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Friday, 20 November 2009

Air: ports and planes...

After now flying for what seems like a millions hours, and in reality is a whopping fourteen, I am finally in beautiful Mexico City! Leaving Oslo at seven in the morning, however, meant awaking at the early hours, beyond early really, at four am. But as I sit here, on my grandmother’s sofa, listening to her play the piano, I cannot help but feel that I am seven inches away from heaven. You see, my grandmother, aged ninety four, is in incredibly good health (knock on wood). Yes, her memory has started to go, but she does her exercises every morning, eats very VERY healthily, and most importantly, has tequila. Every day.

On the plane ride over, I sat in the luxury seats that I was graced with by BA, and felt every inch of my being tickle with excitement. I had intended to write about people at airports, but whilst at Heathrow I was so tired I couldn’t really focus on what was going on around me, (although, there was a very rude man who saw me through the security check. Poor fella’ I actually felt bad for him, because he bossed people around as if he was some sort of God, when he obviously had an inferiority complex. I smiled at him politely, and cursed him viciously under my breath (of course!) Flying with BA has always been so lovely. Especially when crossing the ‘pond’. Everyone is so polite. I was lucky enough to change my seat for one where I was the only one in the row. Heavenly. I do find it very amusing that the meal they served was a curry. I mean, how impractical?! The whole plane stank of curry! Now, I am not a great curry eater, due to my very sensitive disposition, but alas, I ate it. Every last piece of curry powdered chicken and dry rice. And then, oh yes, I ate desert too! I slept like a baby, and then watched some Julie Julia, a wonderful film, which made me hungry for something other than a curry. The sandwich that was served later on (coronation chicken….a theme?) was not satisfactory, but it was eaten. I felt that since money was spent on the ticket, I MUST eat the meal! Ridiculous, I know, nevertheless, how I felt.

When I finally arrived in Mexico, after flying for twelve hours from London, I was, as you can imagine, ‘pooped’. I had managed, however, to sleep on the plane so I wasn’t that tired. There is something soothing about sleeping in a plane, don’t you think? Especially if you have space to stretch your legs! I love waking up, and peeping out of my sleepy eyes, and seeing the clouds below, all white and poufy. I used to believe that planes flew above heaven when I was little, and would try and spot my grandparents. I have never told anybody this, so there you go. Wouldn’t it be nice if that was the case? That planes flew over heaven, and those you knew (lucky enough to be in heaven), would wave at you from afar, munching on bagels smeared in Philadelphia cheese, and eating ice cream. What I do not find soothing in a plane is going to the bathroom. Yes, you heard me, number two. The plane shakes and you feel that your last moment on earth (well in the air) is going to be sitting on an airplane toilet seat taking a shit (pardon my French). If the plane were to drop, would all the ‘matter’ in the toilet bowl fly up into your face? What if you lose your balance and have to steady yourself by accidentally placing your hands in the bowl?! Oh the horror! These are the distressing thoughts that I ponder as I sit there, wishing I could go, and so of course I don’t. When I was little I used to fear flushing the airplane toilet, because, let’s be honest, it sounds like a violent cookie monster is singing out of tune! Whilst eating what you have just gotten rid of! Horrific! For a child this can be traumatizing! In fact, it still scares me, and I never fail to jump a little when the horrendous flush bellows out of the jaws of the toilet throne.

I stepped off the plane, and for the first time in my life, I did not feel the altitude. Usually I feel it, I feel like I am about to faint! But not yesterday, I literally skipped off the plane, ready to commence what I know will be an important part of my life. I got my suitcases relatively quickly, despite being approached by a guy who was very nice to talk to. Very nice, until he asked for my email, or number. You know what? Why. Why did he have to go there! I was very clear that I was not interested, and he had to destroy our brief encounter by asking for my contact details! I am too emabressed to say no, so I gave him my email, knowing that I can always delete and block him. But, what does one do in those situatins I ask you? Just say no? But why? He was not a creepy man, he was just nice, and to be honest I am flattered that he was interested in me. Despite not being hansom, or especially interesting, it is flattering that someone finds you appealing isn’t it? One day I won’t be approached anymore, and people may even run away from me, weeping and screaming. So, I suppose I enjoy it whilst I can, no?

Anyways, I got through customs easily, and there was my uncle waiting for me with arms wide open! Off we drove home, and had a lovely ‘cena’ (evening meal) with my grandmother and cousins, simply divine! I awoke today with a broad smile on my face, and I feel at home.

I haven’t been out and about yet in the city, although I did walk with my grandma to the supermarket today to buy papaya. The weather is warm, everyone told me it would be cold, but as I am used to coming in the summer, the rainy season, I am used to the awful humid cold, now it is dry, and I love it! On the way to the supermarket we passed the fruit markets, and I waved at the ladies selling fruit. I love how gentle they are. How they know my grandma, how their plump little bodies fit carefully under the hand woven aprons, how they are missing a few teeth, and how they smile with their eyes.

