Saturday, October 17, 2009

What I really want right now.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Testing this From My Iphone

Wow. If this works, I could be unstoppable.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009


...that the militant, control freak-for-no-reason minister at the last wedding I shot with El was a Nazi:

Why Has it Been so Long??

I can't really say why. Perhaps it's the quarter system at RIT that has me running like crazy and when I get home at night all I want to do it veg out.

But, for better or worse, here is another post.

There is so much I could write about because there is so much going on at the moment: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, his health care bill is having issues with being passed, school is kicking my ass and I am going to visit Ivana in December for xmas.

Oh, there is more, but that is enough.

I guess I could start with Ivana's visit to the USA. It was a long day...a very long day. I decided to drive to NYC to pick her up from JFK because she said that it would be "a good chance to see the landscape after I land". (I'll never drive to NYC and back in one day again.) (come to think of it, I will never drive to NYC again.)

I warned her that when she landed, she'd only be half way to home time-wise.

Well, I don't think she really understood.

I don't think Europeans understand the size of our country. It's much bigger than they really think.

She knows now.

But all in all, it was a great trip. We went to Pittsburgh to visit my friend Yona, then to Lancaster to taunt the Amish, then to Washington DC to visit my friend Nick.

Jake and I at the "Exorcist Steps"

I have to say that after not seeing her for about 4 months and then practically living with her, we really got along well, it was nice. No territorial arguments, no real spats to speak of.

What did she really like? Frappucino and cheesecake.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Makes Me Sick

The Aftermath

Yes, I am alive.

I survived 10 weeks of "transfer student hell" only to go on a 4 week road trip with the girlfriend.

Pictures will come.

Stories will come.

But not today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life is Funny Sometimes

Sometimes, when you have a photo project, you walk through a city and find something funny:

Monday, June 08, 2009

"Call me Bill."

That was the first thing the head of the photo department said when we sat and talked oh so long ago. I liked it. Coming from Germany where everything was "Herr so-and-so" or "Frau what's-her-name", I liked the informality.

I loved it, actually.

And this informality trickles down into the whole department. 

I call my professor Angela. (that is her name after all)

But...informality has its drawbacks too.

It seems most of the time that my prof has no idea what she is doing and kinda fakes her way through the day.

Case and point: we spent 45 minutes today watching her set up her laptop to show us a slide show. Right after telling me that in certain situations during a wedding shoot, you need to improvise and be flexible.

Poetic justice anyone??

And how do I know she is faking her way through the day?

Because I did it too. I spent many 'o days not planning what to teach and walking into a room of strangers and churning out a lesson...not really giving a clear enough answer but giving one good enough for the moment.

But her answers are not good enough for the moment even.

I can't say that I am learning nothing. I can't even say that I am not being challenged. But it's not enough at the moment. I am bombarded with book work when I want to get into studios and outside to shoot.

But to be optimistic I have only 2 weeks left with her.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

1st day...

Well, it's done.

That first day, get-it-out-of-the-way crap is done and now I can focus on photography.


The class is small - only 10 - and that is good for time with the professor. Bad for comparing work against your peers.

I have some reservations about showing my work. What if I'm not good enough??

Everyone there has had some different background...and that will be good for sharing the knowledge.

So...400 bucks lighter (books, supplies, etc) going in to day 2, and I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

No better reason... start bloging again than the experience of having a new monitor to go with my laptop. 

Oh, and a keyboard as well as I have to use my laptop in the closed clamshell mode.

22 inches of beauty staring at me and my goodness how much bigger everything is!

I have 2 weeks til my start of school and so much (and so little) has happened to me in the last 6 weeks being home.

I had to file back taxes for the last 6 years. Yes, I am one of those clueless idiots who thought the IRS would never think to find me. They didn't find me but for financial aid I had to go to them as show them my income. Should be ok, I didn't make so much, but the whole experience was stressful trying to talk the accountant through the german documents.

I have taken some photos - not as many as I would have liked - but I haven't gotten around to doing much with them.

I will soon though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2 Weeks Back

I'd like to say that I have gone head first into my new life.

I haven't. 

Thank you, jet lag.

But, things are slowly getting to be "normal" for me.

If by normal I mean this new life I have for myself.

Thanks to my brother and my father, I got home the same day as I arrived (longest day ever). I am quite sure my dad will never go to the JFK airport (read: New York City) again.

