10 November, 2009

What Is A Journey?

I am in love with this video for Louis Vuitton. Granted, if Life is Journey of self-discovery, I very much doubt it involves obsessing over material things but, I can't resist Sofia Coppola or her creations.

What is a journey?
It is not a trip.
It's a process. A discovery.
It's a process of self discovery.
A journey brings us face to face with ourselves.
A journey shows us not only the world,
but how we fit in it.
Does the person create the journey, or does
the journey create the person?
The journey is Life itself.
Where will Life take you?

04 November, 2009


*photo via PhotoDiarist

When marimba rhythms start to play

Dance with me, make me sway

Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore

Hold me close, sway me more

Like a flower bending in the breeze

Bend with me, sway with ease

When we dance you have a way with me

Stay with me, sway with me

Other dancers may be on the floor

Dear, but my eyes will see only you

Only you have that magic technique

When we sway I go weak

I can hear the sounds of violins

Long before it begins

Make me thrill as only you know how

Sway me smooth, sway me now

Other dancers may be on the floor

Dear, but my eyes will see only you

Only you have that magic technique

When we sway I go weak

02 November, 2009

Un Nuovo Bacio

Negli occhi miei
Ormai ci sei
Chissà se con lo stesso sguardo
Vedi me negli occhi tuoi

Allora si
Io devo dirtelo
Mentre provavo a non pensarti
Ti pensavo sempre più

Siamo un po' troppo vicini adesso per scappare via

Tu non lo sai
Prima di te
C'è stato un altro che ha lasciato
Le ferite dentro me
Non aver paura giuro amore sono qui a difenderti
Con il tempo guarirò il tuo cuore cancellando i lividi
E per tutti i giorni che verranno ti respirerò

Io ti dirò le cose dette mai
Di questo amore noi saremo gli angeli
Il mio petto da cuscino
Per la vita ti farà
Sembra cominciata già
Una storia senza fine

Farò girare il mondo intorno a noi
Arriverà Natale senza nuvole
Le domeniche d'agosto
Quanta neve che cadrà
E nel tempo che verrà
Il mio cuore ti sorprenderà

Che freddo fa
Stringimi un po'
Riaccendi tutti i desideri quasi spenti dentro me
Con le dita sfioro il tuo profilo poi mi fermo un attimo
Per giocare con i tuoi capelli che nel vento volano
Prima di scoprire un bacio nuovo
Che sapore avrà

30 October, 2009

The Road That She Walked On Was Paved In Gold

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

The past month has been an absolute whirlwind. My life has changed irrevocably and, for the better. There is so much to write, so much to say that I find myself at a loss for words. Everything is swirling around in my mind but, I can't caputure any one thought enough to put pen to paper.

I've been reading your blogs and your e-mails and, after the craziness of this weekend is over (hello midterm paper), I will be back to commenting, responding and writing posts of my own.

13 October, 2009

What Dreams Are Made Of

"I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with my books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren't covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I'll return to a person I love. So, that's the dream I'm working on."

30 September, 2009

Re: Absurd Politics

September 30, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

I am writing to share with you the growing alarm and outrage among Armenian Americans over the heavy pressure that you, officials of the Department of State,and others in the Obama-Biden Administration are applying to Armenia to accept the Turkey-Armenia Protocols.

These one-sided agreements, which are being imposed upon a landlocked Republic of Armenia that remains blockaded by Turkey and that is still working to overcome the devastating demographic, economic and geopolitical legacy of the Armenian Genocide, would, if adopted, call into question the reality of the Armenian Genocide, threaten Armenia’s security, jeopardize the freedom of Nagorno Karabagh, and compromise the inalienable rights of all Armenians.

As you can imagine, in light of your powerful track record as a U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate in support of recognition of the Armenian Genocide, we are particularly troubled by the role that you have played in pressuring Armenia to accept these Protocols. Rather than keeping faith with your principled stands on this human rights issue, you have, since taking office, aggressively pressured Armenia into a process that effectively provides President Obama with a rationale morally flawed, but nonetheless politically effective – for failing to honor his clearly stated pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The starkest evidence of the intense pressure applied on Armenia is that the initial Turkey-Armenia “Roadmap” was announced late on the evening of April 22nd, only hours before the President’s first April 24th remarks, following a marathon 14-hour session in Yerevan between the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandyan, and Matt Bryza, at the time a Deputy Assistant Secretary. This meeting, and all the intense pressure on Armenia in the days leading up to the President’s reversal on his Armenian Genocide pledge, was plainly intended to serve Turkey’s interest in blocking U.S.recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

This coercion has continued through to thisday, with headlines in the New York Times and elsewhere reporting your personal“prodding” and “pushing” of the Armenian government to accept the Protocols in the face of broad-based opposition both in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora.

As you may know, over 10,000 Armenian Americans gathered in Los Angeles over the weekend to protest the one-sided Protocols and to demand full U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. These American citizens and over one and a half million Armenian Americans, rightful stakeholders in our nation’s policies on Armenian issues, have been excluded from any meaningful role in the shaping of our nation’s active diplomacy on the Protocols.

When we have formally protested this exclusion to senior officials of the State Department, we have been advised to address our concerns to the Armenian government. This dismissal represents a patent insult to every American of Armenian heritage. We deserve transparency and honesty from our government, a policy-making process that fairly embraces all American stakeholders, and the opportunity to offer our input in a respectful and meaningful manner.

In light of these concerns, I call upon you to lift the pressure being applied to Armenia to accept the Protocols and ask you, once again, to agree to accept our outstanding request to meet to discuss these and other urgent matters of concern to the Armenian American community.

Kenneth V. Hachikian
Armenian National Committee of America

22 September, 2009

A Gift That Keeps Giving

Tonight, I received the best gift possible, the encouragement to chase after my dreams....a letter from my little sister, written in the first pages of the beautiful hand-crafted journal she gave me.

