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November 2006 Archives

November 23, 2006

Rome! Rome! Rome! Rome! Rome! (also, Singapore)

RomeSo, I'm leaving for Rome in just a few hours!

As you can see, I've been busy planning this with post-its, as one does. The problem I'm having with Rome is that it's a whole lotta choices, and I can't believe that I have to narrow it down to just a few days worth of travelling. How can I do this city any form of justice at all?

But I will see the Vatican (I packed a special shirt for that, because all of my "nice" shirts are a bit to risque for the Vatican, and I couldn't handle the idea of wearing a t-shirt, but I found something that worked), and I will see the Collisium, and I will see so many things that I practically gave up trying to plan the trip at all and just started writing down all the things I wanted to do and sticking them on to my planning sheet.

My head is still spinning - Rome? Who goes to Rome? I don't go to Rome... that's for cool people.

Rome. Yay!

I can't even remember every place on my not-itinery.

* * *

Unrelated in some ways, but my laptop is broken. You can't tell because I'm cunning that way, but I have no n key. This is incredibly frustrating.

Also, I booked my appointment to prove I don't have tuberculosis. Yay me!

And it looks like I must (*sigh* oh the humanity) go through Singapore for my trip to Aus, which looks like I'll be starting in Perth. So, now I'm kinda planning my trip to Singapore. (So far I've planned to buy a guidebook.)

It's been so busy, again...

* * *

Rome! Yay! I will roam in Rome with the Romans!

November 14, 2006

Snakes... why is it always snakes?

I'm back from Canada and despite many murderous attempts by the weather, I'm in one piece. My computer, however, is not - it's missing the n key. *sigh* (It's also missing the right-hand shift key, but that doesn't count because I don't use it.)

It's nice being greated with squeals of joy and words like "Don't leave again! Don't go to Australia!" whenever I go away, but I wish that they wouldn't follow up with "Australia has snakes!" Everyone tells me Aus has snakes. I feel like responding with "Hey, I didn't play D&D all those years without learning a little something about managing fear", but the reference would be lost on too many people.

But c'mon! no one mentions the scary spiders, or the roving bands of sting rays, or anything about the socio-political structure there and how it may drive me nuts. It's always the snakes.

Makes me want to watch Snakes on a Plane again except with my eyes open this time.

Speaking of which, Snakes on a Plane references seem to either make flight attendants giggle or go right over their heads.

It was a very long flight home. Hell, it was a very long trip, mostly because I seemed to spend every waking moment doing something, which is fairly par for the course when one goes home for a visit, especially if one manages to not do this very often. I still didn't manage to fit in seeing everyone I was supposed to, let alone the people I wanted to see but never got a chance to.

I took not nearly enough photos, and didn't get a single one of Edmonton at night. *sigh*

I'm glad to be home.

But I think actual snakes on the plane may have made the trip across the water a bit more interesting....

November 3, 2006

A Land of Myth and Legend

STA60070Last week I went to the Scottish International Storytelling Festival's opening night at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. {That's right, my life rocks so much I have a storytelling centre in the town I live in. *grin*}

I've never really been to a 'formal' storytelling experience, and it wasn't exactly what I was thinking. I guess I had in my head the same thing they'd do at libraries, where someone would sit with a book and read aloud, and everyone would be very quiet, and it would be... odd. But I wanted to hear the stories (Tristan & Isolde, and Diarmuid Ua Duibhne & Gráinne) and was curious at the storytelling centre, so I went.

It was... nothing like what I thought it would be.

The stories were told in pairs, a man and a woman, and each were accompanied by live music. The first story was of Diarmuid and Gráinne, and of how Diarmuid had been cursed as a child from the actions of his foster father, and the ultimate story of how that fate had played out. Hearing this story told by such haunting voices, so dramatically, was beautiful and moving, and the music added so much to it. It was an hour, but it felt like only minutes.

There's this haunting quality to the voices, and a real sense that if I closed my eyes I would be able to see the whole story - Diarmuid being cursed, being granted the love spot that ended up causing all the problems with him and Finn McCool and Gráinne.

STA60047The story of Tristan and Isolde was different than the one I'm used to - I'm familair with the Authurian take on it. Throughout this whole story I was completely transfixed. It takes place at Tintagel, you see, and I couldn't stop imagining the beautiful blue waters, seeing Tristan out in the waves, picturing the cave of the druids and the way the ocean is both a lover and death to those who cast their fate upon it. When Mark casts Tristan out of Cornwall, I wondered how much of his grief was at the lost love of Isolde and how much was because of the beauty he was leaving behind.

