Bleary Eyed

~Bleary Eyed

Monday, August 30, 2004
So I was sitting amidst 12 friends of mine from the med school at the 'dorf' surrounded by chips, sodas, pizzas, and the remnants of a fun game of Cranium when it just hit me. I AM IN AMERICA. Lol, you'd think I would have noticed that a few weeks ago, like august 8th when my plane arrived in Philly from Paris, or even august 1998 when i first arrived in Michigan. but nope as usual my slow brain took a full 3 weeks to register that fact. It was the most disconcerting experience. Everyone's speaking english, there's the USC and VT football game on TV, people are cheering and groaning along with the game plays at the appropriate times (unlike me and other foreigners who take a few seconds after the fact to process what just happened in the game), and there's pizza and soda everywhere. Wow. when did happen? It's as if America has finally gone from being something in my head that I looked at from the outside to something I'm experiencing firsthand. In the past, whenever I've thought about America I always saw it from Okinawa. I'd have a mental image of myself on okinawa then the pacific ocean and I'd see the North American continent and a little dot where cleveland is(kinda like those little maps you have on the screen on the planes showing your starting and ending point with little planes and lines). wonder if this is good or bad. in either case we had a good time that night. We got soaked downtown heading to the baseball game, which we eventually didn't go to b/c of the inclement weather, and had a fun evening with friends eating and playing games. you should see my photos from twister...:)

Friday, August 20, 2004
Well, here I am back in Cleveland. All moved and unpacked in my new flat in the heart of Little Italy, Cleveland. I have to say that although I was hesitant to move, I very much like my new place and living on my own again. Large spacious kitchen, cozy living room, and some peace and quiet.
Haven't been doing much lately. SHould probably be studying more...have lots of things on my list, but I like to just sit in my new apartment and enjoy my view on the couch or reorganize my kitchen cabinets for the upteenth time or read a book in my room. At some point I'll probably realize that my summer break is over, has been for a few weeks now, and that in less than a week i have my first exam. Until then I think I'll just enjoy my day :)

Saturday, August 07, 2004
I boarded my plane at Gate 28 with my heart in my throat but determination in my step. I cant believe that I have finished my time in Finland. Said a couple more good byes. Stayed up all night with some old friends and some new ones before I took my flight in the morning, last minute phone calls, and now here I am at an internet cafe in the Latin Quarter of Paris. I have wandered around aimlessly through these streets, popping into an occasional bookstore, cafe, or boutique. I have forgotten how lovely this city was, but I still remember that first moment i stepped into it just this past June. Now I am back to bid this city farewell yet again. I have had such an awesome time this summer and I want to hold on to every moment, but I will be boarding yet another plane tomorrow morning back to Cleveland(hopefully! I cant help worry that something will go wrong again with my flights or my tickets). So farewell Paris, Helsinki, Madrid, Nice, Barcelona, Seville, Tampere, Savonlinna, Turkku, Firenze, and Roma and Hello Cleveland USA.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004
time continues to fly by here in Finland. Spent 2 days in Savonlinna where i saw Verdi´s Masked Ball performed in a 15th century castle. Has to be the highlight of my summer, or at least one of them. I have come to realize that I have basically adjusted and adapted to life in Finland and feel quite at home and very unprepared to take my leave. Strange isnt it? Even the food is starting to become familiar and that which is bizarre so much more a normal part of life. It seems that here I have become fully comfortable with who and what i am, have had a chance to truly relax, form special new friendships, deepen old ones, and let all barriers down. It has been a wonderful stay and I will miss both the country and the many friends I have found in it very much when I take my leave this Saturday. one last weekend in Paris and by sunday night I will be sitting around the Steiner house Dining room table once again. Thanks to all of you who have made this summer so very special from start to finish.

Sunday, August 01, 2004
so total picture count this summer is near 2000 believe it or are some prelim photos from my helsinki exchange if yáll are interested. i dont know when or how i will ever organize all my photos...
I hate good byes. I have said too many of them these last few days, and I still have a few more to go. It just hurts too much sometimes. Our last few days together have been full of fun, but bittersweet. Friday evening, I went for a nice dinner with Katharina at an Indian restaurant then to a club down at the center one last time with the whole crew. The music was horrible, the atmosphere crowded, but we were together so we had fun twirling around the dance floor and goofing off as we normally did. LOTS of photos ónce again and hugs and kisses all around. Afterwards, the french boys and I wanted to catch the last tram, so we literally ran out of the club and down the street through the traffic to catch the tram. We made our finally good byes at the tram stop. Those were the hardest good byes I have had to make on this trip so far...we lingered for half an hour there, but inevitably they had to go home and so did I. It was a long walk home.
Last night was the next set of good byes...spent the whole day with Sarah and Alex just wandering around the city, having coffee, taking pictures, and then in the evening it was back to the centre again to try another club. Fever was our choice this 40 music, but not too bad a scene. Dancing, drinking, and more photos. What an odd odd night. We had a good time though, and the evening ended with a fittingly bizarre note. Cant touch this by MC hammer at 2 am. we all stopped dancing and burst out laughing. It was followed by 2 sugary sweet slow songs, met a nice Finnish boy who I ended up dancing with the rest of the night. Last song of the evening: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. What a bizarre choice. Probably to get everyone out of hte bar since they were closing. I hadnt heard that song since my first "party" back in 5th grade at the Balagot boy´s house...back when the running man was THE dance move to do. Bid good bye to my young finnish boy, turned down his request for a date this next weekend, although now i kinda wonder...he was really sweet and cute, he reminded me of that guy in the movie never been kissed. oh well....another late night home....crowded bus to Tilkka to Alex´s flat. We had a mini slide show of recent photos, more lewd jokes, and said our final good byes at 5am. Today, I just want to rest and stop saying good byes...but i have 3 more tomorrow.
Books: Fiction

Anil's Ghost
Michael Ondaatje

The Alchemist
By Paulo Coelho

Books: Non-Fiction

Oasis of Dreams
By Grace Feuerverger

Betrayal of Trust
By Laurie Garrett

Pathologies of Power
By Paul Farmer

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