To my older sister, Anait:

Way back when, when Wisconsin Dells was a big deal and making lists of what we needed to bring seven weeks in advance was a must, you were always the one who would collect the brochures, stamps and postcards from everywhere we went. I made fun of you for never being able to get rid of anything, and was so annoyed when you blasted the French music from your room. Truth is, even many years ago, your passion for foreign language and the world was evident. You knew everything—from the lyrics to the fastest and most complicated French rap songs to how to book a hotel in Vienna.

Walking into your apartment now, you’d have to be an idiot not to see all the Paris and Italy pictures posted everywhere…your room, the kitchen, the bathroom…everything from the way you decorate your room to your clothing style is unique and gives off a “whoa! Is that girl from Paris?!” kinda vibe.

Throughout these next several years, I am sure that you’ll be touring the world, visiting the most interesting places, meeting new people…including that perfect Portuguese Prince …taking billions of pictures, and having the time of your life. As you travel, I hope you’ll take this journal along and use it for anything you feel like jotting down. Put postcards in it, pictures, letters, phone numbers of cute boys, memories, feelings, drawings, anything. Write down your hopes, your dreams, all that you keep bottled inside.

I look up to you in so many ways and you’ve taught me more than you will ever know. You are intelligent, beautiful, caring, honest, trustworthy, talented and kind. I am so incredibly proud of you and hope you know that I believe in you and in all that you aspire to be. I am always here for you. Happy 23rd birthday.

Your Little Sister

Another year...

Today, I turn 23 years old. And although I am by no means old, I feel older. A year ago, thinking of high school or of college, I would have said: It feels just like yesterday. Today, I think about those days and they seem further away...I look at older photographs with nostalgia and no longer feel completely one with the girl in the photographs. I've changed and, although I cannot pinpoint the exact moment it happened, I've entered a new chapter of my life.

Change is the only constant in life and this past year has been full of it. From a new apartment, to new travels and new friends, my life is richer, more profound than it was a year ago.Every year, my birthday passes and it seems like the next one is so far away. The next thing I know, fall is in the air and I am another year older.

Sometimes, I miss the days when boys had cooties, when dreams were limitless, decisions came easily, right was right and wrong was wrong and fights on the playground were the biggest source of moral turmoil in life. Nights when a night light was enough to quench all fears and heartbreak was accidentaly dropping a perfectly good ice cream cone on the sidewalk. Years when friendships were steadfast and parents had the magical ability to right all wrongs.

Over time, my heart has been broken, and I have broken hearts. I've faught with my best friend, lost loved ones and cried because time passes too quickly. No nightlight can mask my insecurities about the future, and I have learned to make decisons without relying on my parents.

Life is short so I will take pictures, document my thoughts and chase my dreams so that when another year flies by, I will flip through my journals, look at photographs and marvel at how much I have changed...again.

16 September, 2009

Love, by Pablo Neruda

What's wrong with you, with us,
what's happening to us?
Ah our love is a harsh cord
that binds us wounding us
and if we want
to leave our wound,
to separate,
it makes a new knot for us and condemns us
to drain our blood and burn together.

What's wrong with you? I look at you
and I find nothing in you but two eyes
like all eyes, a mouth
lost among a thousand mouths that I have kissed, more beautiful,
a body just like those that have slipped
beneath my body without leaving any memory.

And how empty you went through the world
like a wheat-colored jar
without air, without sound, without substance!
I vainly sought in you
depth for my arms
that dig, without cease, beneath the earth:
beneath your skin, beneath your eyes,
beneath your double breast scarcely
a current of crystalline order
that does not know why it flows singing.
Why, why, why,
my love, why?

For more Neruda poems, check out her posts :)

13 September, 2009

The Power of Words

A few years ago, when I was an undergraduate student, I had a fling with a German from one of my French classes (go figure). He was tall, lanky, a lost soul, like me. I walked in to class the first day, saw him sitting there, and knew we had a connection. Curly blond hair, ripped jeans, a leather jacket, scribbling something in a worn leather journal. He was eight years older than me, a graduate student. A poet. Brian.

Thanks to my own journal keeping, I will forever remember the lovely notes he wrote me.

The world is a better place because of you. You are an intricate part of the plan, whatever it is. I love you for it.

Your eyes perplex me, capture me...and then your heart. Sleep well cherie, you who have led me to folly with just a bat of your eyelashes. My love, my sadness.

Our affair was contained to campus. Covert kisses between library book stacks, and many, many afternoons spent sitting beneath a tree talking about life, philosophy and love. He was smitten with me and I, I was smitten with his notes, his soul. Never before had I been sent love letters, or so pursued by a man, not a boy. He perplexed me, intrigued me. I would lie awake after receiving a text from him in the middle of the night, fascinated that this man would find me attractive, that I captured his thoughts at all hours.

I was never able to truly figure him out. To this day, he remains a puzzle to me. He graduated, sent me a text saying that he would always think of me, and disappeared. I have not heard from him since. But every once in a while, I will open the pages of an old journal, read his words long erased from my phone but forever etched in the creased pages and marvel at the impact that the people we meet have on our lives.

I wonder if I too, cover the pages of his journal.

07 September, 2009

Plus Je Pense A Toi

Pour les jours silencieux, j'écoute tomber la pluie,
Et les matins frileux qui me font regretter nos nuits.
Pour toutes ces différences qui créent l'indifférence, depuis,
Pour les heures passées à regarder tourner l'ennui.
Plus je pense à toi et plus encore je m'aperçois
Que le temps qui passe ne me guérira pas.
Rien ne te remplace, je manque de toi, je meurs de toi,
Et je m'aperçois que tu manques à l'espace.

We walk along the Seine, silent. My heels click softly on the cobblestones. The night sky envelops the city in darkness and a warm summer breeze swirls around us. I intertwine my fingers with yours and squeeze. Your hand remains limp. What has changed this past year? I steal a glance at your face, searching for an answer. You stare straight ahead, expressionless.

