Malta

The truth is, I saw a picture on television once, and decided I would come here. One picture, and I was sold. The first thing that strikes me is the heat, the oppressive, dry heat. The kind of heat that doesn’t make you sweat, but rather makes you feel as if you are caked in dirt, baking slowly. I get on a bus and make my way to Valletta, the city I once saw, an image I’ve held in my mind until now. The island of Malta has seemed remote, exotic, but in all truth it’s in the middle – accessible, a blend of European and the Middle East. A land fought for my many empires, a collaboration of culture, art, and architecture. Continue reading “Malta”

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Water

From the Midwest, to the mountains of Z├╝rich, the rough streets of Johannesburg, to my final destination: picturesque Cape Town, South Africa. How silly of me to think it would be as it was before. The mountains still stand, clouds rolling over the top of Table Mountain like waves, the lively streets are the same, the familiar shops greet me, but it’s different. I’m different. I play my own movies of what was, feelings of another time, I know this change, in fact I’m aware enough to expect it, but now I feel it. Continue reading “Water”

Gondola

I reach for the outstretched Italian hand that firmly pulls me onto an old, wooden gondola, into another time. I carefully step aboard the wobbly boat and take my ornate, velvet seat amongst the Canadians facing me. I feel them looking at my worn rubber flip-flops, the permanent ink sky on my foot, my elephant t-shirt. Where is she from? How old is she? I smile and they collectively question me. Yes, I’m American – yes, I’m traveling my myself, and I unwind the tale of my journey to curious Canadians as we bob into the wide canal, floating into another world. Continue reading “Gondola”

Wandering Warsaw

The sun has long ago set, the shops have closed, city life is subsiding, but I can’t bring myself to go in. The night is too perfect, the weather too beautiful, and I’m acutely aware that my time here is about to expire. I sip my tea, aimlessly roaming the streets of Warsaw, mesmerized by the cobblestone, the perfectly lined colorful buildings, and find myself at a castle in the old town. I can still hear the faint music of performers in the old town square, also savouring every last-minute of the perfect Polish summer night. Continue reading “Wandering Warsaw”

Silence

Yes, I know, I stopped writing. I’ve started countless posts that I’ve abandoned halfway through. I went to Greece with the passionate intention to write about my experience, it’s just that, I’m not sure how to verbalize it, how to share it. I arrived in Leros and jumped into an exciting, emotional, overwhelming, and sad tornado that consumed me until the moment I boarded a tiny plane back to Athens. It’s taken me a few weeks of aimlessly wandering around Europe to sort it all out. Continue reading “Silence”

Queen of the Castle

Sunday morning I wake up with a busy mind and a desire to get lost. I grab a cappuccino freddo and set out on foot towards a distant castle, somewhere on the island. Dodging motorbikes, I ascend a road along the edge of a cliff, looking down at the maze of houses below, stretching out to the ocean. Indeed I get lost, looking for a path that will lead me to the castle. After making countless wrong turns, I realize the path I’m looking for isn’t a road, but a narrow staircase pathway. What seemingly is an entrance to a house is really a secret stairway leading to a quaint village on a beach. Continue reading “Queen of the Castle”

POC, Refugee, Resident

Seemingly, everyone I’ve met since landing in Athens has an opinion about the refugee crisis in Greece – locals, Uber drivers, NGO’s, police, and refugees themselves. Opinions are freely shared with me once I disclose what I’m doing here (teaching yoga in a refugee camp) and I listen, hesitating to form an opinion until I’ve had my own experience on the island of Leros, my home for the next month or so. Continue reading “POC, Refugee, Resident”