experiential

I think I first discovered my love of food through books, more so than food itself. Of course, food itself came later. But I was reading from an early age, books that allowed me to travel across space and time, long before I myself could. So I developed a hunger for Narnia's turkish delight, Robert Frost's apple cider, Laura Ingalls Wilder's vanity cakes and maple syrup candy, Ruth Reichl's foie gras (sparkling like jewels!)...the list goes on and on and on. I built up entire fantasies about what these foods tasted like, even if it would be many years before the experience itself would come to fruition.

And they did, in time. I made a few misguided attempts at maple syrup candy as a kid, but it would be over a decade until I would have foie gras, and it would come from a small French farm, the uncle of the French girlfriend of my boyfriend's brother. (13 year old me would be tickled.) In college, when I moved to Minnesota, and visited a beloved farm stand that always read 'apples fudge cheese caramel', I would drink freshly made apple cider with two friends while eating sticky, sugar-sandy doughnuts, hot, from a striped paper bag. It would be when I was twenty five that I first tasted turkish delight, in a Middle Eastern food stand in a strip mall outside of a town in Denmark, pink colorful squares that tasted much too sweet for my liking and pulled at my teeth.

The mouth becomes a way to move forward in the world, to take something from the outside and literally internalize it.

In Colombia, my memories are the paleta with sharp chili lime salt flakes, the cold, life-quenching sip of aguila, stripping a fish with greasy, greedy fingers, the friend corn-cream taste of arepa, the mangos that taste like a color you didn’t know existed in this word. Probably the best filet mignon you ever had, cooked on an open-air grill by an unassuming 24 year old, and when you try to tell him it was amazing, seriously amazing, one of the best, the words translate flatly, you sound like the over-effusive american, he smiles shyly and clears your plate.

The first time my heart broke I completely lost my appetite. My sorrow disconnected my bodily needs, my stomach felt like lead, my throat felt full. And I have never recovered from this.

This heartbreak happened during a semester abroad, a culture of tall, skinny Scandinavians, and returning to a cold college campus where I was eager to redefine myself upon return. The pleasure of refusing meals, large portions. The joy of describing my new diet, my new love of health, raw food, veganism, yoga. I began to get very competitive about eating. If a friend was eating a small plate, unaware, I’d be furious with myself for not having the control to eat less, even if it was just a plate of raw vegetables. On Saturdays, which I knew precluded a night of drinking, I’d allow myself two plastic cups of soup broth, sipped throughout the day, and tomatoes. I began sneaking food late at night, most often when I was drunk—eating most of my roommates candy, embarrassingly denying what happened when she asked, sitting alone in a corner at a party eating half of classmate’s chocolate birthday cake while around me everyone played beer pong and socialized. (I didn’t even know the birthday girl.) I started fantasizing about food all of the time, becoming obsessed with baking and cooking and concoctions. I read a lot of food blogs as I chewed raw carrots and chided myself for needing to snack between lunch (soup broth, cucumbers) and dinner (a salad, five hours later and after a two-hour workout). I saw my love of sugar as an addiction, a sad love of candy and cake that I was saddled with as a child. It was genetics, it was destiny, it was in my blood, it was a plague, it was the result of my childhood. I saw it as a weakness, as I had been diagnosed with genetically high cholesterol two years earlier. I was hurting myself, I thought. Heart attack at 35. The only way to achieve total health is to take complete control. People reverse these things all the time. Try vegan. Try raw. Don’t snap.

But my self gradually began to betray myself. After my final round of finals that winter, I sat down to a stack of two pancakes, with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. I ate them and savored them. Serotonin flooded my system. My reward, this little stack of childish, rainbow pancakes. Everyone around me was chatting about finals and stress and studying, and I got up from the table and told myself that I had earned anything I wanted to eat. I had survived finals, right? I was stressed, right? I could eat anything. I loved myself. I filled my plate with everything—chicken, ice cream, veggie burgers, salad, cookies, rice pilaf—and ate it together. It wasn’t a terrible amount of food, in the end. But the floodgates had opened.

