Thursday, September 30, 2010

The problem of calling your team "Sprechen Sie Englisch."

After the crazy triathlon fiasco, and flowing with energy from the near death swimming adventure, I decided I should run another race- October 3 in Nuremberg. I gathered a team of eight together; me plus soldiers. 10 km, so as not to kill ourselves. (I wanted to do the half marathon, but was shot down. Not literally, mind you.)

After several attempts to register the team online, I finally succeeded. We brainstormed team names, and decided to just go with the original idea, "Sprechen Sie Englisch." Because at the triathlon, we were given shit for not speaking German by a snotty "I belong to the Portland Tri Club" woman who only finished a few places ahead of me. Anyway. Not all Oregonians are perfect. I know, it's hard to believe.

This afternoon, I'd planned to pick up our registration and shirts in Nuremberg, so I rang the store to make sure our packets were ready. (I'd done everything in German, so you never know.)

They transferred me to a woman, who asked my name, and then couldn't find the registration, even after I'd spelled my names twice. I said, "Is it different for teams?"

Lady: "Yes, what is your team name?"

Me: "Sprechen Sie English."

Lady: "Yes, but I am German. What's your team name?"

Me: (Thinking that she's thinking, I am speaking English. you idiot.) "Our team name is Sprechen Sie Englisch."

Lady: Still confused.

Me: "Our team is called 'Sprechen Sie English.' Wir sind doof!" Laughing. I explain my feeble German skills.

Lady: "Ohh!!" Laughing. She explains the rest of the details to me, regarding packet pick up, and then we hang up.

Hopefully they got as much entertainment out of my stupidity as I did....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes things fall into place like you'd never imagine

And you wonder if you should be holding your breath waiting for the
crash to come.
But instead you decide you are just going to plunge in.
Even if it is scary. A little.
Because that is life, living. Not cowering.

You came to this place because you crawled out of your little cave.
Where you were existing in the city.
The darkness of repetition and wet leaves. Sliding under your bike tires.

You moved. Time rearranged itself.

Replacing drear with color. And questions, limitless.
Wanting for not, yet open to wanting.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From D.H. Lawrence

"However smart we be, however rich and clever or loving or charitable or spiritual or impeccable, it doesn't help us at all. The real power comes into us from the beyond. Life enters us from behind, where we are sightless, and from below, where we do not understand. And unless we yield to the beyond, and take our power and might and honor and glory from the unseen, from the unknown, we shall continue empty."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ella Fitzgerald Wednesday

[Moon ray, cast a spell on my lover.]

Barely awake, propped up at my desk. Pretending to be coherent.

I've already seen my first patient, sipped espresso at the bakery, watched people while writing, and now here. Hiding quietly. Feeling like I'm between worlds, at work. It's peaceful. I should be so lucky.

Something about the old recordings, piano lilting. Big band. Crackles interspersed among the sounds.

I've been sleeping like a rock these past two days. This morning, I didn't even know where I was. Then remembered, Germany. That's a good sleep.

Today the cows were lounging on the side of the road in the grass next to the river with steam rising. I pass the river each day on the way into work, a part of my day that'll be forever etched in my memory. Bavarian countryside, waking up.

Just like me right now.

[Stars shining bright above you. Night breezes seem to whisper, "I love you". Birds singing in the sycamore tree. Dream a little dream of me.]

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hallstatt, Austria

Couldn't resist taking a photo of the timer picture in action.

More orange obsession, even in the midst of wilderness.

Where we stayed.

That's Ryan taking a pic. And cute tourists.
Me at my happiest- nothing like an espresso. :)

Mild roof obsession, while waiting.

View from our hotel balcony, morning.

They had these all over the salt mine. Not sure the pose here... looks like I have to pee. But I don't. Didn't pee my pants either.
I hiked to the top of the salt mine while Ryan went on a tour. They had Austrian flags painted along part of the way. I don't know why.

In a large mirrored box. I was Happy. Yes.

From the top.

A make-out cabin! Those silly Austrians!

Hallstatt, a UNESCO world heritage site worthy of it's title. Quite, small, peaceful.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcoming Darkness

Winter looming, dark thoughts invade,
worming in, intent on plunging you
into that seasonal anxiety.
Oh god, winter. Dark, black, death, cold.
There's no way to fend off the impending bleak days.

Yet, in this change of seasons comes
the search for external warmth.
Someone to crawl into
on a starry extended night.
Heavy blankets which insist
you into a sleep coma.
[It's not like you could roll over under all that weight anyway.]