We say nothing, what is there to say? I am thinking everything, and nothing. In my heart, I know it is over. Whatever it was. Unspoken words haunt me, stifling the air around me until my heart races and the sky spins.

To me, you are Paris. You took me on my first walk along the Seine and bought me a cheap Agatha Christie novel, we browsed ancient works of art in the Louvre, braved the Catacombs and snuck into private gardens late at night like forbidden lovers. We drank cafe au lait as we watched the sunrise, loudly sang Italian songs as we walked through St. Michel, wine coursing through our veins.

I met your parents, your family, your friends. We talked about marriage, about how we would raise our children, where we would live, where we would work. You were my future.

Yet, tonight, as we walk hand in hand, a seemingly ordinary Parisian couple, everything evaporates and I feel devastated. I don't know how to build a future that does not include you. Tears drop down my face, but you do not notice. I quickly wipe them away, determined to make the most of our last days together, even if I know they are a farce.

We pass a group of men sitting on the bank, their cigarettes blowing dreamy white ribbons of smoke into the air. I sigh deeply and take in the smell of Paris, determined to preserve the evening.

We are about to walk up the stairs when a voice calls out to us in French. Hey, wait! We turn around, expecting a drunk. It is one of the men we passed earlier. Mademoiselle, you are stunning. And monsieur, so handsome. I can tell, you two are meant for each other. He turns around to his friends for confirmation. They nod their hands in agreement, and give us a round of applause. A perfect couple!, he says. The men behind him start shouting, kiss! kiss! kiss! kiss!

I turn to you, take your face into my hands, and kiss you. I feel nothing. As our eyes meet, I can see that you sense the irony as well.

A perfect couple, indeed.

03 September, 2009

2:00 A.M. ( Still. Reading. Stupid. Book)

2 a.m. and she calls me cause i'm still awake,
can you help me unravel my latest mistake
i don't love him, winter just wasn't my season
yeah we walk through the doors so accusing their eyes,
like they have any right at all to criticize
hypocrites, you're all here for the very same reason

cause you can't jump the tracks,
we're like cars on a cable
and life's like an hourglass glued to the table
no one can find the rewind button girl,
so cradle your head in your handsand
breathe, just breathe

12:00 A.M.

Son las doce y el dolor me tira a matar, la luna no se quiere asomar.

Voy a ciegas sin tu amor, no se acomodar mi corazon en otro lugar.

Hoy sin ti mi alma va, mal herida, perdida.

02 September, 2009

Way No. 5,476 By Which UIC Makes My Life A Living Hell

The graduate department never bothered to grant me full approval for a class that I am enrolled in, despite numerous e-mail and phone calls on my part. This resulted in my not receiving a class e-mail from my professor which was sent on Saturday. Instead, I received said e-mail today only because I e-mailed my professor a random question and he forwarded class correspondence to me.

Said e-mail said:

Dear Students,

Your syllabus states that there is no class this Thursday. However, I have cancelled my attendance at a conference and, therefore, class will be in session.

What this e-mail translates to, for me is:

You will have to read the 150 page book by tomorrow and be prepared to answer questions about it.

What this translates to is:

Tylenol. Coffee. Falling asleep in front of the computer.

Did I mention I still have a good two hours of my day-job work to do?
So much to look forward to.

31 August, 2009

Breath of Fresh Air

The past few weeks have brought a lot of change to my life. It was as if I woke up one day and BAM! it hit me, I am not the same person I was five years ago, or even a year ago. Perhaps it is the change of seasons, or changing circumstances in my life, but I feel like an entirely new me. I think of the life I dreamed for myself when I was younger. I am not living that exact life now, but, whereas a few months ago that would have upset me, I now don't mind the change. You cannot compare the present to dreams of the past. It will never quite measure up. I am learning to take the present at face value and to build new dreams, new goals to work towards.

The weather is getting colder and everytime I walk outside, a cool breeze envelopes me and I breathe in fresh, crisp air. It's invigorating.

Thank you everyone for your advice and encouragement about the possibility of doing research in Turkey. You all brought up concerns and thoughts that I myself had, and its nice to feel that I have a small support group who cares enough to give advice. For now, I am going to go through the application steps and doing a little investigating into who I could work with over there, living conditions, etc. Of course, Paris and Madrid remain on the radar as well. I want to keep all doors open, and will make a decision a few months down the road when my choices are clearer.

I've been busy with work and school, but also with an exciting project of my own. A few months ago, a friend and I started a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of genocide in Africa. It has taken a while, but we are finally ready to go public. A website is almost up, and we are going to begin fundraising soon. Business cards are being printed, e-mail addresses set up and connections established. It's extremely time consuming but incredibly rewarding as well. I'll share more details once the website is finished.

Hard to believe that it is already the last day of August. It's scary but comforting at the same time to think how fast time flies. There are things I need more time for, but others that I cannot wait to happen, the faster the better.

September promises to be an exciting month. I've got trips (Montreal and Toronto) planned, papers due and birthdays to celebrate (mine included!).

Many decisions to make which means, more Sangria.


26 August, 2009

Maybe I Will Run Into Tarkan?

An amazing opportunity has come up for me to do research in Instanbul, Turkey in the next year.

Only two things stand in the way:

1) I am Armenian and am slightly wary of how my research topic will be welcomed in Turkey (human rights and displacement of refugees after genocide); and

2) A research proposal is due by November 1st. That gives me two months to basically put my thesis together. Gulp.

The second I can handle, I always work best under pressure. The first, I am genuinely concerned about. I don't have any hatred towards the Turkish people as most Armenians do. However, my research is extremely controversial and I do not want to end up like Hrant Dink (although I in no way equivalate my work to his genius, Turkish nationalism is an extremely powerful force and there has been a record of discrimination and violence towards those who do not adhere to it).