I stepped off the plane for spring break and headed to the kitchen, wearing a white t-shirt and black leggings. My mom had every kind of food in her apartment that I hadn’t gotten at college, and I wanted to try it all. An avocado. Berries. Ice cream. Lamb. Macaroni and cheese. Trail mix. My sister still has a picture on her phone of me, hiding in the pantry with a box of cereal. She thinks I’m joking. “Pantry troll,” she calls me. I can barely fall asleep that night because my stomach is so distended and I tell my mom, who is intrigued by the amount I have just eaten, that I just missed being at home and fresh food and I just got done with finals and I’m going to bed. And to myself I say, “That was nice. Tomorrow, we’re back to normal, okay?”

Except I don’t go back to normal. I don’t go back to normal for quite a while. Spring break turns into two weeks, then I head abroad and it’s fun, but there’s also anxiety, and subconscious stress of being in three new countries, and boredom, and occasional loneliness, and more heartbreak from the same source, and I’ve defined myself as the sweet lover so why not give into it?  And eating competitions, and jokes, and having my first Magnum ice cream bar, which leads to finding a local store where I buy a pack of Magnums every two days. In Barcelona it’s ice cream. I have fond memories of Barcelona, I do. I cooked for myself, then. I still fit into my clothes and I drank a lot of boxed wine, and I ate 4 Magnums sometimes, in one sitting, but the air was salty and the food from the markets was fresh and I did okay for myself.

Berlin was cake. Berlin was bread and meat and no kitchen and cheap sandwiches and cheap pastries and cheap cupcakes. The first time you hit three cupcakes, you feel a sugar rush, a burst of dizzyness that requires you sit down and push aside anything, immediately, that will remind you of food. You groan. You feel lightheaded and nauseous and wow, it only lasts for ten minutes. So you think, well, that was a lot of sugar. But the secret is, if you continue to eat three cupcakes almost every day, in about a week it won’t bother you one bit. And you’ll keep hitting sugar, of course, until you can’t even think and your mind wants to die and you want to vomit. But eventually you’ll get up to: five cupcakes and three pieces of cake in one sitting, without feeling a thing. And you’ll have to tell the German lady whose bakery you frequent that you’re buying for your friends, because she’s starting to look suspicious. She doesn’t speak English but you know that she knows that you both know it’s bullshit. And eventually it will rise even higher. Throw a sandwich in there. Throw a Magnum in there (they have them in Germany, you discover, to your delight), and maybe a few lollipops and a shitty beer for the sake of it. For the hell of it. Give yourself thirty minutes, hate yourself for fifteen, then get up and go eat Thai food. Smile at the little old Thai lady that always gives you oranges. You’re her most loyal customer, after all. Calculate how long it’ll take you to walk to McDonalds to buy a fucking burger. You don’t even eat burgers. But in Berlin, it’s burgers.

Copenhagen was fear. And regret. And returning to a place I loved, except I couldn’t even function there because I felt so crippled by my decisions and I had gained twenty (twenty!) pounds in under three months. Shame, hiding, nothing, really. You’re there for two weeks and you reel from your decisions and you thank god you’re coming home and heading straight for a summer at college working at a campus bed and breakfast.

And at college, it’s------drink on drink on drink on drink----it’s----beating everyone at drinking and eating someone’s bag of frozen mini sausages and passing out on a couch, and---realizing that you’ve eaten the food you’re supposed to make for your job while you’re drunk, you’ve picked at it and gnawed and it and come Sunday brunch you can’t really explain why you have to make more food and why the supplies seem to be going faster this summer to your supervisor, and---oh, did I mention this food was all frozen solid at the time? At 1 am, my favorite place to stand is in front of the freezer. Because you can eat, and eat, and eat, and suddenly realize two hours have passed---no thoughts are required, it’s summer---fucking jean shorts, it’s summer---I hate myself in a bikini, what’s new, it’s summer---fad diets, it’s summer---binge drinking and stealing, the worst part is stealing someone else’s food, because it’s not you, but it is you. It’s embarrassing but the worst part is you don’t fucking care, and if they hadn’t caught you, or noticed, you wouldn’t fucking care! It’s fucking food and they should have eaten it sooner, your animal brain shouts.

