Tuesday, April 30, 2002

well, i'm done with one paper, not titled (couldn't do it) 'doin it dogme-style,' tho that is how i will forever think of it (assuming i will forever think of it, which is a silly notion.) my next is due thursday and i should get cracking. however, after a luxurious macro-biotic (or is it micro? can, as in econ, there be both?) dinner enjoyed in the 6D kitchen, where i hadn't been or cooked in a while, and a half-decent, if i may say so myself, phone-interview, i had to come downstairs to clear my head. the issue on the table is Job. do i take job a: interesting, worthwhile, research-focused, an opportunity to earn some cash ($500 - $750 per month) while working to bring down w's evil faith-based initiative and similar programs? or job b: ridiculously ideal (see below) but unpaid?

i'm hoping for c: perhaps a combination of the two. 30 hrs/week for one and 20 for the other? i don't see how i could in good conscience turn down the documentary. then again, how could i have gone nearly-20 years without regularly drawing a salary? granted, a paltry $1000 or so over the course of two months ain't exactly a living wage but it's more the getting-off-the-dole principle of the thing.
i've been straightforward with both potential-employers thus far. my interviewer asked about other possibilities and i told him. sounding dubious, he said he'd envisioned 40 hrs/week but perhaps 30 -- certainly no less than 20 -- would suffice. he said he'd check with his higher up. determinedly focusing on Potential for Good, i posed the same question to the film folk and asked for particulars. now i'm crossing finger, toes; mine, other people's; whatever's handy.
i'm near-hyperventilating. this is too good to be true and there's no one i'm friends with in this computer lab to shriek to. i've been offered a job -- ASIDE from the one i'm being interviewed for this evening -- as an intern for a small independent production company: Singing Wolf Documentaries, recently formed by two women, Karen Cantor of the USA and Camilla Kj�rulf of Denmark. their summer project in dc is a documentary about the 1943 rescue of the danish jews. this summer. in dc. me. films. documentaries. jews. women. and they're in copenhagen now so i can meet up with them if i like. copenhagenjewswomenfilmdocumentaries -- it's virutally my meta tag!

okay *gasp* ... okay. i still have to final-touch my dk pol paper. i still have to get through two classes and dinner with eric, who very sweetly invited me to be cooked for when just a couple nights ago it occurred to me that our friendship had essentially become a-first-half-of-the-semester thing. and then my phone interview, though now the pressure is definitely off. i have an option!
before flipping out, the logical thing to do is wait to see how the phone interview goes. and logical -- we all know that's my middle name.

Monday, April 29, 2002

shannon, my partner for this dk pol danish film paper, wrote up 6 pages and left for an indie-music fest in scotland last week, entrusting a bag of books she thought i'd find helpful for my half with the dis front desk. i finally got a chance (dis having been closed friday-sunday) to pick them up, along with a half-full jar of peanut butter and a note ("don't ask about the peanut butter.") my heart sank: six paperbacks and a solid oak's worth of xerox pages. would she expect me to use it all?
the first of the books i pulled out, richard kelly's the name of this book is dogme 95, has the four dogme Brothers with their fists solemnly raised on the cover. i began to read, pencil in hand; and two hours later, i've finished the damn thing. little clusters of my hair surround my feet and my head fizzes the way it does whenever i've spent two hours absently yanking out curls. it's an unfortunate habit, as is getting so sucked into words that i lose sense of the proper goal. i should have skimmed, like a professional, dammittohell. but, just like white teeth this morning, it was so good ... i am my father's child. and i am hopeless.

oh, and is "doing it dogme-style" too racy a title?
good luck: striding up to the soda machine, wallet in hand, only to unzip the little coin pocket and find one 10 kr. coin, not brassy enough to overwhelm its being entirely alone. diet coke costs 12 kr. no friends in the immediate vicinity; no bills in the larger pocket of the wallet. glancing around for a solution, immediately noticing thumbprint-sized silver on the carpet beneath the couch. striking over, picking it up, striding back to the soda machine, feeding it, and noting with satisfaction the digital red response: a perfect 12 kr.

bad luck: bus breaking down five minutes into the ride. bus driver shrugging and offering advice in danish. walking out into cold dark rain, finding there's at least ten minutes to wait (and no cover) til the next bus.
but as bad luck goes, that's really nothing. i had no time pressure and a wool coat and working legs. i glanced over my shoulder from five steps past the busstop where i usually deboard, and noted with satisfaction the bus i could have waited for chugging up the street.
this morning, entranced by zadie smith, digestive biscuits, and sunshine, i overstayed my welcome in my corner-chair. when i glanced up, i realized it was 12:05 and too late to make it to a 12:15 class. as an oft-quoted old pervert once said, there are no accidents, so shrugging i got dressed and packed my bag without hurrying and am now using the time i should be spending in my favorite class to frivol, which i won't get a chance to do later as i dedicate the afternoon/evening to finishing my dk pol paper on danish film.

the distance between here and my mid-atlantic america homes seems particularly gaping now that i have hugs i have a physical need to give: to lana, fighting a lonely battle at umd; to sarahrose, standing up for herself at swat (such things aren't easy anyplace.); and to my friend nomi, who doesn't read this site but who sent me a brief, startling email this morning that made me smile.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

how is one supposed to do work in a library? books everywhere! allsortsa fun books, like, for example, the one that leapt off of the shelf and into my arms: white teeth (i don't have white teeth. i was looking in the mirror in the bathroom, which you should never do, and commenting disconsolately to myself that my teeth are not white and my skin is not good. my hair's kinda frizzy at the moment too if it comes to that. how is it possible i have friends?) by zadie smith. sez the back of the novel, this is her debut. astonishing. i'm 30 pages in.

i've also been derailed by cyrus. he's fixated on the middle east despite having never been there or knowing anyone in the vicinity. whenever the subject comes up in a class, you can count on either him or me or both raising our hands. we're happ'ly met in the middle, more or less; he's slightly more to one side and i to the other. but we have good conversations because we agree on the basic principles, such as: both sides have a right to exist; media is unreliable and extreme; and the subject is complex. there is no Right Answer.

but white teeth -- mm. and smilla's feeling for snow, which i started last nite. i find it amusing when people say they read when they have time. what priorities! a paper is only a paper: you'll rarely remember it once it's handed in. but a novel is fruit and cake.
i just enjoyed an exquisite pear which was a cap-off to an exquisite bagel picnic-lunch enjoyed with miss kriss under the hide-and-seek sunshine and occasional drop of rain on her hockey blanket in the park by the dfi whose library, unfortunately, was closed, leaving us to take solace in our food, debating whether to throw �re at people and reminiscing all-time-favorite meals, and then wind back to dis where i will now -- no really, i'm serious, this time i mean it -- begin working on my dk pol paper. but oh my that pear was good.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

what's that polkadot of light on the horizon? could that be -- maybe? -- is it? -- hope? one of the ten emails i've sent out over the past couple weeks has yieled a tentatively-positive possible result: at the very least, a telephone interview. this time i'm going to prepare for it, dammit. i will be the most elegant, eloquent, confident candidate they ever spoke to in copenhagen. oh yeah baby. wish me luck.

the falafel i obtained yesterday ended up being one of the best i've had here, and that signaled a change of luck. anne called, invited me chez elle for dinner with her host family. i read 150 pages of njal's saga first, which i have to get done by tuesday. it's a terrfic, gory read, full of vendettas and fueds and wisdom, with some religion and sex thrown into the mix. hey, it passes the ms. test. my only worry, as i told anne later when she met me at alburtsland, was that all this masculinity might be warping me. roots, godfather, and viking sagas all have very specific ideas about what "men" are and should do; ideas that i think i might need a gender studies class, if not a heated lecture from (swat)becca, to get out of my mind.

anne's host-mother surprised me by suggesting, as soon as i offered her the marzipan cake i'd brought, that we partake right away. so, in a pleasant inversion, we started with tea and dessert. i met anne's three host-brothers, all high-pitched, light-haired, and under the age of ten. warm veggie food, danish cartoons and improv comedy, get shorty, and fresh baked rolls this morning. i'm now prepped and ready to make a dent in the two papers i have due this week.

