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Posts Tagged ‘home’

I will start with a song to accompany your reading. Upon much reflection, Mike, Sheena (mention number five), and I have decided that any music sounds profoundly better when listened to here. In the first few days of being here every song we heard was followed by an almost obligatory, “Oh my God, that song is incredible. Play it again.” I’m not sure if this is the widely accepted magic of the bookstore, the general beauty of Santorini, coupling music with a new experience, or something I don’t quite understand yet, but something definitely enhances listening to music here. This is a song that I recently discovered and have listened to over and over- partially because I think its very good and it hits the spot for me every time, but also because I want to determine how much of its goodness is legitimate and how much is hearing it here. I have concluded it is legitimately great.

Sleep All Summer (Crooked Fingers cover)- The National and St. Vincent

Download here.

So, time is passing. Of this much I am sure. It has almost been a month since I arrived in Oia, and I would say a month is about time to start feeling like a place is familiar, like it somehow starts to feel like where you live. And, admittedly, I feel this. I was excited to return to the bookshop from Crete, because “it will be nice to be home and settled for a bit.” Home? Interesting.

Make this place my own?  My pleasure.

Make this place my own? My pleasure.

Now, I don’t know if I would go as far as to say this is home. Actually, I would definitely not say this is home. The “Where are you from?” question has already proven tough enough. “Uhhhhh, well…originally from Colorado but I’ve been living in New Orleans.” This answer took a while to formulate and the first time I was asked this question, I had a mini-identity crisis, but thats neither here nor there.

Just when you think you are safe, a vicious Greek monster is lurking in the bushes behind you.

Just when you think you are safe, a vicious Greek monster is lurking in the bushes behind you.

I have found it interesting lately to reflect on how I familiarize myself with a place, or, more specifically, how I make it my own.

Making New Orleans my own was easy. I found places that I considered “mine” (e.g. Nirvana, Theo‘s, Parkway Bakery, Bennachin, various places to eat breakfast, etc.), found people I loved (TFA friends, my roommates, Sophie, basketball friends), had an intense amount of routines that I could fall back on (Nirvana on Sunday, Canal Place Cinemas on Sunday evenings, streetcar to Cafe Envie on Saturdays, basketball games early in the week and on Saturday at KIPP Believe), worked hard, loved the work I did, and loved and was wowed by the place more than I could ever have imagined. This made making it my own easy, a big easy even, and I really considered it my home. It’s still hard to say its not.

Clearly, we feel at home in New Orleans.  Hence this family photo.

Clearly, we feel at home in New Orleans. Hence this family photo.

Claiming Santorini (in a strictly non-colonial way) is going to prove to be very different. Meeting the people is one of the best parts, but Santorini is very transient in its nature, so you can’t necessarily root yourself there. Though, please do hear how thankful I am for the people I have met, because they have all brought something to my journey, and how thankful I am for my time with Mike and Sheena, as they have sort of transitioned me here. Of the people who were here when I arrived, only Mike and Sheena remain, and they leave in less than a week.

Living in a small town, finding your places is pretty easy but quite rewarding. We eat pitas everyday for lunch from one of two places- a gyro place by the bus stop or Polski Locale. Marykay’s (this is not how it is spelled in Greek, but how it is pronounced) is a coffeehouse by day and the only bar and club by night and is located right across the walkway from us. During the day, we have gone there to play backgammon (a newly acquired skill and hobby) and just hang out. At night,
it is a good place to get a drink and talk, and last night there was flamenco music. However, this is a love/hate relationship because I have moved out of the bed I was sleeping in before and have moved into the connected living area. This is good news because I have my own space and I don’t always have to get up when the bookshop opens. This is bad news because I am right below Marykay’s and my door opens up to the drunken chaos that can be be the outside of the bar. So, when I go there, a part of me feels like I am losing a battle that I wage every night trying to go to sleep. Anywho, the other places that we regularly visit and are making our own are the beaches- two in particularly, Ammoudi and Katharos.

This is my new space.  Upgrade!  The mess is not all mine.  Mostly mine, but not all.

This is my new space. Upgrade! The mess is not all mine. Mostly mine, but not all.

But, more than anything, it is the routines and, strangely, the new experiences that are making me feel at home. Generally, I wake up and try to do some work in the bookshop- like one good project everyday that makes the bookstore better. Sometimes it is administrative duties (I have now completed my first successful business trip into the large town of the island where I met with the accountant briefly and deposited money at the bank), but mostly it is projects in the bookshop. It is here that I feel the most comfortable- surrounded by the books. When I rearrange the shelves, I enjoy feeling the bound pages in my hands. I am surrounded by beautiful works of art, characters, and stories that mean so much to so many people. It is here I feel the best. It feels safe and overwhelmingly beautiful. And don’t forget, the beautiful music is playing the whole time.

Regular things that happen at the bookstore: 1) I still at the till; 2) I am on the computer; 3) The cat suckles my shirt...  Trust me, its even weirder in person.

Regular things that happen at the bookstore: 1) I sit at the till; 2) I am on the computer; 3) The cat suckles my shirt... Trust me, its even weirder in person.

Bookshops are fun!  So is stealing other people's hats!

Bookshops are fun! So is stealing other people's hats!

The other thing that brings me comfort has been experiencing and learning new things. I have started playing backgammon, played a few games of chess, found old pieces of marble that I plan to paint on, recorded a song, learned the Greek alphabet and a few Greek words, jumped off ledges into the sea, and created a shelter from the sun on a beach.

This was our pre-robbing a bank photo, somewhere in the vein of Bonnie and Clyde, but following the actaully we realized our error in picking a crashed car as our get-away vehicle.  Poor, poor planning.