Senior year of college you begin to date someone, and they become the first intimate observer of the new relationship you have with your body. Except later you’ll look back and realize they were a victim to the relationship you have with your body, a passer-by cajoled into a threesome. 

Winter, I shrink again. I am working one part time job and one unpaid internship and have 33 dollars to spend on groceries every week, which I dutifully do at Trader Joe’s, plugging each half cucumber and cup of oatmeal into a meal tracker on my phone. I fill with pride when I hit below 1200 calories each day (and this is before exercising) and run the treadmill at the Y after work and refuse to see friends for anything but a cup of tea.

New Years of 2013 I am tiny again, down to 117 pounds, and men complement me at the party I’m at. I am smug. I am miserable. I do not drink. I stand in the corner and pick at the food. I am a ball of anxiety that looks like a vision.

rinse, and repeat for five more years.

When I binge my breath becomes shallow and I begin to feel an urge in my mouth, in my jaw, on my tongue, in my belly. I eat the world around me with rabid consumption, forcing things through my tongue and jaw and into my stomach as if to try to own them, greedily. My jaw chews with a sort of ecstatic violence. To stave off the undesirable effects of binge eating, I sometimes turn to chewing up everything and spitting it out, a physical act that sees me tear through food stuffs like some sort of animal. The best for these are protein bars, thick cookies, or sour candy (chewy) but not cake, or brownies, or ice cream (dissolves too fast).

Other times, I calm my mind by choosing foods where I can deftly, gingerly pick pieces out with a tweezer, or a fork, or my nail. Chocolate chip cookies are a good example. Desserts with a shell of chocolate that must be carefully extracted. Cakes with many different layers and fillings. The slow surgical like meditation urges me forward, lost in a trance of small movements, utter concentration, and constant reward. Surgical, savored delicacy.

sinking warm into the couch

i am trying to explain the way the heart gets heavier with age, and bigger, too

the weight and depth of perspective

i am trying to explain that when i left i didn’t look over my shoulder, not even once

i am trying to explain that i never been to a funeral

i am trying to explain that i am more sensitive now, that the kim larsen tribute concert made me cry in a way that surprised me

i am trying to explain that our dog is 97 in dog years

i am trying to explain that the shadows i find of myself in my high school bedroom closet feel like time travel

i am trying to explain that maybe i am becoming my mother, that maybe my mother is still becoming herself

 

When you get older and return home, home is amber-hued. Home is paused, transfixed, suspended. How else to describe the lump in the throat when you push open the door? Your room is the special exhibit of the three-story museum that is your house. The books you read in high school. The love letters, in a box. Old shoes. Prom dresses. The feel of the pillow on your head as you lie in a fetal position and blink away tears. The dusty feeling of your life becoming history.

It's been looted, too. By your sister and brother. The bookshelf is emptier, one year - books absent like a row of missing teeth. The next year, the bookshelf's gone, too. The mirror. Even you will find things in your childhood closet to take with you, stealing from an old self, not bothering to promise to return it. A few years down the line your father will request, in an email, that you return home to empty everything out. There will be a deadline. Even now you're already wondering if the time capsule you made in the 5th grade is worth pulling from the wreckage - calculating what could possibly be in it that makes it worth keeping - rotting - in someone else's basement until 2050. 

Photographs. Little you with long legs and summer hair, time to linger a little too long on family portraits and wonder what you didn't know then. By now everyone has lost children and parents and jobs and minds and the tectonic plates of most nuclear families have shifted and shivered and shuddered. Family is like, imperfection. Like, imperfection is the only identical. BUT. Isn't it wonderful that we're all scratched up and shredding skin and yearning at heart and growing into ourselves at 25, at 58, at 18?