Friday, April 26, 2002

hmm, trying to shake off malaise even though it's a malaise-y quality day. i expected to sleep in after my late night romp with the corleones' and wheather (will+heather. there's no point in being clever if no one gets it.) but the phone startled me awake this morning at 8. "hello?" "hi." "hi! oh, hi! -- is anything wrong?"
i seem to have inherited my mother's cautionary instincts. luckily no, nothing was wrong w/ the young gentleman, or at least nothing out of the ordinary. as i've lamented at length before, i dislike telephone conversations. i adore emails, i love letters, IM rockz my world!!!, but phones, no, not so much. ah well. we talked for an hour or so and i've been ambling around pointlessly since. read some dorothy parker, took a shower, am now contemplating lunch. yawn. lots of people are out of town, this being a three-day weekend. i should work. maybe once i venture into the gray uninviting yonder for some falafel, i'll get to it.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

sometimes you gotta take a stand:
as a follow-up to my criminal justice class' guided tour through christiania, today we conducted a civilized debate about drugs. teacher jeanne split us into two, assigning each half the position of defending either the legalization of hard and/or soft drugs, or keeping the laws the way they are. i remember my father driving me somewhere in new mexico once, i couldn't have been more than ten, while he lectured me at length on why drugs should be legalized. i'd never thought about it before and at first i found it astonishing that my father the attorney, who made a point of encouraging me to put money in meters even when there is no chance of getting caught, should advocate decriminalizing what nancy reagan on tv had drilled into my head was so wrong.

the more i listened, the more i agreed. that was the pattern of my childhood: my father, often my brother, and sometimes my brother's friend josh who sat with us in the back of the bus, could convince me of nearly anything. but the lecture came back to me as we listed reasons to legalize drugs. consider the potential tax revenue as well as the money the government would save not having to enforce drug laws or maintain the disproportionately-black one-third of prison population. consider that those who out of boredom or frustration seek escape will always find a way. consider that the world sanctions substances equally addictive, dehabilitating, and/or lethal. i advocated legalizing it all, to which people laughed and looked at me curiously. i shrugged: let them find another way to break the law.

moving right along: in my next class, we watched night and fog, the 1955 french documentary about the holocaust with a focus not on nazis vs. jews but human beings in all their various roles. even having seen it all before, i was brushing away tears like flies. after relevantly briefing us on other genocides -- slavery in america, rwanda, cambodia, stalin's russia, turkey-armenia, WWII japan in china -- teacher margaret urged us into a discussion of the comparability or uniqueness of the holocaust. the class generally agreed that there's no point trying to give more credence to one monstrosity or another.

i mentioned something that had come up on sarah k.'s site, the question of whether "a war criminal is a war criminal," and the prevalence of nazi jargon in popular protests. in my opinion, it's a sloppy, weak use of a lanuage, just as much as a cliche is. it elicits a knee-jerk reaction but over time that will diminish until people are as numb to it as they are to everything else.

for the rest of today, i will sit peacefully, watch the godfather at dfi, and agree with everything anyone says.
i don't know what is about this season that brings out the explicit in people. yesterday it started with anne proclaiming her suspicion of a urethra conspiracy. they've been telling us it's in the wrong place all these years, she said, eyes narrow. krissy and i exchanged glances. but -- why? a plot contrived by the textbook-illustrators? for what conceivable purpose?
we brainstormed as we walked, anne being encased in one of those moods that requires six beers to jammerhammer through. krissy and andrea had come over for dinner, at which point instead of using my produce to fill burritos we used it to fill a trashbag. vegetables are never good in this country; extra special bonus, within a week they're carpeted in soft white mold. mold brings out the girl in me: i see it and i shriek, horror-movie-style.

but andrea's pasta was safe and krissy and i filled our burritos creatively. thinking my mushrooms were safe, we ate some of them too, only to notice putting them away that the other 'shrooms looked trippy. we felt it later, after we bid off-to-london andrea adieu, but krissy decided to make her nausea so drunk it'd forget its designs and i just bought a diet coke. we met anne and set off walking, searching for a playground. instead we ended up by the statue of the lille mermaid transforming, wandering o'er the ramparts, watching sheep be weird, until a man in army fatigues requested politely that we take our laughter and explicitness (not to mention open alcohol containers) elsewhere.

when we were buying the beer at the supermarket, the clerk said, "can i see some ID?" for a moment, we stood there, deer-in-headlights, carved-in-stone, hearts-stopped, the siren of panic filling our ears. then he said, "just kidding." sometimes i love europe after all.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

two field studies in a row today left me drained, achy, and desperate to be where i now am, hugging a computer with one arm and a diet coke with the other. the first one was at kua, which it turns out is only a ten-minute walk from my dorm. not knowing that, of course, i took a bus to central station and another back to the university. once back at the university i was like, "hey, wait a minute -- i know that building --" yeah. jeg er slow.
the study itself was really interesting. a norse philologist showed us well-kept icelandic manuscripts, some of them nearly a thousand years old. they're handwritten on dried calfskin: the recipe, as it were, calling for roughly one calf per eight pages.
and then i walked home, orienteering towards a familiar windy church steeple.

my next field study was less enthralling. a very thoughtful christiania resident took us around the hippie haven, pausing for long intervals while we stood there, fidgeting. he didn't say much that i didn't already know, except to outline the details of the free state's economic structure and make it clear that none of the revenue is derived from the hash market. apparenly that takes in about $100 million per year; you'd never know it from the scruffy vendors. "they drive home from here in their mercedes," he said, shrugging with disdain.

heather emailed me from across the computer lab saying, "i thought i could hear you laughing" [at krissy, who just got pictures of our hair-chopping extravaganza back.] nice to know i'm recognizable, i suppose.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

the ASSassins thing is hilarious. people have thrown themselves into it with typical, neurotic, competitive, overachieving swattie flair. can you tell how jealous i am? i missed it first semester too, for reasons that elude me at the moment. eliz vs. becca is the best match anyone could devise. i won't begin to guess who'll win. rebecca's coldblooded and merciless; then again, eliz's babbling panic is likely just a devious front for the same.

there's a friend of my suitemate's who calls from time to time (usually late at night/early morning), and, apologizing madly, asks me to do things for her. mostly leave messages for my sleeping suitemate, tho once it was to meet her downstairs to open a door for her. last nite it was to give her a 7 a.m. wakeup call. i can't say no to her; i barely know her; and anyway somehow it's too funny. so i woke up at 7, called her with a chipper good morning, and having lots of time after getting ready, took the elevator downstairs to find out my housing fate, chanting quietly, "dana dana dana. it'll be dana, it'll be dana. it'll be fine. it'll be dana."
lo and behold, it was (is.) brig and i are sharing an outside double on dana 3rd. the building is the twin of the one where i lived freshman year. it has a rep for being quiet but considering the swarm of us taking it over (sarah c., sorelle, eliz, brig, me ...) i'm sure we'll make short work of that.

despite this morning's viewing of roman polanski's death and the maiden -- the first film in a while i've watched most of with my eyes closed -- i'm in a much better mental state. nothing changed, of course; nothing does. i just woke up this morning and saw in color, and that was enough for me.