What to do? What to do?

24 August, 2009

They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

Jean Paul Belmondo

Marlon Brando

Francois Truffaut

Alain Delon

George Best

Full Circle

As I make my way through the campus grounds to class, I walk the same path I did five years ago when I was an undergraduate freshman.

Then, I was naive, unsure. I walked with a campus map in hand, wearing sneakers, jeans and a sweatshirt, a backpack laden with books and my shoulders heavy with the uncertainty of who I was and what I wanted.

Today, I walk purposfully, with a quick stride, a woman of the world. My heels click on the sidewalk, my skirt bouncing back and forth with each step. I know who I am and what I want.

As I walk into class and sit down, I feel a rush of anticipation. Notebook out, pen in hand, I am engulfed with feelings of deja-vu. The surrounds are the same, yes. But I am changed. The past five years were filled with change and new adventures. I loved and I lost. Cried tears of joy and of sorrow. The girl who walked onto this very same campus five years ago never imagined she could be the woman who is sitting here now.

Five years ago, i put down the foundation to my future. Today, I begin stacking the bricks.

21 August, 2009

Oh Fudge.

Head, meet desk.

That's all.

19 August, 2009

Dear University of Illinois-Chicago,

Please re-think your employee exchange program with the zoo. I have been trying for three weeks now to register for classes and I would really like to speak with a knowledgeable, trained professional. So, while I am sure that the real director of graduate admissions is serving cotton candy to greedy little children at the public zoo, he would probably be better able to answer my questions than the parrot I spoke with earlier who managed only to repeat my own questions back to me.

But, no rush. Classes start Monday and it's only my future at stake here.


17 August, 2009

September 2010: Destination - Madrid

As usual, my plans for the next year have changed. Knowing me, they will change again within a few weeks or months. Having a spontaneous personality, mixed in with a travel obsession, doesn't exactly lend itself to concrete planning.

I had planned to move to Paris in a year. After some thought over the past few weeks and a pitcher of Sangria last night, I have "decided" to move to Madrid instead, at least for a few months. I'm not sure what I will do there, exactly. I may take graduate classes, as my university has a partnership with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, I may teach English, or I may apply for a research grant.

Why Madrid instead of my life-long obsession Paris? There are many reasons. I WILL be moving to Paris, just not in September as planned. Maybe six months in Madrid, and, afterwards, Paris. For one thing, I have a hard time imagining life in Paris without Prince Charming (I really should stop calling him that....clearly, he wasn't). Yes, he will be there. Yes, we are friends. But it will not be the same. It's wimpy of me to abandon Paris (for now) simply because it is linked to heartache. I know that I will not be lonely, that there will be no shortage of charming men to entertain me. BUT, I want to feel welcome, to feel that I have a support group behind me. I made so many amazing friends in Madrid this summer and they have all been badgering me to move there (need I say I am easily convinced?).

Also, I absolutely LOVE the Spanish way of life. The dancing, botellon, crazy nights out, the friendliness, openness of the people. Not to say that Paris does not have these things, it is simply a different atmosphere.

Last but not least, I'd like to improve my Spanish, to achieve a native level of fluency. I have spoken French my entire life and it is not a language that I will ever forget. My Spanish, on the other hand, could use some refreshment. In the long run, being fluent in French AND Spanish will make me more marketable and expand my job opportunities.

Honestly, though, I want to try something different. I want to do something unexpected, to immerse myself in a language and culture that I am not completely familiar with.

Paris is my serious relationship, "marriage-material". It will always be there, waiting for me to commit. Madrid will be my fling, that intense, mysterious stranger you meet on a night out who manages to sweep you off your feet, if only for a little while.

And, Madrid is only a few hours away from Paris. I think Paris and I can manage an "open-relationship" for a while...

(Parque del Retiro...reminiscent of Jardin de Luxembourg, non?)

13 August, 2009

Thank You, Just Because

When I was younger, I used to envy certain friends and the relationships they had with their parents. So and so's parents were less strict, funnier, etc etc. There was always something I felt my parents were lacking. Now that I am older, and wiser, I realise that I could not have asked for better parents. Sure, our relationship was rocky at times. Yes, they were occasionally too strict. But, their intentions were always the best and, had I been raised differently, I would not be the person I am today.

So, although they do not read this blog, I'm writing them a thank you...for everything.

My mom was born in Moscow, Russia and my dad in Gumri, Armenia. They both did their graduate studies in Riga, Latvia where they met, married and where, subsequently, my sister and I were born.

Before either of them were 26, they had steady jobs in highly coveted fields (engineering and biochemistry), two daughters and a vision for the future.

When I was four, my dad accepted a research position at the University of Montreal and left for Quebec, leaving my mother, myself and my newly-born sister behind in Riga for several months while he saved money, found an apartment and ensured that we would arrive to a stable home. He arrived with literally $5 in his pocket and, in the span of a few months, managed to save enough to bring us over and provide us with a roof over our heads and basic necessities. Any and all extra income went to pay for my private school education. I went to a dual Armenian-French school, where the languages of instruction were Armenian, French and English. My mom walked the five plus miles to the grocery store and back every week instead of taking the bus, saving that money in order to buy me new school uniforms.

When I was little, I didn't think much about the sacrifices my parents made for me. I had an incredible childhood filled with travel, family and friends. I never felt that we were poor, and although I craved toys and clothing like most kids, I was surrounded by families who were immigrants as well and, therefore, the contrast between myself and the "locals" was never pronounced.

Now that I am older, and at the age my mom was when she was already married and had children, I am better able to appreciate the enormity of everything they have done for me. I would not be the person I am today without them.

My love of travel, facility with languages and ambition are all a result of their guidance. My dad bought me my first Celine Dion CD in French, thereby sparking what I am sure will be a lifelong obsession with the french language and culture (and, of course, Celine Dion). Being enrolled in one of the best private schools in Canada afforded me the education I needed and a knowledge of languages used worldwide.