Home is the shell, the family house, where your father's welcome meal is venison stew, gamey and fragrant and herbal. He’s layered a new reality on top of the old one. Paintings and books and bills. Other parts - deserted, like empty museum wings after the exhibit has finished. Childhood in the basement. 2016. The first born bedroom. 2013.

Home is the first meal your sister makes you when you get off the train from the airport, weaving a trail through busy Bed Stuy with a red suitcase, stopping to introduce yourself to the lady on the street sitting in her curb home. The lentil soup is spicy and buttery and cozy, take from a beloved New York tiny apartment blog. Her space is lush wtih plants, books, notes, bits of self. You sleep in her bed and hear the street noise at night and thumb through her closet hangers and make coffee in her kitchen and marvel at how she has grown, one foot in her shoes. How someone that can be related by blood, so instinctual, is always still a stranger. How lovely.

Home is your mother moving into her apartment after six months of living elsewhere after a burset pipe. It is a new space she has crafted with full intention, and it is tidy and airy and ever-so-Scandinavian (she did find a Wegner chair at the thrift store, after all - a sign) and there is a place for everything. You've inherited her face, her small but muscular build, and her anxiety but not her dark hair or her sense of tidiness. 

Home is standing and watching the past write itself like a book. You're no longer living it. You're writing it into your narrative - someday, you think, the kids will hear about this. We'll visit and Dad or Mom will tell about this. This. And this. It is crystallizing, even now. I am writing my past, even as I step forward in the next day of my life. The days I shed are multiplying, and there’s my memory, fogging over like a shower window. 

notes from somewhere / my phone

dublin, october 2018

hoards of people. swarms and flocks and teams of people, pouring out of buses, drinking beers in pubs, lurching along the cliffs, discussing whose great grandfather's crest is found on the gift shop key chains, buying sweaters and heart rings and tipping the street musicians. selfie sticks. Barack Obama has an honorary rest stop complete with a life-size statue of him and Michelle in the town where his Irish ancestors came from. last time I was in Ireland with a class learning about the Troubles. memory and community and heartbreak and hope and finger pointing and storytelling and old pain. the lines that still existed. in Belfast a catholic woman gave me a ride home from the gym to my hotel because we were in a protestant neighborhood. i'm a tourist with a German last name, so. this time we are here for tech companies and new media. to learn design thinking processes and visit Facebook, another closed community to its own. the bus driver will inform me today that with Brexit on the horizon they'll start constructing a physical border in the north that the EU will have to police. farmers with fields cut in half, sheep with nationalities. tension, memory, fear? i don't know what this is, only to say there are layers and threads and what a weird wonder to traverse time zones and pop into another life for a moment, and be filled with the importance of something completely different. here are the cliffs of moher. today we had sun.

copenhagen, july 2018

i am thinking lately about last Sunday when my yoga teacher talked about the 'hips that you have today'. like a menu special: hips of the day. what do you mean. i always have these hips. they are a part of me.

yes, but how are they today? have you checked in with them? how are they after a week back at work? how are they after long bike rides, and weightlifting, and sitting at an office desk, and a stumble on the stairs? how are they after little sleep, in a heat wave, sprinkled with sweat?

maybe today's hips are tired, and want to rest. or are ready to stretch and open. or can challenge themselves. or want to be.
and you - will you accept the answers given when you listen? will you honor today's hips? will you punish them for straying from your agenda, your ego? will you thank them for what they can offer you today, no matter what? will you hold yesterday against them, make them swear on tomorrow?

i wonder why we aren't taught about many things this way. today's _____... body. heart. mind. someone else's hips of the day. think about communication with someone else. sex with someone else. we charge into everything with an agenda and patterns learned from what worked before and we forget to listen. we don't check in. we assume.

asking more often, recently, how is/are today's.....?

