Monday, February 1, 2010

Here's To The End

When driving down the road of life, Holland, rarely do you know how good you have it, until you see it in the rear-view mirror.

Which is not to suggest that you should look back now, but to remind you that where you are today is more awesome and amazing than you probably realize.

 The Universe

Hm. Okay, so I skimped out a little at the end there. Things just got so riled up and I couldn’t contain my joy over being happy about school and also being happy about home. Yes, you heard right, kids. I was HAPPY about SCHOOL. Near the end, there was this overwhelming bonding feeling that I got. I started to really Love the people I had been spending this semester with. It felt so good to breathe easy, and by the time we were weeping at the bar together, I really didn’t wanna get on that plane to London.

BUT I’M SO GLAD I DID. And, in fact, I’m SO happy I spent the day and half I spent there. There was no strike (go figure), but I felt better knowing I could go home and not be waiting on a strike decision.

The day. Was. Amazing. Within 24 hours, I saw Leicester Square (like Times Square for London), an HMV (which don’t exist in NYC anymore), Buckingham Palace, a small art gallery, the Women of WWII memorial, Big Ben, The London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral (“Feed the Birds…”), Fleet Street and I got to ride both the Tube and the Bus!!!!!!!

The best part was when I decided to put Nutella in my carry on and didn’t realize it was considered liquid. The guys were very nice, and of course their British accents didn’t hurt either. Of course, they had to check my bag and I had put some…er…toys in there for my girlfriend (the sex shops in Europe are SO cool!). So, he pulls out the whip and goes, “Oh My! Who’s this for?”
“My girlfriend,” I said.
“Well, she’s a luck girl…”
He continues to unpack my bookbag and when he got to the cuffs, he just said, “Girlfriend?” and laughed a bit. It was quite cute. The guy next to him, of course, overheard our conversation and had to come in, asking me all about my stay in London and where I was headed. A cheerful round of “Happy Holiday!” and “So sorry about the Nutella!” ended my stay in Europe for the year of 2009. I think, all-in-all it was a very Holland Holiday!

Just wanted to remind you, Holland, that sometimes success is better measured in smiles received, giggles heard, and hands held, than in dollars earned, deadlines met, and kilos shed.

And I must say, you've done well for yourself.

Yeah us!
 The Universe

Monday, January 11, 2010

Something for the Ages

While procrastinating my second semester reading (lol! why did I think I was gonna be any less lazy than I am at home, especially in between semesters abroad?)...I submitted the following to a scholarship that asked me to fill out a survey about Oberlin and answer the very inspiring question, "Assume you could go back in time and talk to yourself as a high school senior. Knowing what you know now about college life and making the transition, what advice would you give yourself?":

Dear Holland: Keep breathing. Life is not about getting straight A’s: it’s about what you learn on the way to achieving what you most desire and I know that what’s really in your heart is far beyond answering every question ‘right.’ Also: stop trying to be someone you’re not. You know exactly who you are so go be that optimistic, creative, loving human being no matter what people say or do in response to you. Don’t worry about people hurting you because you are strong enough to handle whatever life throws at you (I know that’s hard to believe, but you are and will continue to be stronger than most of the people you believe are ‘doing it better’). Lastly: trust your intuition because it’s what led you to Oberlin. You DO belong at this school so stop saying you’re not smart enough! You knew that this college was going to give you opportunities you never believed were possible and, believe me, it's going to do that and more.

Will be starting a new and improved version of the "Plaug" for South Africa, though they also have the students keep one on their website, Also attempting to do a wrap-up Plaug about my experience coming home. Workin' on it! <3

Here's to the next part of the journey: Yes, Yes Yes Yes Yes, Love and Ashe!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I don't want to say Goodbye (AKA SUPER realization!)

