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Happy Valentines day, kids!

14 Feb

I don’t really believe in Valentines Day, but I do believe in love. More then almost anything else, so this year I am going to go with it. But only just a little bit. Here are some of the ways that remind me that love is alive all around us, where ever you are in the world..

Love-locked: padlocks of declared love on the ‘Carrie and Big’ bridge over the river Seine, Paris.

 

LOVE: in the big apple.

 

At home: all is fair in love and wallpaper prints.

 

Wherefore art thou: love letters plastered on the wall at Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy.

 

Hopeful street art: Soho, NYC.

 

Prague: snow covered padlocks hoping for love that lasts for all Winters to come.

 

Love is all around us: necklace by Naomi Murrell, wooden heart by Typo.

 

All photographs and content is property of Crystal Kruger, unless otherwise stated.

 

Dear London, please excuse my self indulgence…

22 Jan


 

Today I spoke to my friend Jessica, who is on an adventure in Europe right now. It was some ungodly jetlagged hour in a grungy London hotel room, when sleep evaded her. But she told me something sweet that couldn’t contain her awe and wonder. She said to me, ‘Oh my god Crystal, nothing prepares you for how beautiful London is! The buildings – wow! I love London.’ And then I wanted to cry.

I have a strange and lusty fixation with that city. Not something that can be justified considering the limited time I have spent there – two weeks surely doesn’t count for much. And yet I have always had an affinity with London, even before setting foot on the ancient streets. Going there only made me love it more. It felt like home. It was overwhelming.

So many things are different there, and yet so many things the same as here. London made a huge impression on this impressionable young girl, who has been yearning to go there since sometime before childhood (forever!). I don’t even think I can quite explain why I love it.

It is somehow magical. And quirky eclectic. It’s old and historical; full of stories. It is full of photos waiting to happen. It is fashion. Its colour and noise. Old meets new, and the future. It is old weathered brick walls. Its people and things from everywhere and some other places too. It is the gateway to Europe. It is the rain and the light. Art and design. The snow and the greasy spoon cafes. All that architecture. It is the city that makes other places make sense – the ‘motherland’ of a once far and wide empire. It makes me happy and makes me smile. And it’s mainly that this isn’t even the half of it. But it also makes me cry. And I would like to think it needs me there. It fills me with inspiration and exploration. It makes me feel like a better person.

After having done my own pilgrimage around Europe, it felt like a homecoming returning there, for just one more fleeting night. It felt right. It truly made me weep to leave. On a Finnair flight headed for Helsinki, silent tears streamed down my face as the wheels of the plane left the tarmac, and we flew out over London just waking up to the morning light, and another day. I cried and I wanted to have my own another day. I guess it may have been partly because I had barely slept in three days (blame Amsterdam), and it may have been because I was a little homesick too.

But I don’t cry in public. Ever.

So dear London: (And everyone else of course!) Please excuse my self indulgence. It’s just that I love you. For real though and not like a stalker.

x

 

Like phantom pains.

4 Jan

We have done this before, these endings,
and I’ve told you how I don’t think I can do this any longer more times then that.
But we always pick up the threads of the conversation of our lives, just months later.
For now, a circle completes. Our end (again).
And as I walk away from you
towards this waiting plane
I glance back.
Just as you knew I would.
I think I feel your lips on mine,
remember like phantom pains
where my heart once was,
where your hand once was; around my waist,
the way you your lip goes up when you smile, talk.
The way you always hugged me, as though it could be the last.

You were forever the beautiful one.
Being around you, I always felt more worthy, more attractive. Proud to know you.
One final look, I round a corner, I’m boarding. It’s over.

And I know Paris waits.

But it’s no consolation really.

 

The sky has secrets.

29 Dec

The new hunter/gatherers.

10 Apr

In the past few years, I have been unfortunate enough to have to partake on numerous occasions in the grand old tradition of hunting. For a job that is. It is almost as though, as the human race has evolved over the eons, we have transferred our hunter/gatherer instincts from the basic search f0r food, to you know, provide oneself with energy and sustenance, blah blah, to the far more fraught task of finding a job. That will result in being able to buy food. And a house. And pretty shiny things. Oh and what a hunt it is! Welcome, to the new face of the hunter/gatherer.