copenhagen, june 2018

8 pm light. danish summers on a friday are good to introverts, too. everyone exists on a sliding scale on that one anyway. i really used to hate being alone but now i need it. the american students often describe hygge only in winter terms. candles, darkness, conversation, being in the company of others. i don't know what the word is to describe being alone in summer in the plentiful evening sun, content and warm and feeling enveloped by something other than humans. sprawled out and sitting in your body blissful. knowing this is what you've waited for for 8 months of each year and it'll be over soon. i've never had a relationship with light like this until i moved to denmark. it is borderline emotional. anyways. that word.

athens, june 2018

The kind of food experience where you walk down an unmarked staircase into a dark cellar filled with wine barrels and small wooden tables. You get a nod and sit down. You're not offered a menu, or options, or any information, really, but you find it utterly refreshing in the age of choice overload. The older guy taps a stream of white wine from the bottom barrel into a copper cup. He puts that, some paper, a plastic bottle of water, and a hunk of bread on the table. Next: three dishes, ladled from big pots. Chickpeas softened in lemon and olive. Tender beef melting into orzo. A simple vegetable stew with bright chunks of striped green zucchini and tart tomato. You're overwhelmed with hunger on a 35 degree day but the dry wine and the bread soaking in lemon sauce and the cold water between hearty spoon bites is perfection. Final act: Little slices of sugary melon while you take in the guy rolling a cigarette to your left, the little Virgin Mary alter above you, the old guy washing cups.

copenhagen, may 2018

portrait of some tired af feet.

i remember as a little girl i peered at my grandma's feet and thought they were so strange looking! they were bent into pointy triangles with a bone sticking out under each big toe! they were knobby and misshapen from years and years of wearing heels to work. i told myself I'd never have feet like that.

i have flat feet so wearing heels has always been too painful to ever really be an option. every major fancy event in my life has been punctuated by eventual foot pain, lingering in my bones for days. sometimes I glance wistfully in DSW at the crazy pair of purple shoes that make my legs look 10million miles long but... In reality I'm more of a short giraffe baby.

feet look wierd.

my feet at the end of a long day are puffy because in Denmark it is a legal requirement to give employees a sitting/standing desk so I have gotten used to standing most of every day. standing during meetings makes me feel alive, capable of communicating and channeling creative energy.

my big toes are beginning to point inwards, slightly, just because of modern sneakers.

and there's wrinkles and a sock imprint. and a huge f$%*ng wound that will most certainly scar because I climbed a rope at crossfit without socks.

the heels I do wear are my weightlifting shoes, just enough height for good squat depth.

when we have our drag event at work the drag queens often ask the men to describe walking in heels... 'restricted.. you have to stick your butt out.. But also...

powerful.'

anxiety is the dizziness of freedom

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass. 
It melted, and I let it fall and break.

I remember this as the first poem my father read to me when I was young, although it could have been Dickinson ('How dreary - to be - Somebody!'). But Frost's poem contained my First Metaphor, and for that, I remember it always - puzzling over what he meant by 'a pane of glass'. Do you think there is a real pane of glass in the drinking trough? my father asked. No, it was a sheet of ice through which the sleepy speaker perceived the world.

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight

sometimes, my anxiety is the fog of Frost's morning riser

I have pride in the sense of self I have forged in the awakening period of the twenties. These early experiences shape your view of yourself. They bequeath maturity and humility and an ability to laugh and trust that it will turn out all right, most days. If we accept that we become who we are through the choices that we make, then the decision-making process is be scrutinized. How do we make these choices, who or what do we depend on to make these choices? The scariest thing, most days, is realizing that my anxiety means I cannot trust my own perception of things. It is the cloudy pane of ice through which I perceive the world, and I don't know what shapes and colors are real or not. 

I would trust myself the most, except something rolls in, sometimes, that clouds my view. That sends shooting sparks of fear and anger and worry and frustration. That rob me of sleep and threaten to undermine my relationships. That leech my trust, in myself, and others. I am ill-informed to make choices. I do not know which information that I'm gathering to inform my path through this world is correct, and who to ask, and who to trust. Because I cannot trust myself.

