Friday, 29 December 2006

Brazos Bend and such

I've been to the States three times now and my two previous trips consisted of Texas exclusively, but I can't say I've seen that much of it. Despite being a city animal, I am also a huge nature lover and have finally gotten to see Brazos Bend, which I had heard of so much before. The landscape was swampy and crowded with trees that cast reflections in the swampy waters. On the banks of the walkways aligators would be sunning and not making much of your presence. The place had lots of views of birds of all kinds as well and in general was a wonderful walk.

Christmas was great and soon after we left to go to Austin and visit an uncle here. We took a walk through downtown and I finally got to see how cute this town is in daylight. We're setting off to go to Waco in a couple of hours and will spend New Year's Eve there. I didn't bring my camera on this trip, so no pictures from this one...

Sunday, 24 December 2006

It's Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve today and I'm finally getting excited for Christmas! Christmas Eve is my very favorite day when I'm back home in Krakow. You finally get to put up the tree, you fast all day, help Mom in the kitchen, eat until you can't breathe and then open up presents. After all that you might go visit family and go to a midnight mass to sing Christmas carols. It's such a fun day. Oh do I miss my dear Krakowians!

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Boston post-date

I didn't really mean to have a post on Boston, since it was just a one-day affair, but I have all these pictures sitting on my computer and felt that at least some should be on my blog. I was there a week ago, but can't say I was overwhelmed with the city. It was kind of interesting, but also kind of monotonous and rugged at times. I liked its Italian part, one hilly residential district, and a few buildings, but other than that I can't say that much caught my eye. To be fair though, I had just a few hours there, so my perspective is based on first impressions only.

The cutest thing I came across was a break-dance performance. The boys got excited with me taking pictures of them, stopped the show and started to pose for me.

DC (and the Paul Taylor Dance Co.)

My stay in Washington was an absolute delight. I was wined and dined and taken to all sorts of wonderful events by my charming grandfather-in-law. My flight from NY was not the best prelude to this city, but the 7 hour delay (4.5 of which I spent on tarmac) was well worth it in the end. It would be wrong to compare it to NYC, but this town definitely has a lot going on artwise. On the crisp evenings I spent in DC I went to the Philharmonic and to a show by the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

I can't say I have a vast knowledge of contemporary dance, but I definitely am a fan. This show was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever seen. Paul Taylor is said to be the greatest living choreographer and at the end of the performance showed his face to a standing ovation . The show consisted of four parts and each of them touched the audience with currents of humour, youthfullness, as well as fear and darkness. The picture above is from the 'Banquet of Vultures', which was a take on Bush and on the permanence of warfare. The dancers were fantastic and I'm unsure who is more lucky to have whom - Paul Tylor the dancers or the other way round. See this show if it comes to your town.

And before it gets too late to say it - Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Gogol Bordello

I saw this band in London and it was the best show ever. They from Ukraine, now in NY, check them out.

A sexy video I found...

Friday, 8 December 2006

The evolution of dance

Thursday, 7 December 2006

New York, New York

I've been thinking about what to call this post and thought of many titles that could be a lot more original than Frank Sinatra's theme, but that's just about the top song on my list since I've been here, so that's what it's going to have to be.

My first day in NY was exhausting, but absolutely fabulous. I walked for about 5 hours stopping just for a short lunch in Chinatown. I would like to do it chronologically, but I cannot help letting the Brooklyn Bridge taking the first place in my story. I think it is the most beautiful bridge structure I have ever seen and makes the best model for taking pictures I've ever come across.

I started my walk at the World Trade Center to take pictures of Ground Zero. I could not really connect to it when I first saw it, but at the end of my walk I overheard a New Yorker talking about how high and thick the buildings were, which was still hard for my mind to wrap around. I also went to a photo exhibition, which I have to say was touching. Photo-wise, though, not quite as impressive as the whole build-up made me expect.

Once I was done with Ground Zero and then Brooklyn Bridge I headed back into Manhattan over Manhattan Bridge, which was a whole different experience. Simpler, more industrial, and a lonelier experience than the rest of New York. Gray, sliced up by sunlight and graffiti, and resounding with the trains and construction work, it was a great contrast to Brooklyn Bridge. Lone cyclists and gray people not looking into the bridge affair were the only seldom companions on long way over. At the end of it all the graffiti made me feel a little too lone, but it was some of the best graffiti I've ever seen. Oh, the bridges of New York - amazing.

From Manhattan Bridge I made my way to Chinatown, where I had lunch with a real Chinaman with a Californian accent. From there, I strolled on into Little Italy, Soho, and then made the final circle by reaching Ground Zero. New York is amazing. Everyone who knows me must have now heard of London, but these are like night and day. Walking through New York is like turning a corner and seeing a new landscape everytime. In half an hour you can go from hearing and eating Chinese, to watching the Godfather live, to Jay Z wannabes, to Broadway, to everything. Walking NY is great on your own and this was the best walk ever. Could I live here? Think I could get used to it pretty quick. NY is a mix of textured energies, colourful streets, and changing lives.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

The sentimental shoe

With today's greater ease in communication I think we all get a bit of a sense of false security as far as maintaining our relationships with other people. Have you or any of your friends moved to a different country? Those who move abroad have to re-do all their homework on who their local friends are, which places they like, and what job or studies they attend, which for most people doesn't leave much time to maintain the friendships from the past.

How many of your friends have you not seen or talked to in the past year? We all email and call, but in most cases, unless the people on the other end are truly close in some way, you lose touch. After a while you could even ask yourself if it's still worth bothering to make friends anymore. If you have family abroad things get even more complicated. How often do you visit, talk, or write? How much is enough?

Through my experience of being away from home for the past 3 years, I found that the distance can have a variety of consequences on my relations with people. Some of my relationships with friends and family back home have actually gained in quality, since both sides try to make the most out of the little we have. Others, though, through negligence or having to get on with my life in new places, have slipped away. So since the good ones stay and the not-so-close go, is this in fact a good process, which works as a kind of a filter, where only the relevant ones stay? Not sure.

It's hard to be there for people and be close to them when you're away, but it can be done if only you try hard enough. If that's a kind of a life you live, and you keep going, you end up creating new communities wherever you go - what can I say - it must work, otherwise people wouldn't really want to live their lives like that, would they? Foreign places, people, cultures, always carry some excitement, freshness, and stimulation. But in all the moving, shopping, and making new friends, we should all try our best to stick to the ones we value and love - in a greater perspective those are few and far between.

Keep in touch, everyone.

This post's topic was inspired by an article I read in the IHT called 'Taking friendships with you'. Here's the link if anyone wants to read it as well: