Il droghiere bulgaro

Questa è la storia di quella volta che ho visitato un mercato bulgaro a Vienna.

Era dopo una lezione di tedesco—o forse russo—non mi ricordo bene adesso. Era molto tempo fa, nel 2014. Ed era in mezzo alla neve e al freddo, perché era gennaio o febbraio.

Stavo leggendo le lettere cirilliche su una scatola di biscotti bulgari—molto lentamente.

Il droghiere, scioccato, mi chiede con stupore: “Sprechen Sie Bulgarisch?”

“Нет! Ne, ne. Ne govorim ‘Bulgarisch’.”

Cadde dalla mia bocca, disordinato e confuso. Una mescolanza di lingue, almeno tre.

Gli occhi del droghiere si spalancano, si fanno più grandi.

“Српски???!” Lui ride, disorientato.

Sono asiatica. Sicuramente non si aspettava che io parlassi in una lingua slava. Mi dice ancora un paio di cose in tedesco—ma io non capisco il tedesco.

“Извините. Oprostite, ne razumijem… deutsch. Žao mi je.”

Il droghiere si batte la fronte, ed esclama, “Ах, видим! Али говорите српски? Како jе то??”

“Ne govorim srpski, ali govorim malo hrvatski—malo, malo, MALO. Ja… hrvatska… u Dubrovnik… u Zagreb… dva… dva…”

Mi batto la mano—cercando di trovare la parole per ‘mesi’ in una delle nostre lingue comuni.

“Dana?” dice lui, “Tjedni?”

“Ne… ne…” Continuo ad agitare la mano.


“Da! Da, dva myesyats!… Mesyats? Месяцы? Mjeseci?”

Sono confusa. Non sono sicura di come pronunciare questa parola.

Di nuovo, gli occhi di questo droghiere crescono, e crescono, diventano sempre più grandi.

…I ruski…?


Lentamente, e un po’ imbarazzato, cerco di spiegarli che stavo tornando da una lezione di russo…. e che sono confusa….




… then I eat about three more.

fresh sea urchin meat

At his instruction and encouragement, I pinch the rough and shiny spines of a large, black sea urchin with two nervous fingers, pulling the squirming creature from its rock, gasping at my own audacity. I wade back into the hidden little cave, just five barefoot steps from this village of sea urchins, and I proceed to scratch out the pebbly orange meat inside, slimy little morsels, with my finger—my friend showed me how. But I notice the spines and shards of shell of its poor cousins strewn all about me on the rocks and the sand, as I scoop its salty squishy fresh flesh into my mouth…
I feel somehow sheepish and apologetic to these spindly carcasses when I exclaim aloud how delicious is its meat…

…then I eat about three more.


I wonder if it is offensive that I tried to use one of their stouter spines as a utensil to eat their own innards….



sea urchin shell




originally written : 06 January 2017 / Mirissa, Sri Lanka

manufacturing hope in status updates

a hopeful visualization of the future as a facebook profile

Three years ago, in my darkest months of 2013, in order to manufacture for myself some small light of hope, some small relief from the reality of my depression and the depression of my reality, I set up a Facebook account and profile for my imagined future self, living and posting in circa 2016.


I added to this page my dreams and my wishes in bits and bytes, in the form of photo posts and status updates, a visualization of the future I dared to want, built with Facebook and Google images, designed with ambition and hope.


And here we are now.


Now as I write this, falling into the latter half of this final day of 2016, I am lying on cotton cushions shaded from the high Sri Lankan sun, pondering adjectives and memories; I am trying at every sunrise to learn my turns on the glassy blue-green waves of the Indian Ocean. I have one dozen sentences in Sinhala to speak with locals as I swat at the flies competing for my food; I have a book in Russian on my bed to attempt and often fail to read at night. I sleep next to a red suitcase of scented mosquito repellent, sunscreen and hair oils, two bikinis and two rashguards, some books in languages I can not yet read, a set of tightly rolled black hand wraps for muay thai, a pair of decrepit, mismatched dancing shoes, their battered heels still with some glitter, along with the roll of duck tape I use to fasten them onto my feet, and, of course, some various means of recording my intentions, my reflections: two withering spiral notebooks, a leather journal, one MacBook Air.

I have a one-way ticket to fly, at last, to Kuala Lumpur.

And I am, after all, writing a blog.

call from the sea

sea in Weligama, Sri Lanka

On a one-month journey in Sri Lanka

I thought I was to explore an ancient nation….


It turns out

that I am here

to investigate, at last,

an inexplicable, lifelong pull

from the night sea that sang to me

in unknown memories, and in my earliest dreams,

calling me farther and farther onto its moonlit waters

with the wistful melody of a wooden pipe rising up in the zephyrs

to voyage forth into that world somewhere beyond the evening horizon…



where I belong.

How I miss Paris today…..!

November 14, 2014

Exactly one year ago today, I arrived in Paris, insecure about my French, but so eager to try it out! I ran into a handsome stranger at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, and we navigated our way through the baffling République Metro station together with our luggage—nearly losing it all to a pair of scrawny, scrappy teenage thieves.

When we finally emerged from the underground, I got my first ever glimpse of Paris—the imposing Madeleine standing high, on that rainy, steely-grey morning.
We circled once around her, and then ordered cakes for breakfast at Ladurée.

And so started a seven month long, meandering voyage across seven countries. I walked three pairs of high heeled boots into a fine powdery polymer dust, ground in between the cobblestones. I broke two dance shoes and one red suitcase. I scribbled madly away aboard planes, buses, trains, a heaping mess of disorganized, barely decipherable addresses, maps, fleeting impressions, revelations, and declarations. My dreams, rants, ambitions. And along the way, I’ve created thousands of blurry, awful photos with poor composition—and even worse lighting.

Exactly one year ago today…

How I miss Paris today…. how I miss Paris today……!!!
Nothing I can do to console myself today…
So much the better. Don’t want distraction.
I’ll prefer, instead, to watch the memories waft and rise.. envelop me today.

I’ll just close my eyes.

I can see it all.