Smoke Signals.

After a serious, serious day in class and in a freezing cold office, I was so glad to let off some steam during rehearsal in the evening. I know I haven’t gotten round to elaborating on the project much, but the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with are an added bonus. Whyyyy didn’t I do this earlier? (Oh. Bills to pay. That’s right.)

Tonight, we got to see the gorgeous venue where our site-specific piece will be performed. This stunning building is an old fire station built in 1930; granted conservation status in 2007.

(Yes. Comes complete with two fireman’s pole. Batteries not included.)

I’ve always had a thing for old buildings, even if they are kinda run down, so this visit was suchhh a treat.

In the meantime… enjoy the space.

Details, soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally… A tribute of sorts to a previous occupant/explorer. Kinda sad it met with such a sorry end.

NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!

R.I.P Mickey. 8X/

 

 

B is for Belated… and Berlin.

Currywurst!

Berlin Moscow. Fabulous little joint.

Russian Ice. Complimentary!

Of Bears and Berlin. A chocolate treat with tea.

The Man.

The Walls.

Indeed.

Fearless birds with a taste for croissant.

The spectacular Jewish Memorial.

Poochy Love.

Royalty at a bargain.

Fancy lights.

How not to love?

I’m not the only hungry girl.

Gorgeous.

Died and gone to Adidas Heaven.

Here we go again!

Back with a new project.

Today marks the start of a new project: fresh faces, fresh moves, fresh start.

Day one of rehearsals always gets me really nervous. How will I measure up? How will I cope? How will I fit in?

That, combined with the excitement of learning something new, is a potent mix.

I can’t go into much now – Rehearsal #1 is still 3 hours away. But the buzz is certainly kicking in.

How is this experience different from starting out at Dream Country though? Well, I will not be mentored by Char for one. And that essentially means zero familiarity and maximum anxiety. Also, Bestie is out of town for this entire duration with limited to zero contact with the digital world… which just means I’ll have to pent up all the goodness and badness of my days to come until he returns.

My nights have been wrought with all sorts of bizarre dreams. Shakespeare printed onto retro rock-styled t-shirts, lost objects found, people crowded into spaces too small… Please, all of you, fingers crossed for me!

That said, I’m headed off to Koh Samui on a four-day mission with my cameras. Already, I’m beating myself up over the 4 rehearsals and 2 French classes I am missing. Again… my high school ghosts are catching up with me. “How can you skip town? How can you miss lessons? That’s truancy!” I know. I have too many voices in my head and I give them too much credit.

In the meantime though, I know I still have to lay the Berlin spirits to rest. Right on to the next post!

I need some time…

I’m not in a good place right now.

But I am trying.

I’m still going at that positive energy thing despite the… everything.

I woke up to go to class even though I just wanted to hole myself in… possibly forever.

I stayed back to study with M till late even though I wanted to excuse myself and go back to bed.

I bruised my brain trying to unravel the mysteries of French Gender even though I wanted to devote every precious second to moping.

And I am glad to have hung in there.

Because  I was left a note in the morning by B…

And I got a call from Aa just as I’d finished texting her…

MB texted me when she had all but 8% left in her phone… and she finished the much needed counselling just as it hit 1%.

And Shaz. I got off a stop earlier on the train because I didn’t get her call. Went to look for something I needed in the kitchen and couldn’t find it at all. Decided not to take the bus. Took the train to my shuttle stop. Got there 20 minutes earlier. Decided to walk the first floor of a mall through an entrance I almost never take. And there she was. By a shop I never knew existed.

Then someone said something that reminded me of a quote that I’d forgotten for a while, but couldn’t have come at a better time… “Everything is going to be alright in the end. If it is not alright… Then it is not the end.”

If that’s not a sign that my… OUR guardian angel is telling me to hang in there… I don’t know what is.

So thank you… all of you.

 

Hey M… I am… We are… Counting on you now.

Bad Kitty.

Eek! How did I ever let a month (close enough) go by without posting anything?

Bad, bad kitty.

Truth is, I have still been writing constantly, albeit mainly doing lines over and over again, in French.

I’ve always loved languages – writing it, reading it, hearing it – so keeping myself motivated wasn’t hard at all.

As it happens, it is only too easy for me to get over-motivated and started banging away on French everything like a language-learning Nazi really. I have my beloved secondary school to thank for that – Diligence  is one of the school values widely extolled. Where did the fascist attitude come from? Well… we were chased from spot to spot by someone blowing on a police whistle; our hair lengths were scrutinised frequently (nothing below our cold, trembling earlobes). Read: Discipline (and Nazi-ish nitpicking). Can I just say though, I honestly LOVED that school. But that’s another story altogether.

