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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roma is UnReal...a!

"3 days in Rome, where did it go, I'll always remember 3 days in Rome" - Sheryl Crow, THE BOOK.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: "...oh. It's a Cultural thing." (HRH)

I'm so glad I went because Rome was not the place I think of when I think of Italy but it was SO perfect. I'm still having trouble believing I ACTUALLY went to Italy - the place I've been dying to go to since I was very young! It's been a long time coming and now I've really done it! I can't imagine what it's gonna be like with South Africa. I might cry. While I realized that, essentially, European cities are very similar (specifically similar to NYC) and while I was so excited to learn that I live in a place among the greats...I also think that every city (and town) has their own special things/moments and I was fortunate enough to be traveling with two girls who were up for attempting to see ALL the great stuff in Rome. We didn't see everything I'm sure but what we did see was SO great!!!! Plus, we had time to wander as well! The food was even beyond my expectations, the wine was as smooth as grape juice ('nothing like drinking it from the source!' -dad), I turned my back to the Trevi Fountain, threw in a coin and made a wish to come back to Rome (also sand from Little Mermaid at the top of my lungs, wherein an Italian man originally from northern AFRICA told me he was in love with me and wanted to take me to the Pantheon), I learned about SPQR and how all roads lead to Rome, I even caught the changing of the guard right before I left on Sunday night!!!!! There were so many great moments and I'm so happy I went so that I was able to come back to Prague refreshed and ready to go back to the good ol' Crown!!!!

Great Synagogue

For the first time I felt a connection to the Jewish culture because it is a culture. That is what connects people to the faith. A woman on the tour (her name, I learned later, was Marina Goldberg and she’s an artist in Tsfat. She said I should come visit her if I’m ever in the area!) who had been given money, food and shelter from Rome after moving with two kids was “coming back to say thank you.” I thought that was so beautiful because that’s exactly what I thought I was doing. Coming to say thank you to a city and especially to a country that has meant so much to me in all aspects of my life and my culture. Thank you to the people who worked so hard at creating and then restoring and continuously restoring this temple so that Jews will have a safe place to be. That’s what synagogues are for all over the world – a place of safety. Jews can walk into a synagogue anywhere and be safe. I’d like to amend that statement to say that anyone with peace in their heart can be safe in a temple. It is a place of Love, Peace and Shelter.

The Sistine Chapel at The Vatican (Museum)

BLEW MY MOTHAFUCKIN’ MIND and yet it was so much more elaborate than the temple and many temples aren’t in tact all over the world when chapels and churches are. It was such a diverse contrast and I thought it was such an interesting piece of living, breathing history. It inspired me so much to be an artist in that space. “WE ARE SO FORTUNATE,” as Samantha kept saying.

Staring up at The Hands and all the other stories that were depicted on the walls…and ceilings…and floors…and windows…

it all felt so circular. It was like the song, The Story Goes on because I could see where I am now as an artist relating to those who came before me and all the artists to come after me.

After visiting the Sistine Chapel I have a renewed interest in History, specifically (you guested it!) Art History and Theater History. Standing inside, I got this overwhelming feeling that I was a part of something so much bigger (Greater) than I could ever imagine. As an artist, I am a part of something that dates back...WAYYYYYYY back to before I can even fathom time existing. I am a part of that and it doesn't really matter what films I'm cast in or who does/n't like me. It's about adoring my art and taking part in something that is so important to the world.

The Coliseum, The Forum and the last snipits of Roma!

Whereas at the Vatican I realized the importance of the Creation of art, at the Coliseum I realized the importance of THE MUSE. I think the pictures really tell the story with this one because I just had so much fun pretending to be in Coliseum times and acting out fights and muse poses, etc. I was so spiritually tickled by the idea that I could play in one of the oldest ‘playing grounds’ that exist today. I was also really excited by the fact that that was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. I always say, “well, I’m not really an actor, it’s something I enjoy but I could never really do it.” Mmmm…guess what Holland? You LOVE to PLAY! Visiting the Coliseum and also walking around the other Roman Ruins and even traipsing around the city while getting back to the hostel made me realize that I haven’t lost that sense of fun, it’s just been burid by adult skepticism and perfectionism. But I’m still that 4 year old Holland acting out fully staged productions of Beauty and the Beast in my living room. I’m still the 6 year old Holland singing the words “gastronomic wonder” perfectly in her temple choir for an audience of at least 100 in the park for Chanukah. I’m still the 9/10 year old Holland singing “Mommy is a Mermaid” at the White House. I’m still the screaming 14 year Holland on the set of Sex and the City. I’m still the 20 year old running around Europe wishing to get up on stage and sing her heart out but learning how to create character on screen and learning so much about herself in the process.