I learned something HUGE about myself today in Meisner class. I am shy and standoffish because I don’t want to let people in. If I let people in, I could get hurt and especially when it’s a program that’s this short I could invariable have to say goodbye. I don’t like saying goodbye. I am not shy when the expectation of goodbye is not there. Or when I’ve let it go. I’m coming to the end of this program wishing I knew the people here better. I feel like I wish I had just jumped in. The reason I didn’t jump in (and at the time I had decided it was because people didn’t like me) was because I was TERRIFIED of this moment – 3 days to leaving and being sad. I don’t want to miss people. I don’t want to be attached. I am extremely sensitive and I don’t want to wait for your call and never get it. However, I went thru most of the semester closed off, supposedly ‘protecting’ myself and guess what? I have friends and I’m sad about missing them.

Well whaddya know, Holmes? The Universe has got me again!

Should you choose to go, do, and be, Holland, at the end of your life, shocked and dismayed, you'll likely exclaim that because of all the uncanny events, wild timing, weird coincidences, and sheer chance encounters, all of your life's good fortune must have been your destiny.

Or, should you choose to wait, wish, and hope, at the end of your life, shocked and dismayed, you'll likely exclaim that because of all the uncanny events, wild timing, weird coincidences, and sheer chance encounters, all of your life's bad luck must have been your destiny.

Holland, do you see what the difference is?

It ain't me,
 The Universe

Saturday, December 12, 2009


We are the experiences we create. –HRH

And as we drove back I got to see the memorial. The memorial! The one I thought I’d missed – I tried to rationalize it, saying I had seen other things but I was sad about that. And on the bus, someone out there (up there? Down there?) took care of me by letting me see it. I didn’t stand on the ground, but I did walk a lot of Terezin – by myself, with an “Empty Sky” above me, a small map to guide me and I did it. I “Let Go” and I did it. I can’t believe I did it.

Right up front my stomach dropped at the realization I had honestly made it to Terezin and I was standing on ground that over 87,000 Jews and sympathizers had stood on, danced upon and dies upon, leading to the point where I could come in with my NYU backpack and grasp even the tiniest piece of how this happened. Even had I gone to scarier place, like Auschwitz, I realized (while walking aimlessly near some ruined barracks) there is no way I will ever understand what this was like – nothing can truly show/make you experience the Absolute Worst. And that’s probably good. In fact, that’s a testament to our ability to keep history from completely mirroring itself.

…I may change my mind on that next semester…

The artwork and the writing and the music produced in this place was so far beyond my memory. I stood in front of so many things saying, “how did they create something with such high quality?” I mean, how’d they get the materials (slash the courage to steal the materials) but also…how did these young people, CHILDREN have the Energy or the Hope to create these dolls, these poems, these works of art????

The camp is kind of shaped like the star of David, which I thought was kind of ironic.

There were a few places that really affected me.

The Recreation of the Barracks
It didn’t matter it wasn’t the real thing, I immediately felt a sense of deep sadness, pain and fear. I almost couldn’t look at it? It almost made me lose Hope just by looking at it. “How can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel?” ran through my head and walking out of the building I saw The Doors. I don’t know how else to explain them, but because of my what-the-hell-was-the-holocaust phase I’ve seen the image of The doors leading to the barracks so many times, it froze me to see them right in front of me, on the street. Oh, that was another thing. People live in this town now – they’ve made many of the ‘dormitories’ (barracks) into apartments.

If I felt the weight of the space by just being there a few hours, I can’t imagine what it would be like to LIVE there.

The Crematorium, The Morgue and the Jewish Cemetery
Holy shit. I tried not to curse there, though I slipped a few times. I’m pretty sure this was one of those times. No only did the history make me sick (the ashes being thrown in the river) but the second I entered the crematorium, this body-paralyzing fear fell over me. Any sound from The Outside was like a gunshot. It took every source of courage I could muster (NamMyohoRengeKyo, Shalom Rav, Misheberach, Grabbing my necklaces) sung.chanted over and over to get me to put one foot in front of the other. I think this fear wouldn’t have been as strong had I gone with someone so I’m almost glad I went alone because instead of crying cathartically, I felt something that children probably felt there: overwhelming and paralyzing fear. That fear was much more intense than the anziety I’ve felt in Europe and in my life. It came out of feeling so alone, so helpless and so vulnerable. There was no one around to help, no one to comfort and it brought on the worst question of all, “are we really alone?” I didn’t really feel alone - I was wearing jewelry that gave me something/”one” to hold onto, but that question became the reoccurring theme: even when shoved into tiny spaces with over 100 other people, many prisoners were alone and the environment didn’t help the reversal of that feeling.

Prayer Room of the Time of the Ghetto
“Pick me up, Love. Oh, everyday!”

This room was a very positive experience. I’m still not absolutely sure how it began (which is why I bought a book about it!) but it’s so amazing it’s still there with some (LOTS) of paint in-tact. I sang, of course, and the resonance was beautiful. It was like going to temple for the first time after coming back from Israel. It felt so good and so rich and so restorative. It’s not religion, it’s culture, it’s strength, it’s family, it’s Love.

What a way to spend a day…what a way to find out I’m stronger than I ever imagined. I’m so incredibly happy I just went – that I just did it. I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on this incredibly opportunity and “I’m Always So Grateful” that I have a wanderlust – even if traveling scares the shit out of me – because it pushes me to Grow. I can’t wait to share this with the big NYC.

The peachy thing about uncertainty, Holland, is that when everything else is equal, the cards are still heavily stacked in your favor. - TUT

Monday, December 7, 2009

Something Old, Something New...

“I’m having a private party ain’t nobody here but me my angels and my guitar singing baby look how far we’ve come yeah/I’m having a private party learning how to love me. Celebrating the woman I’ve become” – India.Arie

Today, I’m getting married to my Confidence.

Something old: Prague…especially Old Town.
Something new: Adulthood
Something borrowed: Mom’s clothing
Something Blue: The grossest drinks here; Kyle you would not enjoy this!

Been thinking a lot about presents lately cuz these X-mas markets are a FANTASTIC (yet oddly expensive) place to find little trinkets that make me think of the amazing people in my life. I don’t know if I’ll make the best decisions as far as what goes to who, but boy is it fun to shop for things with the explicit purpose of finding things that are perfect for others. For those who do read this, just remember I have a whole ‘nother 4 months in a completely different place where there may be something I think fits you better than anything I find here! I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so just know that I like to buy presents when they jump out at me specifically for that person in that specific Moment. I don’t really like generic presents. I mean who does, really?

On my end of the ‘present’ scale, I knew I wanted to keep something special from Prague and I figured a stone was probably the best thing because there are so many little ones just laying around, waiting for someone to give them a home. As I got on the 22 home yesterday, I was inspired.

A STONE FROM PRAGUE (Yes, Hope. More poetry from Holland!)

From the fear to the joy and back
Remember the way you unlocked
The door to your deepest emotions
And scars
Thinking you had swallowed the key long ago.
Remember when you walked alone
Remember when you walked with everyone.
Remember how you wanted to run?
How you did and wanted to come back?
There was a moment it changed
Remember how excited you were?
You let it all go.
Took your first breath in months.
Let this stone
Help you remember.

“Every little thing, Holland, like smiling, baby stepping, or sauntering, is pounced upon, celebrated, and made into a sort of breakfast cereal here, for champions....
It's so cool, huh, Holland?” - TUT

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

A BIG thank you goes out to Paul Krysik for giving me the beginning and ending quotes of this entry.
“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy” ~Lao Tzu

I know what ur thinking. I'm late. Okay, so it's no coincidence my watch broke in October. Time almost literally doesn't exist in Prague. Ppl say, "meet me in a couple of hours" and it could really mean a couple of hours, a half hour or two days from now. It just doesn't matter to them! Maybe it's just a European thing?