The modern day job hunt, is far more tedious task then the daily gathering rituals of our prehistoric ancestors. The job hunt I fear, has become a bit of an art form. As I, and many of my friends finish school, university, Tafe or the like, they seem to find themselves with a common denominator – unemployment. Or more specifically, undesirable employment, that was just about bearable whilst studying, which now needs (it has moved beyond a want) to be replaced with a better job in their area of qualification. But as they try to do this, they increasingly find that their degree or diploma is fairly worthless in the real world. What employers want today, and thus what we should have been gathering all along, other the skills and knowledge that we foolishly thought would be enough, is a mystical little thing known as experience.

Ahh, experience. The stuff of recent graduates nightmares. A little catch cry you may hear them weep, ‘how do I get experience for this job, if no one will employ me without any experience, so I get some experience?!’ It is the ultimate Catch 22. For an entry level position, not only should you have completed tertiary studies, but you should also, magically have racked up two to three years of paid experience in the industry of your choice. Despite the fact that seemingly no one will give you the opportunity to gain said experience in the first place. And the work placements, you faithfully attended? Pft. Whatever. It turns out it means next to nothing. So you get to wondering, what was the point of all those years of hard work? When really,  you are still stuck in your crumby dead end job, that got you through Uni – just; and that you are now (and probably always were) majorly over-qualified for, and that is possibly the cause of all aggravation, frustration and hate in your life. Why, you wail?

Another lovely aspect of The Hunt, is the old adage – it’s all about who you know. I have to say, there is something in it. As much as it dismays me, and fills me with outrage at the inequity of it all, I do think it is true. You know someone working for the company you are applying for, and you are a shoe in. They even possibly are the only reason you heard about the job opening at all. Friends in high places and all that. Wink wink. And again, I wonder, how do you get to know lots of useful people in the myriads of companies you are applying for jobs at? Obviously you must not only be studious in Uni, but also very industrious as a social butterfly, hunting, then gathering nectar and friends and influential people into your repertoire. Or else pick a field from the beginning, that all your family already work in. Much simpler in the end really.

This is all without mentioning, where the real perseverance is: the actual job hunting. Seek.com and I are very close now. We go way back, and while I wouldn’t always say that we get along, we understand that we are mutually necessary to one another, and thus we have come to an agreement. It is not only easy, but possibly also necessary to spend hours online hunting for jobs. For once you have found a job that you are qualified for, you then try to suss out – who is the company? Where are they based? Do I want to work for them? Should I worry whether I don’t, because it’s a foot in the door, stop being fussy! After you decide to apply, knowing full well that it is unlikely that you will be contacted at all, even for a reference, you then go to the trouble of doing some research on the prospective employer, so you can make some educated sounding, sweeping statements in your cover letter. All of this takes time, so get comfortable. You may wish to invest the funds you don’t yet have on a laptop. And some nice PJ’s. Then this process can be repeated again and again, 20, 30, 40 jobs later, 2 rejections 3 cups of coffee, and a whole lot of silence.

While I am not entirely sure what the trick is, to getting a job you actually want, or even just a foot in the door, I do know that there is hope, and that you just have to keep at it. And in the meantime, all this applying, and spinning of cover letters and resumes makes you much better at knowing and selling your attributes (in a completely non-prostitute kind of way). You get good a working buzz words, dropping lines about team players, having the ability to work independently, your exceptional computer skills (which if you didn’t before, all this job hunting and CV writing should have got you pretty much up to scratch) and being prompt and reliable. You tell them what sets you apart, why you are good for the job, and why you really feel like you can make a difference. And you sort of start to believe your own hype. Which is good, because by the time you actually get an interview, and the nerves hit, it all would have been like a fabulously drawn out, self-enforced study session, prepping you, my hunter/gatherer friend, for the grilling!

Pant suit, skirt suit.