When else are showers transcendent experiences?
Scalding water, testing your heat tolerance,
rolling off your lashes, dripping over your lips,
sliding along your body.
Steaming your core into submission.

This is going to be good, winter.

Why, it's an excuse to notch down,
hunker in silence
and trailing thoughts.
Letting peace and quiet have its way with you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deutsch Downtime - Summer Review

Sleeping in parks. Lunchtime.

Resting after the Berlin Triathlon... Alexandersplatz

Sunday Morning Church

(P.S. This is the hat I bought when I went to town to buy pants. I suck at shopping. My running team wants to all wear them for our race on Oct 3. A bunch of Army men in pink hats- sounds perfect. But that means I have to go back to town, shopping. Darn-it.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9.11 miles, 9:11AM, September 11th

It's been nine years since the day the sky seemed to be falling. I remember, as I'd just returned from Germany late the night before, and woke up to a horrific spectacle on TV, as most Americans.

My friend Ryan called last night, to confirm travel plans to Hallstadt for next weekend, and mentioned there was a run in the morning. I'd seen it advertised as "The Freedom Run" which sort of bristles me, feeling that we're chasing the wrong terrorists, still, and using propaganda phrases to catch people's attention and fears.

But I was going to run anyway today, so I decided to go. And would aim for under 90 minutes, which I did. Considering I've only run 6 miles lately, it was ok. The crowd was rather small, but I saw a few people who I knew, including a couple of patients and even took care of a little work with one of them.

So The Race.

A filmy, foggy morning, breath-in-the-air type of start, which carried us through about mile eight, before the sun decided to take over. It was perfect.

I delight in being part of these things, even if I am an outsider. I'm Dr. Sara to some of them, and nobody to most. But I can quietly observe and wonder.

I thought it should be a Peace Run. Or at least a Think Run. Or maybe a What Are We Doing Run. In reality these runs are rather meaningless. Our military efforts will not bring back all the people who died, whose families were ripped apart. Instead we are ripping apart more families each year the war goes on.

I can't say I had any revelations from it. I'm still just wishing we could all get along, kind of like the mix of people joining together for the run this morning. If only it could be extrapolated.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Istanbul: a big-hearted stubby town

You won't find any skyscrapers here. For a city of 12+ million, it's sprawling and old, but doesn't feel it. The short buildings cosy you in like an old friend, welcoming a wander down any winding lane. And if you're lost, fear not, Turks will lead you home by direction and often by walking you partway to your destination.

We arrived on a Friday night, late into the airport. For $20, received our Turkish Visa on arrival and proceeded without incidence into the country, where we were picked up by our hostel ride. Arriving late at night into a city is welcoming- you wake up in her arms and see her for the first time. Feeling the warmth of the city from the sundeck where breakfast was served, I was surprised at how modern it looked. I am always surprised how cities all look the same, and yet different.

Tooling down streets and through lanes, we stopped for countless coffees, crossing bridges, climbing towers and resting in mosques. Mostly all without maps, just following our senses and lolling when necessary. The perfect way to experience this city. I watched the people. With twinkles and warmth in their eyes, they welcomed us into their land. Jovial almost in their encounters, it's hard to imagine saying something bad about these folks.

After three days in her warmth, we didn't take in all the sights, but I think we got the essence down.

Istanbul, a place of quiet and gentle beauty, old and new, surprisingly peaceful and wonderful food. It's a place to visit again, and again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Comparison

"Comparison prevents you from looking fully. To really look at the sunset, there must be no comparison; to really look at you, I must not compare you with someone else, it is only when I look at you without comparative judgment that I can understand you."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Istanbul Grand Photo Finale

I woke up the last morning of the trip, and decided I should maybe have orange curtains too.
Spice Bazaar. I actually stood on the side here and wrote in my journal, kind of as an experiment to see if anyone would bother me. They didn't. Amazing.

My favorite treat. It's roasted pistachios with apricot date filling. Sweets of the gods.

Mmm, instant sugar high.

The only not-nice person in Istanbul. We bought coffee from him. Turkish-style. I haven't tried mine yet, but it's in my purse, ready for a sniff anytime. All the locals were here getting their daily grind.
Another example of a Turk resting.

Spice Bazaar- turkish delight.

Alley way lunch. Sure as heck doesn't look alleyway, does it?
Notice the lack of females. Most women in Turkey spend their lives in the home. I don't think I'd be too good at being a Turk, unless I had a sex change. Probably not gonna happen.
I was sitting right by these sponges, so I couldn't not include them.

Waiting for the airport shuttle, before we realised our watch was an hour slow.

But we still caught the flight...