back. THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT! ! !

For one, I love my housemates! There are 5 of us, and I am happy because in a program made up 95% of American students, I live with Millie who is from Australia, Justin & Justine (confusing at first) from Malta (a small island south of Italy) and Ezra from southern California. They are collectively and entirely awesome. We get along :) We also got lucky on the housing spectrum and moved into an apartment that at first appeared a mansion. Two floors (well, kind of) and a rooftop with quite the view. We eat lunch up there sometimes.

lunch on the roof

what i see lying on my bed
My ceiling. This is what I see when I look up while lying on my bed.

Neighbors below us...shh !

"This happened."

I was electronically proposed to last week by a teacher in Tanzania.
...Need I say more??

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From Blue Walls to Pink

And now it's time to update. I regret that it must be in such an impersonal way, but as I find myself wishing to share my experiences with so many people, and with as little time on my hands as I have and will have, it seems this will be one resort to sharing my experiences with you, whoever you may be.

As you may recall, my Tanzanian room at Guta's apartments had an overall dreamy blue look in the mornings. My room has become my space. The more I move around, the more I feel like I need a niche. I care for it, make it a place where I feel comfortable .. whether doodling, listening to music, staring at the ceiling, singing, stretching, or falling asleep. . . I glimpse it to you here.


From this (which I will never forget) . . .
~ d r e a m s ~
to this

** both like dreams, only this one has just begun.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Sent out 2 packages to Arusha, Tanzania with Italian postage today.
I am missing those kids every day.