I've had a few funny run-ins with the revers culture shock that I want to share. Some very pleasant, some not so funny. But that will come over time. I'll start writing about them soon.

But before that we have a new member of the family:

Caleb (or Kaleb, I have no idea):

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

On The Way

Day 1 of my new life.

I am sitting in the airport and have 90 minutes til boarding. Thanks to Carsten, I had a stress-free trip to the airport.

I simply can’t wait to get home. To Rochester. To the next stage of my life.

I’m scared and sad, excited and exhausted. overwhelmed and overspent, free and fettered. I left my apartment I have grown to love and hate for the last time. I stood admiring the view on the balcony listening to the choir of birds and realized that I won’t have that moment ever again. I hate that the blackbirds woke me up at 4AM but perhaps I’ll miss it. Perhaps I’ll miss the water heater in my bathroom kicking on and waking me up. Perhaps I’ll miss the creaky floor and the way-too-small kitchen.

I left wanting more but not needing any more. I’ll stay in touch with those I consider good friends and the rest I’ll chalk up as experience. There was always something I could have done to enhance my experience but I did what I could - what I wanted to really do.

Dresden has given me mostly ups, but the downs were really down. I will miss life here. But I won’t miss the inflexibility of the typical German. But I also know that it’s just a stereotype and these kinds of people are everywhere.

I’ll miss my own space. Really my own space. So far away from my family and it had to me my own or I would have failed. I’ll miss the parties. European parties are simply better. I’ll miss the good connections I mad with some people. I’ll miss Ivana. I hope to see her in August. Seeing her pull away on the tram is the last thing I’ll remember about her. How sad!

Starting over again is also liberating in a way. I have the chance to really learn from the mistakes I’ve made and do something about them. Will I? I have no idea. I get lazy. I get dumb. We’ll see i guess.

I bought a new watch using a gift card my boss gave me. It will remind me of my time here. I need a nice ending memory to counter the drama with my internet company (fuck telecom companies!) and my hen-pecking landlord. I didn’t want to leave him with a heap of garbage and an unpainted apartment but I suppose I am indirectly teaching him a lesson: don’t wait 3 years to bill me for my energy and then say my security deposit will cover the last 3 years of energy...why would I then paint and clean, etc? I did manage, with Ivana’s help, to clean the place.

So I sit all day. I sit and wait for the next step and the next and the next. One step away from the unfriendly service people who gave me coffee today. On step away from probably never hearing German again. One step away from setting foot in my home country and resting from the last 3 months of stress and planning and arranging and organizing.

I am quite sure my life won’t be that much better. But I’ll be able to start a band, speak my own language at an adult’s level, express what I really want to in words that most (hopefully) will understand and focus my energy on what I really want to do instead of doing the only thing I am allowed to do.

And that is how I feel as I have one hour til boarding my flight to Frankfurt.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What To Do....

What does one do their last day in a country?

Photos? A quick walk around to take in the atmosphere? 

No. Cleaning. Packing. Garbage. Stress.

I am pretty sure that anyone from a different country living in the USA has the same issues trying to "de-register" and get all your paperwork ducks in a row, but I hate it.

Let's eliminate paperwork and bureaucracy. Seriously.

Anyway, it's a nice morning here and I do want to get out and take some last photos here but am not so sure because I have to throw away all the crap I can't take with me. (= not easy in the German system)

I have to make small "stealth" runs when throwing away my stuff. Here, they have containers for each building and you have to separate the garbage into 3 main categories: paper, plastic and "other". I have grown to really - REALLY - love the "other" because that is where you can technically throw anything. The problem is I can fill the thing on my own and that leaves very angry neighbors (who go through my garbage and sort what I didn't do good enough).

So what is the solution?? Street garbage cans!

That's right! I take an innocent-looking shopping bag (not see through because that would give away the plan) and walk up a block or so and dump whatever I want into those small havens for my unwanted things. 

No guilt. No dirty looks from the neighbors. Just simple elimination bliss.

Yes, I should be out taking photos.

But I have to plan my garbage exodus. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not Welcome

I got a visit yesterday from an old friend:

Panic Attack

This time it was a full-blown-in-public-can't-catch-my-breath attack.

I'd never had one like that before.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours.

3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours.

I am now finalizing all my things here in Germany to move back to the USA.

Such a bittersweet time for me, I have to admit. I will miss many things here that I have grown to be used to, and at the same time looking forward to the things that I miss, and the things I will be doing in the next 2 years.

