I owe a bunch of people a lot of emails, but I just wanted to send you all a brief update from Barcelona before responding to emails individually. I apologize for not responding any sooner, but I have had trouble having access to the Internet. For those who hate my massive text updates, the link to pictures is at the very end of this email.
I’m writing to you today after visiting both Amsterdam and Dublin. These two cities are in countries I have never step foot on, and I have fallen in love with all two–three, counting Barcelona–for very different yet specific reasons.
Amsterdam, as you’ll see in the pictures, was beautiful. I had an amazing experience there, spending Christmas with the Dutch along with my brother. It was great to see him again, especially after being in the Korea for 6 months. I could notice big differences between us after being in Korea. My distaste for arguments after discussing Global Governance for an extended period of time was most notorious. I was almost unwilling to have a discussion about anything. I just wanted a peaceful, meaningful and heartfelt conversation all the time. That proved unsuccessful, especially on the account that I felt emotionally and socially displaced after being in the “east.”
What does that mean? I really don’t know, for the exception that my brother and I recognized that my school is quite isolated, allowing me to become a very conceptual but non-practical thinker, while my brother had been in Spain studying and working in a high-paced modern city. The changes and differences between us were remarkable. The clearest examples that I can muster are the facts that I no longer throw my cigarette butts on the ground, but keep them in my hand until I come across a trash can; I dislike verbal disagreements while drinking beers; I seem to be calm but completely incapable of figuring out the ins-and-outs of a new place.
So, the word for me in Amsterdam was “Lost.” This is also taking into account the fact that I watched so many “Lost” episodes on my brother’s laptop late at night in the hotel that it’s not even funny. Other sights seen: The Van Gogh and Rembrandt museum, Anne Frank House, local landmarks, and well, more “controversial” features of Amsterdam life which were completely legal.
I left Amsterdam to spend the New Year’s in Barcelona. I’d like to tell you more about this place, but I’m still in it. Therefore, I will process the city, and include pictures and stories of this city, in a future email. Noteworthy to mention in the meanwhile: I’m living in my brother’s flat, and met two good friends–Christina, who I haven’t seen since we graduated from High School 5 years ago, and Seba, a friend from Chile.
Dublin: Dublin is truly a wonderful city; cozy, completely walkable (no need of trams, subways, or cars), beautiful landscape, nice weather (though not a lot of sun in the winter), and full of theaters and music halls. I was there with Liz, a good friend from NYU, and we saw so much art. We’re art-hogs. We devour art. We went to a completely sold-out Mogwai concert, and Liz convinced one of the band members to put us in the guest list. I was in there with 600 other people listening to some great stuff.
We also went to the traditional landmarks, although we avoided the main tourist attractions. Instead, we went to the Irish History Museum, where I saw so many skeletons and frozen bodies from CENTURIES ago that I was amazed. Learned about the Irish Vikings, ‘cuz I love my Vikings, and went to Kilmainham jail, Howth (a seaport near Dublin), the Irish Museum of Modern art, and saw an experimental play about Immigrating to Dublin which made me remember about all my immigration concerns while living in the States. So wonderful and full of culture: I would go back to Dublin in a second.
As to me: I’m in Barcelona for another month, working on my writing. I’m sitting in cafe’s a couple of hours a day, writing. I’ve started a novel in which some of you are in it, partially or just by name, and I’m remembering all the good times of my life and look forward to all the better days to come.
I hope you’re all doing well and that you have a peaceful and memorable 2006.
With much love,