Monday, April 22, 2002

today was all-around strange, which i'm sure you noticed. woke up this morning to news that while israel had officially and finally pulled out, to no ceremony at all, not even screams of "about time!" because, simultaneously, europe had its breath taken away by a stunning electoral development in france. reading about this guy, i laughed in disbelief but also in the irony of it: sanctimoniously leftist france had just given one out of five votes to a man who proposed to create jobs by deporting the country's 3.6 million immigrants. how exactly does this jive with their defense of arabs' human rights?
This party gained a single seat in the French Assembly this time, and -- perhaps more significantly -- 15% of the national popular vote during the "first round" of the general election. All of this might be less important if the "FN" were not a rhetoric -oriented demagogic group, using techniques playing to base fears and
insecurities among the genuinely unhappy voters. This is not the "Prairie Populism" or "City Boss Machine" of US political history, however, but something darker and more disturbing, from Europe's own particularly - 1930's past. This is Jean - Marie Le Pen, who thinks that the "Holocaust" concept is overblown and doubts that Nazi
concentration camps existed, and who doesn't like immigrants.

{FYI France}

an article in the post puts france now in the illustrious position of being clustered together with austria, italy, and, is it e'en so?, denmark, as it denounces them all for their rightist tendencies. of course, it's not fair to include denmark as "right" here is still moderate by american standards, but media doesn't seem to make that distinction. i myself'd be more sympathetic to denmark if we hadn't gotten to WWII today in class and my teacher hadn't flatly stated that denmark, just like sweden, switzerland, and norway (the other social-democratic countries you'd expect better of, she said) did everything it could to keep jewish refugees out of the country. over a decade, only 1200 made it in, the majority on the condition that they would leave within months.

i forewent the bus and walked home, brooding. what i wanted most of all was to talk to people, face to face: adults, preferably, who'd seen the world gag on its own hypocricy before and recover. even though i've never had her as a prof, i wanted to talk to dorsey; i just wanted to hear what she'd have to say. i've never really had a mentor and always wanted one -- some strong, intelligent older woman to tell me that people have despaired before; and also that it will be all right.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

oh yeah, and check me out: blogsitting for dissertation-frazzled webmistress of copenhagen tinka herself.
i couldn't agree with tom friedman more. change the channel. please. i'm just waiting for the day when mideast news is once again below the fold -- or, dare i even whisper it, off the front page completely.
andrea called me this morning while i was, as has become my custom, reading in my sun-chair in my pajamas mindlessly eating leftover stuffing. DIS picnic, she reminded me. was i interested? after obtaining shannon's approval for the change of plans, i acquiesced, and andrea and i made elaborate plans to meet in a particular car on a particular train. uplifted, cheerful, i packed a bag, dressed for the season -- socks'n'sandals, tee-shirt'n'winter coat, sunglasses -- and hopped downstairs. then on the busride to the train station, i caught sight of a whole street full of riot police suiting up.

that reminded me. rally today. 2 pm, pro-israel. i was torn. should i proceed as planned to the picnic, to lounge about w/ andrea, her christian, estella, her christian, and other DISers and host families? was opting for that being cowardly?
deciding resignedly yes to both, i continued on to the train station. later the last couple lines from a poem "advice to my son" appeared in my head, offering some comfort: "and always serve bread with your wine/ but son, always serve wine." maybe i've had enough bread for the week.

as for the wine, i enjoyed it much. beautiful, undanish sunshine; good people; a long walk, lots of pictures, and a talkative, apolitical crowd. i didn't think about anything happening outside of dyrehaven once except to remember lana's organization of TBTN and to wish her, without irony, weather as lovely as ours.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

i've never cooked for 14 before. i've never cooked for thanksgiving before. i've never had thanksgiving in april before. i guess there's a first time for everything.
blessedly, andrea's-and-my contributions to the feast (and oh what a feast it was) stood their ground even among such seasoned veterans as green-bean casserole and yams with marshmellow. i was so proud.
now i'm so full. altogether we assembled like twenty dishes, including five kinds of desserts, and nothing disappointed. sam's host-parents experienced their first thanksgiving, as did a russian DISer. i experienced my first deviled eggs and sweet tea. sam, of course, was the hero of the evening: bustling, overseeing, directing, managing, barely breaking a sweat, let alone a plate.

the residue left by this morning's run-in with reality melted away. contentment and warm food took its place, lingering on my teeth. between both, and the shift from one to the other, i'm emotionally exhausted. and might -- haven't decided yet -- chance the rally tomorrow regardless.
andrea asked if i would go to shul with her this morning to say kaddish for her grandfather so i went down to meet her at the prescribed time at the nondescript brick block that is the only synagogue in the city. my first instinct, halting me in midstep, is that something must have happened. one white van blocks the street. another blue van hugs the curb and a line of blue men stretches down the sidewalk. a television crew, ahh the white van people, hangs out behind the blue men. as i watch, increasingly agitated, old couples amble into view, pass the blue men, and enter through a narrow gate. a guard nods at them and a man in a red jacket, over the guard's shoulder, snaps pictures.
andrea appears, immediately worried at the sight of me. by way of explanation, i point down the street. after a few moments, we start walking, trying not to look at the blue men. i think bitterly of how women walking into abortion clinics must feel. the guard at the gate stops us and the man in the red jacket smells blood.
the guard tries danish, then switches to english. are you tourists? we nod. (flash) passports. we hand them over. (flash) how long have you been in denmark? three months. (flash) are you accustomed to attending synagogue? in america. (flash. flash. flash. i must be making a front page somewhere.)
an older man behind me says excuse me and my interviewer and i part so that the old man can walk through. he smiles at me encouragingly. the guard gives me back my passport, nods me in and says shabbat shalom.

Friday, April 19, 2002

speaking of novels, this is a terrific site (link via leuschke)

carrots and stuffing are done. carrots actually in final form; stuffing to be finished and baked tomorrow. i was tired, and stressed a little about doing it right so it wasn't as much fun as hamentashen. but having recently failed as a hairdresser, i decided i didn't want to measure up sub-par as a cook too. if i can't groom and i can't kitchen -- and we all know i can't clean --, i'm virtually useless as a woman.
without ceremony or explanation for its absence -- rudely, even, you could say (you cynic) -- the sun strutted into the sky. clouds vanished just as abruptly, taking the wind with them. it's an entirely different day than it was this morning. i don't think we've quite processed it yet. it all happened so fast. after over a week of uninterrupted monotonous gray cold, there's light again, and calm. still no warmth, of course, but one can't have everything, and my lord i've learned to be grateful.

other than that, nothing too momentous has happened. andrea and i tripped gaily through fakta, assembling the necessary stuffing stuffs and honey and carrots for the honeyed carrots. learned the old norse word for dismembered horse penis (i swear, it was relevant.) received a fabulous email from the limping triplet, eliz and brig, re: housing options which i might have to quote here, at least in part. it looks like our backup choices, in case the wharton bloc ("it's big, it's beautiful, it's blond and buxom") doesn't come thru, are: pitt quint w/ sarahk. and friend; dana/mertz blahblah; "Parrish beach. Naked. All year. Maybe a pup tent. Maybe just a puppy. Who knows?"; "Strath Haven. It's almost guarenteed. Climate control. Each get our own room. We have given up on the biased/unbiased form. ESTER, FOR GOuy7futughkgtkvluyuyh ,
Ester, it's Brig now. Strath Haven is NOT an option. It's far and stupid and /. lokp '
Ester, it's an APARTMENT. Pitt is ALSO far. It has a bathroom and kitchen."
(they're so cute when they fight.)
personally i'm w/ brig (strathaven over dead body). otherwise i'm open to suggestion.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

i feel all itchy, like 'twas my hairs just cut. mais non: 'twas i doing the cutting, i ester never-held-a-razor. 'twas krissy patient in my white wooden chair and krissy's hairs falling gentle onto the cope post to a soundtrack of butchies-bitchandanimal-ani-catiecurtis-teganandsara-dar. using cuong's shaver ("it only has one setting," he says hesitantly as he extends it to us) we (i should say we; tho i handled most of it, she took over from time to time) buzzed her hair down to slightly-longer-than fuzz length. it was a spur of the moment type decision, as was her presence at my apartment in the first place. one impulse led to another: supermarket --> dinner --> why not get rid of those unnecessary inches. neither of us had anything else to do with our evenings.
post, both cautious. she showered and i dressed her in my mustard seed shirt, by turns cowering and simpering, laughing at the absurdity of the situation. it ain't perfect. patches reveal my initial clumsiness with scissors. the uneven back hammers in the point. butbutbut what can one do, what's done is done, etc. and anyway it looks fine. one side is definitively better than the other, the side i did second and with more confidence. she looks cute. older. more intimidating.