My life has been good here. I have learned the beauty of a simpler life and how to be less "consumerist" towards the normal things in life. I still want things, mind you, but not as often nor as many.

I was able to live in a beautiful city in a beautiful country. I was able to travel and see many places in Europe. Some I fell in love with, some I will never return to.

I was able to reflect on my life - more specifically my personality - and realize that I am strong enough, decisive enough, and able enough to do the things I dream about.

I have come to certain conclusions about who I am and what makes me who I am and while that will undoubtedly change over time as it always does, it gives me a good springboard for the next chapter in my life.

I am mostly happy with the thought of coming home. I hope that I am able to share the experiences I have had here. I only hope that those around me are interested - really interested and not "American interested" - in what I have to say.

I have met some really great people here, and have learned many lessons about the nature of people and have lost some supposed friends. I have realized that relationships end sometimes and while I think I have coped well, I can always do better.

I have learned about the German culture. I have learned how to navigate the personal arena; what makes a friend in the eyes of a German, what things they take personally and that once you are a friend, you are pretty much a friend for life with no conditions. My good friend Carsten, for example, when I asked for help moving he said yes with no thought, no checking his schedule, no hmming and hawing, just "YES" and I will miss that.

I am going to miss the international flair of my workplace. It was fun to share the differences in cultures and to make fun of the little differences in language between the US, UK, Australia and other places. These are things that I won't really be able to share with those at home because....just because.

I am coming home a richer person in experience. I hope that I can remember everything that I have learned here. I never want to forget my time in Dresden. And I hope that I can use my experiences to aid my future success.

And I am scared. Moving home in the "worst financial crisis ever", and trying to study will pose challenges that I hope I can overcome. I am scared that won't be good enough to achieve the success I desire. Not a selfish success, but success enough to provide for myself.

I have loved and lost, loved and lost and loved again. Prague will always have the most special place in my heart for many reasons. Paris a close second, and Italy will be my favorite country for a long, long time.

I will always appreciate that I have made friends with people who were former "enemies" of our political system...sitting in an East German's yard having a bbq and enjoying wine. Speaking to these people about the differences and similarities we share, mostly similarities, is priceless.

I am anticipating "reverse culture shock" when I come home. I will get cranky and impatient with the way things work in the US. I am sure I will have more than my share of comments or derisive chuckles but I am nevertheless looking forward to reconnecting with my culture and friends. I am going to donate blood because I want to do good even in a small way. I want to learn more about the city I was born in. I am quite ashamed that I know more about my "host city" than I do about my home city.

I am sure that I will have so much more to write about this time in my life. I have been obsessed with gaming which has somehow been my coping mechanism but I have to now pull myself back to reality - even just a little bit - to express these feelings and start the next chapter in my life. 

I am looking forward but won't be able to stop looking behind for quite a while.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Even As a Teacher, I Still Can Learn

The student probably never suspected it.

But I thought it. From the very first time I had him.

There was a student in a group and he was a bit "special". There is usually one in every group; one who just can't keep up or seems to refuse to try in a group.

Well, it was no exception with this group—a group of unemployed older people paid to come to our school to learn English.

Some are motivated because it will help them develop skills, others come simply to get money from the government.

He barely seemed to try, he never spoke correctly, and he was difficult to teach.

Only today, at the end, did he say something about why he was this way.

He had a head injury and it caused him to be a slow learner. It made him socially obtuse in almost every way, to be honest.

So, I misjudged him.

And it showed me that I shouldn't do that. How do I know what kind of past a person has had?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I had Visitors...

A couple weeks ago, I had some visitors.

Ria, a former co-worker, and her friend Sean.

It's nice to have people here because I get a chance to see the cities vicariously and it's nice to experience that from time to time. Living here for so long, I get jaded and cranky but so see the city with fresh eyes makes me realize how nice Dresden can be.

We did Dresden, Prague and Berlin. They then went off to Munich.

We ended their visit here with an Oasis concert. I actually thought they played well, but I don't like the singer...he doesn't really have a range at all.

Here are some photos!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Slacking Blogger

I have no good excuse.



I can blame it on many things but I am just lazy.

And I want to try to change it.

But at the moment,  I have to try to organize my ideas to share and I don't know where to begin.

I haven't had a chance yet to give my notice at work and I am not doubting my decision. My plans are built upon so much that could not happen and I don't want to make the wrong decision. I don't want to fail.

But the other side is that I can't stay here doing what I am doing now.