My parents encouraged me to fill my life with culture, with learning. As a result, I speak numerous languages, am an avid painter, travel extensively, play tennis and dabble in a thousand other things.

My mother has never been to Italy, or France--but because of her support and the way I was raised, I was able to go.

Were I to be put into a situation right now where I had a family of my own, I am not sure that I would be able to make the sacrifices my parents did. They are the most selfless, motivated, family-oriented, loving people I know.

12 August, 2009

You Know You Are A Corporate Slave When

a) you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the firm

b) you come in earlier and stay later than your boss

c) you have margarita mix in the mini-fridge (and your sanity depends on it)

d) you shower at the firm

e) although you have never actually spent a night at the firm, you know where the sleeping bags are

Time for Act II

Thank you, Madeleine, for putting into words exactly what I needed to read...

"Time changes, people change, our sceneries change and so do our supporting actors, and acceptance is hard, but we have to accept it: there are things we can change ourselves, there are things we cannot move, no matter how hard or often we touch them...Yes, he could have done this. Yes, he could have been this person. But he didn't. He wasn't. Instead of thinking what it was (which no longer is) and what could be (which will not) let me remember what it is: someone and something that does not bring me happiness, the idea of this happiness together was based on wishing what he could be, now what he is"

11 August, 2009

Go Time

Yes, Anait, you can have whatever you want. ANYTHING you can imagine. You name it. It's yours. Done deal. Zip, zap. Bing, bong. Ka-pow.

Oh, but you have to go get it. K?

I'll help,

The Universe

That's it, no more whining. I am going to take all the advice and live in the present, go with the flow, carpe diem! Focus on the one thing I can control.....getting to Europe! After that, I'm hoping the Universe will be as helpful as promised.

04 August, 2009

Words to Live By

Destiny is not written, it is made.

27 July, 2009


I knew this morning when I woke up that it was going to be a LONG week. I spent the weekend in the hospital emergency room (more on that later), and today was no less dramatic.

About an hour ago, after playing tennis, my roommate and I came back to the apartment and decided to play badminton outside the alley next to our house. After a half hour of throwing the birdie around, we happened to glance at our neighbor's apartment and noticed that the window screen was broken and laying on the patio, the door was open and all the lights were off.

We immediately went back into our house and called our landlord. Our landlord attempted to call our neighbors, and, when they didn't pick up, he advised us to call the police.

We did so, and proceeded to lock ourselves up in the upstairs bedroom with an assortment of knives and other sharp objects by our side...just in case (I watch too much CSI...in any case, better safe than sorry!).

The police showed up, walked up to the apartment and walked inside. It turns out our neighbors were indeed home. They were sleeping with their bedroom door opened and hadn't even heard the burglar enter the apartment.

By the time the police came, the burglar was long gone, but there were definite signs of a break-in.

What is most disturbing is that we live in an extremely safe (or so I thought) neighborhood. It is one of the most desirable neighborhoods of Chicago. The police, however, mentioned that there has been an increase in break-ins in the neighborhood, many occuring while the tenants are home.

Something tells me I won't be sleeping much tonight.

24 July, 2009

Next Stop: Costa Rica !!!

It's decided.

I am going to Costa Rica December 12-20th. Alone.

With the price of a round-trip ticket being cheaper than one to California, a night at a hostel cheaper than an average meal here....and those GORGEOUS rain forests, how could I resist?

It's been a dream of mine to go for years now. I've finally tired of waiting for someone to go with me and have decided to go on my own.

Already, I am getting the usual "you are traveling BY YOURSELF??" and "won't you be lonely??", "is it safe???". It never ceases to amaze me how appalled people are when I say I am traveling alone.

I LOVE being solo. Between the new people I meet and the sightseeing, I don't have time to be lonely. Just the opposite...I enjoy the occasional feeling of solitude, of depending only on myself. My memories are my own, my itinerary open and there's a certain satisfaction in planning and going somewhere completely new without anyone's help.

Costa Rica, here I come!!!!!!!!!

23 July, 2009

Life Brewing

"Something is always born of man and woman lying together and exchanging the essences of their lives. Some seed is always carried and opened in the soil of passion. The fumes of desire are the womb of man's birth and often in the drunkeness of caresses history is made, and science, and philosophy.

For a woman, as she sews, cooks, embraces, covers, warms, also dreams that the man taking her will be more than a man, will be the mythological figure of her dreams, the hero, the discoverer, the builder....

No man enters woman with impunity, for where the seed of man and woman mingle, within the drops of blood exchanged, the changes that take place are the same as those of great flowing rivers of inheritance, which carry traits of character from father to son to grandson, traits of character as well as physical traits.

Memories of experience are transmitted by the same cells which repeated the design of a nose, a hand, the tone of a voice, the color of an eye. These great flowing rivers of inheritance transmitted traits and carried dreams from port to port until fulfillment, and gave birth to selves never born before....

No man and woman know what will be born in the darkness of their intermingling; so much besides children, so many invisible births, exchanges of soul and character, blossoming of unknown selves, liberation of hidden treasures, burried fantasies..."
(Anais Nin)

22 July, 2009

Boyfriends Past

L’amour, pas pour moi
Tous cestoujours”,
C’est pas net,
ça joue des tours,
Ca s’approche sans se montrer,
Comme un traître de velours,
Ca me blesse ou me lasse selon les jours
Pourquoi faire ce tas de plaisirs, de frissons, de caresses, de pauvres promesses ?
A quoi bon se laisser reprendre
Le cour en chamade,
Ne rien y comprendre,
C’est une embuscade.

I was walking yesterday and bumped into someone I used to date. I can't say that he broke my heart, or that I was devastated after our break-up, but I put a lot of time and effort into the relationship, and when he decided he couldn't commit (this way to Baggage Claim) I was left hanging.

