Friday, March 28, 2008

catching up

so, i'm back home from wonderful oslo (i know, that's copenhagen's phrase--wonderful copenhagen, but i'm appropriating it for oslo). it's friday night. sabin and i just played a fun drawing game and now she's watching friday night t.v. and since i'm not that keen on it, i'm looking at all the blogs i've missed out on over the past nearly two weeks--one without internet and this week where i was working.

my german friend gabi, who i met while studying in kazan in 1994, has a blog and i just discovered that during my offline time, she actually wrote about MY blog on hers! thank you gabi!! how cool is that!?!

we met while we were both studying russian at kazan university (she was much better than i was). she lived with aida and diljara, two young girls who were lucky enough to have their own apartment. i lived with an ancient old soviet apparatchik who would wax philosophical about stalin with tears in her eyes after a couple of shots of vodka every evening. so, you can imagine that i spent a lot of time with gabi and aida and diljara, drinking endless cups of tea from the samovar and talking and going for walks arm in arm. those were truly wonderful days. it was winter when we arrived in kazan and we saw spring come and begin to be summer. it couldn't have been more see the world thaw and turn green around you, together with great friends who you laughed and made music together with.

gabi and i have managed to keep in times sporatically, over the years. but, it has always been a friendship that was instantly back to the same level of closeness as soon as we were together, no matter how long we'd been apart. i have to give her a lot of credit--she's been the one keeping up our contact over all these 14 years--writing wonderful REAL letters that came in the mail. she was a bridesmaid at my first wedding in the US and sang at both the wedding and reception. i can still picture my uncle who had been in germany during WWII, standing there with tears in his eyes, as she sang marlene dietrich songs at the reception.

and these days we're talking a lot more online after i left my job (and remembered what was important) and after she and her son, benjamin, visited last fall.

as she says on her blog, i went on her honeymoon. that sounds like a totally weird thing to say and an even weirder thing to do...but to defend myself, gabi and i had planned the trip together first, had gone through the whole invitation/visa process and THEN she decided to get married and bring along her husband. so actually, he came along on OUR trip, as i remember it. and, she and i are still together, but she's not with him that speaks for itself. wouldn't you say? :-) and it was a wonderful trip...sailing on the volga on an old river cruise vessel from the 1950s...on "local" tickets, purchased for us by our friends in kazan. to this day, when i catch a whiff of esteé lauder's white linen breeze, the perfume i happened to have along on the trip, it transports me back there instantly, to those leisurely summer days along the volga.

what's wonderful about gabi's blog is her level of raw honesty...she shares her innermost thoughts and revelations. it's sometimes shocking, but mostly it's very revealing and you're left breathless at how brave she is to share herself in that way. go and read her, i guarantee you'll want to keep going back. and, on top of it, she's a professional musician and makes podcasts of her music available on her site!

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