And what’s great is, the moment I let go (and I did let go on many things and my body has shown it by having my period and finally getting sick lolz), I got two calls for auditions for project 4s, which isn't the best in terms of knowing that I have parts but it IS what I've been complaining about forever which is I want the chance to show my stuff and know that I did the best I could. I want know that I was 'in the running,' know that I had SOME control/know that I put myself out and someone decided based on what I could give!

Subsequently, I have been cast in several other projects. Projects that truly excite me and will give me a fantastic chance to take risks and show off what I love about acting: PLAYING.

I just keep thanking the Universe for all of these great things because what better to do in a place of complete High but to say THANK YOU????

I have to say a special thank you to my aunt Rachel, though. In many ways the bracelet you gave me has truly pushed me forward in times of despair here. I have a physical reminder of a very important principle on my left wrist: THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS…CHOOSE THE GOOD ONES!

LOVE!!!! <3

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halfway Point or, Rome is UnReal! or, Put Down Your Camera. This is Your Life.

So, I was all ready to have this big Halfway Point blog entry, right? I was gonna reflect on my time here and have all these quotes about making it through and being strong and I was gonna talk about things that I discussed with my parents over the phone and it was gonna be poignant and beautiful and amazing. And was suddenly November 16th, I was sitting in front of my computer and I began to realize that I'm in it now. I'm living it, doing it, being here and I have just over a month left until I go home for the holidays and only about a month after that until I go to a WHOLE. 'NOTHER. CONTINENT and take the Holland Experience to a WHOLE. 'NUTHA. LEVEL.

Well, it's not surprising to me either than another landmark flew by as I was flouncing around being an American student in Europe. I was expecting my anniversary (3 years being clean of self-injury) to be Friday the 13th which is also To Write Love on Her Arms Day and I wanted to participate in both and knew that I wanted to go to the Great Synagogue (the Jewish Museum) in Rome that day. Well, in all the hustle and bustle, I totally forgot about both but I did go to the Synagogue and had a WONDERFUL time. It was sad and moving, but also inspiring (as was everything else we saw in Rome!). I was so mad, tho, when I realized this morning I completely forgot about my anniversary, so I went back to my calendar. A smile crept through when I learned I hadn't counted since July 25th and my anniversary was actually November 12th!!!!!!!

I am very happy that everything happened the way it did. I've been wishing for the time when self-injuring will truly be a part of who I was (not who I am) and I think this weekend is a real landmark in my movement towards that goal. I'm so happy about it and while I need to find a way to commemorate it, I am excited that my life dictate the commemoration rather than me trying to create it synthetically :D

Okay, that having been said, I think I'm gonna split this up into a set of three plaugs but I'll keep the title anyway cuz I like it.

Here are some musings from the midpoint:

- Shall I remind you, dearest Holland, that the reason you care so much, sometimes even worry so much, is because there still exists between you and life, a passionate love affair. And because of this, everything's going to be just fine (TUT)

Things are really good, I just have a lot of anxiety here, which some say is attributed to a little bit of culture shock. What I've learned recently is that I have a very strong sense of self. However, I think I need to do exactly what others are doing or need to make them happy or be something specific for them (perfect): that outweighs my sense of self and confidence and I get anxious.
…”if I did it their way I would be succeeding because they’re succeeding.” (Mom)

- “Never underestimate the beauty and the power of a dark, grey day.” –Dad’s phil prof (prof cotton) "I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do." (Email from Rachel)

The lowest of the low means that a fantastic high is coming. It's what I've learned from Buddhism and what I am experientially learning here in Prague.

- I do believe, Holland, that if people would just start by saying "it's fun," when it seems hard; "I'm happy," when they seem sad; and "I know," when it seems as if they don't, they'd finally discover that it really is, they really are, and they always have. (TUT)

- Sometimes u just have to be homesick and skype until the cows come home!!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat?

