Friday, May 20, 2011

Paris, Lausanne, Holland Again, Hamburg Now

A quick update. I am now in Hamburg visiting my exchange student Jasmin's family and friends. It is sooo great to be in the countryside again! (: Or closer to it at least. Funny story: yesterday at the Hamburg Hbf (mainstation) I asked a woman if she could tell me the meaning of a German news headline in english. She told me, sorry, she only speaks german and SPANISH. No hay problema, I say, hablo espanol. And so I was using my spanish yet again to get around the northern counties. We had a great convo, me trying to keep up with her Spanish, and I ended up going to coffee with her and her friends before meeting Lea and Laura, Jasmin's two wonderful friends. (: The woman was from Cuba and be friends were Colombian and....something else I can#t rememebr! (: Anyways, it just taught me yet again to never be afraid to ask questions - you never know where it will lead you.

I left off in London, right before my trip to Paris. My friend William set me up with his family just outside Paris. They were so, so wonderful! I had a great time eating lunch with them, and trying to teach his younger sisters english (which turned into a wrestling match instead because I don't know any french and they know little english - so fun! (:). I also met up with my friend Kazuma who arrived in Paris the same day as me. He and I were at the same audition in Amsterdam, and his friend Yurika put me up Easter weekend when all the hostels were full in amsterdam, so nice of her! (I realize I haven't written about this yet, hopefully I will in a few weeks). Anyways, he is a great contact imporoviser, and performer as well! We had fun together (it is seriously impossible not to have fun with this kid) and ended up improvising in front of the Eifel tower. I am reletively inexperienced at contact, so it was really good practice for me.
Side note, did anyone else know that the Eifel Tower lights up like fire flies in the evening? This was cool the first time, but after it happened every hour of every evening, it was less impressive...
Paris is a beautiful city that I want to explore when I have more time. For those few days it was just enjoying gardens, sun and friends, which was wonderful as well. I was going to visit a company I thought was in town, but I realized it was just the director, not the company. No worries, it was a great time anyways....
The sky in Paris literally feels bigger, I swear!!! And people Really don't speak english, but I found quite a few people helpful and friendly even thought we could hardly communicate. I would really like to learn some french when i get home.... (along with german dutch etc etc...)

My next stop was Lausanne Switzerland. This was my vacation and vacation it was. Beautiful moutains stark against the giant lake. Lausanne is on a hill, so from the cathedral or park you can see far and it is so lovely. My first day there I ended up dancing in a parade with a huge back of Brazillians for carneval, and swimming in Lake Lau on a whim. The next few days were just relaxing and seeing the city with friends, making fendu in the hostel (thank you Paulo!!!!) and dancing a little at a local studio to get ready for the weekend.

After those four days I took the train to Amsterdam over night. Didn't sleep so well in the couchett, but my Australian room mates were really nice. Or were they from New Zealand? Anyhow....I arrived over-tired and stumbled to my friend Tony's appartment. He is a musician I met on the train from Amsterdam to Brussels on my way to London. So nice to put me up! I went to dance class that day, saw a friend for dinner, and the improvised with Tony (him playing piano, me dancing) til 2 am!!! Ah, sleep deprivation...anyways, those two days in Amsterdam were fun and it was good to be in an artistic space.

For the weekend I traveled to Rotterdam for an apprenticeship audition with Dance Works Rotterdam. We'll just say the audition killed me - seven hours of very physical dancing, including some jumping off a vault, parkour type stuff. Anyways, they were only really looking for people in school, but I thought I did fine (although not my best since I was a bit tired). I again stumbled to a friend's appartment, a guy I met at Scapino. We went to see NDT perform. They were good, but I didn't like the rep so much. Kylian#s new stuff is cool, but I don't really dig the old stuff. The next day was again relaxing, enjoying italian food, ice cream, biking etc.

I found my way back to Amsterdam early Monday morning to take class. I stayed for a final hurrah in the original hostel the Shelter Jordan. It was geat to see everyone again and I will miss them a lot!!! Although maybe I will see some of them in the USA. And now here I am in Hamburg, arived yesterday, taking my time resting up - I pushed myself a lot this week in class, and I don't think I rested enough after the audition (I kept gong to bed late and getting up early).

Next stop is Sweden for dancing, friends and family! I have started dreaming about home, so I think its a sign. Can't wait to see everyone there, but will also miss everyone here.
All my love,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rewind: Rotterdam...

...but first, Tulips
I thought I would miss out on the tulip feilds in the Skagit Valley north of Seattle, but luckily I found myself in a land known for the flower! (and apparently importing from my home valley??...) A train and bus ride to Keurkenhof on a Friday afternoon. Alice in Wonderland awaited me - I didn't even make it through half the park, it was a maze! And it was aMAZing...but also exhausting. The flowers were lovely, but I almost couldn't enjoy them there were so many other distractions. Bush mazes, play structures, farm animals of all kinds, multiple lakes, food and souvenir shops, giant chess felt like every two minutes I was in a new room, themed yellow, blue, red, square, queens court, horse head portrait on and on....a river of blue flowers running through the whole thing. But I got to smell flowers, take far too many photos of flowers, sleep in the sun, and feel a little connected to my home for a few hours....I missed my sister! (:

Rotterdam Rocks:
Every time I get to this entry I am too tired to write anymore! Well, as you can tell by the title, I had a surprisingly good time in this modern city that is like a European America (or an American Europe?) with all its new buildings and shopping malls...apparently well known for its contemporary architecture as well. I learned this from the two architecture students I stayed with. They were lovely Brazilian girls studying abroad in Spain, on break for a week. So they were doing homework on break! (but actually not, just loving their subject and wanting to see it in action). We three stayed in a seven bed hostel dorm with a spiral staircase up to two of the beds! It was in the famous "cubes," so the walls were slanted at cool angles. Its a Stay Okay hostel - I recommend it, but ask to stay on the third floor, otherwise its loud and boring (I ended up on the first floor the next few nights) - vs. quiet and super cool architecture.

