Monday, August 2, 2010

Memento Analogi - By B

It is really weird to be back here in San Francisco. This house is filled with mementos, little things we have collected over many years. Art, egg cups. It is strange to see all of our stuff, a lot of which i'd forgotten about (these mementos are meant to trigger a memory... but what if you don't remember the trigger?). We have been living essentially without mementos for the past two years... in apartments furnished (and art-ed) by others. Just like I have adapted my professional life for life anywhere (by moving into the so-called "cloud" -- an "office" where documents are not on paper (for the most part!) and, in fact, are not even on a local hard drive but can be accessed anywhere) i have been collecting and displaying mementos in another "house"-- the web--- where i can see them and share them ... (this blog, facebook, and flickr). I am curious whether I will collect and share fewer digital mementos now that I have a physical space again for my analog ones. Probably not... i like the cloud.. i like the freedom to know i can work anywhere... and live anywhere... because i don't think we're back here forever... our long range plan is to be able to be here and somewhere else... at the same time... i have largely figured out how to do this with documents and banks and blah blah blah ... i will need a memento strategy ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

torture and other thoughts by k

i'm still surrounded by many of the things we have accumulated over these past two years. the big things were relatively easy to get rid of. it's the little stuff...the box of pencils and pens and paints and markers that are a pain. i hate to throw perfectly good things away, but how much can one pass on. for the most part, i think i have done really well with this torturous process. last night arel, dorian and i went to my friend miguel's for dinner and we brought his 6-year-old son a bag of hand-me-downs. his joy at discovering each thing made me so happy! what had felt like excessive junk or stuff that was sad to be letting go became an object of joy for this little boy. the books would still be used, the sweatshirts would still be worn, the dice would still be thrown and stacked and lost. everything is okay.

in our taxi on the way home, i was joking with the driver...a young guy from andalucia, and he said "this country needs more people like you." i said, "i know!" spaniards, or catalans, or maybe both, don't have fun of a sense of humor or sense of fun. i will be missed on some level.

the electric guitar gets picked up today, the oyster sauce and dorian's scooter will have a new home this afternoon, two of the three bikes will be gone this weekend, and so on and so on until we're down to our suitcases again.

but first, the costa brava to celebrate arel's 13th birthday! then on to france for a few days to see anja, julian and florian at her parents' vacation house, back to the costa brava for a few days with miguel and maxim, and then the final final packing and on an airplane on saturday, july 31.

old school folders, anyone?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

unfolding goodbyes by k

we had another goodbye yesterday. i wrote to my friend today to thank her for having us and saying i would miss her and she wrote back:
In the words of the great Dr. Seuss, " Don't cry because it's over - smile because it happened."
a great thought. and i am smiling.

tomorrow we start a one-week road trip to the rioja (wine region of spain), then on to bilbao for a visit to the guggenheim. from there we'll head to biarritz in france and spend a few days there before driving back to barcelona.

we're going through things, getting rid of stuff, deciding what to bring back. the refrigerator and cupboards are getting low in supplies and i just opened what should be our last mega pack of toilet paper...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

vinaros - by b

we got back yesterday from a fun and relaxing time in vinaros with ian williams who invited us down to his and betsy segarra's house ... it's like 2 hours or so drive south of barcelona just across the state line in valencia. according to ian, lonely planet suggests people not even stop in vinaros --- but i like it a lot .

both times we've been there have been for the festival of san juan --- which brings together loud fireworks late at night and traditional music and a parade of gigants (giants)

plus the kids can run free as ian and betsy's place is on the plaza and a few meters from the sea. when we were there seven years ago we rode this fun ride (above) at the carnival ... which we did again this time. the goal is to stay on the bull -- not so easy as it moves somehow in a circle and side to side. more pix of vinaroz here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

these days now - by b

these days now are like the water
where the river meets
the sea
the sea
meets the river
salty and fresh both
bitter and sweet

school is over... summer has begun...

tomorrow we drive to spend time with san franciscans in spain.... kind of a pre-reentry?

are we here. are we there?

just had a midnight skype with my dad.... and am looking forward to an ungrainy, hi-def, in-the-flesh chivas with the man ! soon

a few weeks left here

trying to get the most out of it

wrapping europe up, somehow--for this go-around at least

feeling really sad right now


Friday, June 11, 2010

get the ark! by k

it's pouring again! what is happening? we have had so much rain in the past week that i'm starting to wonder when/if it will stop. we finally had our summer weather and i was enjoying riding my bike everywhere, but that has come to a stop with all this water. it's still warm, but so so so muggy.

i recently watched an hbo miniseries called "the pacific," all about WWII in the pacific. besides all the other horrors soldiers faced there, they spent days, weeks and months wet! terrible. i left home the other day with dorian's umbrella, only to find when i needed it that it was broken beyond repair. by the time i got to shelter, i was drenched, and i still had at least five hours out and about. i popped into h&m and bought a dry shirt. i think i would go insane if i were wet for a long period of time...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Food Fair, Facebook and the Flotilla - by b

Palestinian and Israeli Friends and Schoolmates Representing @ the Food Fair on Friday.