This hoary world is familiar, and yet I do not know it

or: my anxiety is an allergic reaction to the world around me

One time I tried to illustrate what my anxiety feels like. A silhouette of a person's head, filled with blue sky and fat white clouds. Layered on top of that: angry tree branches, black and white, that run like lightning bolts across everything. Because sometimes it comes in currents - a bolt of fear, a sharp intake of breath, a hand around my trachea, a stomach drop like a broken elevator on the 30th floor.

I was born a highly allergic child and often when I read about allergies and asthma, triggers, the immune system, and inflammation, I find echoes of my own mental state, explained in physical terms. The fight or flight instinct, the immediate emotion. These invaders are not a threat. I need to learn to calm down, to feel the rise in my throat and my chest and breath through it. This will not kill me. This is life. It is not a foreign object.

'hypersensitivity to something in the environment that usually causes little or no problem in most people'

'In other words, individuals living in too sterile an environment are not exposed to enough pathogens to keep the immune system busy'

even the cure, reminiscent of cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy

. . . .

'early exposure to potential allergens may be protective.' 

physically speaking

Somewhere along the line last year I began to have moments of real panic - one was in a hostel in Berlin, and I remember the florescent lighting and my reflection in two ill-placed mirrors as I paced the floors of my room, on the phone with my mother, clutching a bar of dark chocolate that I shoved into my mouth while simultaneously feeling increasingly nauseous and finding it hard to draw breath.

My words jab, sharp and quick, when I am anxious. My breath fights my words for air. I tumble out of myself, sweaty and spilling over into insanity, the rambling of the not quite right.  I zoom in, so far in, that I have my nose pressed to the ground, looking for molecules, angry at cell-sized moments, scraping a microscope across the surface of existence, releasing toxic emotions, fearful that a pulse of energy will be my undoing. 

but:

My antidotes unfold themselves in stages. First: I begin reading everything there is to read, from philosophy to meditation to poetry. Existential dilemmas and despair beat under the surface of every creative. Each book is a medication, each poem a dosage.

Then: an Iranian man in his sixties, assigned by my Danish health insurance, to be my therapist. He draws infinity on the notepad between us and we dabble in hypnotherapy and I bang my head against the wall trying to accept that there are no answers, there are only choices. 

Then: learning to breath on a yoga mat. A beginner's attempt at meditation. I am enchanted with the idea that I can give my thoughts a chair, but do not have to let them guide me. That thoughts are separate from the self. They are sitting in the room of my brain but they are not my brain. The first time I try to take a deep breath, I run out of air. My chest is sharp and ragged at 75% full. I press my lungs against my rib cage - hold on, just breathe in one more second. Deep belly breaths that wash over me, I swear I can almost feel the oxygen pulsing into each corner.

Then: on a massage table, a blanket over my body, my head in the hands of a friend. She holds my temples, the back of my head, the sides behind my ears. She holds them and my body relaxes so much I begin to snore. She holds my feet. She waits. I breathe. She holds my hands. My head. My body slows. I think of frogs hibernating, anti-freeze in their veins. I think of the lightness in my head when I do not have to produce a thought, a feeling, or an emotion. I think of how grounding it is when someone holds your feet, like they are cupping all of you at the point at which you meet the earth and everything else. I cease to think. I breathe. I am a sarcophagus of my own body. I am a shell.

The ultimate aim, I've told myself, is that it is not my eternal identity nor something to be cured. It is something I can live with, something I live through.

 

time and time again

Recently I got the chance to listen to performance artist Marina Abramovic talk about her life. There is a lot that can be said about hearing Marina Abramovic talk about her life, but at the most basic level it struck me to hear a 70-year old woman reflect on her life, Marina Abramovic or not. My twenties is perhaps the first time I've become cognizant of the process of becoming while it is still going on. I am aware that time begins to speed up, since our lives are less punctuated by events and emotions and people that are unfamiliar. Neuroscientists say that our sense of time begins to speed up because there are less things imprinting themselves on our brain compared to when we were younger.