The meeting was awkward, and in between empty promises to "get together sometime", I felt a rush of nostalgia for all my previous relationships.

It's not that I miss them, I miss what I had with them. The hand written notes, secret smiles, inside-jokes, flower deliveries, afternoons spent lying in the park, vacations for two, nights filled with passion, others filled with serenity. I miss being in a relationship, having that one person I can call or write to any time of day and know that they are thinking of me also. I miss having a male best friend.

Don't get me wrong...I don't mind being single. I thrive on the freedom and lack of constraints. But there's always a night when, after hours spent warding away all the creepos who frequent the social scene, I crawl into bed and wish there was someone I could text to say good-night, I love you.

After a year spent thinking that I had found this person, it's hard to adjust, to go back to not knowing what, or who, to expect.

I Heart Cavalli

My favorite designer...Roberto Cavalli. Genius fashion, genius advertising.

21 July, 2009

Scratch and Sniff, Part II

Yesterday at the Best Buy check-out counter:

Cashier: Miss, I don't mean any disrespect, but you smell REALLY good.


I need to focus. Take a deep breath, prioritize my life and set up at least a tentative plan for the next year before my move to Paris. I have so many travel plans, cravings, ideas, dreams, that I am losing track of the big picture and what it is I am really working towards (aka PARIS). Here is what I am planning thus far:

August-December: First semester of school (I was originally accepted to the MA in Political Science program, but was recently informed that I've been granted permission to start directly as a P.H.D. candidate in International Relations!). Come January and the start of a new semester, I will be eligible for full funding and a teaching assistantship. However, I need to take the GRE in order to apply for the scholarships. The test date is in November and, to put it mildly, i have MUCHO studying to do. Not to mention dissertation research. I'm strangely excited to be back in the academic world...I love taking classes, doing research, writing papers.

August: CAMPING in Wisconsin!

September: Trip to Baltimore/DC/Atlantic City for my cousin's 21st birthday
Possible trip to NY for my own birthday

October/November: My friend whom I stayed with in Madrid (and met on Couchsurfing...more on that in another post) is moving to Toronto in September and either he will come see me in Chicago or I'll fly up to Toronto and see him. Either way, it'll be a few days away from my job (ahhh...heaven).

December- January: Month long break from school...no concrete travel plans yet. Most likely a few long weekends snowboarding.

January-May: Second semester of school...I will be working, taking (and teaching!) classes and busy figuring out the details of my move (!!!).

May-August: ?????? I have options... My lease will expire in June, so I will be moving back to my parent's house for a few months. I know I want to take a month off before moving to Paris, most likely July. Two weeks to visit relatives in Armenia, and two weeks to travel around Europe (with a few days in Paris for apartment hunting!).

Ahhh, it feels better to have everything out "on paper". Knowing me, these plans will all change, especially since there are a ton of things I want to do that I haven't planned for (i.e. Italy trip, costa rica, scuba diving)...I have this urge to do everything now..I keep having to remind myself that I can't possibly do EVERYTHING I want RIGHT NOW....some things now, others later.

Wooooosaaaa. Just. Keep. Breathing.

20 July, 2009

Why I Travel

“…so many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day, to have a new and different sun.”

-Chris McCandless - “Into the Wild”

17 July, 2009

Italia, Mi Manchi

Maybe its because I am (STILL) going through Europe withdrawal, or possibly because a friend is making a dream-come-true move there--whatever the reason, I REALLY miss Italy. I miss the exuberance, passion and sheer larger than life attitude of the people, the stunning scenery, and, most of all, I miss speaking Italian, feeling like a local.

Needless to say, I am now planning a trip to Italia....most likely for about two weeks early next winter. Between school and work, I'll have to find the best time to escape, but I do know exactly where I want to go: Firenze, Siena, Bologna, and Pisa. If time and money permit, I might head upwards to Spain and spend a few days in Barcelona.....and from Barcelona, Paris is only a short plane ride away. On second thought, probably best to avoid temptation altogether and just stay in Italy!!

I know I should stay in the States, save money for my move to Paris, pay off my debt, etc etc. I know this. But my gypsy soul craves travel and, while I can deny myself material things, I cannot stifle the urge to be somewhere else.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return"

16 July, 2009

Scratch and Sniff

Ever since I was given a sample tube of Crabtree & Evelyn La Source body cream five years ago, I have been hooked. It's nourishing, smells nice without being obtrusive, and, at $10 a tube, is affordable.

Apparently, it is also a man magnet.

It is late summer and I am sitting at a small water-front bar in beautiful Sorrento on the Amalfi coast. The bar windows are open, the night air blows a cool breeze, the bartender is mixing me a caipirinha and I am wearing my favorite off the shoulder shirt. I have a slight sunburn, so I take out my tube of lotion and rub a little on my shoulder. Life is good.

All of a sudden, there is a handsome Italian at my side. He sits next to me, puts his hand around my waist and....sniffs my shoulder.

"You smell delicious", he says.

I laugh, roll my eyes and reply, "Thank you, I took a shower this morning".

He shakes his head, adamant. "No, it is the smell of a woman", he says.


I laughed the incident away, but since then, whenever I leave the house I make sure to put on that lotion. I smell it and am instantly transported back to that crowded bar, to that summer full of new adventures, new friends and endless memories. All for $10. I'd say it's a small price to pay...

