Saturday, May 21, 2011

today is warm and sunny. I think something about Jakob's one room, open apartment makes me wish to write again. maybe it is simply having the time to think about writing, instead of the constant motion of sightseeing. I've made a mess of the corner with my bag in it, the 7 days worth of clothes spilling out on to the floor, half clean but not dry. The sun is out and children can be heard stomping around on designer sidewalks (even though we aren't in a hip part of town). Everything in Amsterdam is cute and quaint and seems to function quite smoothly. The comfort of Cargo shorts and comfy sandals speak of a different kind of a relaxed atmosphere different than the coffee-drinking culture of Croatia. There is nothing to prove via sparkly earrings or designer clothes, or at least that is my guess. I should have more to say, but I don't. The pleasantness of Amsterdam is relatively uninspiring, and nothing is challenging except my own acceptance of the quantity of cute designer stores, bikes with babies napping in front, and the deliciousness of a warm apple pie.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Amsterdam is gray and overcast and the air feels a bit damp. I feel the pressure in the air it makes me feel a bit somber, quite. There is nothing harsh about amsterdam, it feels compressed. In the past couple of weeks I've looked at heaps of art, famous art, things you look at intro to art history, art even children would recognize as culturally relevant. I sat on the floor of the sistine chapel, and witnessed the huge hand of David. I also feel that if I kept traveling, one foot in front of the other,one mode of transportation, another mindless bus rid,e another roadside stop. More tickets, security, random encounters with other travelers, an older couple from albanian with whom I can only say "thank you" and "good" and not explain why I know two words in Albanian. The Albanian couple was dressed in what I imagine were traveling clothes in the 1950s. He was dressed in a creamy linen suit, dress shoes and a hat. She was tucked into a skirted suit, short-stumpy heals and vintage sunglasses which kept here eyes a bit hidden from me. They were flying to Madrid and I have no idea why. On my flight to Amsterdam i sat next to a women applying for an architecture grant and she had fancy earrings and wore blue corduroys. The man next to her was reading a book titled "Why we want you to get rich". None of us spoke to each other, but I imagined where they were from and where they were going. The women, young and speaking Italian but owning a bag from an Amsterdam boutique store took notes in french and english as she read philosophy on art. As I arrived in Amsterdam the sleek designs seemed out of place in my reality, and the grocery stores gleaming with prepackaged food, organic treats and shelves of nicely packaged juices contrasted to the Croatian Konzumes (the main grocery store chain) I've grown accustomed to over the past seven months.

The backdrop to this shift in pace and place is a strange cascade of coincidences-my last night in rome i started telling my brother about the weird "ghostly" encounters I've had over the years with my  grandmother who passed away years ago, which is a whole another story, but then I start reading for this conference I am going to and its all about these strange encounters with family members who have passed away. Before that, we went to a restaurant at rome and sat at a table, a small restaurant tucked in a corner of the Jewish ghetto, and a business card was taped to the wall, the only business card which read "Arch Papers, St. Louis Missouri". I arrive in Amsterdam and Jakob tells me about this project where he uses an image of the last known point in space and I start a new book, which starts with the first time we sent an object into space. None of this is mind blowing, but it seems like the universe is hinting at something, some strange space, time, and intangible occurrence thats supposed bring something to light.