At one point Abramovic commented on a break-up that left her with four years of sorrow, discussed what she did to finally overcome it (it involved shamanism, alternative therapies, and a large, naked lady confronting her over a fire) and then moved on. It was a casual comment: four years of pain, tossed aside in the wind. I'm sure at the time it felt like moving through hell with no end in sight. But now she was 70, and that was but a moment in time. Four years. Life moves on. Blip.

I regarded this with amusement, and jealousy. I'm a mere 27 years. 4 years is 15% of my life as I know it! A 4-year heart ache? While I'm aware that the years are passing more quickly, there are still days and weeks that drip like honey - sloooow, anatagonizingly so. And the things that happen to me: they are sharp, and immediate, and I feel my entire self consumed by them. I'm not time-wizened and age-thickened, not yet. But I see the beauty in life on the other side of age, a beauty in the knowledge that getting older comes with its own set of downsides, but sheer perspective is something I'm looking forward to gaining with each passing moment.

copenhagen summer food

I've been cooking a lot more at home thanks to my Aarstiderne box, but I've still managed to get out to eat with friends a fair amount. I'd say my dining out habits tend towards either 1) whatever burger place also has sweet potato fries and 2) vegan/vegetarian places. 

Pancake stack, Souls, Melchior Plads 3, Østerbro, Copenhagen - you can definitely make these at home for a lot cheaper, but I haven't yet mastered a good chocolate sauce.

When it's really hot, I always try to have a big bag of cherries (1 kilo purchased for 25 dkk at my local market on Frederikssundvej) or grapes in my freezer. A handful make a quick, cooling snack.

Of all of the Trader Joe's products out there, I consistently ask family members to bring their chili lime salt when they come and visit. I'm obsessed. It's amazing on grilled meat but it shines when sprinkled on top of fresh mango. 

Mahalle is tucked away on Nørrebro's Birkegade, and you'll be tightly squeezed into their space, but they have delicious turkish/lebanese food for very reasonable prices. The halloumi 'salad' with avocado, pomegranate, hummus, and mint, split between two people, with a few side dishes (citrus salad, grilled peppers with walnuts, olives & za'tar) is a refreshingly different lunch.

Brunch at Djuus - oatmeal with date caramel, goat cheese and pickled vegetables, tuna salad, skyr with roasted muesli, raw snickers bar, ham & olives, bean salad

we went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.

we went on a friday, because there was shit-all to do at home.

- m.t. anderson, feed

uropa is a refugee ballet that was put on recently, a collaboration with the royal theater, an art group, and a small group of current asylum seekers living in denmark.

halfway through they pull seven of us up on stage and sit us around a table, and we don't know whether to smile (be friendly) or if that's wrong (this is serious, these are people's lives) and we shuffle our chairs and do an awkward combination of both ('are we human /are we dancer' comes to mind for this hybrid).  we sit back and watch for a time, and i've never been more aware of how my face looks, what expression i'm making, if i'm performing the right thing, and i guess that's the point. they ask us at the end if we have questions. my mind wanders to the personal. my mind jumps to the academic. my thoughts trip over themselves and i keep my mouth shut. we stutter, silently. thank you for being on stage. please go back to your seats.


in retrospect the week where you're worrying the most about your visa renewal might not be the personally best time to watch brooklyn, a film about emigration (immigration? migration?) and this  asylum ballet. but i suppose it was also the best time.

my thoughts are disjointed.

the difference in narrative brooklyn: a young, white irish girl who heads to america in search of self-fulfillment and realization. in the face of her backwards small town and community pressure, her desire to seek out a new space for herself and be independent is noble. and uropa, with a group of refugees who have experienced unmentionable horrors, but also desire the same self-fulfillment and realization we are uncomfortable giving them...why is it weird to think about them as people? 'refugees, they're just like us'

is the desire to move for self-realization a selfish one? is it incongruent with reality or is it a future reality? should we even be comparing? are you the perfect immigrant/refugee/newcomer if you are a survivor, a sufferer, or if you are something else? what types of people are more justifiable to let into our society?