Ran into a flea market today. I had seen glimpses of it and always just figured it would be around the next day and then it wasn't. I finally went today (it's the last day for the season - meaning until it gets warm again - meaning not while I'm here) and it was FANTASTIC! I walked out of there with a great present AND a fantastic coat! This has made me realize that, especially when one is abroad, they should take EVERY opportunity that comes along. You never know when something is a one-day-only kinda deal.

...especially when it's in Czech.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So, now that I'm gonna have internet...

I'm gonna miss the experience I'm having right now: finding a random internet cafe and staying here for 3 hours as I try to sew up the holes that internet-less life has left.

In fact, for a Virgo, that activity is very satisfying.

Oh wait. I haven't plaugged in a while, have I?

Mmk, so updates:

1.) Sir? Please stop looking at me so lecherously.

It has come to my attention that Czech men, or at least the ones I've come into contact with, have very lecherous faces. That needs to stop. Whether they really are looking at me that way (like the guy who asked me something in Czech that was probably 'come home with me' on the tram this...3am...) or not doesn't matter. It needs to stop.

2.) ITMI: In This Moment I...

Here is what I told a friend recently: "Well, in this moment I am doing amazingly well. I feel so happy that my trekking paid off (I have a month's worth of internet that begins tomorrow) and I have arrived at the perfect internet cafe where the waitress is sweet, the tea is original and I have my own little shrine in the corner with pillows and space galore.

Conversely, in the recent week or so I've been tackling MAJOR self-woes that have dragged me down for years. Meeting European classmates and learning from how they handle stress/adult life has opened my eyes to new ways of dealing with myself and I finally feel like I'm breaking through into adulthood. other words, I'm good. How are you?"

So, I suppose that sums it up best, hm?

Every moment is completely different here and, though I won't admit it out loud, that's exactly how I like it.

3.) The Benny Five

This seems to be the Tried and True self-affirmation that got me through a WHOLE LOT in Oberlin. I've moved in and out of a lot of sayings because positive self-talking is NOT my strong point. I've moved through Sister Goddessly chatting, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, crying...lotsa stuff, and it's all helpful.

I have found something new, too. "I AM OKAY." I simply repeat it over and over to myself until I believe it or until I really am OKAY. I mean, it can vary, depending on the situation: "I am loved" "I have done nothing wrong" "I am making the right choice" "Look at how much you've done!" "I am completely perfect in every single way."

It's really been helping, and I'm glad because it's been a tough road to being able to surpass anxiety. I'm not saying this is the end-all-be-all. I'm just saying that this is working right now in this time and space and I'm feeling SO good about it.

4.) And there is so much more...

God, I'm just learning so much here. I mean, that's what I cam here for, right? That's what I set out to Europe to do. To learn as much as I possibly could about a the many zillion things I don't know. I am growing up before my own eyes and everyone here is helping me to get there. I want to travel and I affirm that it will happen soon. I think it's all so difficult to take in because I know that I have a whole 'nother semester abroad, and yet I'm very homesick. I don't know if it's the pull of New York City or what, but I miss pizza and 24 hour delis and late night cookie dough ice cream dates with Kyle. I miss Steak and Shake and watching the wall for hours at a time. Everything here is BIG. I wake up to BIG WIDE WORLD of adulthood everyday in a completely new place with a totally different language. I don't think the homesickness is overwhelming anymore, which is a start, but I do know that it's there. I think I want to share this beautiful city with people from home. That's what it is. I'm loving being here AND I really want people from home to see it and see how I am changing here. I can't wait to live more here so that I'm even more changed by the time I get back. I will still always be Holland, but just like when I got home from Oberlin, I'm going to be infused with the experience of Prague. I can't wait to share it, I'm just bursting with excitement over that. So, is it really homesickness? Maybe not. I think it's home-giddyness.