Friday night was the International Food Fair at school. It is my favorite event at Ben Franklin where our kids go in Barcelona. The range of countries represented at the school is wondeful. And because --- unlike San Francisco -- Barcelona is kind of lacking (understatement!) in food from other cultures, cruising from table to table and tasting great food from around the world is a real treat.

Last year a friend asked me whether I'd make something for the Israeli table. I volunteered to make two dishes... a typically Israeli salad and a typically Palestinian one... and called the pair the "Two Salad Solution". It was my small part for communicating the need for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. (Actually... truth be told... I don't even know anymore if a two-state or one-state solution makes sense... my main point is there are two peoples there and they need to accept one another somehow ... see this e.g.)

This year, when asked, I asked in return if it would be possible for there to be a Palestinian table as well. I'd recently met a Palestinian high schooler at the school... but since the event is basically parent-driven, and his parents aren't here (they're in Jordan) I thought it was unlikely that he'd know about it in time to plan something if he wanted to. The organizers were cool with it. And Nadim was into it.

Mauricio's Humus and the lentils from Nadim's Kushari.

Nadim got a recipe from his parents.---for Kushari, which he ate a lot as a kid and loves (it is actually Egyptian but it's what his parents recommend he make). He bought the ingredients. We cooked together I also made a yummy Israeli yogurt and tomato salad that I ate a lot as a kid.

Fittingly both the Israeli and the Palestinian tables had to share a table. And for that night peace reigned. The adults and kids hanging out behind the table wore Israeli and Palestinian flag stickers. And the kids who came by with their Food Fair Passports could get stamps from both as well.


BUT! when I took a photo of my shirt with both flags and posted them to Facebook via my mobile phone, the first comment that came back was one word: "vomit." So much for people trying to feel good and make even a small, symbolic difference. I deleted the photo and the comments.

And then I woke up this morning to read about the flotilla --- and I felt nauseous myself.

If only life could be a food fair ..

Sunday, May 9, 2010

istanbul by k

i recently went to istanbul with a couple friends and loved it! it is a great, huge, diverse, crazy city, and it was also really nice to be traveling with other adults! it is such a different pace from traveling with kids and was a welcome change. here are my favorite things/moments, and things that stuck out for me.
  • the view from our apartment over the bosphorus. we watched the moon rise over asia most nights, and the amount of traffic on the water is mind-boggling.
  • yogurt! the turks love their yogurt and so do i.
  • looking for a synagogue and finding a brothel instead! we figured if there was security it was probably the synagogue on the map, but lo and behold, a guy going in who couldn't speak english did find the one word that clarified what was going on: sex.
  • the crazy mix of people from all over.
  • being able to walk and walk and walk and walk and sit and talk and talk and talk and talk without interruption and whining.
  • the blue mosque. beautiful inside with all the tiles...not just blue!
  • the spice market with strands of dried okra, eggplant and chiles hanging everywhere. and the spices!
  • cats everywhere! very brave cats. not skittish like in most cities. the people treat them well.
  • apple tea. i didn't actually like it that much, but i like the ritual of it and the curvy little glasses it's served in.
  • friendly people. most people we encountered were very friendly and had a sense of humor...a nice change from catalunya where humor is not a strong suit.
i'm sure there are things i'm forgetting. i'm hoping to post some photos, but since i didn't take one single picture, i have to wait to some from my friends. stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

arel as justin bieber :-) - by b

after work on friday, i went to pick up arel who was making a video with a group of friends. they looked like they were having a really fun time and i felt bad taking him up the hill with me (though the food awaiting us at our neighbors' house was ridiculously tasty!!).

they posted the video to youtube yesterday... check it out.. it's fun

Sunday, April 18, 2010

asparagus by k

finally, i have managed to find some wild asparagus that grows all over the mountain here! all spring long, mostly older men, wander off trail looking for wild asparagus. the rest of the year, you pretty much only see people on trails, but from march to may there are the ubiquitous catalan men clutching small bunches of scrawny asparagus in their fists. it fascinates me. do their wives send them out to bring home food for lunch, or is it just something they have done their whole lives?

i had sort of given up again this year...resigned to not finding any. but dorian wanted to pick some wild flowers for me today, so he and barak went up to a small piece of "forest" behind our house, part of this complex. no one really goes up there, but dorian came back with some beautiful fresias and other flowers. he then went again with arel to get flowers for our neighbor. and then after getting frustrated with his typing practice, he convinced me to go back with him to get more flowers. and that's when i saw the asparagus! it's much scrawnier than commercial asparagus, so i wasn't even sure it was right. we took three and dorian sauteed them with garlic...yum! so we went back and came back with a handful. now the plan is to make a spanish tortilla, like a frittata with it. do you think our pee will smell wilder?!