*phew* my nerves are wracked. i think i'll hold off playing hairdresser again for a while. stick to the things i know, like, uh, reading. tho i have to admit, roots is a lot less fun now that kunte has left africa. i have a sneaking suspicion it's all downhill from here.
i think i've picked my classes for next semester. women society and politics w/ madame murphy (and sarah c.); discourse analysis w/ my advisor r.w.p. (and ross?); 20th cent. russian history w/ weinburg (who asked me if i was sure i didn't want to take the seminar instead. like i could handle a history seminar.); and intro ed., w/ someone. ann maybe? anyone know anything about the ed profs? i can always hold off on intro ed and take race, ethnicity and public policy instead. is taking two history classes wise? decisions ...

last nite i had wholesome family fun. accompanied krissy to her tough, adorable hostmom's house, inhabited by two dogs, pictures of their 23 previous DIS host-kids, and two borrowed "grandkids" from a neighboring family. we watched brigid jones which i enjoyed more this time, maybe b/c i had fewer expectations of it matching [up to] the book.
this morning, heather and i made synchronized hostel reservations for barcelona. now it's double-official that we're going, barring the usual disasters, of course. heather heads off to roma this afternoon. i'm going to buy groceries so andrea and i can prepare (honeyed carrots and stuffing, hooboy) for sam's brainchild: a simulated thanksgiving for her host-family. counting the various friends she's enlisted to contribute, we'll have 13 folks around the table, representing at least three countries and various regions of the u.s. i'm curious myself to see what people pop up with.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

i remembered it's yom ha'atzmaut but didn't process that that meant the embassy would be closed. andrea and i trained out there and walked through the mist to find it. we counted eight security cameras on the outside perimeter fence alone, and three cop cars circling the area. it felt good at least to see the flag flying in the face of hostile danish weather; the neighboring embassies had theirs tucked away.
i imagine most of the protesters are setting up outside the soccer game. i don't know if they realize it's israel's 54th birthday, if that will add a bit of urgency or venom to the demonstrations (there are three scheduled and the danish police are preparing to be present in record numbers. the league offered to refund tickets to anyone who feels unsafe attending.)
i'll be at krissy's. she invited me for veggie pizza with her host parents, adding, "if riots break out, you can always just spend the night."
also, this seems to be a good time for google searches. the following have brought i'm sure unsuspecting individuals here: "swarthmore college nude dash"; "some of the cons of chemical castration"; "gorgeous females thumbs"; "ester swarthmore copenhagen andrea" (okay, that one may have hit its target); and, my favorite, "life humanity." anyone interested in life humanity, please email. it's virtually my middle name.
it would have been nice if the sun emerged today. it appears to be sulking. meanwhile, unconcerned trees here continue turning a demure green while people run around doing the same damn things they've been doing for months arrayed in the same damn sweaters and coats.
i'm getting a little tired of winter. there've been more sirens lately and the drunks on the square near DIS have gotten more rowdy, so i guess i might not be the only one. the girlz and i were thinking bakken tonite perhaps; with this insistently chilly, droopy weather though, why bother?

once i found out the lottery won't be held for another week, the suspense drained out of yesterday leaving it rather ordinary. i did some preliminary research with shannon for DK Pol paper. how films are funded, what the system's like here, and the political/societal implications of the dogme movement. with that in mind, we and anne watched italian for beginners, the fluffiest, most innocuous one.

today i'm heading down to the israeli embassy with andrea. i'm not sure what my motive is or what i want to accomplish. once i heard that anti-zionists of all sorts -- arabs, jews, and nonsectarians inspired by the palestinian struggle -- were demonstrating there, i felt the urge to go. it's awful to have to stand alone, forced to represent, as though you had no opinions of your own, all aspects of some greater thing. they're diplomats. i'm sure they're used to it. all the same, i don't know exactly how isolated they are, and maybe they'd like to see a couple friendly faces.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

okay, more of my brother, because you know you're dying to hear and it's too funny not to share. he claims he's nervous about me copying his emails online but that's such a front. see, i published this story about us in amsterdam in swat's humor mag. everything would have been great except our parents found it. luckily the shrink they called in assured the family that such adolescent rebellions are relatively normal. the best thing to do, after some shock therapy, would be to send the offender someplace safe and warm where he can be out of trouble. hence: australia. being the girl and the younger one, naturally i got off lite: a lot of guilt trips and an arranged marriage. not too bad.

i'm too nervous for the lottery tonite to write anything substantial (or true). so! more news from my brother in warmer climes. what he calls "adventures in heterosexuality":
last wednesday nite i met this girl named bethan (beth-anne) at a bar. real cute australian girl, freshman, and, as my roommate eric says, way too hot to be giving me her number. yet, somehow, i get it anyway. fake, right? no -- better. i called it the other nite and a guy answered. so i'm thinking "hmmmm, brother or boyfriend? well, don't die wondering" . . . and now, the transcript:

adam: hi, is bethan there?
dolt: who is this?
adam: this is adam
shcmuck: no . . . she's not
adam: well, do you know when she'll be back?
yutz: why do you wanna know, mate?
adam: [with a touch of 'you dumbass' in his voice] because i wanna talk to her
dumbass: [starting to figure it out] why do you wanna talk to my girfriend, mate?!
adam: [trying not very hard to supress laugh] sorry, man, she didn't say she had a boyfriend.
prick: yeah, well how bout you never ring this number again!
adam: alright, sorry mussilini, take it easy
fakir: yeah
adam: ok, well you have a GREAT nite! [realizes line has already gone dead]

i hope i didn't get that girl pommeled like tina turner. eric (psych major) doesn't think so; his theory is that when bethan sees her boyfriend is wigging out and me being fonzerific it will show her that i'm the dominant male who she should be with. frankly, at a school with 20k girls, i'm not sure i care that much. but, i am gonna call her boyfriend with a new fake name every nite.
the choices for tonite's name is down to two finalists: roger and alouicious. roger like clinton and rabbit -- i like that. on the other hand, no one is actually name alouicious, which makes that one so vexing.
i'll let you know how it goes.

i told him roger. but hell, alouicious works too.

