Monthly Archives: December 2008

Korabli

Andy once jokingly asked me if I have a song to illustrate each different moment of my life. I do. I remember a song I like almost instantaneously and I go through life with a soundtrack playing in my head, like in the movies. Some emotion I’m experiencing or a phrase said by someone triggers it and the soundtrack starts playing. I even have songs associated with moments in my life that hasn’t happened yet or may hpefully never happen, such as getting married (The right man, Christina Aguilera) or staying in a psych ward (Lithium, Evanescence).

There’s a song I associate with leaving school and going back home, called Korabli (Ship) by the Russian singer of the 1960s and 1970s Vladimir Visotsky.

I like the guys voice, deep but with a barely audible obertone of sadness to it, and the song itself is somewhat melancholic. It reminds me of a time and place when artists cared a lot less what kind of music sells well, hence there were less boyish looking male singers and less songs about chillin’ in da club. The music and the lyrics are more personal and introspective.

My Russian’s wayyy too bad to translate all the lyrics of the song, but, basically, the guy sings of returning home ot his wife, friends and dreams. “I will finally return…, I will finally sleep” and there’s also a beautifully sad line that I can relate to: “I don’t believe in destiny and even in myself”.

I remembered this song since I’m about to go back home again, and I played it all day long. Does the man sound…tired? Or is it just me hearing my own weariness through the lyrics? In the last two and a half years I’ve traveled more than in all my life before I went to college, and sometimes…a lot of times, I feel tired. Tired of changing the place I live every few months, tired of dragging suitcases across the ocean, tired of meeting new people and never sticking around long enough to form the deep, selfless, lasting friendships. I miss having a home, though I left to start building a life of my own and a home of my own, and I’m sure will have that someday.

So I’m melancholic but excited to finally be going back home, and this time Andy will come visit and spend Christmas with me in Bulgaria. I anticipated it so much it scares me! So I play the song to soothe me and it somehow remind’s me it’s all real, and even though I don’t have a home to live in, I have a home to get back to. It’s what keeps me going through these last few days.

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Stuffed animals

I’m obsessed with stuffed animals. Despite being over 21 and feeling to old to have them, I keep buying them, hugging them when I go to bed and being proud of having many sizes and cuteness levels. Stuffed animals are my crack…along with shoes, makeup, the latest House episodes, the game The Sims, and, of course, SUGAR in all its forms and flavors.

The trip to the panda gift shop in DC felt like an overdose…

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I’d never guess there are stuffed animals I wouldn’t buy if I had endless amounts of cash… Until I found this piglet on amazon.com:

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Is it break-dancing? Is it an acrobat? Is it doing yoga? Is it flashing the children with some censored parts of the stuffed piglet anatomy?

However, the break-dancing piglet looks pretty normal next to this creature:

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This life form must’ve been designed by someone on acid. When the acid trip got bad he created the next one:

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Nothing like a crab with polka dots and strabismus to teach little kids to be tolerant and friendly towards people with eye disorders.

The hext stuffed animal is not an animal. It’s mustache:

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Last but not least, some stuffed animals are not ugly or funny. They’re just plain disturbing:

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The perfect gift to inspire you little one to be an oceanographer. Or maybe a reference to Jaws for the newer generation who haven’t yet heard of it.

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Random shots from my last days in Edinburgh

As of Monday, I am done with finals. DONE! The last few weeks were painful to get through with projects, quizzes and exams to study for; I had no time for anything else. I literally spent all my time in my room revising fun stuff  like, ummm…. drugs used to treat hypertension and how they work. When I finifhed with my last exam I  went to bed and slept 28 hours. Now I have so much free time on my hands, I don’t know what to do with it 🙂

I’m using some of that time to upload photos from my lat few weeks in Edinburgh and sum up my last impressions from the city. Can’t believe it, but in only four days I’ll be leaving and this whole semester abroad experience will be over. There are so many things I’ll miss and a lot I’d rather forget about, and since I’m all about lists, scores and numbers, I have a top five chart of the best and worst things abour this Scottish city.

I’ll leave the great things for dessert and start with the top five things about Edinburgh I’d rather experience never again:

5. The weather: Man, it rains A LOT in here. How hasn’t this city sunk under water yet?

4. The organization: Or lack of it. Nothing gets done on time. No one knows what they’re doing and they don’t care. Good thing I didn’t care much as well, because there was little work to be done anyway.

3.The plumbing: Separate tabs for hot and cold water means you will either get second degree burns or lose a few fingers due to freezing when you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.

2.The traffic: It was crazy. There was never a green light for pedestrians so every time you need to cross the street you say a little prayer and run… I’m still alive so I guess I’m lucky.

1. The lack of sunlight: This one’s a real problem, not a pet peeve for me. Not getting enough sunlight makes me lazy, cranky and depressed. During my last weeks here the sun would go up at 8 AM and it would be dark already at 4 PM. I’ve never been that far north before, so this messed up my already irregular cicardian rhythms and now I go to bed at 7 AM and wake up at 4-5 PM, seeing no sunlight at all. Great for partying, not so great for anything else. Let’s just hope my sleep schegule will get better quickly when I go back home.

Now with the good things about Edinburgh, which by large outweigh the bad:

5. The Ceilidhs: One thing you should definitely do if you ever visit Edinburgh (or any Scottish city for that matter) is go to a Ceilidh. It’s like a medieval dance party with lots of hopping around and goofy music. The University of Edinburgh held a few during its orientation week, and it was a fun way to meet new people. The dances are such that you exchange partners all the time and end up dancing with everybody in the room. If you have a hard time finding conversation starters, focus on the fact that you have no clue how to do the steps right. There’s a big chance that your dance partner won’t know what they’re doing as well, and in the end everyone just ends up bumping into each other. I had one dance partner swing me so hard I fell on the floor (no sexual connotation intended) and had to convince everybody in the room that I’m ok. I have high tolerance for public embarrassment and I LOVE dancing of any kind, so Ceilidhs were fun for me. Below is the best example I could find although the music is somewhat different  than the traditional one:

4. The Christmas village: It’s a Christmas market with various toys, food and awesome decoration that was set up a few weeks ago in the center of the city. They even have a Ferris wheel:

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3. The food: Healthy food here’s relatively cheap and easy to find.

2. Men in kilts: No comment on that one.

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1. The people: Really, I was surprised at how friendly, laid back and fun is everyone here. I met some great guys and gals and even strangers are polite in a very sincere way. I’ve seen more than my share of fake smiles and meeting people who are so genuinely friendly and nice was a bit unusual at first. People affect me so much that over the months I gradually changed from being guarded, cold and reserved to being more cheerful and friendly myself. I’ll miss a lot of folks here when I go back  home.

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