I am off to eat tacos tonight.

All my love,


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Hasta luego....

Well, for all of you who are kind enough to read my blog, perhaps you wonder why I have not been writing as often as I was lately. You see, I have been enjoying my last week in London. What what? You say? Ah, well, I am off to Mexico City for a couple of months. My blog, therefore, shall now be peppered with updates of my travels, useful insight for those of you considering jumping the pond and discovering the wonders of one of my favourite countries, Mexico.

I have not spent Christmas and New Years abroad in many years, so this should be an unusual and splendid experience. What do people eat for Christmas in Mexico? Do they have trees? What are the traditions? Mince pies? Nope. Ginger bread houses, nope again. Piñatas, posadas, yes yes yes! These Posadas consist of a re-enactment of when St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary were seeking somewhere to rest their weary heads. Families arrange neighbourhood Posada's to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Christmas eve, or Noche Buena. I remember participating in these in Oslo, where I grew up, organized by the Mexican community. Of course, my favourite part was the piñata after the marching around and singing. I also remember being dressed as an angel, in a white night gown. Not only did it itch, but it hindered me in grabbing several sweets when the piñata finally broke open. I did, however, feel very pretty and delicate (when I look at the pictures, however, I wince as I looked rather chubby, an angelic chubby cherub really).

And so I leave London, and prepare for a new chapter in my travels. Please keep reading the blog. It shall commence on the 19th of November. Until then, enjoy London's Christmas festivities that have already started! Such as the beautiful ice skating rink outside of the Natural History Museum. Harrod's and Fortnum and Mason's Christmas lights, the tree coming from Oslo for Trafalgar Square, the amusement park and skating rink being set up in Hyde Park (I saw them setting it up, it will be fun!) The mince pies that are on offer at Marks and Spencer's (two boxes of six, for two pounds!! TWELVE for two pounds!) Make yummy treats, and enjoy some hot toddy, mulled wine, some cava amongst friends to celebrate the fast approaching New Year. Keep looking on, they are promising amazing new deals. Indulge in work parties, and the general merriment that is brewing. Oh, and check timeout London to see when the lord Mayor's fireworks will be on! They are amazing!!

In pure English manner, I say "ta ta for now", until I greet you all again with a "Hola compadritos!" from a land far far away..

Warm kisses and hugs,



Friday, 6 November 2009

Beautiful? Bah Humbug.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Kahlil Gibran

What is beauty? When is another individual someone you consider beautiful? In today's society in which beauty is often equated to tight abs and a pert buttock, we immediately relate the word beauty to external physical qualities. Perhaps it is an immediate response that is generated by virtue of our intrinsic need to categorize, and compulsive urge to judge based on what we see. "Ah, she has blond hair, fits beautifully into her tight jeans, and I can see the luscious curves on her body clutching delicately to her blouse which erotically hugs her breasts" [of course this is what all men think] Or, " ooooh look at how broad his back is and strong his arms are, with his stunning million dollar smile, and ay! I can see the outline of his toned body beneath his seemingly effortless outfit, and ah yes, he must be very well endowed..." [of course, all women think along these lines]. I know, I know, I am being facetious, and sarcastic, and I dare say I am not very good at it. My point is, these stereotypes of "beauty" flabbergast me at times, and I find myself adhering to what magazines, television, movies etc dictate as worthy of falling under the definition of beautiful more and more. It is true that when we see an attractive person, a sort of ingrained biological stimuli runs through our body, and we are whole heartily moved towards that person. Right? I am. I see an attractive man, woman, child, person of any age, shape or colour, and I find myself wishing that I could strike up a conversation with them. I say any age, shape or colour, and I realize that some of you will roll your eyes in disbelief. But, here is where the subjective view of beauty comes in. You see, beauty for me, does not lie solely in what a person looks like, but the feel I get from that person. Yes, I will dare to say it, beauty for me depends on the "vibe' that emanates from another being. Say what you will about certain energies flowing from people, but you cannot deny that for some inexplicable reasons you are drawn to certain people. Call it energy, aura, whatever, but there is something there, some chemical crazy thing happens and as though another persons soul lassos you in towards them, you are affected by that person. The complexities of our attractions to others grow apparent when we start to communicate with the person who grabbed our attention. It is then that the external is weighted against the internal (as it were). Lets be honest, despite feeling an attraction to some hansom fella', (or stunning gal), if he (or she) is an arrogant ass hopefully you won't pursue things too far. Obviously there are those times where you just think "oh to hell with it, this being is so beautiful, I just want to have some fun..." We all know, however, that that fun doesn't last forever, and a pretty face quickly loses it's shine if it isn't combined with a pretty personality. As I get older, I realize and appreciate how complex all our personalities are. Human beings are so damn complicated. Every one of us bears insecurities. Some of us are more skilled at hiding them, others don't find the need to and wear their hearts on their sleeves. We all have our story, we all have been shaped and moulded over time. That is just the way it is. Things happen to us over time, these things, events, moments, mould and shape our characters - quite inevitable really, as inevitable as growth, and time moving forward. Self involvement, and a certain level of selfishness is also quite inevitable in human beings. It isn't a bad thing. Hey, we all care about ourselves. You just cannot be fully selfless. I firmly believe that saying you are totally self less is quite tricky. Even the act of being self less makes you feel good, so aren't you then sort of catering to your own needs as well as those who benefit from your generosity of spirit, beacuse you are making yourself feel good, and therefore tending to your own needs - thus not being fully self less? Not that that is a bad thing at all! Go forth and be self less but don't assume that you are a martyr is all I am saying. I feel that this discussion could get a bit circular, almost like a dog trying to bite it's own tale. So let me move diatribe is getting long today.