Aight, welp. I have internet at the apartment now. A great thing for a night like this when I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping. To add to the Plaug about stages: so the third was being 'okay' with being on my own. I think I've conquered that a little. I need to get better at it when taking naps. Naps I think also freak me because I feel like I'm wasting my time - which I'm almost sure comes from living in New York. Since Prague reminds me so much of NYC, I feel like I have to be occupied - no, overbooked - every second of every single day. I have trouble relaxing. Ok, fourth is the moment when I try to insert myself back in the home situation (either by visiting back home or talking with people from home a lot) and I realize that, in fact, I've created a rhythm in the new place that gets interrupted if I focus too much on home life. This of course doesn't mean I don't love home or the people there (I miss people like crazy!) - what it means is that I may be able to make it another couple of days without constant home contact. It's cool. I've been chanting for a rhythm for a while and I am moving towards a pretty good one, which means I won't have to depend on home peepz AS MUCH, which gives them a little breather as well. Mom and dad may or may not be included in this breather. Perhaps because I'm an only child.


The point is, I feel like I was knocked flat on the ground for a good month here and I'm slowly brushing myself off and getting back up to my feet. I won't forget anything or anyone (though I sometimes worry about the reverse. of course its bogus...I'm just a worrier!) but I am beginning to stand on my own.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Filmmaking: Not as Glamourous as the Movies

So, um. I will probably blog longer later, but I am so excited right now because I'm sitting in one of my favorite wifi spots with none other than the infamous ANITA HOLLANDER!!!! Of course, we're sitting with our computers in front of our faces, but we have DEFINITELY talked it up this weekend. Since Hope came to visit a little while ago, things have roller-coastered. Actually, come to think of it, since filmmaking way back in the day (meaning last weekend, when we were making Project Two - was that a week ago now?) I've felt like things have begun to move SO fast. After this week of classes, we get a week off to work on PROJECT THREE, which, as of yet, I have not been cast in. It's really disheartening and making me feel all kinds of bad about myself, but something else I'm learning is that feeling that way is actually all right. It's something I'm probably gonna feel over a thousand more times in my life (hopefully not for long each time) and so if I just let myself feel it - really go for it - it will go away eventually. Fighting it doesn't make any sense. Some other thoughts on that: mom and I had a conversation about how we only spend a total of 60-100 seconds doing things we fear. The time we spend angst-ing before and retching afterwards is more than we spend actually DOING those things (for me, it's usually telling people something that I'm unhappy with). SO. TRUE. Especially as I begin to realize that, since getting here, I've spent more time worrying about what other people are thinking as I have just enjoying the company. I wonder why I do that. It really begins to get to me.

The OTHER thing is this: If I am going to be the 'stand-out,' unclassifiable actress (short hair, RED, curvy, Queer, young and old looking at the same time) then I'm just gonna fucking BE. IT. I'm not going to waste my time trying to be thin, European and drop dead gorgeous with long flowing hair because, in the end, I'd be unhappy with trying and I'd get back to Oberlin feeling like shit because OH, GUESS WHAT? My girlfriend loves me just the way I am now and so do a BUNCH - nay, shall we say a zillion? - of friends and family back home, so who was I really trying to impress? The filmmakers and actors who I'm really only gonna see for this semester? The casting director who runs our program? Myself?

So I'm the fattest girl in the class? Hell YEAH I'm the fattest girl in the class!

Isaac (spelling?), one of the cinematography teachers apparently pointed me out in one of his classes as a committed actress. I think it's time I commit to being myself rather than what I think everyone else wants me to be. Yes, you heard me. What I THINK everyone else wants me to be. God, I need to find a way to get out of my head here.

In any case, Hope being here was just all kinds of amazing. We went to a Sherlock Holmes bar and sang Cher at a Gay Bar Kareoke night. WHAT?!?!?!

Having mom here is incredibly de-stressing. She has a lot of insight that I probably wouldn't think of in the moment and it's just good to have someone to talk to (for free!) who I've known forever and don't have to 'be' anything for. I'm all out of small talk, so having someone to just 'dive in' with is SO. COMFORTING.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought I would talk about all that.

Ummmmmmmm. Every moment is different. One second I'm great, the next I'm crying about home, the next I'm out and meeting with people I never thought I'd find (like some girls from Smith who are into Musical Theater). Also, Jay Deyonker from SURFLIGHT days is here and living AROUND. THE. CORNER. FROM. ME. Finally, a gay boy I can gush with!!!!!!!!