Monday, April 15, 2002

a dusting of my hair now covers mychal's floor. while we bonded over having similar thickness and curl and our dreams to be casting directors of indie films, she, as promised, snipped and layered and shaped. i think i like it, tho of course it's too early to be sure. it took a little longer than i expected so i had to rush back to dis, calling to heather and andrea from a block away. they had given up on me and started to dinner by themselves. we settled in a meat-oriented place; none of us ordered meat. over chicken, tuna, and a danish excuse for a veggie burger (garnished and redeemed by pineapple) we cheered our barcelona venture. heather'd already purchased her ticket and andrea and i went to seal our fates as well this afternoon. spain! sunshine! oh mercy.

two guest lectures today took the place of classes. another sexy criminologist (i am going to be a danish man in my next life) talked about victimization and the different attitudes towards victims in continental european vs. anglo-american systems. then an orthodox jewish woman talked about being an orthodox jewish woman in copenhagen. how the atmosphere has changed with the influx of immigrants from arab countries ("they've never been minorities in their country. they don't know how to be a minority") and how she feels the current political situation has affected the safety of jews everywhere in europe. someone asked whether a person could be anti-israel or anti-israeli policies without being anti-semitic, and she said flatly, sure, you can make that distinction; but people firebombing synagogues in paris don't seem to.
on a lighter note, she told that joke about how to distinguish reform, conservative, and orthodox jews. in case you've never heard it, i'll repeat it here: at an orthodox wedding, the bride's mother is pregnant. at a conservative wedding, the bride is pregnant. and at a reform wedding, the rabbi is pregnant.
come on, laugh.
two movies, both alike in dignity, yesterday: one, moulin rouge with andrea et. hall; the second, in the bedroom, in a theater, next to a danish girl who yelped at one inopportune point and left us both suppressing violent laughter for five minutes.
one made me cry, the other didn't. guess which.

reflecting in more depth on the two, which as i recall were both oscar contenders, i decided that moulin rouge is best described in pictures. everything that makes it special is visible at a glance. in the bedroom embodies the opposite. characters, for instance, who don't look like what they are (that being, essentially, what they're capable of.) nuanced relationships. moral ambiguity. i'm a sucker for that kind of thing.
naturally, the first thing i did when i got home was to call my parents. they're marching on washington today (i.e., walking downtown, but for a cause!) i warned them to be careful which they thought was silly.

housing problems may be solved = terrific. time will tell, of course. the girl who stood me up last week apologized like mad and offered me a free hair cut this afternoon. if it goes well, i'll take it as a sign that maybe other scrapes-and-bruises incurred then will heal themselves.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

for the second night in a row, i stayed up til 3 a.m. talking to ben. the phone startled me out of my pre-bed ritual: cautiously entering the apartment, turning on all the lights, furtively glancing behind doors. my imagination projects bizarre characters lounging in chairs, their suave a contrast to my on-edge. music helps so i rush over and turn it on, often choosing bachelor #2 b/c it's the first cd of the first artist on the machine. gradually i sit down and try to relax, disguted at what a wreck i become alone at night (my suitemate having unaccountably disappeared.)
when the phone rang, i jumped. morose, sick, ben was still better company than the insidious silence of 7F.

this morning i put my feet up in what's become something of a ritual: my chair in the corner (unpopulated by the sinister cigarette-smoking demon of my fears), a roll with cream cheese, yogurt, water, and roots, which i'm really into. at points the blatant sexism of the society disturbs me; i have to remind myself that it's 1750, and whether on or below the surface, essentially all societies were set up the same way.
i wish i'd been alive when the book -- and then the movie -- hit the u.s. i have the impression that it made quite a stir, although maybe i'm totally off. anyone remember/know?

sir marc extended a generous offer to save me from possible housing hell next year. it's good to know the option exists, at least, though i'm waiting to hear from the triplet and/or sorelle before i commit to anything. it would certainly be Going Home Again, a return to year 1 at swat, being surrounded by marc, joc and kenny, ruby and david, ross and rob. ahhh just fast-forward me to wednesday so i can know how this all turns out.
my brother adam emailed me hilariously from australia. i wish i could paste the whole thing up here; instead i'll treat you to an excerpt:
back in sydnay: this is all one nite -- i went on a pub crawl (organized bar hopping with a group) and was talking to this girl all nite, doing really well, definitely going to hook up with her, than she got one glass of white wine ahead of herself and threw up on her shirt. done; she ran to the bathroom and i never saw her again. (same nite) moving on on the pub crawl i met lawrence fishburn. here's the entire transcript of the conversation:

adam -- "i'm sorry, aren't you lawrence fishburn?"
larry -- [stares right at adam, says nothing]
adam -- [grinning like the drunk yid that he is] "yo, you were the man in
apocalypse now . . . larry fishburn, that was pretty cool . . . i don't know
if that's one you get a lot"
larry -- [still staring right at adam, says nothing]
adam -- [accepting that larry is just not gonna say anything] "so, you're
here filming matrix 2, right? probably, i mean they're making that in
australia . . . alright, sorry man. you're the fuckin man tho." [turns
around and trips on his friend eric, who has walked up behind him without
saying anything].

aaaaaand scene!

best. ever.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

no gloom! be banished; go. after i left (building, email, thoughts of everything happening elsewhere) my mood improved. andrea's influence played no small part, of course. also shopping success. we'd had this date for over a week and i was much looking forward to my first earnest shopping jaunt in a long time and hers in even longer. the day did not disappoint. DIS is in the second-hand heart of copenhagen. there must be five stores within two steps of the door. one of them, UFF, is my favorite, and scarcely had we walked in, we strutted out, two shirts the prouder each.
next we tried Second Way. a dress began singing to me quietly on the rack. it didn't look like anything i already owned; being part green and part floral, it didn't even automatically look like something i'd like. but it kept on singing and i became entranced. that it fit perfectly didn't hurt either. andrea proclaimed it special and the deal was done.
bagel sandwiches with heather; a stroll through Tiger, the "dollar store,"; lingerie shopping (spending $10 on lingerie sounds so much more justified than spending $10 on underwear.) i returned home with a full bag and promptly fired off four emails to intership possibilities i found thru googling for "summer internships" +washington, d.c. god bless the internet.

on the way to the movie, i warned andrea that if someone so much as mentioned paranoid schizophrenia in the emperor's new clothes, i'd walk out. fortunately i had no reason to worry. the movie was precisely what i needed: fluffy, upbeat, charming. the lead actress, recognizable from and just as good as in high fidelity, it turns out is danish (that explains the accent.)

i've heard lots of people blasting oldies recently. i will survive, ymca ... the other night it was abba. sheesh, i thought, rolling my eyes, can't they make their own kitschy music? why do they need to import ours?
... then of course i remembered: abba is swedish.
well, even the beatles became american after awhile, right? posession *is* nine points of the law.
i have one of the worst lottery numbers in the junior class. i'm not quite sure how that's possible -- i thought they adjusted them so that people who blocked last year were lower on the list which should install a floor past which a normal, not-having-blocked-or-lived-anywhere-spectacular-freshman-year chick like me could not fall. well. no.
conclusions: 1) i am a spoiled brat accustomed to everything going my way. 2) i wish there were a bull i could sacrifice to appease the swat gods, who i seem to have angered. 3 prime) perhaps i should stop making leftist jokes, as the swat gods do not seem to find them amusing. 4) i'm reading roots -- you'd think that'd help! 5) oops, there i go again.

things that could make me happier: 1) shopping w/ andrea, which i'm about to go do. she gave me one of the sweetest compliments of my life: that i make her like her more. as she makes me like humanity more, i guess we're even. 2) drinking heavily. i hear that works for some people. folks are pre-partying starting at 5 at dis; i was thinking of joining them anyway. 3) a movie i actually enjoy, unlike the last two we've watched in film class (both about WWII) or the last 4 i've seen in a theater. maybe this will do. 4) powell being effective. but i can't wander off on that train of thought again or i'll cry.