Anyway… Not contented with just taking my tutor’s word when it comes to the prickly subject of ‘en’, ‘à’, ‘de’ and the million other split personalities these annoying lil’ buggers come in, I *had* to go research on what it means when the same word morphs and mutates into partitives, pronouns, prepositions and monsters.

Sometimes I made progress and I feel like the champion of the world. As if my legs had grown two-inches longer.

Other times… many times (Though not most times, thankfully.)… La tête just goes… vide.

Like when I figured out preposition à is for ‘going to’ and preposition de is for ‘coming from’ and then I turn a page and the article de that roughly translates to ‘some’ and ‘any’ swings by to say ‘Hi’ while swiftly being chased down by en, which can be both a preposition and also a pronoun.

Oui.

And I can’t let it go.

I. Can’t. Let. It. Go.

My school motto demands that I get to the bottom of things. And to the bottom of things I got to.

With these…

Yes. I applied a filter to make it look nicer. Hurhurhur.

So what did I discover at the bottom of the pile?

Me. Lying rather lifeless. With a very firm and fit writing arm all sinewy and Michelle Obama-y from all the copying and writing and rewriting I was doing.

Not too bad, I’d have to say. (I’m shallow. You mean you didn’t know?)

Just last night I’ve started dreaming in French… though I can’t be sure if it was actual accurate French, at least I can say that without a doubt, my subconscious recognised it as awesomely fluent French.

So now the conscious me just has to catch up with my subconscious half.

Tonight, we conquer French Gender.

Ninja! Peace out.

 

More, from Amsterdam Strolling.

Yes, this post took a while. But it does take a while to sort, edit and load when you have taken 2000 pictures. Berlin, soon. xx

The yard.

To quote Marco Pierre White, “Mother Nature is the true artist.” 

Working out my thighs at Madurodam, Scheveningen.

Life’s too short to not wear what you love.

Blown away at Scheveningen beach.

Feast by the Beach.

Fancy a wash on the streets?

Hear, hear!

 Agreed.

KITTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kebab master at work. 

 

Snooping around in Amsterdam.

The long-awaited Europe post is finally here, and A is for Amsterdam!

I have been to Amsterdam once a few winters before, and thought that since I was visiting in summer this time, my wardrobe can be slightly more lightweight. Little did I know that we would be experiencing slightly freakish weather – even the locals said that what we were experiencing this June was pretty much winter all over again. However, it being me, I still trotted out in the tiny shorts that N (the beautiful bride whose wedding I was attending) gave me; then proceeded to brave her wedding in a backless dress. I think I have acclimatised well. Bravo.

Since I was on bridesmaid duty this time round, I only had two days to head out – which was okay by me, largely because I had no exact agenda. I just wanted to snoop around, explore.

How lucky was I that the two days I headed out were filled with sunshine and surprises!

Along this lane I’d turn into was a pretty little vintage shop.

But guess what? I didn’t go in (Surprise, surprise!)… because I was distracted by its next door neighbour…

Now I’ve always preferred cosy, quaint, little shops over large institutions and malls. So I was absolutely delighted when I chanced upon Cine Qua Non, a film shop that is stocked and stuffed with everything film related – DVDs, photos, posters, postcards, books, calendars, collectibles…

The Fifty-Foot Woman guards the door.

The space itself, I think is most accurately described as a physical manifestation of the word ‘paradox’. It is messy yet organised; simple yet overwhelming; utilitarian and functional, yet wild and imaginative.

My dream study/workspace. Right now, I just have a mess.

Dying and going to heaven? This is pretty much my version on earth, sans the dying bit of course. I love the creaky flooring – wooden boards with chipped faded mint green/baby blue paint. I love the haphazard lighting – a few spotlights, a few fluorescents… I could camp in there until I’ve gone through everything. (Yeah. Could.)

The DVDs don’t come cheap – at least the ones that caught my eye, were around 30€ on the average. But they are pretty unique titles and many come with great features – not the sort you’ll get on discounts at megastores. I would have drawn up a list and do some research before going in for the kill, but I didn’t have the time to head back this trip, so I decided to leave with a few postcards for Bestie and other worthy recipients. A return, for sure.

Before I left, I had a chat with the lovely owner, who lamented that shops like these are closing all over Europe because of… well, the usual: high costs of operations, illegal downloading, piracy, competition from industry giants, etc. I absolutely empathise, and I truly, truly wish him well. There is something intimate and personal about these small operations that will always draw me to them. That these people who run these businesses have so much love, faith and passion for what they do is already something worth applauding; and that they will take time to share with you a little nugget of information of that postcard that you are holding, or the director of the film you were checking out just makes the experience so much more special.

Cine Qua Non is at Staalstraat 14, 1011 JL Amsterdam.

You can all them at +31(0) 20 62 555 88, email them at cine.qua.nonsense@gmail.com

Or visit them virtually at www.cine-qua-non.nl or www.cinequanonline.com