Archive

Travel

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

— Anthony Bourdain

I spend a lot of time browsing architecture websites for no good reason at all, really.

These are some of my favorites.

Junta Castillo Leon Offices, Alberto Camp Baeza, Spain

Image 1 of 2: Pael House, Chile. This is my boyfriend’s uncle’s house, and during the record-shattering earthquakes, they hardly felt a thing inside.

Image 2 of 2

“The Vertical House,” Paris, France. For more information/pictures, click through link.

TVERRFJELLHYTTA BY SNØHETTA

Maison à Vitznau, Lischer Partner Architekten

I have spent countless hours sifting through blog posts about Chile, reading Spanish novels (a term I use loosely as the current read happens to be a teen novel translated into Spanish from English), and just generally missing the place in the past few days. It feels like ages since I’ve seen many people that are like family to me: my boyfriend Francisco, his entire family, my once-host family, and the friends and acquaintances that made my time there incredible. I’m even missing the (insane, copious) amount of mayonnaise that they spread over every food item in their path (although I still do not miss manjar, that sticky caramel-y stick-to-your-arteries substance that Francisco adores). All in good time, I suppose–and in the meantime I can consider my explorations in the blogosphere a form of research for my quickly-approaching senior thesis about Mapuche art within Chilean culture.

I’m getting knee-deep into my exhibition on John Baeder now. I’m a few paragraphs into my rough draft, which needs to be finished within the week–I think I should start hitting the library soon or else I’m never going to get anything done.

I’m also going to be working with the head of academic programs at the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru in order to create new material having to do with Latin American Art for Smarthistory–the website is a fantastic resource for Western art, but is notably lacking in academic articles about the art of the Americas, Africa, Oceania or Asia, which they are in the process of correcting.

Anyway, here is a picture of the Museé de la Mode et du Design in Paris, where I was lucky enough to be able to visit an exhibit on the trademark style of the Spanish couturier Balenciaga maintained throughout the past 100 or so years:

View from the Seine


View from inside the green shenanigans

Great Blogs from English Expats in Chile:
Way South of the Border
Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture
Bearshapedsphere (a travel blog by a professional freelance writer)

I have finally found a worthwhile internet site to teach me Chinese. Memrise is a site that appears to be mostly dedicated to Mandarin Chinese education, although since users are allowed to upload study sets full of vocabulary and phrases, French, Spanish, Italian, and German are also burgeoning.

Memrise illustrates Chinese characters with moving pictures that make it nearly impossible for you to forget the form of a character–interestingly, the pronunciation of each character is about twice as hard to remember than the pictures themselves. I think that gaining basic reading fluency wouldn’t be too difficult if you learned 15 characters a day for a few weeks (or, at the very least, you’ll be able to figure out whether you are pointing to fish or beef on a menu!).

The layout of the site is pretty intuitive, and is based on a strategy of continuous practice–they want you to learn and relearn the words/characters, committing them first to short term memory and then, perhaps 3 days later, to long term memory. It’s definitely working so far.

Duolingo is still working well–but I think that duolingo fits best if you’re starting from level one (as I did in German). It can be a little boring trying to pass through levels to get to the grammatical lessons at the very end. I will certainly be using it once it comes out with Portuguese (should be less than a month, if the internet is to be believed).

Things like this are just getting me unbelievably excited to study abroad in Beijing. Less than two months and I will be in completely foreign surroundings–exactly where I feel most at home.

One of my favorite things about visiting a new city is that moment in which you know that you have crossed the divide between commerce and life–in some cities, there is none: the infrastructure is too big, and the flash that the city maintains is actually where the typical resident makes his home. In some, however (and I can think of two specific cases on opposite parts of the globe) the edges of life are more well-defined.

In both Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Bruges, Belgium, there is a long entrance from the highway to the inner city, well-decorated with indicators that you are, in fact, on your way to the heart of the city. Grocery stores, smaller antiques shops, restaurants line the proverbial yellow brick road. Then, excitement hits as you set your sights on the heart of the city and see what was once described to you via the internet or Fodor’s. Famous bathhouses, clock towers, lavish shopping pacify visitors who don’t realize that what you’re exposed to is in some ways a shell of a city: the majority of people who call the city their home live in less crowded, more elemental surroundings.

The moment when you understand the break is always refreshing after days of crowded markets and unregulated rush.

The break in Bruges.