Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Turquoise Howz

I want to build howz, a fountain.  I want to bring in those blue turquoise mosaics and decorate my howz inch by inch.  Those mosaics that are baked in a local shop deep in the bazaar, and painted the perfect smooth color of turquoise by the artistic fingers of an old man. I want to buy the smallest mosaics, and carry them all the way from that land of my grandparents and build a fountain in the middle of my garden.  I want my children to remember the color of blue such that it was in those ancient fountains in the middle of those gardens.  I want to build a turquoise blue fountain.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

An Unexpected Trip to Paris

Work summoned me to Paris.  It was a couple hectic days with early morning raise, metro rides, hospital visits, and case summaries.  All the work part ended up being super good, thank God!  Made all the hardships of the recent months feel rewarding.
Paris was cloudy and rainy and colder even perhaps compared to Odense.  But it was busy none the less, particularly many pedestrians despite the cold, which is one feature I admire in big cities.
I learned how my life style in US is unhealthy and against the rhythm of my body.  I need to feel the air on my skin, cold or hot, and I need to walk.  In my life in California, I need to carve out time for such walks while both in Odense and Paris I had to walk, a lot, and it all felt good and natural even more so on my pregnant body.
I got the opportunity to spend the last evening with friends and relax.  It was such a great pleasure.
My last transit via Frankfurt was uneventful.  Even though the security guy on US flights seems not to have changed, I was familiar with his borderline rude gestures and interrogations.
The business lounge and priority boarding lines can be quite interesting sometimes, as if when some people gain status they lose common sense of society and rights.  For example there was a lady ready to board the plane and was insisting that she was the beginning off the line.  But she was not even standing behind the gate but rather further away.  Plus her seat is predetermined, there wont be any loss or gain whether or not she is the first on board or the 10th.  That was enough for me to pray that she was not my companion in the eleven hour ride.  Thankfully, she was not.  And even better, my companion ended up being a young and polite gentleman who was also a product manager with technical background. We got to chat about work and societies and politics and movies and foods. It was easy to chat with him.  His companionship made the trip feel shorter and more pleasant. Plus I could sleep a few hours in the flight which was what my body  needed desperately.
I got to watch Hemingway and Gellhorn (TV 2012) which was a nice coincidence to the leisure book I am reading, The Paris Wife.  It was enough to know Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen were staring in it and that it was about Ernest Hemingway, my new passion.  I really enjoyed watching it.  I got to know how writing was a challenge even for greatest writers like Hemingway in the book I was reading.  Then, in this movie also, Martha Gellhorn said once "there is a lot happening [in the war] but when I sit down to write, nothing."  I liked it, although not even a emote comparison but I had felt the same thing exactly many times.  The other coincidental matter about the movie was the depiction of the Franco era in Spain.  Funnily, I got to hear about this part of Spanish history through Dr G.G. in Denmark over the 2nd day lunch.  Made me wonder at the world connectivity even at such trivial level.  Or is such matters like hearing the story of a fascist via person born and raised in a communist country and then watching it in an american movie really that trivial?
Wars.  And all the boys and girls who watched their mothers die in front of their eyes living their tiny little hands stained with their innocent bloods. "little by little I am getting really angry" as Gellhorn sited from a young boy in the war.
It should have been really tough and dark living in 1920-1945 era in the world with all the enmities and famines.
Now the reality of this time is the enmity against particular religions.  Such a pity!
On the subject of love Gellhorn said "the greatest enemy of love is boredom" and not jealousy.  Made me wonder.  Hemingway had written to Gellhorn "love is infinitely more durable than hate"; why is that?  To me, hate is not the opposite to love, hate is an excess anger, and hence can be coexisting with love.  But the opposite of love?  I think it is disappointment.
I took the 280 route back home which was indeed a pleasure.  Particularly since it was sunny in California after a week of rain, mist, and clouds in Odense and Paris.  The good music I was listening to made everything even more likable.
Now out to a carved out time to walk in the fade sub of this Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Last Night - Odense - Denmark

I was impressed with Odense in this trip spending 3 nights here.  It is a calm and green city.  We walked from hospital back to hotel both today and yesterday which was a 30 minute walk.  This got us an opportunity to observe the city and the people a bit more closely.

The city is humid, and naturally green.  The buildings are mainly old but well maintained.  There are many strange status and fountains around the city.  People walk a lot, and bike a lot, even now which is winter time.  There are special bike bath everywhere and there are many Christiana's Bikes around the city, some even carry their kids and baby's in the front cabin.