Friday, April 12, 2002

what are the odds of seeing two movies about paranoid schizophrenics in two days? shannon suggested revolution #9 this evening so i hopped to, blindly, just as i hopped into donnie d.. i have to say that revolution really made me appreciate donnie -- had shannon not been with me, i might have hopped right out again. bad timing, horrible script, irritating direction ... yeah.

on the brighter side of things, before the movie, i had a nice dinner w/ andrea, and she and i met heather for a rendezvous catch-up-date. we found ourselves a bar with a window we could cluster around. ten minutes or so later, a kid appeared beside my chair. are you british? no, american. oh. well my friend over there is british. he turns squarely to me. and he finds you attractive. he's wondering whether you'd like to come join us. i just stare, wondering whether to laugh; heather, luckily, is smooth. Could you ask him to come over here? i manage: what's his name?
he appears next to my chair as his friend vanishes, assuming virtually the same position. thinnish, blond, awkward smile, holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. he tells us he's lived all over the world, from new jersey to moscow. how old are you, asks heather. nineteen. ahhh. charming conversation ensues ("so ... have you been to christiania?") unfortunately, after a few minutes, i have to kindly-firmly shoo him away so we can resume our girltalk.
andrea says, ester, you're glowing. heather grins. one day, she says, you'll miss having those younger boys after you.
heather, i say. i'm nineteen.
she blinks at me. oh. right.

nb: to those of you who notice such things, i deleted the other entry from today. apologies to ben and various others i probably offended.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

two creepy experiences one after another. the second was watching the well-acted but self-obsessed, inexplicable donnie darko. the first was the busride there. i wrote a poem about it actually while waiting for anne:

a woman spoke to me
on the bus

her eyes were blue and soft
as saga cheese. they looked as though
they'd yield to gentle pressure,
and taste like mold
Like you could leave your thumbprints
in them

she never asked a question
and oily waves of hair encroached little
by little on her face
She fumbled with invisible cigarettes
drawn from a bent white box
She nodded from time to time
so did i
I was embarrassed to admit i didn't
speak danish; and anyway
she wouldn't have heard.
anne is raving about ikissyou, a website that circulated thru brynmawr last year while swatties were pissing themselves laughing over that allyourbase thing (remember that?) apparently "he was huge! he was on dave leno!" sez anne. i'm near-giddy. too much stress and repressing strong emotions, i guess.
trying to pick classes for next semester: topics in american cinema's a must, but unfortunately it means i can't take 20th russian history; either intro ed (pre req for the much-desired SOAN 039B: Conforming to NonConformity: How to Be a Leftist at Swat) or race ethnicity and public policy for african-americans; discourse analysis; women society politics. tentatively.
seeing Donnie Darko tonite. before that, must write yet another synopsis/outline, this one for film class (interaction between audience and performer in bergman's Persona). yeah. no depressing stuff; i'm just not feeling it right now.

... also, meant to mention: anne and i had decided to think up a Project, some kind of activity-alternative to the mad clubbing and bacchinalean excesses that consume our waking hours (read: going home and spending far too much time online). she had an idea today to make an underground guide to copenhagen. you could take the pictures, she said. (my heart jumped through my shirt like an yapping dog; i hurriedly tucked it back in.) we could write blurbs, make it all zine-like. krissy also expressed interest. while the mp3 anne'd found of ikissyou set to techno music blared in the background, we nodded solemnly. sunday we start. ooh! *squeal, clap hands* project.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

i spent eight hours straight in one chair, in front of one computer, typing one paper. while i was so absorbed an entire working day absorbed other people in other places. jamie and lana prepare for an ani evening at 9:30. the blocks come out at swat. (i search for my name even though i know it's not there, and more logically try to determine where on the surrealist donkey that is housing to pin my tail.) my mother gets increasingly angry about the middle east and encourages my brother and me to rally. my laundry card fixes itself. a representative of the swat history department writes to notify me, in what could have been my third morale-crushing email in three days, that as no one in the history department remembers talking to me about my proposed special major, they can't validate it.

before this twilight-zone week started, if you'da asked me i'da said with reasonable confidence, i have a job for the summer, i have a place to live next year, and i have a major. now i survey what's left of my certainties: fluttery pinata remnants scattered on the floor after drunken demons with hockey sticks have done with it. the power of three days; of eight hours.

the power of will: the email did not upset me. i responded to it and ended up having a pleasant interaction with the woman who sent it. as she clarified, i shouldn't worry about this now; it's not an emergency. it's not that i don't have a major, it's that i don't have a major ... exactly. not rejected, not accepted. okay. if there's one certainty i can be certain of, it's that there are no certainties you can be certain of. of that i'm certain. certainly.
Dude: And you know Smokey has emotional problems!
Walter: You mean--beyond pacifism?

love that movie (thanks, tinka).

visited the folketing this morning w/ dk pol class. the word, if you're interested, derives from a viking communal decision-making procedure. quite sophisticated for its time, it involved representatives and the kernels of democracy. vikings called it "the thing." the danes have advanced to the point where they call it now "the people's thing." hence, "folketing." teacher morten told us that; i found it charming.

four parliament reps from different parties gave short speeches and answered questions. one, the youngest woman in parliament, the only woman on the panel and the only one of the four standing for the "right-wing" (danish standards, remember) coalition presently in power, seemed to get a little rattled. her party's coalition depends on the support of the fanatical fringe Danish People's Party which wants to send asylum-seekers home and continually astonishes the country by making unabashedly xenophobic declarations. at one point in response to a question about immigration, she sought to distance her self/party from them on that issue, babbling, "i have nothing against muslims. i could be friends w/ a muslim."
the rep. from the left-most Red/Green Alliance tended to drone, as charmless as nader. after a softball question about israel, someone asked how he'd deal with fanatics. "debate," he said more than once. "i honestly believe if you sat down with them to debate ..."
the two men from the middle were both more palatable, more what americans would recognize as political, although even they were honest and straightforward about their positions. we in the u.s. are very rarely treated to that and with that much respect for our intelligence.

i should not be posting. i should be writing. criminal justice: my question: in a classless society, where do the criminals come from?

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

prompted by that quote, i ended up reading the entire clueless script, then grabbing a book of h. c. a. fairy tales and, forsaking my next class, settling in selena's for coco-caramel flavored hot chocolate and fantasy time. when i emerged, i felt steadier. i chided myself for indulging in drama (sorry to all of you who email forced to share my anguish. i'm not good at copin with curveballs, takin the bitter with the sweet, findin the silver lining, when-god-closes-a-door-he-opens-a-windowing, etc. at least not immediately.) after dk pol, together w/ krissy anne and andrea, i retrieved two sets of pictures: krissy got four: and we all stood by the fountain and oohed and ahhed, and explained and reminisced.

since then i've been productive, both in terms of work and not letting self-pity creep back in. sorelle, my dear overworked proxy who insists she isn't (overworked, that is), urges optomism. others send reassurance. everyone puts up with me. i marvel at it. and i'm thankful.
now that i have to list dorms, where are the rest of you living?
i'm trying to keep hold on myself. positives: israel is pulling out of the west bank. lana's reading my poetry at her slam. everyone's lovelife seems to be going okay. what i'm trying to submerge: papers. cty. housing falling through with a crash and the smoke rising upwards into the shape of a question mark. feeling powerless, faraway. papers. cty. housing. papers ...

I felt impotent and out of control, which I really hate. I needed to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength.
... i'm going shopping.

Monday, April 08, 2002

well, now i feel evil and wicked and bad. or at least bad. cty got back to me at long last with what amount to a deferral: nothing solid yet, will continue to keep me in mind -- up through the beginning of the summer even. but i should definitely. seek. other. options. *sound of ester tearing out clumps of hair and bemoaning her lack of preparedness for this outcome*
*hair falls on floor. ester looks at it wretchedly*
... recalls that dis student-cum-hairdresser missed appointment this afternoon, leaving me wandering forlorn for 40 minutes outside an apartment complex. suspicious danes kept wrinkling their eyebrows at me, then pulling their curtains shut.
this memory does not help.

sheesh. what on earth can i do for july and august besides wear sandals, sit in hot tubs, attend folk concerts, read, watch seven movies a week, and visit friends in exciting places with exciting jobs (viz., philly and nyc)? --> and incidentally (paranoia borne of depression, perhaps, but:) am i getting dull? i feel like a blind circus performer. i can't gauge my audience. three entries w/o comments and i start to sweat.
i am evil and wicked and bad. i woke up this morning (after a bizarre-beyond-words dream in which my family traveled around like the patridge- in a big ol' bus, and my seat at the table was a toilet, and other crazinesses besides) to review what reading i had to do over breakfast. there to my surpise i found on my syllabus that my jews in europe outline for my jews in europe paper was due today. needless to say, as i spent yesterday reading -- finishing, in fact; oh yes -- satanic verses, i did nothing of the sort and opened and closed my mouth for a while as though that might help.