This was our pre-robbing a bank photo, somewhere in the vein of Bonnie and Clyde, but following the actaully robbery we realized our error in picking a crashed car as our get-away vehicle. Poor, poor planning.

I made this.  How needs architecture school when you have this raw talent?

I made this. How needs architecture school when you have this raw talent?

If you think this is me jumping off a high ledge, you are incorrect.  This documents my incredible ability to jump out of the water like a dolphin.

If you think this is me jumping off a high ledge, you are incorrect. This documents my incredible ability to jump out of the water like a dolphin.

Be sure to visit our new website, brosonbuoys.com

Be sure to visit our new website, brosonbuoys.com

If you thought this was Mike pushing me off the buoy, you would, once again, be wrong.  This photo documents my rare ability to dance on water.

If you thought this was Mike pushing me off the buoy, you would, once again, be wrong. This photo documents my rare ability to dance on water.

More than anything, I am learning that roots grow. This simple thing has been filling my mind lately. The thing that keeps us in one place, that keeps us grounded, grows. Outward or downward or upward if you are in the swamp, and where they grow is a part of that thing forever, just as much as anything else. I will add to this my list of very important things to remember.

DSC00159

Here is a song brought to me with the incredibly musically-wise Justin Lamb (check out his blog for some original . Its a jam, thats for sure.

Slow Down- Jesse Dee

http://sites.google.com/site/bootsofspanishleathersite/Home/03SlowDown.mp3?attredirects=0

Download here.

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I have left places before. I moved from Castle Rock to Boulder to go to college. Later, from Boulder back to Castle Rock and onto Englewood, CO, after a transfer of schools. I left for Prague at the beginning of 2006. And then, of course, there was the move from Colorado to New Orleans. Some of the moves were harder than others, with moving to New Orleans easily being the most monumental.

But this…this leaving feels different. It is leaving the first place I built as a home. Within three days of arriving here in 2007 (after a stint in Houston for Teach for America Institute), I had already met someone who knew my grandfather (who had passed away decades before), seen one of my mom’s old houses, and thought to myself, “This place…now this is where I belong.” It felt like a homecoming, of sorts. I proceeded to passionately build a life for myself here, both with a meticulousness and abandonment that I had lacked in my previous life experiences. I met some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known, engaged in what I consider to be some of the most important work of our time (see Teach for America), and found success, not to mention fulfillment, doing it.

And now I’m leaving. This is officially my last Friday in my house, my last Friday in New Orleans (at least in this stint of my life), and my last Friday as a teacher (at least in this stinit of my life). It feels, at the same time, unreal and bearing a weight of inevitability that is altogether debilitating. As has become the tradition at Andrew Wilson Charter School, most of the students stop coming after Field Day (which was yesterday). I told my students I would not be returning next year, an announcement that was followed by an interaction with one of my favorite students that went like this:

Student: “Hey, Mr. Hamilton, knock, knock.”

Me: “Who’s there?”

Student: “Urine”

Me: (grimacing with reluctance) “Urine who?”

Student: (with huge smile) “You’re in it by yourself.” (Suddenly the smiles is gone from his face) “Seriously, you’re in this by yourself. You want to go all the way over there, you’re in it by yourself. I hope you don’t expect me to pay for anything.”

These are, of course, moments I will miss terribly, and, at this moment, I feel confident that I will find my way back to teacher and probably back to New Orleans, at some point in my life. And leaving is very emotionally difficult for me, dramatically more so than any of the aforementioned times I left for somewhere else. But it is important to note that I am going on to have an incredible experience. My summer schedule looks like this:

June 11- Last day of school

June 12- Travel to Tennessee

June 15- Return to New Orleans

June 18- Drive from New Orleans to Castle Rock with Sophie

June 20- Expected arrival to Castle Rock

June 25- Fly to Portland with Sophie

July 1- Return to Colorado by myself

July 7- Leave for Santorini, Greece

Greece will be my new home for the indefinite future, where I will be living and working at a bookstore in a town call Oia. I am moving there because I like vowels. Anywho, it is here that I will spend at least the next months of my life.

The terrace of the bookstore where I will be living

The terrace of the bookstore where I will be living

Here are two Neko Case songs that I’ve been enjoying.

Neko Case, “At last”http://7970917082554362344-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/bootsofspanishleathersite/Home/11AtLast.mp3?attredirects=0&auth=ANoY7cpK6_oPGhvus0wknuM5M1a3L4gKilK7xbNfxhpvjfbBgyRFKzI1N6z7IzB0IsntF9lw68XcxTibNg7PjSk0t81b7_EOKcME7HLC8HqifIEnSbmjGY1aX6vRWzl-iMJ6hzY9LMYZTljxN8eSXSu7b-Oqd-mQJ-RtcQ5Kts_1q6-FvgdqpAVazGtSK1ZL0UifybvwA_ANZE66Q8eSscBwc_C-CjZfxgYtQanl81nh7FX0_qZvSV0%3D

Download here by right clicking and selecting “Save File as”

Neko Case “I’m an Animal” http://7970917082554362344-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/bootsofspanishleathersite/Home/imananimal.mp3?attredirects=0&auth=ANoY7crdpozBVGLaXh2DtwBOr7pLKyZSKglWvBCkYyIFhRI-JgzlW7aCYluh_y3uZsOw4pEw0g4Z5ElnojmnADDwVpxN49inGbPRe0DCBLGkf5ZqvV3YgPxBMDF39LZ8bsiIM_DHNs1PkE5JXn3HFEeumiFXasW9fZBeS0efW81SFBh9uP0qSjD-Zi5U53uTyidkrcsG9o53MRr49dkGVah-aQiPAhZPkdkNUTLWEO8VlVKmpugmmOM%3D

Download here.

Visit her MySpace, because she’s really, really, really good. Also, her official site.

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