Mmk. 'Longer Letter Later' as it goes. LOVE! <3

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yom Kippur at the River

"True, you can't see what you can't see, Holland, you can't hear what you can't hear, and you can't feel what you can't feel. But still, you can know that you're not alone, that you're adored, and that absolutely everything will continue to work out for your very best, as it always has.
It's built into your DNA -
The Universe"

Hope said that there’s something comforting about ritual (in her blog, That was so interesting because the first thing I wanted to do while fasting for Yom Kippur was go to the water and throw bread crumbs. I didn’t throw them because bread is expensive, but I did go to the water. I made a mix of music that was spiritually relevant to me, found the perfect spot (well, two spots: I faced one way for the beginning – past reflection – and 180’d for the end – future goals). I chanted and thought about what I didn’t do well and how I could improve. I cried a little and smiled a lot. I sung along to many of the songs. I basically had my own little service and I wrote some things down, first of which: If I had my way, all religious activity would begin and end with Shechechyanu. I wanted to take pictures, but I thought that was not appropriate. The water here is gorgeous and makes me feel at home. The swans were out and I could see the old churches and buildings among the luscious greenery. I will always be happy I took the time to do that, even if I was starving the whole time.

I broke my fast at the globe, where they had a screening of our first films. Seeing myself on film was not as scary as I was expecting it to be. I think I put on too much blush, but who’s counting, right?

I just liked the fact that I had something to see. I guess I didn’t REALLY believe them when they said we’d be making films this semester. I don’t know WHAT I was expecting, but I kinda thought I’d show up to a big scam, that the school wasn’t real and I’d just take the semester off. That probably explains why I’ve felt so weird being here for so long. I mean, yeah I miss everyone and stuff, but like I don’t think I REALLY. BELIEVED.

That’s the buzz word for the day: BELIEVE.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Internet is a Goddess. People are nice, too.

GOD DAMN. How did I ever get along without the internet? I think that's the eternal question. Then again, I wasn't traveling random eastern european countries when I was FIVE.

So, instead of cataloging everything I've done, I wanna talk about New Beginnings. Sounds corny, right? Well, it's something I'm getting a CRASH COURSE in here. College was the first time I lived away from my parents and I gained some very important life skills that I wouldn't have learned if i hadn't been on my own that way. Now, I'm in a completely different country with expensive phone calls and mail so it's even more distance and difference.

Here's what I've learned so far:

First and foremost: I absolutely ADORE children. They are not judgmental and they are full of Love. They are the most honest human beings, which I've learned by making faces at children who don't speak my language: they either find it funny and laugh or don't find it funny and stare at me like a crazy person. However, they don't think I'm crazy because I speak English or because I have bright red hair. They've simply decided I'm not funny based on the action I just took. If I took another action they found funny, then I'd be a funny person. I've learned that, for many reasons, I want to work with children.

Next, I've learned that there are a few things I always do in a new place. First, I fall in Love. I want to stay there forever because it's so fantastically different than my 'old home.' Second, there is always the Crying Period. This is the first time I cry in my New Home. It usually happens about 4-5 days after I arrive, since the first days are all about finding some kind of grounding based on whatever I'm required to do there. Third, there is a point where I've become comfy with those around me and I need to learn how to be alone without feeling lonely or getting down on myself. That's where I'm at right now.

I've also learned that Dance is a universal language. You can be speaking to me in gibberish, but the movement will speak for itself: the story will be told. On that note. I've been writing and rewriting this for the past couple of days and I wanted to share that tonight, Tuesday September 29th, I took an African Dance class. In Prague. WHOA, right?!?!?! It was absolutely fantastic and reminded me how universal the language of dance is. Now I NEED to find an MMA class because that will REALLY cure the homesickness!

Lastly (or of right now...), I need to remember a few things: I am lucky enough (and my dad will tell you this in a heartbeat) to be waking up, everyday, in a city I have never lived in before and may never be in again (possibly when I get rich and famous...). I get to experience something very rare here EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I get to explore my own psyche and how it works EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Beyond that (from something my beautiful girlfriend told me), I have a talent for reaching out to people I know and place I can go to get the help I need. Also (as a great man named Kyle Steven-Porter said to me in a letter), I am HOLLAND. FRIGGIN. HAMILTON...AND I CAN DO ANYTHING. Finally, (I know this because I am my mother's daughter) I am beautiful inside and out. Deep down, I know that's true and (as I was told by the brilliant Hope Rehak) no one else has to believe it but me.