If I'm not careful this will turn very maudlin. You may have heard - I loved Cornwall and thought it the most beautiful place I'd ever travelled, so I may be biased. *smile*

I think the British Isles have their legends because they need to capture that beauty and longing somehow, and words that describe places don't do it. Pictures that show you how beautiful Cornwall is don't give you the moving sound of the sea as it crashing through Merlin's Cave, or the way the air smells like salt and whispers. It's not enough, and so words that describe great romances, great men, strong women and deeds that defy the imagination do it for us instead.

I loved Cornwall, I'm sure that's obvious, but I never wrote about it. It was too hard in a lot of ways, because that beauty was caught up in how incredibly blue the ocean was, how the breeze that went through my hair seemed filled up with possibilities. I remember sitting on the beach and building sand castles with a cheap bucket while children shreiked and ran into the cold cold water, and then destroying the castle myself, leaving to trace of it before I left.

It was so tempting when I was there to believe in mermaids, to slip beneath the water and away from all my troubles and my cares. It was the first trip after everything had fallen apart with Kristi, my attempted flat mate, and I was still mourning for how that had fallen out. In many ways the trip was supposed to be a touch stone, to remind myself of why I travel, of why I love seeing the world, of why it was worth being sad and lonely some days because of the beauty I got to experience in it all.

In less than 12 hours I get on a plane and head back to Canada for a week. It's possible, but not probable, that I'll run into her, and have to ask myself again if this vagabond lifestyle is worth it. Some days it really feels like it isn't - I'm leaving behind more friends, good ones, in just a few months, and while other friends are settling into careers and making long-term plans, I don't even know where I'll be living in three months. It feels like it's not actually worth it at all.

And other times I look at my photos from Cornwall, and listen to the legends of this more wild land that I get to experience straight on, and I remember why it is.

One day, I'll find the mermaids, but until then, I have adventures to chase after.


* * *

November 2, 2006

NoNoNoNo Day 1 & 2

NoNoNoNo, as some may remember from last year, is a project my friend Raven started a few years ago whereby one takes 50 Photos in 25 Days. It's a play off NaNo, of course. Last year I thought I'd take photos of churches and statues, since there are many in Edinburgh, but this year I gave up on that and just decided to take pictures of things at night. It's easier on my brain then trying to take pictures of things during the day.

We Are Not Amused

She Walks In Beauty Like The Night....


November is the Cruelest Month

November is a notoriously busy month for me, and every year I seem determined to make it more so. For most people, this would mean even less posting of thoughts, but I thrive on being insanely busy. I get bored when things aren't packed to the gills with Stuff To Do.

So, this month:

NoNoNoNo recapped from last year

Trips to Canada and Rome

Making 30 pies in 30 days (don't ask, I think I was drinking when I came up with that)

Assorted Getting Ready To Go To Aus stuff.

I'm insane. Happy, but insane.

November 1, 2006

How I Spent My Halloween

samhuinn festival
Originally uploaded by anialodz.
(TOTALLY not my photo)

There was this intense energy throughout the crowd last night for Edinburgh's Samhuinn festival.

I could write up an academic review of what happened, but I think that would be boring. Check out Beltane Fire Society for that.

It was wild and insane, with intense feelings running high, loud music and caperings that would have embarassed me at any other time, but here seemed appropriate. The red beasties ran over things, running into the crowd, while the greens danced and sang and drew up the energy levels before them. The hags were powerful, frightening, everything you should fear in the middle of the night and more so. The Green Man walked like a stag, his horns large. He seemed very noble as he walked.

The energy just flows through the whole crowd as things come to the end of the procession. The various courts perform to loud and intense drumming. I remember the fire dancers most vividly when I close my eyes - this sense of the erotic and exotic as the two tattooed men passed flames back and forth between each other, close enough to touch. I remember the orgiastic dancing ot the red beasties on stage as they formed ever-increasing towers of people. I remember the focused gaze of the white women as they bowed and danced for the Green Man. I remember the battle, and screaming as one was cut down.

My throat is sore.

I danced down the mile, down the mound, alternately to the greens who played music and looked like fae and flowers brought to life, and to the red beasties who were sex and licentiousness and insanity prowling through the crowd, while Don kept a closer pace with the black men, those that brought death as winter comes to everyone. I lost sight of him early on in the evening, but he always knew where I was.

I lost a staring contest with a hag in green later on - never have I felt so intimidated, so cowed, but I tried to hold her gaze as long as I could before twirling away.

I have a video I'm in the process of turning into something easier for others to see. It's of the beginnning of the procession, before I let go and just enjoyed everything around me. My camera was full, and the video is large, so it may take a while.

Red Beasties that Flow Through Darkness

{Samhuinn pics by other people} {my own attempts at photos, before everything started}

About November 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Anna Overseas in November 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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