not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Monday, June 07, 2004

vegan paradise!

I have two strong and lasting impressions of vienna and budapest. The first is this feeling that I have been transported to europe during the war times and the second is that I am living in a vegan paradise. While we were in Budapest for the weekend I was constatnly reminding myself that I was living in the present and not a virual reality trip to war time europe. The girls I was with did't feel this way since they have seen places like this there whole lives, but the only time I have seen apartments, balconies, adn buildings like these are in the movies. the apartment we stayed in had the most romantic courtyard. The ceilings were 15 feet high and the doors were in perportion to the ceilings so perhaps 10 feet. I could not believe the beauty and all the old buildings. We do not have that history in toronto. And Dublin does not have the same european feel. I think it is an eastern european thing. I have not studies aritecture or history so I don't have an educated analysis of these cities expect to say that they are facinatingly beautiful.

When I first arrived in vienna I wasn't sure if I liked it at all, the grand buildings seemed so dark and impersonal. And the gold that is used to decoratic them seemed goddy. I still am not a fan of the gold, but that is my perpective off all gold that is used in artitecture. The same way I was not impressed with the buildings in London, buckingham palace and so on. But the reason I did not connect with the city at first was the lack of people and energy. The first few days were rainy. In dublin the people just deal with the rain and still live, but here I think the people expect good weather adn when it does not come they hide. Today cristain and I wandered the city, it was a beautiful day and the city came allive. The buildings were no longer haunting. they seemed to blend with the people who seemed possiby over concerned with fashion or image. The energy of the people was wonderful. Plus the people who live in these old gorgous buildings with great balconies must love them since they are all filled with lovely flowers adding to the charm. I was thinking how the city itself must help you feel better with you are down. I think it is really important to live in a place you find beautiful so when you need a break you can go on a walk and take in the beauty.

The other impression that Iwill not get over is the vegan food. Today cristain and I went to this shop were you can get every kind of fake meet you can imagine. Then we went to an bio grocery store then an africian store and both had more and more vegan treats plus there is a restaurant where you can get vegan ice cream on a cone to go. The best was yesterday when I went with 4 women to this vegan restaurant in the austrain county side. They have so much food, traditional austrain food and international food- all vegan. plus it is not too expensive, I got an apertizer, a main course, a dessert and a cocktail and it only came to 13 euro. Not only that, my appitizer was called frisbee, it had a mix of food on it, but it actually came on a frisbee!! So now I have a frisbee with the pic and name of restaurant on it. Ok it even gets better, this restuarant is my dream restaurant. On the menu is a list of games, you can ask for a game and play it for hours. We stayed at this place for 5 hours, eating, laughing, talking and playing uno. The owner was wearing a PETA tshirt, I'm sure this is a dream place for him to own, no animal products at all, tons of great food, a fun relaxed atmophere where people come from miles around.

If only I spoke german, then one would think about staying here. It has the beauty of paris but the community sence of dublin and the vegan experience of well vegan heaven. The problem is the politics I suppose, marike says taht our type of politics is not generally accepted here. I find from swapping stories from people that for someone who wants to live in europe and stay far away from the states that UCD is a wonderful place to be. But as the chapter in Kathleens book, resistance in education about how they developed the equality studies program. And the story that the people at the judith halberstam talk gave about starting the queer theory semiar series. What it takes to make something this progressive to start, you just need a few like minded determined people.

The queer theory seminar series was started by to postgrad students, one in histoy and the other in english who loved queer theory, who were alone or so they thought in this love. The started asking peopel to come and talk at UCD basically so they could hear them, from this iniciative they were able to ask for money proving that they have already made it happen. They got money and now are able to have theorist like judith butler come and talk. great!!

I was talking to the director of the women education and research centre at UCD before leaving about the workshop I want to do in Amsterdam. She totally agreed with me about the responsibility of programs such as equality studies and womens studies to give back to the movement and to provide an education basis that would allow for praxis. She said that is what they are trying to do. She echoed kathleen lynch's concerns with trying to create a non hierichal environment in an innatly hiericahl institution. And she echoed her in talking about the difficulties of creating an activist circulum within an institution which is built on the old boys club.

I do take her concerns seriously, yet from what I have seen people have been able to create the space for progressive thoritical thinking. And I have seen to an extent the space provided for action to come from this thinking. With the energy and dedication these people have provided to create the theoretical space I'm sure that they and others can help create this in to a more active space for radical changes not just thinking.

Ok thats it for now, back to reading a brave new world . . .


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