15 July, 2009

Des Milliers de Baisers

Des milliers de baisers, des milliers de milliers
Un à un de mes lèvres à tes lèvres déposés
Des millions de secondes, instantanés de bonheur
Effacés disparus en un battement de coeur

Des milliers de mots doux sur des pare-brises envolés
Numéros composés sans jamais oser parler
Bouts d'aveux déchirés dans des corbeilles à papier
Les défroisser les recoller, lire et les garder

Des milliers de caresses au millimètre carré
Des milliers de cris de souffles à nos bouches échappés
Pans de ciels effleurés, touchés, sommeils emmêlés
Rayés comme si tout ça n'avait jamais été

Je voudrais tout ramasser dans des grands sacs poubelles
Les paroles oubliées des plus banales aux plus belles
Qu'aucun ne se perde de ces instants si précieux
Ces phrases ont été dites, ces moments ont eu lieu

Tout enregistrer ajouter le son les odeurs
ADN, empreintes, mais que jamais rien ne meure
Ces millions de films de nous, mais pas du cinéma
Toutes les scènes perdues que l'on ne jouait pas

On ouvrirait tous les jours où nous serions moins forts
Tous ces embryons d'amour, toutes ces aurores
Sincères, démasqués, fragiles et vrais de candeur
Nous revoir ainsi nous rendrait peut-être meilleurs

Des milliers de baisers, des milliers de milliers
Un à un de nos lèvres sur des peaux déposées
Des milliers de pensées, de moments d'éternité
De regards échangés dans des gares égarées
Des milliers de baisers en un clin d'oeil oubliés.

(Jean-Jacques Goldman)

10 July, 2009

The Look

The Look is a sensual, almost magical, ingrained part of European culture. It's my favorite thing about Paris, about Europe in general.

Imagine...you are sitting on the metro when, suddenly, you lock eyes with a handsome stranger and, for a brief moment, the world stops around you. For as little as five seconds you stare at each other. He stares at you, an appreciative twinkle in his eyes, an expression that speaks of possibility, of what could be. A warm feeling washes itself over your body. Your cheeks flush, a smile starts creeping across your lips and then....the metro doors open and he is gone.

It doesn't matter if either of you are in a relationship, if there is a wedding ring gleaming on his hand. For a few seconds, sometimes minutes, you are together. A mutual understanding passes between you...and then it's gone. You lift your chin higher, feeling more desirable, and you carry on with your day...until the next stranger catches your eye.

09 July, 2009

Paris, May/June 2009

In my next post I'll write a few memories from the city that holds my heart. But for now, a picture is worth a thousand words.

08 July, 2009

Time flies, liver dies

It is now 04:05:06 07/08/09

That's something that will never happen again.

On a different note, my job (aka corporate slavery) is turning me into an alcoholic. Goodbye, liver. Hello, margarita mix.

03 July, 2009

Il cuore, fa male

Le mani sul viso
Cercano una forza che non ho
Vorrei morire subito

Non sarà giusto ma è cosi
L'alba che verrà
Un nuovo amore non avrà

Il cuore
Fa male
Batte un po' più lento dentro me
È poca l'abitudine
Di sentirmi libera

Con te
Ho speso tutta la mia età
Cosa ne farò
Di quelle frasi scritte sul telefono

Siamo noi la vita che fa vivere nel cuore
Questo amore incancellabile

Cosa ne farò
Le rileggerò
Per poi pensare che

Di te
Solo un messaggio resterà

Tu me manques...il me manque la sensation de t'aimer

25 June, 2009

i carry your heart with me

*Image found here

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

i am never without it(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)

i want no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

23 June, 2009


My favorite ballet shoes in the 2nd grade. Keys. Cameras. Phones. Respect. The ability to do the splits. Patience. My grandfather. Phone numbers. Optimism. Last year’s tax forms. Teeth. Karate matches. Freckles ( I want them back). A locket I found on the sidewalk when I was eight and wore everyday for a month (easy come, easy go). Weight. Touch with friends. Sleep. My sanity.

19 June, 2009

Air France: Never Again

A middle aged man makes his way down the aisle, his gaze focused on the seat next to me. He sits down and immediately introduces himself. Steve from Switzerland is to be my flight companion. We haven't even taken off and already I know too much information about him (and his daughter's marital problems). I pull out a book, mumbling something about a headache. Not even his lilting accent can hold my attention.

My mind drifts off, conversations floating all around me. I hear a word in Armenian and I focus, trying to figure out who is speaking in a language I rarely hear outside my home. I turn around, am pleasantly surprised to find two hansome men sitting behind me. They are Armenian from Ukraine. Arsen, Artem and I start talking. They are flying Chicago-Paris-Madrid-Budapest and then driving to their hometown in Ukraine, while my last stop is Madrid. In the space of 20 minutes we're already making jokes, laughing and causing a small ruckus in our section of the plane.

We're interrupted by the pilot: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret to inform you that due to mechanical problems with the engine we will be slightly delayed. We are waiting for the technicians and expect to be moving for a test run in approximately an hour".

Great, there goes my connecting flight.

Two hours later, we're told that the flight is being cancelled. Chaos. People rush out of their seats, flight attendants try to keep order, yelling, shoving, questions crowd the air. Artem and Arsen, who don't speak English, immediately appoint me as their makeshift travel coordinator, I'm responsible for getting them to Ukraine as well as getting myself to Madrid.

We, along with some 250 others, head to the Air France ticket counter. I'm expecting an orderly line of agents. I see only three. Three agents per 250 people. Surely they could have managed to pull more people during the three hours we were standing on the runway?

An Agent stands on top of the counter and yells: "Two lines. Emergencies, to the left. All others, to the right". Artem, Arsen and I crowd our way into the emergency line. I have to fly out within the next few hours or I will miss my connection the the program where I am teaching english. Artem and Arsen have a business deal closing the next day. Apparently, so does everyone else. 250 people push and shove their way to the emergency line.

We wait for two hours. TWO hours. Air France agents (all three of them) are getting angry, yelling at the passengers, standing on counters and shouting orders. The passengers are frustrated. French and English swear words abound. Merde, alors. Bordel!

An old woman approaches me. She heard me speaking Russian with the boys, could I possibly help her figure out her ticket? She's headed to Moscow. Feeling like a UN ambassador, I elbow my way up to the front of the line and approach an Agent. My friends and I need to get on the next flight out of here, going anywhere in Europe. It's an emergency, I stress. "Join the club", he says and waves me away.

