Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Amsterdam in December:

The city's trees are bare, winter's rains have begun, and seagulls continue their flight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Computer was Stolen in Berlin:

My computer was stolen in Berlin, from my hotel room, and it was really truly awful. I re-entered my room Thursday evening, after returning from the office; a fourth day of intensive editing work past me after flying back to Amsterdam from the Midwest just six nights before. I was tired and hungry and my computer was not where I left it, it was gone. It turns out that the hotel's cleaner didn't lock my room and thus it was stolen after that fact. Charger, case, and computer–all gone. Yesterday I went to the Apple store here in Amsterdam, so shiny and new as it is, and decided upon which new specimen I will purchase to replace the missing one–the hotel is paying for it. They're being quite nice about it really, and they should be–they cost me three sleepness nights and a computer and a half hour of verging on a nervous breakdown. It was a hotel that one could describe as 'hip'; maybe that is also the problem. To make it all more enjoyable, I had to stay at the hotel for two more nights after the incident happened because I left on Saturday! Though I was thinking it was nearing time for a new computer, this isn't really the way I wanted to replace it. I'll be purchasing a Macbook Pro 13" Retina, and I'm excited. It's on the hotel.

It seems that the other and I generally go somewhere for Christmas every year and this year we are going to Paris on Wednesday and I couldn't be more excited, because this is precisely the first time I will have ever been to Paris, with someone I love. So that's a first, and a good first at that. I've been to Paris many times, and every time I visit, I always discover something new–a great boutique, a small sweets bakery, a tiny park... It's a bit like Amsterdam in that sense; a layered red-onion, the center its core. And, in absence of my computer, I've been reading more paper and watching more of the International Herald Tribune videos on my phone: hello Louise Story and David Gillen!

Christmas has happened upon Amsterdam; the decorations have been pumped up this year, especially around Spui. Has the city been reading my critiques of their holiday decor over the years? Could be, could be... Other than just finishing up 2012 tasks, of which there are few to begin with, I'm ready for 2013.

And Paris.
On Wednesday.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back to Europe:

I am back in Europe, where I have currently taken up residence in Berlin, Germany for the week. Berlin is a city that was 'cool' about eight years ago. Now people just come here for the generic 'Berlin' experience, as most people tend to do when they come to any large city. I'm seeing the true Berlin though, through the eyes of locals and others who can show me many places and spaces I would otherwise overlook. After being in the USA for a week, it feels slightly strange, yet also very comforting, to be back in Europe. I felt very out of my element in Ohio and for the most part felt as if I were an observer; yet an observer who strangely knew all local customs and clichés. I feel at home on the Continent, as well as in the USA; my life resides in Europe, and at the moment, that is where my home is. It is currently a winter wonderland here in Berlin, and everything is covered in snow. It's both comforting and cold.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

From Norway to Ohio:

This past spring I found myself in Scandinavia, and more specifically Bergen, Norway. At that time I thought that my life really couldn't have been more perfect. Norway was really stunning, and if you are ever planning a trip to Scandinavia, first go to Copenhagen, then Stockholm, and then head up to Oslo–located in Norway. It really is mystical up there, too. Eaves of tiny houses, tucked away in the woods, come to a point in the form of dragon-headed silhouettes, while wooden churches from almost a millennia past weave mystery within this nautical yet mountainous country. Many buildings in Norway boast foundations made of stone; as such the cityscapes feel 'heavy'. When strolling through the streets of the few true urban environments the country has on offer, one has the feeling that the residents of these spaces (which dot the edge of continental Europe) are wrapped within so many layers of cultural significance, they have no need to emigrate, at all. There's no need to ever leave Norway.

The cityscapes and urban places in Ohio couldn't be any more different than those situated in Norway. There are fountains and tree lined boulevards, skyscrapers, and Art Deco relics abound; for what the USA lacks in length of existence, it regains though its immense rapid expansion, cultural history, social progress–and its version of democracy which is still quite unique in this world. Ohio, here I come.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oliebollen are Back!

An oliebol is a deep-fried and powdered-sugar coated ball of Dutch-dough that is traditionally served around the holiday season (of the Western world) within the Netherlands. The stand litter the streets of all major cities, and the oil from the balls is most often used to soothe an upset stomach that's been made upset due to an excessive intake of alcohol, particularly on New Year's Eve. Personally, I think they're disgusting and have only ever eaten one bite, of one ball, which I immediately spit out. Olliebollen zijn niet voor mij.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tramming Through Amsterdam:

Most morning when the clouds cover Amsterdam's skies, or when rain drops down from above, the city's trams and I become best friends, together dashing off into the distance onward toward our final destination. The tram is a comforting beginning to my day, providing it with a rhythm while simultaneously allowing for reflection. During my tram rides, many pages of books are (and have been) read, many visuals are consumed, and countless articles on International Herald Tribune can be scrolled through with my fingers on my tiny 'mobile' screen; so works society with apparatuses that are in-dated alongside infrastructure that is out-dated. Every so often an older tram is presented to me outside an anonymous tram stop; suddenly I'm transported to another time and place: a time where maroon, black, and tan were considered chic, and rubber and chrome were pleasant combinations for both the eyes and skin. The trams of this city delight me, whatever their surface may expose, as just below their immediately perceivable surface, countless stories of those who've glided through the cities streets are stored. Amsterdam's trams, like its people, are always on the move–while its citizens are provided with public transportation, convenience, delight, and above all: surprises.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

John does Berlin:

I spent last week in Berlin. 
It was very cold, but it was also (and more importantly), absolute fun.