my initial plan, as i told krissy when we met to drop off film together, was to skip the class and write the outline then. that, on further deliberation, made no sense at all. instead and by way of punishment, i skipped criminal justice this morning (my favorite class ...) and hunkered down with books on the balkans. just finished and with some time to spare.

didn't end up seeing fat girl as it turned out last nite. a talk with lana convinced me that in my already vulnerable state, heavy film would be the mental equivalent of a crowbar to a fractured leg. anne was in recovery from a binge so it was just krissy and i, and she readily agreed that we could find an alternative. scouring the Nat Film guide, however, we could only find light frothy films at theaters we'd never heard of and didn't know how to get to. downstairs the film group was showing traffic but doors remained solidly, stolidly closed against our pleas for entrance. just as we put on coats and made to go out and find SOMETHING, we noticed the slimmest of cracks in one of them. we dashed to it, forcing our way in, and caught the last act, which i am ashamed to admit before now i'd never seen. following that we went down to the bar and talked.
so as it turned out it was a good evening. has anyone else read verses? it's the kind of book that it helps/would feel good to discuss with someone; unfortunately i have yet to happen upon someone who has experienced it. if no one steps up, i'll have to mail it to ever-the-fallback ari a la death kit. don't worry ari, it's roughly 32 times better.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

i have spent the day in the corner, paper block on lap which wasn't heavy enuf to keep me from standing at intervals, going to the kitchen and fetching one piece of foodstuff or another. it's not like i have much but my initiative wasn't strong enuf to propel me out of doors to the produce stands, the pivot points of all commercial activity in this city on sundays. how can copenhagen even talk of halting immigration or sending newfolks back home? where on earth would they buy fruits to sweeten their own day of rest?

the news made me nauseous this morning. i've been sending troops of bread to my stomach to soak up the acid; unfortunately to little effect. salman at least has succeeded in distracting me. this evening another film, this one french (hopefully i won't be thinking of gasoline-bombed synagogues and dithering officials and that guy who destroyed the mcdonalds, what's his name, whose next triumphant-rebellious step was to squat with the chairman). i shouldn't talk politics, should i? deprived of dinner tables and mariah-across-the-hall, this becomes an outlet too often i guess. my apologies.

cheerfully: kris will be here in an hour and a half. we'll pool our boredom and then rise out of it, saved by fat girl. i always brood on sunday. there's nothing else to do. on sundays, i predict, i will be happy to be back in nonsectarian america. at least/not more than on, who can say?

Saturday, April 06, 2002

a siren on the way back from silence ... we're shooting startled me. i think it's the first i've heard in this city. funny how quickly you become accustomed to surroundings: the quiet seems natural and a siren strange. people outnumber police easily 20 to 1 here. no one seems to feel unsafe. illogically i still do but i recognize that it's illogical. not that that ever stops me.

silence was the second movie of my altogether-lovely day. a less-than-empowering but better-than-cairo station egyptian screwball comedy (logically, as it follows cairo station by 50 years) it was sentimental and retro for 2001, espousing such sentiments as "a man can't succeed without a woman beside him". but we enjoyed it. part of the reason i've seen two arab films in a row is i need to clear my head of the negativity i get from the news. i can taste prejudice sloshing around in me; it's horrible and i'm fighting against it, but it's hard. i've never had arab friends. i've never even known anyone arab on a personal level. when i hear that palestinians are burning flags and throwing stones outside the israeli embassy even here, i start walking more quickly past the people i live with. ugh.

but today, an unequivocably pleasant day: i spent six hours in roskilde, a pleasant town 42 kroner outside of copenhagen where katie's host-family lives. kris, who looked remarkably animated for her several hours sleep, and i met at the station and trained in together. katie met us and we three strutted through as though we owned the place, finding tucked-away sandwich shops and alleys that led to squares of squabbling roosters. naturally we didn't stop laughing until we settled down, in katie's freezing cold basement, to watch romeo and juliet. also sentimental, also retro. we got to relive being 13, only with a little more of a knowing edge (i kept wanting to rearrange romeo's hair. 6 years ago, i was spellbound.) we ventured out again afterwards, to the very tip of the pier in the harbor, steadying each other against the wind and watching fishing boats and birds play with the water.

Friday, April 05, 2002

mel's comment this evening ("ester, you're not a hippie") was innocuous enuf; of course i didn't take offense, replying lightly that i've gone thru phases; but a desire sprouted from it and for the first time since i've been in copenhagen i pulled my birks out of the blackness of the backness of the closet and slipped them on. they fit like glass. i almost feel like dancing.

swung an A- on my last midterm which brings the average to a fully respectable B. *sigh of relief* instead of staying afterwards to drink birthday beer with my teacher, i hopped over to DIS to round up the girlz and herd them to my place. with some help from the anicent family circle cookbook and a swift trip to fakta, we concocted breakfast burritos and potatoes o'brien. kris departed for an indie-rock show w/ anne that i decided i didn't have the energy for (remembering the belle&sebastian crowd, i also feared i'd stick out like a nun in a bathhouse.) the rest of us sat around, feasting on truffles and tea, telling stories loosely inspired by a drinking game. andrea, plagued by a stress-induced itchiness, sat unhappily for most of the time, her corners plastered over with instant oatmeal. i thought i remembered reading that that's good for such things. at any rate it kept her from scratching.

housing problems may be solved. i received a confirmation email from eliz, challenging, Am i up to it? good question: am i? joining the almighty triplet? cautiously, i extend one pretty glassed foot, stepping towards what i can only hope will be a Worthwhile future ... wish me (and them! it's not over yet) luck.
i nearly got a pastry this morning. chose a bagel instead -- substance over sweetness; but i could have gotten a pastry. hesitant at the lack of ceremony at first, i broke pesach last nite over sub-par italian food (pasta rarely excites me.)
there are other psychological barriers that make food choices significant, ones that last much longer than eight days. there was a time i would never order a pastry, or eat salad that arrives dressed b/c russian waiters do not understand "on the side." guilt when it peaked towards the end of high skool never would have let me, or if it had would have guaranteed furtive, joyless consumption.

of course such stigmas are good to get/be rid of. just the same, they were part of me -- part of my identity, even. like at one point depression was. indisputably it's better to be happy. with no trouble, however, i can recall how important it seemed. it made me deeper to brood, more complex to wear black. justification: those who are brilliant are so often sad. i had enuf awareness at the time to laugh at myself for being a cliche, but cyncial self-awareness is an integral part of the cliche itself.

different? better? it's all subjective. i smile more. i weigh more. my stomach was shallower; but maybe the rest of me was too.

on an unrelated note i got an A on my film midterm and she read part of it aloud to the class. that brings my average for the four i have in hand to a sturdy B -. go me!

