Shockingly enough, a lot has happened since I was last here, so I want to take the opportunity to highlight some of the stuff I loved/did while I was gone. I’m going to start with a mixture of random stuff here to be followed by some more cohesive groupings.
As far as everyday life is concerned the last six years saw me complete my bachelors, go back to school for a certificate in public health while I contemplated what I want to be when I grow up, and then start my masters this past January because I finally have a general idea. I’m extremely fortunate to still be working both of my jobs as they are both deemed essential, though I’m not doing any traveling this year which I’m bumming about – presently I’m supposed to be in Sweden, but alas COVID. Instead I’ll keep adding to the list of future travel plans, and reading, and occasionally doing some homework in a semi-timely fashion while getting the odd extra hour of sleep. Now into the good stuff…
First up, my favorite book of 2019 and probably even the decade.
Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This is going first because I still think about this book all the time even though I read it about eight months ago now. This book was an accident, because I didn’t expect to finish the book I had been reading on my way to Phoenix, so I had to grab a new one at the airport when I was coming home and the synopsis sounded interesting enough. I proceeded to read about half of the book on the way. It was so good and I could not stop reading it. From the setting, to the characters, to just the feel of the book and the writing. Every single thing about it took my breath away. I absolutely adored it and I want everyone to read it.
Book/TV Show: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, let’s talk (very briefly) about it, because everyone has an opinion. I read the first book in the span of a week back in 2014. I started book 2 soon after, got distracted and didn’t go back to it until last year because the show was ending and I could finally just binge the whole show, so if ever there was a time to get to it and read the damn books, last year was it. And I was insistent upon reading the books before watching. The quick version of my feelings are, the books are better, 955%. However, there were some parts that I really enjoyed watching the scenes more than reading them, but that was not the case most of the time. The other thing is the ending of the show. I won’t spoil anything, but I’m not mad at what happened and I understand why it was done the way it was. That said, I am mad that they rushed it. That last season should have been longer than it was, so I feel like they did not do justice to the story because of it. I’ll still read the last two books when they come out though, and I’m sure they will be 955% better than the show too.
TV Show: The Repair Shop. This is a much more recent find, but a few months ago we happened across this show on Netflix and it is one of the most wonderful and fulfilling shows I’ve ever watched. It’s literally a group of people who repair everything from furniture, clocks, toys, leatherwork, paintings, ceramics, and on and on. If I have a half hour to sit down and chillax, this is probably what I’m watching. My only gripe (NETFLIX!) is that I can only get two of the seasons. I went so far as to see if I could buy the other seasons on DVD from BBC and have them shipped over…. NOPE. Sigh.
Movie: Dunkirk. If you’ve seen this movie, you probably know. It really is one of a kind and it was so well done. There are not many movies that I can say I’ve watched that have unsettled me quite like Dunkirk and despite only seeing it once while it was still in IMAX (even though I totally bought it when it came out), I still remember it like it was yesterday. The sheer lack of dialogue, the use of sound, and the way everything was put together just stuck with me. Absolutely one of the best and most memorable films I’ve ever seen.
Place I’ve Been: Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland. I’ve been traveling as often as possible the last few years, so it’s difficult to pick a single favorite place that I’ve been. However, if there is a single place I’ve been so far that is more memorable than anywhere else, it is certainly Auschwitz. I went in 2018 and I remember the feeling of getting off that train and walking across town to the camp of my own volition. Being there is like feeling the energy and history of the place, of the horrifying things that happened. It’s such a strange dichotomy because in a lot of ways it’s almost peaceful there now. I don’t know if I’ll ever really have the right words to describe it, but it’s one of those experiences that will stick with me forever.
Until next time!