Twenty minutes later, he calls me over. "How can I help you?", he asks. I take a deep breath, and launch into my explanation, again. "I'm sorry, miss. The last flight out of Chicago is leaving in five minutes. You'll have to spend the night here", his voice seems to say that he is anything but sorry.

Thank you, sir. Had you told me this twenty minutes ago, when I asked, we would have been on that flight.

I am given a piece of paper with a phone number and told to call immediately to make reservations for the next day. I call, am told that all representatives are busy and to simply show up at the Air France counter at 8 the next morning to make a new reservation.

Artem, Arsen and I spend a night at the nearby Hilton. Over dinner, they tell me about their families, jobs and plans for the future. Exhausted, we make our way to bed and head to the airport early the next morning. The Air France ticket counter is surrounded by passengers from the night before. Propped on the counter is a cardboard sign reading, TICKET COUNTER CLOSED UNTIL 11 A.M.


"Making The Sky The Best Place On Earth"? I don't know about that, but they sure know how to make Hell on Earth.

(Looking back, and considering Air France's latest catastrophe, I am extremely lucky. I could have been on a different Air France flight with far larger problems)

18 June, 2009

My First Award!

I've received my first blog award!! Thank you, Annika!

The award is given by other bloggers who consider a blog’s content or design to be brilliant. The awardee must then post ten honest things about themselves and pass the award on to other bloggers who fit the bill – in other words, whose blog is brilliant.

Ten honest things about me....voila:

1. I hate, hate, hate being nagged. The more I am nagged, the more I put off the task, just out of spite.

2. I am a Celine Dion fan. I did grow up in Quebec, after all! She's our most famous export. My very first CD was her D'eux album, and those songs remain my favorites today.

3. I sometimes stop making or taking calls, responding to e-mails and other communication, just because I need a break. This can last a few days or weeks. I know its time to get back into the game when I get calls or emails asking "are you alive???"

4. All the men I've dated are foreign: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian and Russian. What can I say, I'm a sucker for accents!! I'm a culture whore ; ) As such, most of my relationships have been long distance. I'm looking forward to having a relationship where I can show up on my boyfriend's doorstep without having to take a transatlantic flight.

5. I'm impulsive, curious and spontaneous to a fault. Climb over that gated fence? Sure. Book plane tickets for flights within Europe without booking a plane ticket TO Europe? Why not, they were on sale!

6. I love driving. Sometimes I will drive the long way just to have more time in the car. Windows open, music playing, I'm in control.

7. I'm a book nerd. Ridiculously so. I can read a 300 page book from start to finish in an hour or two. The library and bookstores are my favorite places to go to relax.

8. I am a complete retard when it comes to math and science. I couldn't help my sister with her 5th grade homework and I still can't quite explain photosynthesis. Funny, considering both my parents are genius scientists.

9. I dream of one day owning a tea shop/cafe/bookstore by the mediterranean. A cozy place with shuttered windows, a counter full of tempting sweets, artwork on the walls and cozy armchairs surrounded by bookshelves (see # 7).

10. I lost my phone almost a month ago and have JUST now ordered a replacement. I don't miss it, at all. I briefly considered just getting a house phone but my family and friends threw a temper tantrum, so I relented.There! 10 things. Now, I'm passing the award on to these lovely writers who inspire me daily:

Jou Jou




17 June, 2009

Domani e Gia Qui

In memoria delle vittime del terromoto che ha colpito l’Abruzzo nell’aprile. Dedicato a chi lavora per la ricostruzione. Se siamo insieme, domain e gia qui

In memory of the victims of the earthquake that struck Abruzzo this past April. Dedicated to those who work towards reconstruction. If we are together, tomorrow is already here.

Conversations With My Mother

Now that my parents are finally realizing that I am SERIOUS about moving to Paris, I think they may be starting to freak out a little.

"Maybe you should think about staying in the the U.S. where you can make more money, and then taking frequent vacations to Europe. You may be happier that way".

Does two weeks of vacation time a year count as "frequent"?

I think I'll stick to my plan, thank you.

She Listens Like Spring And She Talks Like June

I think and think and think, I've thought myself out of happiness one
million times, but never once into it.
-everything is illuminated

Last night, I lay awake in bed, thinking. City lights poured in through the open windows, a light breeze blew the curtains in and out. I thought about what I wanted from life, who I wanted, if I'd ever find what it is I'm looking for. What is it that I'm looking for?

After hours and hours spent looking up at the ceiling, I still don't have the answers. I know only two things for sure: I am starting my Master's Program this August, and I am moving to Paris next year. Everything else is up to the Universe. So, I've decided to stop thinking and have faith that the answers will come when I am ready for them. For now, I'm going to focus on loving myself, improving myself, and aiming for those goals that are within my reach.

Universe, the ball's in your court.

15 June, 2009

Valium, Anyone?

Have I mentioned lately how much I loathe my roomate? On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd go with 100. Most days, I have to remind myself that although our backyard would be a convenient place to hide a body, orange isn't my color.

Today, I wore an orange scarf to work and have received many compliments. Maybe orange is not such a bad color afterall.

08 June, 2009

4 Mots Sur Un Piano

Vous étiez ma vie comme la nuit et le jour
Vous deux, nouez, filiez mon parfait amour
Un matin vous m'avez condamnée à choisir
Je ne vous aimais qu'à deux
Je vous laisse, adieu
Choisir serait nous trahir

18 May, 2009

I Leave Tomorrow!!

I found this in my Inbox this morning and it seems only fitting...

My wish for you, Anait, is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you "just because." I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all, Anait, I wish for your happiness.

The Universe

15 May, 2009

Gothic Postcards

Jurek Nems is an extremely talented Polish photographer who has lived all over Europe. His photos bring evoke a myserious, other-worldly, almost gothic side of places that are usually tourist postcards. In just a few short days (4!!) I will be taking photographs of these places myself...