Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome back!

Since I wrote last, I visited Aaron, Adam, Anna, Anne, Arnold, Aurora, Ben, Carol, Chris, Celine, Daniel, Elisabeth, Esti, Eugene, Eva, Joseph, Julie, Kena, Kett, Kirstan, Klara, Kuba, Lida, Lucas, Marie, Martin, Mirek, Monique, Nikolka, Omen, Sarah, Seiji, Slavo, Sota, Stepan, Stepanka, Til, Tomek, Tomi, Vera, Vera, YoonYoung, Zdenek, Zuzka, among many others in Barcelona, Berlin, Bilbao, Brno, Brussels, Chicago, Ghent, Glenview, Krakow, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Valasske Klobouky, and Warsaw.

I followed friends to foreign destinations, seeing how they make themselves in those other situations. I learned about people, place and proximity.

During another luxurious day in Bilbao, Spain, Esti took me to the Northern shore, to a church on top a small elevated island, a place known for it's view. After turning the wrong way and stopping for gas and chocolate, we arrived in the dark. As all the tourists were leaving, we made our way to the shore, over the bridge, and climbed 220 steps up the mountain island in the dark. From the top, Esti began telling me about the view we would have seen if we had arrived an hour before. But as she spoke, we felt the wind. The wind took us over and we danced. The view that would have been became the movement that was.

On a night in Paris, Kena stopped Aaron and I on a bridge over the Seine. "Wait for it…." she commanded. Aaron and I held our breath in anticipation. After a pregnant moment, long enough to doubt Kena's command, a search light flashed through the skies and disappeared. "That was the Eiffel Tower," she remarked and smiled.

In Ghent, Belgium, I visited some distant relatives. My grandmother's cousins Arnold and Monique welcomed me, fed me, and showed me around after my unannounced arrival. Arnold and Monique are great travelers and well documented tourists. They showed me album after album of their vacations in Prague, Florida, San Francisco, and Berlin. Because I was on my way to Berlin, they spent an extended time detailing the destinations and monuments. During the following days, as Aurora and I wandered to those destinations and monuments, I felt as though I was still looking at Arnold and Monique's photo album, sitting elsewhere, maybe at a dining room table drinking coffee.

I know that over the past months, years, I have been searching for place and home. And in that search I have not sat anywhere. Instead, I bounced around, trying on different hats, committing only a couple months to a place and community, until my feet itched and I had to move. In a piece I directed last spring (Prospect: Vital Functions) I asked the performers, audience, and myself to sit with it. To take the time to let the unknown develop and engagement occur. It was a lot to ask of for those involved, but now I am going to ask it of myself again. Now that I'm back in Chicago, I'd like to sit with it for a little while and see what happens. My feet may itch and I may go, but I have no plans for now.

Ahoj and Hello,