5 Apr

An elderly couple, dressed in cream: pant suit, skirt suit, shuffle painfully to their seats on this slow and dreary intercity train, matching silver hair, sunspots and smiles. To see them, to watch them talk, interact, be one together so completely, you’d believe it was a love of a lifetime. To look, who would, who could possibly know that she was beat by her first husband, that she lost her first child to his battering? Who would, who should know that he spent the first forty years of his life, being too afraid to actually go after what he wanted, not even knowing what that was, after spending thirty-five of those years being given orders. First from a cold and precise father, followed by a callous, calculating Lieutenant. A war on the frontline and back home – a wife lost to another man, one unfit to fight, who offered nothing to his country, nothing to the cause, but who was simply just there. Convenient.

To see them, this smartly suited pair, how could you know, that their redemption was each other. Displaced childhood sweethearts, she learnt to trust and believe again, he realised what it was he’d been fighting for all along. They hold hands, and spend their concern on one another, laughing in unison, both trying to hide the fear that lies within their eyes. A fear of the day when they will no longer be together, when one will be left behind, bereft of their soul and their purpose, their salvation. Each others saviour in lives that didn’t seem salvageable, reflected in the well worn wrinkles of their smiles, their hearts aching,  etched on to one anothers sleeve. To see them, is to cry. Doomed by time and inevitability, it is a tragedy.

They are so beautiful.

Oui, oui, Paris.

4 Apr

Paris has to be one of the most exciting and romantic cities in the world. Paris is an absolute icon, and the number one visited tourist destination in the world. I have to say, it was one of the top things that I was looking forward to seeing in Europe.

Having been there and left again, my perception differs. What was once in my mind, a quaint and charming city, remains now as one of the most beautiful, but a lot less Parisian then expected. While I am certain that there are still place in Paris that meet my cobble stoned street, coffee sipping, Chanel wearing, cigarette smoking, poodle walking idealisms, central Paris is no longer this. The days of Madeline are over, and there is nothing I can do to save them.

Sights ticked off the list, Notre Dame, Arc du Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, the Seine, Champs Elysees, the Louvre, and oh so many more. Less desirable sights, now seen: soldiers wandering the gardens of the Lourve, casually strolling the Metropolitan, toting giant assault riffles; scalpers, dodgy looking men – everywhere, selling tourist shit off massive key rings and out of their pockets. Multi-coloured, flashing, light up Eiffel Towers, half dead roses to lovers, flying plastic thingys…

Oh, and a tourist to Parisian ratio of about 2:1. Full on. It seems to me, these days, many travelers prefer to experience their holidays through the lens of their video camera, then through their own eyes. The city is littered with inconsiderate travelers who feel the need to film approximately umm… ABSOLUTELY-EVERY FRICKEN-THING. These people litter Paris, soil it with their presence, pretty much ruining all the sights by standing in the way, or insisting that their entire, extended family and the other random tourists they met at their hotel, have a photograph in front of whatever it is you are trying to see, obscuring it from public view, as well obscuring it from actually being seen in the photograph. I don’t understand it, nor am I going to attempt to. Just take in deep breaths and count backwards from ten… nine… eight…

Anyway, no matter how hard I try now, Paris, or at least the idea of Paris, feels like a myth. A great hazy tale from history of romance, intrigue, beautiful specimens of men and women, designer gowns, charms and graces. This Paris, the one we all have, situated high on some ludicrous pedestal in our minds, where we play the femme fatale – the beautiful protagonist, who gets swept away by an arrogant, yet absurdly charming, chain-smoking Frenchman. I’m sorry, but this Paris doesn’t exist. Or if it does, I can’t help but feel it is the exception, not the norm. I don’t know what I really expected of Paris and don’t get me wrong, it is a fabulous city, filled with wonderful sights, great dramatic histories, priceless artworks, and soaring architecture. But somehow, the charm was just not there. I didn’t fall in love with the city of my daydreams. In fact, it almost feels like a break up of sorts. That horrible moment where you realise that nothing is what it seemed to be in the beginning, or what you wanted it to be in the end. Just something that looks good in theory, and boy, does it look good! But once you get to know it, the image is shattered, when reality hits. The honeymoon period is over, and when it comes down to it, Paris is just a grungy, urban city with it’s problems, just like any other.

I can’t help but wonder, if I went to Paris neutral, free from the associations and glamorizations that the media use to define it, whether I could have loved it for what it is, instead of mourning what it is not.

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