Here’s an update on school: Even though I feel like I may have chosen the wrong program, this program has really helped me begin to believe in MYSELF u know? I think that Prague was pulling me and, like Hana said to me recently, “I wanted a little more culture shock than just going to a place where everyone spoke the same language as me.” It's really pushing my limits as far as just knowing that I'm good on my own and I'm finding more and more that I CAN believe in myself, which is a great thing to take from a program all the teachers are so worried about us all coming away with something and it's a little frustrating cuz like they each say to me (in their own way) "You're a great actress. why aren't you getting cast?" But I am getting cast. Maybe not in everything, but I am. So...what can I say? You’ve got a program that’s really new and some people are just not going to fit into the parts that are being written. I’m learning new techniques and that’s what I came her for: to learn. I'm going back to NYC where I can hang with my beautiful, talented and FANTASTIC friend Cullen and we can make our own movies with Kyle and Julia and any number of the spontaneous, honest, loving friends I’ve somehow convinced to be my friends back home (hahaha, u know I’m kidding. I just paid you all off). I'll be just fine and your program will be too, I hope! I do truly wish the best for this program because I think it’s necessary, especially for theater actors!!!!!

I pulled out the stone in my bag a couple days ago. It’s engraved, “Dream.” I need to remember that I deliberately put that in my bag to remind me to DO. IT. And often. As my dad says, “living is learning and that is the truest thing i know!” I don’t ever want to stop dreaming and I DO NOT want to EVER stop dreaming!

I realized recently that my gift is Joy and I am so thankful for that. I don't know where it started or formed, but it MIGHT have to do with that Hebrew name of mine...Chava Brecha (Joyous Blessing).

“I mean, no matter where you are, no matter what has ever happened, no matter how things may appear, every single moment of every single day, you're being drawn closer than you've ever been before, to getting everything you've ever wanted.” TUT

This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play. (from paul k’s fb pg)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Put down your camera, this is your LIFE!

It's got nothing to do with being a perfect, goody-goody, selfless, sacrificing, spiritual saint, Holland. Blah! That whole characterization was meant for a different audience at a different time, and they really had issues.

It's got everything to do with being yourself, trusting the magic, following your heart, dreaming big, and having fun.

Hosanna in the highest, 
 The Universe


Sitting on the plane, on my way back to Prague – that Old Crone, that silly city, that home for parties and good beer, that place I wanted to run from initially and the place that I now am running from Rome to rejoin with, happily (poor grammar, I know. First person to fiz it WINS. Hope? Kyle?)

I mean, I can’t believe it. Around this time 2 months ago [or even, say, a month ago] I was crying everyday. In out, up down, all around and I was just wishing I had done this or that better because I thought that was the answer to happiness, as I’m finding in this moment (no forevers, kids) is to simply be IN. THIS. MOMENT. NOW. Happy, sad, loving, breathing, analyzing, creating, EXPERIENCING.

My career is based on being someone who has experience and boy, have I done that! And it’s not over.
I am watching street after street, building after building of beauty and wealth – immense and ridiculous wealth. I know that next semester I will experience a whole new and different world of “without.”

And we are still not different. Maybe I’ll change my mind next semester but I truly believe we people are similar in many ways and KARMA is real. It’ll kick you in the butt sometimes suddenly and sometimes a long time after you’ve taken a certain actions. Especially when speaking thought to action. What I mean is, every action begins with you. You think something, you feel something, you say something and it becomes Truth. We are more powerful than we believe.

It’s like in Musical Theater: every piece is one step bigger than the last and each builds on the last: when speaking isn’t enough, you sing. When singing isn’t enough, you dance. I mean, I would put them in the order of speak-dance-sing, but there’s no real textual evidence for that anywhere.

Musings From Above:

...Naturally occurring bodies are not used often but we know them.
How do we reconcile art and life?
Is one separate from the other?

I will miss this feeling. So sure of everything because so uninhibited.
And young...

Thinking brand new thoughts that you've never thought before, Holland, is wildly more conducive to creating big life changes than just thinking different varieties of the same old thoughts. -The Universe