It seems like the handy crafts are still valuable here.  I observed a sewing shop with many sewing machines and people working on them.  And many many yard shops.  Apparently people knit a lot here because they were all very crowded too.  Also wood works and straw utensils abundant in the shops.  Kids appear relax and I found groups of kids chatting or walking or even sitting in a cafe having a snack by themselves.  No sign of paranoia as I am used to observe in kids in US.

People are not rushed.  They walk and bike and leisurely go through the shops.  I was impressed how the cafes were crowded, always parties of two or more, and all the time chatting!  I observed many women groups.  It was real fun to watch. In the restaurants and cafes waiters and waitresses are friendly but they do not smile.  And they wont check on you unless you ask for it.

I did not see many foreign looking people I must say.  Even though one of the neurosurgeons in the hospital is actually Persian. But not many black-haired people in the street I must say.

All in all, after a work assignment accomplished successfully and satisfactorily, I am happy with the city and ready to leave for Paris tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Morning - Odense - Denmark

I turned off the lights at 12:45 AM and got up at 4 AM local time.  Now, that is called a good night sleep!!  Of course I am being sarcastic in case you were wondering.
I gave up hope at 6:45 and got up and worked some.  It is 7:35 AM and the sky is pitch black!!  I saw a couple school kids heading to school on foot.  It should be hard waking up and heading out while it still feels like the middle of the night.
We are meeting with colleagues at 8:30 for breakfast so I made a cup of green tea to carry some more work.  Talk to you later.

A Business Trip to Denmark

Got upgraded from San Francisco to Frankfurt: My first First Class experience.  Indeed more convenient!!

I have been traveling by care and plane and train for almost 22 hours now with very little time on the ground. When I stand up I feel like I am still moving actually.  But finally I am in Odense, Denmark.  We met with two other colleagues for a quick and rather bland dinner at a cafe 30 feet from the hotel.  There is mist in the air which is a fine experience after many rains back home lately.

My body is really tired but my brain doesn't want to shut down.  I had to work some too after dinner but thankfully it was a fruitful experience although made me even more alert.

I got to watch a movie and another half a movie in the first leg of my travel.  I jot down some quick notes in the plane about them.

Hope Springs (2012)
Meryl Streep was as lovely as ever and had a nice performance and like always, reminded me of my dear G.K.
While watching, however, I found tears in my eyes. After 10 minutes into the movie I was asking myself why I was watching this. It was about an unhappy dull marriage of 31 years. The couple were used to routines of a bland life and even had separated bedrooms. They were essentially sharing a house but not a life.  But the lady, the old woman in the movie, she wanted a "marriage"; she wanted to be kissed. She wanted to make love and feel wanted. She loved her husband but all that dullness had made her wonder about the vows.
She wanted a new marriage. She decided to give it a last shot and enrolled in "an intense marriage counseling" in a remote town in Main that cost her $4000 of her savings.
At one session in the counseling when she was not accompanied by her husband she said she was lonely but she was not sure if she would feel the same if she was alone.
Granted, at one odd moment towards the end of the movie among the wife's disappointments the husband realized how he was losing her, finally! And things got happy again.
Again. They were happy at first it seemed. They wanted each other.  But they had lost it in the process.
That is the odd irony that made me cry I guess.

Didn't get to watch it through and now it feels like a lingering thought thinking about it.
A 35 year old guy living a dull life in New York is summoned back to his alpha mater college in Ohio to the retirement party of his favorite prof. It was funny how the movie "showed" his feeling about being back to a place he used to dream anything was possible as a college boy. A college girl he meets is talkative and spontaneous. She is talking about a class she took last year "that changed her life". Yeah! I remember those days. Those that lives could be changed; those days bloated with possibilities.
All the ideas in the young minds. All the idealism.
I miss that!
Not that my college years at IUT were anywhere close to the liberty of this college in Ohio. Far from it on the outside. Note also that I was studying engineering and these are liberal arts students with art and novels and music. Yet, we had lots of fresh ideas too, and sky was the limit when I was in college as well. We had books that changed our lives and music that motivated us to be creative.
 Music indeed changes ones perspective of the same thing.
There was Phantom ad on a bus in one scene in New York.  And the dude found the he loved opera.
To be continued after/if I watched the whole movie.

And the bell rang 12 times.  I better try to get some shut eyes even if not shut brain. Godnat as they would say in Denmark.