Even in that, I know I have a huge array of support systems that I can grasp. I truly believe that Marina and I would drop everything if one was desperate for help. I know that I can always talk to Daniel as if there was no time between the last time we spoke. Grandma Iris WILL be around for coffee. Grandma Freddie loves to talk on the phone with me. I will receive calls and cards and most, importantly, Love that surpasses distance from all of my aunts and uncles. My 'little sisters,' Kia and Tara, will constantly remind me that friendship defies age and I will always have the most amazing gift of being able to pass on anything I've learned in the short year there is between us. I don't know how it happened, but I have a HUGE amount of friends at Oberlin, including Sam, Marysia, Hannah, Meredith, Erica, Ellie, Donnie, Heather, Kyla, Caitlin...and the list goes on!...and, despite what I fear, they're not going to forget me. Last, but MOST certainly not least, I have a big sister, who, while she's 9 hours behind me right now, misses me like crazy and reminds me that I have someone older to shine the light down the road.

Just reminding myself of all of these people (and believe me, this is NOT an exhaustive list!) - reminds me that, there will be a day when someone in the Prague Film School is part of my 'support group.'

I can't wait to see what happens next...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shooting, Directions and Clubs, Oh My!

Filming this weekend was the most fantastic ending to an otherwise stress-full week. I understood why making films is so much fun. You get to have people stare at you like your famous, and someone tells you that you’re doing great and you don’t have to rehearse for 10 weeks only to get about a weeks worth of shows. I can watch these videos and say, “wow. I did that” and I can watch them over and over and over again. Surprisingly, though, I really missed the rehearsal process. I missed being able to try things over and over again. I missed having a director go one way and then another. I missed thinking about things in the rehearsal and I felt like I had together all that was perfect about my performance into a couple of takes.

Another exciting thing about this weekend was when I found the post office. ALL. BY. MY. SELF. I looked on the map for the post office closest to us and realized it was at the stop called “Namesti Miru,” on the Tram 22. I just wasn’t sure where Italska street was. Well, when I got to Nam. Miru (imagine our Union Square, with all the funky people, plus A LOT more grass and trees. So maybe…like Battery Park without the water), I looked at the map again, I realized what corner of the park I was going to and turned that way. Sure enough, on that southwesternish corner was Italska and on it? A POST OFFICE. It was closed, of course, because it was Sunday, but I found it. I FOUND IT. By looking at a map. Ri.Dic.

Okay, so we went clubbing. Warning to all parents: this was a crazy evening in Prague, hope you don’t mind some details. Stop reading if you think you don’t wanna know :P

So, we all went to one of the acting students house for a “pre-party party” (everyone is into this party-all-night thang). Well, we were making much too much noise for an apartment so we moved to a club, wherein I learned that Jonathan (spelling? Idunno, he calls himself “John” now), who went to my choir when we were reeeeeeallly young, is in Prague with NYU, where he goes to school now (He’s in the Galatin program). OH. MY. GOD. Right?!?! Okay, so we end up at this club and, almost literally 20 seconds later a huge group decides “lets go somewhere else” and we just go. We get to the next place, about 10 people less and they decide “let’s go somewhere else,” so we go around the corner (I have no idea where anyone else is at this point) and, within about 10-15 minutes, the rest of the gang is there and we’re all dancing. This guy from South Africa comes up and starts dancing with me, and while I’m all for getting to know people from the place I’m heading next semester, he…well…um…falls completely in love and wants to take me home and I’m just like, “Ok, buddy, I’m involved with someone right now and I’m very much in love, I’m really sorry. We could get coffee or something, but I’m really not going home with you tonight. I just wanna dance” (this is extremely truncated, of course – the full story is available on request). So, dear god, right? The first night I go out and yet another man from some far off place who is absolutely gorgeous but just not what I’m into at the moment – falls head over heels within 2 FUCKING SECONDS. Why does High School consistently follow me around? It’s flattering but also kind of creepy.

Okay, so anyway, I finally get away and convince some people to head home on the night tram with me (which runs on a different – slower – schedule) and I run off to buy some McDs. Then I walked home from I.P. Pavlova and I was completely fine! Look at me with my badass self (plus, where we live is pretty safe). So, that was the evening. It was a little ridic, but extremely fun and I’m so glad I had people to go out WITH (this being me – the girl who was convinced I wouldn’t make ANY friends).

