Sunday, March 27

life these days

Hanging on Den's roof, picnicing in the parks, drinking coffee canal-side... So. Good.

Spring is here. SPRING IS HEREEE! I want to get on my rooftop and shout to the world but I'd probably end up jinxing everyone and cause some sort of snowpocalypse.

I spent hours riding my bike today. The funny thing about this city is that it is so easy to get turned around yet so hard to get lost. Let me explain.  The streets run along the canals in a semi-circle, (picture onion layers)  so you can ride for half and hour and end up back where you started and legit not even know how you got there. For serious. And there are always about 8 more shortcuts than you know of (I still find myself going "so THIS is where this is??"). For someone who manages to get lost even with a GPS  — my dreams of the Amazing Race have been long forgotten —it’s magical. But it can be a little tricky because EVERY STREET, even alleys it seems, are named, and each name has about 13 vowels, so they tend to sound/look vaguely similar sometimes. You learn to get around here by feel.
(I'm distracted as I write this because there is a giant-ass horse fly buzzing around my head that I’ll on the verge of throwing a shoe, a book, a bottle of vitamins whatever the heck is in reach at. But at least the fly isn’t a mouse. Can we talk about the mouse I found in my LAUNDRY?? That happened. I shrieked, said a few words, hopped it had a good life and maybe found some good crumbs on my floor and then laid him to rest in the trash can. Outside. I hope it doesn’t have any relatives. /tangent)
But yes. Amsterdam spring = delicious. I roamed, found a quiet bench along the water in the old west part of town and had a delightful little picnic I had picked up, made my way back, rolled through major pleins (squares) and ended up doing some reading on a quiet dock a few blocks from my house  We’re gearing up for our mammoth research projects as we speak so I have a lot of these pages to get through.
Taking a stretch after a long day of training.
That being said, I’m super stoked about my project. I’ve been working with the Derby Dames (no blood mopped, but one ankle taped!) as a way to get to know the scene and see what they're all about. They’re having a few events as April/May going on, but the big thing I’ll be doing for them is a photo shoot series of them all derby-dolled up along the canals (!) I may (slash we may, because Lit is coming to play!) be going to Antwerp with them to shoot as well! Research-wise, I’ll be conducting interviews and gathering personal narrative. My topic? The running title as of today (when I had to turn in some semblance of a final proposal) reads “Blue is the New Black: How roller derby is re-shaping the socialization of the female athletic body, with a focus on injury.” In real people terms: war wounds and battle scars. My favorite. I want to know why the hell we, as ladies in hyper-contact sports, celebrate said nicks and scratches (because it’s only a bruise, duh). It's like Man Up? v. 2.0. I’m looking at the superficial — you know, the walk and talk of the women — but also some of the psychology behind said sport and the injury. In conjunction I’ll be looking at the socialization of the female body — essentially,  how we are traditionally allowed and not allowed to use our bodies (i.e. you know, going to the mall is okay but starting a maul is not. Ya dig?) and how these two concepts — being rough and tough while being a 'lady' — simply don’t match up...and how's that changing. Roller derby is super interesting because: it’s most recent revival is all about the blending of masculinities/femininities; there is no male derby comparison to which these women are upheld; and c) the Derby Dame group is made up of a pretty significant expat population. 

(And, speaking of badass ladies, as I write this my newsfeed is blowing up with MCWR’s crazy status updates and looking at a picture of JP’s ripped ear and Kelley in a neckbrace?? DammnnnGIRLS! Not that I'm in the market to get banged up at the moment — "behaving" — but I do miss it. I'll be doing some vicarious living from here, so all of you go get some good bruises will ya'? ;) ...)

To sum it all up: yay for the next few weeks. Things are looking goooood. :)

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