Eat, Pray, Love

July 10, 2007

I had read a lot about this book on Elise Blaha’s blog, and from Ali Edwards and Christine Kane as well, and it was just the type of book I knew I’d like even before I started.

At 30, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, decided she didn’t like her life as it was, although many people would have thought it was perferct (the husband, the NY house, the money, the traveling). After a horrible divorce, she set off on a whole year of vacation to enjoy life.

The “Eat” part takes place in Italy, where she learns Italian, enjoys pure pleasure, and, well, eats! The “Pray” part is in India, where she stays in an Ashram, meditates and prays, and the “Love” part is about her 4 months in Bali, where she tried to find balance between pure earthly pleasures and spirituality.

But that’s just the story. What I enjoyed most were two things (of course I enjoyed the story immensely and I’m jealous as hell) – one was those parts where I just had to put the book down and literally laugh out loud. Her sense of humor is wonderful, and it’s liberating, because I could identify with her in many ways, and I think any woman would. Apart from that I also really enjoyed her sensitivity to language and culture. Actually, the book is about language and culture. Not only Italian, Indian, American and Indonesian cultures, but also masculine vs. feminine ones. I love the way she uses words, explains their definitions, thinks about them, about whether and how they’re significant, and also makes her characters use their own language. I can actually “hear” Richard from texas say “groceries”, I can “see” Tutti play with her blue tile, and oh, how I wish I could visit Kutut on his porch!

The other thing I really liked about the book was that although I’m really not spiritual, and I would normally want to skip all the meditation and yoga talk, somehow in this book she managed to get me engaged. I was really interested. I thought the processes she went through were fascinating, and I actually WANT to try meditation. I’ve never felt this “open” to spirituality as I did when I read this book.

So, what are you waiting for? read it! 🙂
Also, don’t be me – I ran off to her web page after reading just one book page. So yes, I got see pictures of all the people in the book, but I also got one really big spoiler. Don’t do it. Have patience. That’s what the book is all about! 🙂
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I’m back! I spent the last five days in Holland, having the time of my life. The reason I went was to join the Wacky Workshop Weekend – it sounded like a dream come true – travel abroad,  join workshops with two of my most favorite artists, Corinne Delis and Celine Navarro, shop in a scrapbooking store – what else could I ask for. Well, apart from all this, there was also great food, wonderfully beautiful places (Veghel, Alkmaar and Amsterdam), amazing people (Corinne, Marcia, Celine, Karine, and many others I met there were so welcoming, generous, talented and fun!)

It was my first time in such workshops, and my first time in a specialized scrapbooking store. I was so impressed by the organization! There was a goodie bag for all participants, there were kits for every workshop, there were giveaways in the workshops, and there were ALL the materials you can imagine, so we can use them during the workshops – paper, paints, collage pics, rub ons, and in the evening crop – many types of die cutting machines, punches and scissors. It was so much to fun to have such a large variety of materials, and so much inspiration around! I just loved to walk around the class and see how everyone interpreted the kit/ workshop differently, using different colors/ materials. Celine and Corinne are both extremely talented and knowledgeable, and it was fantastic to see their work “live”. I’m going to need different posts for my impressions and all the new things I learned, materials I saw for the first time, etc.

Back to the people, because I think it was mainly about the people. Corinne was the most amazing hostess I could wish for. She picked me up from the airport, I stayed one night with her at her hotel, and one night in her home, and the amount of materials I got from her is really unbelievable. THANKS, Corinne! Honestly, nothing I say will explain how welcomed I felt – at the shop (Marcia and her family were so nice and helpful!!!), during workshops and lunches with new people, and with Corinne. It was just as good as can be!

I spent my last day in Amsterdam, with which I fell in love instantly – the city is so beautiful with its houses, canals, shops, bikers, boat houses, the food is great, and the people – again, I’m just amazed. The dutch are so nice and warm, and their English is perfect. I felt so nice at the hotel, and in the evening, sitting at a restaurant (“Stout!”)- I was out of cash, and my their credit card machine didn’t work, so they just said I could go and pay later. Unbelievable. The same was with the restaurant in Veghel, the owner saw that we enjoyed the stroop waffles, so he gave us two each to take with us. That’s how I felt everywhere, and it’s nice to feel that way. In NY, for example, people will kill you for taking photographs in shops. In Amsterdam, I asked a shop owner, “ummm…please, would it be ok if I took photographs?” I was really shy and I was sure she would say no, but she smiled and seemed surprised. She said, “of course!” – So you can see two pics of her beautiful shop in my Flickr (and many more pics of the workshops and Holland there, too).

Well, that’s all for now, and this is really just an itsy bitsy bit of the fun I had. I’ll share more later. It was great to get to know all the dutch scrappers (Hilda, Danielle, Klaartje, and others whose names I don’t know, but who I spoke to during workshops and lunch), and million thanks to Marcia for dinner, for organizing my bed and breakfasts, for being so nice and helpful, to Karine for being next to me all weekend – you’re such an inspiration! to Celine – you’re a great teacher, and fun to be with, and Corinne – for just about everything!!! You’re all more than welcome to Israel, and who knows, maybe we can orgaznie something similar here one day! 😉

Back from NYC

January 29, 2007

I’m back! And it’s so difficult to be back! I was away for 12 days – 10 in NYC, and two on the way, and it was a blast! It was the longest holiday I had in years! This wasn’t my first time in NYC, I was there about six years ago, and liked it a lot. I was really afraid of the cold winter, but enjoyed it a lot, and even got to see some snow fall. I walked the streets all day long, I breathed the culture and views, the different buildings, the subway, the park, I enjoyed all the little “Americanisms”, I went to see Rent on Broadway, I went to huge and fantastic craft stores such as Michael’s and AC Moore and The Ink Pad, I went to the gorgeous paper shops such as Kate’s Paperie and Paper Presentation, I really enjoyed the big toy shops like FAO Schwarz and Toys R’ Us in Times Square (which has a ferris wheel *inside* the store!), I loved Williamsburg, I ate well, and I bought what i thought was a ton of crafty supplies. Only to get home and see that I have so few things! I can never have enough, really. I’ll take some pics of all the new additions to my stash later this week, to share with you. You can see my NYC pics in my Flickr, but one of the most amazing things I saw I was unable to take pictures of. I went to the Brooklyn Museum, where there were two exhibits, one by Annie Leibovitz, and one by Ron Mueck. I don’t normally have patience for museums (I would much rather stroll the streets), but these two exhibits were absolutely breath taking. I had seen one of Annie Leibovitz’s exhibits before, in Israel, and this one was fantastic as well. Very moving, very interesting, and wonderful pictures. The Ron Mueck exhibit, however, is like nothing you’ve ever seen. He makes realistic statues out of silicone, and you just can’t get enough. They’re sometimes overwhelming because of their enormous size, and I was just sure they would blink their eyes and get up from where they were sitting/lying down. I really wanted to touch them, but didn’t dare. I did, however, go real close, trying to find a tiny flaw, something that would convince me they’re only statues. But it was impossible. This work is really one of a kind, and I have to share it with you. Click here to see a wonderful gallery of pictures, but please tell me, if you’re not allowed to take pics, who are all these people, and why could they??!! 🙂