we are stupid, even when we are enlightened, or educated, or 'first world', or 'current'. why is it so surprising to find out that the refugee playing classical piano is not an actor, but merely an older woman from iran with a science degree who can play classical piano?

do you owe something to the place where you came from? do you owe work? do you owe 'betterment'? do you owe taking care of it? are you moving, fleeing, abandoning it? where do we draw the line? how much harm can it do to before this is okay? if it hasn't done anything, are you the problem?

song of summer

Except for a single night in 1947, when Hemingway passed through Michigan on his way out West, he never saw Petoskey again after his Horton Bay wedding. The thinking from scholars is he didn’t want to ruin his memory of a place he loved so much. With him, intimacy increased with distance. I can relate. Sometimes the impulse is to keep things encased in glass, to cling to the memories that are your starting point.
When Hemingway Was a Young Fisherman in Michigan, NYTimes

alright for fighting

you've stood in line for three minutes behind the drunk woman who can't pick the right pack of cigarettes, and you offer the  pimply guy with the neck tattoo behind the counter a weak smile when he makes tired, desperate eye contact. you're clutching a six pack of brunch eggs at 2 am, a testament to how much you've sobered up and how much you're looking forward to making pancakes the next morning without having to leave the apartment. she finally picks the right pack, gold, stabs her card into the reader and vanishes in a swirl of black.

when you leave, the doors of the 7/11 slide open and you catch a face, bloodied and drooling, in the dark street. there are voices calling mads, but they are lazy. there's a group of teenagers, one couple clinging and falling into each other, and the look on the others' faces approaches concern but doesn't quite make it. they're fucked up but mads is really fucked up, and fucked, and you feel a sharp, shooting pain of fear and disgust in your stomach as you follow his friends' attention to his tottering, teetering frame, perched atop a bike, in the middle of the busy intersection.

his eyes are distant, his face is scraped and bleeding, his mouth is red and open, and saliva is oozing out. he's blackout, biking, he swings the handlebars to and fro in slow motion, his bike tracing haphazard arcs and loops in the bike lane, except he's not in the bike lane anymore, he's in traffic, and as he gets further and further away (mads, his friends are feebly calling, mads, kom nu) the next arc finds his hunched silhouette lit up by the lights of a bus, and he wobbles, and the bus honks, and he swings away from the lights, but the next loop is into an oncoming car, and you watch with a sinking feeling in your stomach. is tonight the night you watch someone die for the first time, is this how it happens? or are you just old, overreacting, american? is it so unlike the drunk football players at college that insisted on getting behind their cars, stubborn and big? you were unable to change their mind, or push them, and you felt  angry and exhausted that you couldn't seem to do anything. 

you can't quite shake the morbid feeling of his face, of the dead eyes, and the broken mouth, and whatever's already happened to him that clearly didn't stop him from swinging wildly in traffic, and his friends, watching but doing nothing, as if their gaze alone will protect him, and your own thoughts, small and hard, at your own drunken bike ride just the week before. he's gone, so far down the street you cannot see him anymore, except for the occasional honk, and his friends are looking at cell phones, and you'll crack three eggs hard against a bowl in the morning and wonder.

 

august was:

'indian summer' and the resulting rush to islands brygge to get as many jumps into the harbor in as possible.

volunteering at trailerpark festival with a cold, which meant i missed most of the major acts i was excited to see, but i still got some bartending in and generally enjoyed being around up and coming acts, graffiti, installations,  and technology (and one fan-girl moment of seeing silvana iman walk by me twice)

a short trip to sweden and a generally sweet week spent with a visiting group from stanford.

copenhagen's never-ending list of random street parties and outdoor pop-up hygge

a visit to warpigs for some bbq, endless fountain soda, and the added bonus of watching people get tattooed in a restaurant

a few late nights in classic form wandering around dronning louise's bro and enjoying the slowly dwindling summer nights.

on to fall...