I have to terminate this entry now, but my week was basically: open class with Dance Works Rotterdam (whose audition is in a week), two days with Scapino ballet, one day at Dance Altiers (spelling? open class studio), watching a show by Conny Jansen Danst that evening was AMAZING, then the next day a bus trip with Dance Works Rotterdam to Nijmegen to watch their show, followed by a late night train back to Amsterdam for an audition with Compagnie Zappala Danza of Italy (probably spelled wrong). And after that the saga of not finding housing in Amsterdam on the celebratory, sunny, touristy Easter weekend....but somehow I am alive, here, and met more friends! (:

More detail to come, possibly in some weeks time as I am off to who knows where!!!

Check out my Berlin photos on facebook - more coming!

I'm Behind...So a bit more on London, and where I'm off to next: Paris & Switzerland

I know, I'm behind on my blog! (Yes Lori, I heard this from you through the grapevine, i.e., my mother...) (:

It is my last evening in London. I've spent just over a week here, and accomplished little dance-wise (a four day holiday really doesn't help, nor does little sleep and a slightly strained shoulder) but had some good times. At first I really wasn't into London - I was overwhelmed my its size, business, and relative coldness/awkwardness of its people. Basically it was a shock coming from little Amsterdam, where I met lots of great people from all over the place (so I guess I can't claim anything about the Dutch openness vs. not), could walk anywhere, beautiful canals etc. However, London has grown on me. I'm not sure if its "my" city (I STILL never know which way to look for cars, very confusing), but I could see living here if need be. I didn't get a great feel for the dance scene because, well, I didn't really take class with professionals, but I have a feeling the dancing may be imbued with some of the daily "Britishness" that I have grown to love only from a distance (yes, that was not a positive comment...). It is also extermely expensive here - most things cost the same, but its POUNDS i.e. 1.7 US - almost double. And everything is different - the money, the plug outlets, the side of the street you drive on...that's all well and good, but I like how the rest of Europe operates on the same page, creating a relatively united feeling - Britain just doesn't really feel European. However, I haven't been to more than two other European countries, so what can I say. I apologize for my rambling, but I have little time to fix it!

But on to the POSITIVES. The area between the Tate Modern Museum next to the New Globe Theatre and St. Pauls Cathedral and surrounding is really lovely. The River Thames runs down the middle and you can really experience it by walking out onto the Millenium footbridge, which is relatively new. I actually saw a bridge VERY similar to this one, also connected to a museum, in a dream of mine some months to a year ago. Weird that I remember it (yes, I remember many dreams, which makes reality confusing at times). When I was standing under this bridge the dream image/feeling was just so vivid! Anyways, tangent. I didn't look at the art in the Tate, but the building itself is really interesting - large open space with sun coming through the windows in a lovely fashion. Their doing some building of a new section that should be interesting.

Then there is the Globe Theatre. I literally almost cried when I walked inside, I have such a love for its history and for theatre and for all the stories I've heard about it.... 5 pounds for "groundlings" tickets. I was standing the whole time, but WAY cool - elbows on the stage in the action, actors talking to you and almost hitting you with their swords - it adds some risk, which we need more of in our lives - we are far too safe, its almost like not living at all. At the old globe, there would have been pickpockets, and someone would have stolen my casually placed purse for sure; there would have been drunken fights in the crowd, it would have smelled, there would have been pigs blood squirting (although this was a romance, "All's Well that Ends Well"). It would have been a hard life, but somehow more enlivened and exciting. However, later that day I almost got myself hit by a motorcycle trying to find London Bridge Underground station, and though it was a rush, I am rather happy I don't come so close to death and difficulty every single day....

This area is also filled with parks - starting from around St. Pauls and extending beyond. Especially at the end of the day, this is a dreamy area where, well, dreamers like me can get lost in thought, musings, writing, postcards, photos, smelling flowers, eating/drinking chocolate and so on....London isn't all that bed, eh? (:

I planned to go to Barcelona next, but it is just too tight. I have to be in Rotterdam next weekend and though I could get TO Barcelona, returning was a problem. So, I booked a train from Paris to Switzerland! Lausanne is my first stop, next to Lake Geneva. I just want to be in a beautiful place, and hopefully dance some to prep for the audition, and I think Switzerland offers this. It is also near my Marblemount neighbor, Corina Salen's, family in South Germany (well, relatively close). I don't know if I'll make it there, but it would be great to see the origins of this lovely woman.

I leave for Paris in the morning and stay for two nights. My friend William Parry's family is graciously putting me up - he insisted on asking them and arranged it all for me (partly for language barrier reasons, but he is also a gentleman). I plan to see a show in Paris, though currently it says it is sold out, and hopefully just experience the city. Someone I met at the Zappala (Italian) audition in Amsterdam will be there also, so I can hang out with him too. Then its a morning train to Lausanne and who knows what in the land of the Franc.

I hope you are all well in the many places you are living: Seattle, San Francisco, Europe etc. To my San Francisco class: I sent a letter in the mail and hopefully it gets there for graduation! Just a post card, but it should arrive at Adam and Rachael's apartment within the week.

Much love from this dreamer in wonderland,