Thursday, April 04, 2002

anne liked my newly developed pictures so much she went running off with them. it's always nice when one's possessions or productions merit theft. luckily she brought them back. they are, not so luckily, from the wrong roll, which is to say not the roll i had intended to give. but that's okay! after all, i would have had to get these seen to eventually. it allowed me the opportunity also to reflect that i look so much better [in pictures] when i'm happy.

received after a mindnumbing wait the long-promised package. i'd been saying "na-nahma-nahman-me'uman" every hour on the hour in the hopes that that would speed its arrival. (best graffitti ever) my ever-loving mother filled the box to the brim with truffles, which i've been doling out, 19s, which i can eat tomorrow morning (!!), oatmeal, grandma brownies, jelly beans, tea, and last but not least, my contact. in case you've forgotten, your author has been seeing from one eye for the past month. who knows what magical transformations she will undergo once full vision is restored to her?

my midterms were a less pleasant surprise. i resolved i wouldn't regret not studying [extensively] and i won't. my grades don't transfer. for now i'm taking comfort in teacher jeanne's comment that my essays were, if not perfect, "well-written." actually i did fine on her test. hopefully the two i get back tomorrow will be same-par or better. --get thee behind me, satan of guilt and shame! i still have my finals and piles of work to mitigate those less-than-happy numbers. in all honesty, that's my real balm.
elated. the sky is blue and i want to wear orange in it. cairo station turned out to be a silly black+white 1960s moralistic film heavy on the close-ups-of-eyes while violins surged in the background. but interesting, still, shannon and i agreed, for those reasons.
came home leisurely and curled up in a corner in my bed, verses in hand, quaking, as the devils deliciously described on the pages tripped off of them into my bedroom. then i dreamt that eliz and andrea merged. from the beginning they struck me as senselessly similar; now they're both bunnied, so more so. i woke up laughing. read aleichem's charming autobiography (pp. 1 - 33) for my j. in e. class ("why novels? life is a novel" --> exactly) over an elongated brunch of matza creamcheese and strawberry jam. my mother used to make me sandwiches of that nature everyday for lunch til i despised the combination, associating it as strongly with being young as i did sucking my thumb backwards. my longawaited package should come today and i can pick up my film. only 50 kr. for howmany! pictures of ben? what a deal.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

sorry for the recent morose nature of these posts. i'm feeling a little out of place, out of time here. what makes it worse is i don't have any sort of fixed ideal in my head. certainly towards the end of the russia trip i got antsy and wanted to back here (home?) now that i'm here i'm still shifty. the film festival is starting. maybe that will anchor me. i'm seeing my first of at least six (i bought the package deal) in thirty minutes or so with shannon, who i ran into this afternoon here. cairo station, an egyptian flick neither of us know anything about.
we ended up wandering back up to christiania and looking more closely at it while debating the wisdom of traveling by oneself in eastern europe. she's planning a solo trip to poland. considering she just navigated herself through finland and the arctic for a comparable length of time, i'm sure she could handle it. psychologically the camps are something different though, or at least having been there that's my opinion. something you just don't want to go through alone.

so you're hardcore jewish, she says. i squirm under the label, hearing echoes of abby's disdainful 'superjew' and other adjectives+ people having used in reference to me: cynical jew at barnard that summer: straight jew on eliz's page. is this worse/better? hardcore makes me think settlers and haredim; rigidity, dogma; at least observance. things voltaire would sneer at. religion isn't intellectual, faith isn't cool. do i really want those things associated with me? the people who can pull them off have admirable strength of character. i respect them much. so in a way i despise myself for squirming; still, my answer is to play the Cultural card, meekly. she nods, having neither gained nor lost respect for me. to her it was merely a question.
my resolution that Housing doesn't Matter is being called into question by everyone's fretting --reminders that it must, cuz surely swatties don't stress over nothing. it's hard being so far away. i can't be active; i can only write emails and read read read.
i've been thinking about skool more in the past few days that i did the past few weeks. anne asked me yesterday what my best classes have been. she'll be a senior at bryn mawr and is a little bored with the choices so she's considering taking something at swat. i got all excited and blanked at the same time. best classes? can't go wrong with religion. film. uh. everything's, moreorless, been at least good. when do we have to choose classes by? i haven't heard a word about it.

haven't heard from cty either. my summer is very much up in the air. meanwhile, with little to distract me, i get sucked into the de-bates raging on the opinion page of the post. ben mentions casually in email that it's a good thing he and i don't discuss israel. he might be right. on the other hand, people here ask me what's going on sometimes, or ask if i have family. the most anyone does thereafter is nod politely. no one challenges, no one fights. (no one cares?) with no opposition, to whatever it is i'm thinking, i can float along without a solid opinion myself. somebody, say something. inflammatory. awful. wise. thought-provoking. just so long as it's important.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

no water and no carbs have affected me strangely today. the former self-denying action has no religious significance: i just casually realized that i've thrown back a couple liquids today, but no water. not as such. no. i simply have yet to correct that. perhaps i shouldn't assign too much weight to my theory of chemical connections. perhaps i would be feeling cloudy/rocky/crumbly even if i'd drowned myself in Evian and gnawed through mountains of bagels, biscuits, and bread. perhaps, as i originally speculated, it's just a product of the natural difficulty i have with reentries.

i tend to feel, when i end up in the same place that i began, unsure that what happened in the interim happened in fact. i don't have a nesting doll to prove that i was in russia. anne gave me a hug, krissy a smile, shannon extended an invite to a film. i remain unconvinced. did i mention yesterday how much i dislike april fools day? once i was friends with a diplomat's daughter, aramenta, who lived down the block. in the spirit of fun, she orchestrated an elaborate prank -- it unfolded over the course of a month or more -- that severely/permanently dented my trust in people. i was an impressionable age at the time. also ari fink played a nasty trick on jamie that i've never forgotten. past = cud. i = cow, chewing.

estranged, estranged! suddenly swatties feel very far away. danny rattles off a list of tongues he'd like to acquire. my nodding mechanism comes to a grinding halt at his apology for being eurocentric. more than one sarah mentions saving the world. that mindset doesn't exist here. no one has used the word "paradigm" in my presence, or even seriously talked politics, in ages. it scares me: will i be able to slide back into place at swat? is there still a place for me? has my precious, cultivated guilt and super-consciousness gone? can i regain them?
yet i don't feel entirely communitied and in-thralled here. i'm anxious and antsy, impatient for classes to end but unsure afterwards what to do with myself. i have to check the extreme impulses: making overlapping plans or retiring to the interior of a hill somewhere to sit and shiver and rock.

i ate another indian meal yesterday and read 100 pages of the terrific satanic verses. don't mind me. i'm sure in a couple days the long awaited springtime sun will have soothed me, smoothed me. i'll be back to normal, slide right in, no reentry problems, no sir, none at all.

Monday, April 01, 2002

sapna made me veggie curry for lunch. it was extra spicy so i had to make the executive decision to eat rice. not such a big deal, i've done that at home. i'm eating chocolate too -- i decided that in russia. i have no k. for passover options here. surely i have to get points for creativity: craving the taste of macaroons (just imagine making do without them!), i bought a bounty. no meat or bread in this country is hard enuf without trying to remember whether chickpeas are legit, especially when there's no logic behind half the rules. to make things trickier, supermarkets are closed on sundays and today too as it's a national holiday. luckily the cafe in my building has cheap, if bare bones, tuna salad and i still have half a box of russian matza.

i spent most of yesterday hugging the computer. i walked away dazed from my first reunion only to return later for more. the second time that i left the computer lab i noticed this booklet lying on the counter looking abandoned. the title, something about israel, caught my attention -- i picked up and started flipping through, discovering quickly that it was an arab man's lengthy dissertation on the country. not favorable would be a kind way to put it. he quoted from the koran to justify numerous generalizations about the jewish people (cunning, devious, cruel) and why they deserve their various fates (the "holocaust".) the distaste built up in me the more i read until finally i snapped it shut and slipped it cleanly into the trash can right in front of me, and walked out.
this morning i woke up early and knew i had to call andrea. she had just woken up herself and we got to chat and catch up. i told her what i'd done and my mixed feelings about it. i'm not for censorship in any form. yet that's essentially what i'd done: i didn't like what the booklet said and i threw it away. she said staunchly that she'd have done the same which made me feel somewhat better. it was a heat-of-the-moment gesture that i can't undo. something in me expects to be called to the carpet for it and to have to defend myself.

it's particularly hard at the moment. every time i think about food i'm reminded that i'm jewish. that on top of confronting constant mideast coverage leaves me much more aware/sensitive than usual. maybe i wouldn't, under normal circumstances, have cared. but it's hard to know.