Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Krakow to Berlin to London to Berlin to London (don't worry, my head is spinning too)

It's been a while, eh? Truth be told, my picture taking has slowed down to a crawl and my motivation for blogging has been nill. Have I said I'm tired at looking at buildings, churches, parks, monuments, etc. etc??? Traveling is often referred to as a 'holiday,' but if you speak to most travelers they'll tell you it's work. Now, I'm sure most of you at home are rolling your eyes, wishing for this opportunity. But, let me tell you, as amazing as it is....sight-seeing is rewarding, but exhausting. It sounds rediculous, but it's true.

Here are a few cool pics from the end of our trip to Krakow, Poland.
It was quite rainy when we were on our way to catch the bus to Berlin. Paul said I looked like a giant jelly bean. I have to say...he was right.
When we arrived to Berlin I was nervous to meet Paul's friends. What would they be like? What would Paul be like around them? Would I like them? When we got there Andrew (Windog) and Jorgen were out partying, but the next morning upon waking Paul promptly jumped into their bed and they all hugged each other. After seeing their affection toward one another I thought 'I can handle these guys.'
After a short scare of loosing my wallet, which I soon recovered, we went to the local outdoor markets....where there was (of all things) FOOD....
AND fun stuff to try on....
Other than that, we didn't do a whole lot. Hence, not many pictures. I was sooooo happy doing a whole lot of nothing. I was exhausted from all my travels. I was looking forward to a whole lot more of doing nothing....then I got an email from Oliver, an ASL interpreter who's been living in London for 6 years, saying he had work for me and could I come over? So, I hopped on a plane and off I went to London.

Oliver and I worked together on Halloween and then he graciously invited me to a dinner party. It was in this beautiful studio...His friends made a fantastic dinner.....I helped chop a LOT of shallots. No vampires bothered me that night (or many nights thereafter).
They insisted I dress up with some make-up provided in the 'staging area.' In honor of my beloved feline friends, Gabby and Merlin, I dressed up as a kitty. Meeeoooooeow. I rode the tube home like this.
The rest of these pics are totally out of order, but it was too much work arranging them all. I figured you wouldn't mind.....

One night Oliver's friend and fiance took me out for sushi (fuckin yum--it's been, like, months...imagine that Bre!). On the way to get dessert we saw fireworks...for Guy Fawkes day....a celebration I still don't understand since the dude tried to blow up the House of Parliment. Look at the end of the row of buildings and you'll see a firework. Then we went out for dessert at this very well known place in London's SOHO
We ended the night at a hole-in-the-wall/basement bar where has-been actors/musicians belt out show tunes. Great fun, great company, great entertainment.
Another night I went off exploring on my own. Here's China town:Complete with whole ducks hanging in the windowAnd SOHO....complete with drag queensAt a apropos
Covent Gardens, which from what I can see has no gardens--just shopping centers. The only street performer I've ever given money to:
He was playing a dog and shouting at people to take him home as they walked by. See his little 'treat' dish? How could I resist??

The flower market:
Lots of clever named joints around town:This is a leather-goods store:
British pride (turned Austin Powers-esque):The Brick Lane markets are a favorite attraction so and fun artisan goods:Another day I went to a Yoga Expo. It was good....and bad. It was good because I met a girl from the friend-of-Oliver's dinner party who is super sweet. It was 'bad' because the vibe there was really weird. Very consumerist, needy, greedy, sell-me-this-crap. But I got a few free yoga classes/workshops from it and I got to connect to another really cool yogini, so it was worth the trip.

The night before I left London was election night. I was awoken by a room mate at the hostel who was leaving at 5am (12 midnight EST). I snuck downstairs to check out who won the election. As I walked down the steps of the hostel I could hear Obama's voice on the TV and I knew he'd won... as I got to the bottom of the stairs I jumped up and down. I listened to the end of his speech and cried. I was shocked by my reaction. More so, I was shocked by the reaction around the world. As Americans we don't usually follow other country's elections. But other countries follow ours.

As Americans we hear 'America is a WORLD POWER' all the time and don't really think anything of it. At least I didn't. Coming here, especially in the midst of an election, I've realized just what a world power America is. People watch. People hope. People pray for us....because ultimately our politics effect them. Here's how Brits felt the day Obama became president:I went back to Berlin the next day. Another friend of Paul's, Andrew, had arrived and these boys and I spent the next week and a half together doing a whole lotta nothin.
I cooked roast chicken for them (except Jorgen who's a vegetarian--he just ate the roasted veggies). It's Jorgen's place and he rents a room on the 5th floor of a building with a shared bathroom, kitchen, computer room. Left to Right: Paul, Jorgen, Andrew, Windog:

Da Boys:
Saying bye-bye to Berlin: Paul and I were sad to leave his friends. They're good guys. We weren't sad to leave Berlin though. It's cold and gray...not to mention the people are grumpy. The sunrise gave a gorgeous view on the way to the airport thoughWhen we got to London Paul was pretty psyched to find 'pasties' at the train station. For us Americans I translate this as a pot-pie pocket with warm goodies inside. Apparently they are very popular in Australia (which I can't understand since they're cold-weather food). So, here we are back in London....Paul trying to find work....and me....figuring out how to make the move across the Atlantic. For those of you who didn't know (me included--well I guess I've been in denial) it looks as though I'm going to be moving to London. There's work here for me can I pass up the opportunity to live in Europe if I can actually work as an American Sign Language Interpreter here? Right now I'm in the midst of figuring out a work visa, accommodation, getting my cats here, renting out my apartment, etc. A lot of pieces have to fall into place, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Here are some pics of our sight seeing (in between job/accommodation hunting)Buckingham Palace:

Me: so excited to see Buckingham PalaceI had to take Paul to the Brick Lane markets. I got a great hand made hat (seen below) with an eel skin (of all things--eel skin?) wallet that is perfect for London because it's got a place for bills, credit cards, and plenty of coin (which there is tons more of here than in the US).
The day wouldn't be complete without mulled wine
And men dancing in the street
So, my loved ones, that's where I leave you for now......more to come later on the progress of the move. I love you all. Take good care and be well.