lectures, films, and … uh…. oh, yeah… painting.

well, i did it! 2 1/2 days and i didn’t even go onto live journal to read about other people. yay! actually, the last two days were easy; i was busy.

tuesday morning i had a meeting at hoge school zuyd about the english course that the life sciences program is running as a preparation for students going into to university of maastricht. i co-taught that for two months in april-may. it was fun, actually. one night a week, focus on reading academic/professional articles. so the meeting was about how the same program would be run next year. i was hoping it would be longer next year, but no… 2 months. february-march. but anyway, it was good to finally meet some of the people who were involved in hiring me. long story there, but it was one of the most poorly organized hiring systems i have ever seen. i was never interviewed at all, and it was MY idea to give someone my CV. gads.

anyway, after that i had my violin lesson. i’m working on a book of gypsy music now, and learning how to do other positions, since gypsy music requires a lot of that. unfortunately, i still cannot, for the life of me, use vibrato. it just doesn’t happen. when i was young, everyone said it should come naturally. it never did. so i have some exercises to practice, but they don’t seem to do me much good.

then the father of one of my private students called. he is not doing well, and has his big end of the year test next week, and well… i think his dad was upset. i’m doing everything i can for this kid, but he doesn’t do his homework most of the time, and his parents are usually unreachable when i try to call about that. his father is usually on business trips, and his mother doesn’t speak english. great.

anyway, joon’s lesson was that afternoon, and i don’t know if his dad had spoken sternly with him as well, but he was much more focused than usual, and brought everything he was supposed to. amazing.

wednesday i decided i needed some intellectual stimulation. there was a lecture being given at the jan van eyck institute (arts) in english, free and open to the public, so i went. it turned out to be about buddhist symbolism: the building and significance of mandalas and stupas; the marks of the buddha; the absence of non-religious art in buddhism; medical diagrams; and a bit about tantric buddhism. i really enjoyed it. the presenter was a scholar from oxford university’s oriental studies department. it was a really basic overview, mostly dealing with pictures and structures, but it reminded me that, “oh yeah! i WAS a philosophy major eons ago! i actually know some of this stuff, and other stuff too! wow!” that was a relief. i mean, years of teaching followed by the past year and a half of not doing much of anything, and i was feeling a bit incapable of indepth thought. i’m going to try to find more such things to go to. i’ve been watching, but most of the time they aren’t in english. and other times, they don’t sound interesting. but maybe i should go whether they sound interesting or not. after all, i looked at the schedule wrong yesterday. i thought i was going to a lecture on architecture, but went anyway, and it was about buddhism instead. yay!

that evening i went to see a film presented by amnesty international at the local “artsy” theatre: back to bosnia. it was made by a bosnian who had come to the u.s. as a teenager fleeing the war. she and her family went back to their hometown to reminisce and also to reclaim their apartment. i had seen it in the film calendar, and been interested in seeing it, but hadn’t actually planned for it. tuesday night the phone rang. it was amra, the sister of a friend of ours, mirza. amra and mirza are bosnian and came to the netherlands as teenagers for the same reason. they’ve also been back to see or reclaim property in more recent years. they had gone to see the movie tuesday night, and the amnesty international people had asked them to come back so that they could participate in post-film discussion. amra was calling to get more of us to come. mirza didn’t go again.

anyway, the film was interesting. it was all done with a handheld video camera, so was very raw. i expected it to be a bit more heart-wrenching than it was, but i don’t know if that’s because i’ve heard a few accounts already, and there wasn’t anything completely new about it. but amra says it’s very very true. that her experience felt very similar. and mirza, who we met up with later, said that he’s seen more gut-wrenching portrayals, but that they were a different type of movie altogether. and beyond that i think he didn’t want to talk about it any more. he went back for the first time just last year (amra had done it a few years earlier) and had spoken with us a lot about it then, so i didn’t press him now.

today i’ve been mostly painting upstairs. still working on it, a bit every thursday. but during breaks, trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing this weekend. we were planning to take the train up to amsterdam friday night, spend the night with a friend, so that we could catch our flight to cork saturday morning. however, we just found out that the trains are striking friday, so we have no idea.

and that’s that. now i’m going to read what everyone else has been up to, and reply to whatever anyone’s replied to me about. ta!

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