I suppose I have, rather clumsily, attempted to vent my frustrations today. Sort of throw these queries and confusions out into the void. Perhaps what has made me vent is a realization of how important it is to be true to one self. For me, beauty lies in just that. Knowing who you are, loving yourself, and surrounding yourself with people you love. Appreciating family and friends, enjoying the solidarity that exists between human beings, enjoying this planet really. I sound like I have been smoking cannabis, I assure you I haven't, and I don't mean to end this entry on a "Make love not war" sort of tone, but essentially that is what I feel today, and hope to feel always. Where is the beauty in cynicism, sarcasm, and manipulative tones? Where is the beauty in false statements, in lies, deceit, and fake characters? Beauty is that which lasts, our looks will wither, but the mark we have left on others is eternal. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sure, but by jimbo, we all know that beauty truly comes from somewhere in the depths of our souls, from our mosaic of mannerisms and unique traits. Beauty is an intangible phenomena. It doesn't come from literally our insides. I am not saying, "oh you are beautiful, I can imagine your beautiful lovely". No no, beauty is quite mysterious really. You can't really truly see it, you feel it. True beauty that is. It is strange that Kahlil says that beauty comes from our most important organ pumping blood around our body, keeping us alive - but lets not be so scientific - beauty does come from the heart. Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe beauty lies in our ability to find value, find mystery in what we see - Henry Miller said "The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." Does that sound better? Who knows. Aren't they essentially saying the same thing? I am sure Miller and Kahlil would agree with one another. [Yet again I feel like the dog chasing my own tail, circular arguments flailing about.... ]

Lets leave it open... I suppose that is the point of beauty, you can't define it. I can't write what it is, I can feel it, I know you can feel it, so lets just feel...

Have a wonderful weekend dear ones who are kind enough to subject themselves to my often long winded monologues. I appreciate the encouragement and support I have received tremendously.

All my love,


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Lights, Camera, Action! and a warm hug...

Last night I watched Colin Firth turn on the lights on Regent's Street. Before, Mr. Firth turned up, the London gospel choir, Daniel Merriweather, and the Noisettes performed. Daniel was beyond amazing! It was freezing, and his voice was incredible, I am a fan. The Noisettes were also great, although I don't know if she was singing or not. The Gospel choir, well it goes without saying, brilliant! The Lord Mayor also made a short appearance, looking sightly uncomfortable. He did, however, mention that he was off to Oslo soon to get the tree that Norway gives to the U.K. and I beamed with pride. I remember when I was little, about seven, and a group of us were selected to play the recorder whilst they sawed the beastly tree down. We played, as beautifully as one can play this hideous instrument, although I managed to mess up at one point, (on live television) and my music teacher then not only pinched me, but called me a "stupid cow". I think I stopped blowing the silly thing then and there, and have never touched one since.

I admit, that today I am a little worse for wear. After such Christmassy festivities, I decided that sharing several bottles of cava with my friends was the right way forward. I don't regret it, my body is a little bit upset with me. Alas, is there anything better than sipping champagne, well cava really, and laughing with friends? No. The problem is, that my friends in the US aren't here. My other friend in Melbourne isn't here. Why can't my closest buddies ALL be here, with me, living just around the corner, just a phone call away? This has been my dilemma for as long as I can remember. Having gone to an International School, has meant my friends are scattered all over the place. Great. I can visit them, but I don't want to. I want them here now. This Blog is dedicated to all my friends all over the world. You have made me a wiser, more aware person. You have taught me tolerance, understanding, and an ingrained understanding of how awful and unacceptable any form of discrimination or racism is. I know that International school kids can feel a sense of solidarity towards one another. It is, perhaps a form of secret understanding of how we have shared with so many children from all over, of every colour, of every religion, I hope we can all spread the love we feel for meeting new people, and learning about new cultures, welcoming everything new as interesting, and beautiful. I send you all a warm hug. A warm kiss. And another warm hug.