Um, I think I explained the gay club story to a couple of my friends, but uhhhh a couple of nights before the CLUBBING night a couple of us girls end up at a lesbian night and this club. It was kinda of funny. No wait, it was really hilarious. I was fine with it, too and it was sort of an omen because that club is really close to our house. So, instead of finding a support group I just found a place to party if I ever feel weird or out-of-place.

What can we take away from this weekend? Well, my conclusion was this: in Europe, there are really pretty straight ppl and in America there are really pretty gays.


Friday, September 18, 2009

A short tale about a redheaded star.

From my email this morning:

"Without challenge, Holland, adventure is impossible.
The Universe"


This morning we filmed two things and I got to see a little bit of the footage. Damn, I look better on camera than I though I would. AND people were watching us like we were famous. Doesn't matter we weren't. Those people MADE us famous. BEST. EVER. Today I met the director I'm working with tomorrow and I really like her concept. I decided against going to the park with them, which I feel badly about. I am just SO hungry right now I keeen't stiiiiind it!

So, things are better than before. Still homesick. Kyle: I read your note pretty much every day. Laura: Thank you for the videos, I know they will help. Daddy: Thanks for listening. Mom: Thank you for the email. And everyone: thank you for the facebook love!!!!!!!! It all helps. It's all Love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


They are so laid back here it’s a little ridiculous. I am so used to American schooling where everything has to be the exact way that it is and everything starts exactly on the time it’s supposed to. Here, we only really have one class that is similar to that experience (that’s our main film acting class by the casting director, Nancy Bishop).

Speaking of classes, I had to watch myself on film today. Oh. God. It was so upsetting because I didn’t lok at all how I fancy myself, nor did I look the way I look in pictures or in the mirror. I was so upset, though it didn’t completely affect my self image. That was a new thought. I could walk away thinking, “Wow, that was weird and made me feel ugly for a sec………okay, I’m over it.” I mean, my passport photo that I took for the 3 month tram pass was really pretty and looked nothing like the blob I saw on screen, so obviously, the screen was wrong. OBVIOUSLY.

Before I left, mom said that I was ready for this trip because I had been working on myself for so long. I mean, not that long (this summer), but long enough that she’d mention it and I realized that, in fact, that’s true. I am being conscious of what I’m eating, I’m making sure I get my exercise (although it’s not hard with contact improv in the morning for an hour, running around playing theater games for two hours and then walking around cobblestoned streets ALL. DAY.) and I’m taking care of my mental health by constantly checking in with myself. I feel sort feel invincible, which makes me think of “I Wish I Could Go Back To College,” from Avenue Q. Lolz!


Ok, so today in class we did acrobatics AND fight choreography with absolutely NO instruction. What the fuck? That just makes me feel super uncomfortable. But I like the teacher (I don’t want to get him in trouble) but that was SO wrong AND someone got kicked. It was ridiculous. Like, what do I say? Who do I talk to? I really liked that teacher and I really liked the teacher after him until I realized she basically only had one thing to say ever. Okay, maybe three. But she says them over and over and over. My movement teacher is sexist and I think the general feeling is sexist, which brings me to my next big point which is: I DESPERATELY NEED A GSA. I either need to look up where to find LGBT+ support or I need some kind of therapist while I’m out here because the sexism is high and I don’t feel comfortable being an ‘alternative lifestyle’ kind of gal. Now I’m waiting for someone to serve me (they take their sweet old time here!) … I suppose this is the moment where the rose glasses come off and I’m left with a picture of what things really are. I’m not saying I hate it. I’m just a little bit more skeptical.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Hi friends.

Okay. Um. It's only been like, 2 and 1/2 days and I feel like I've been here for years.

This is what I wrote on the long flight to London:

There is an absolute beauty in the conglomeration of sounds coming from all different looking people on an international flight. It was a little intimidating at first and eventually (after taking a breath) I found it…breathtaking. The British accent is awesome and makes me want to speak like that all the time (possibly live in London?). Anyway, I’m so excited to say my flight is going well and I will be turning off my computer so that I don’t have to worry about it interfering with the flight. Flying scares me enough. Perhaps I’ll take to the pen and paper route. Good old-fashioned fun. See ya in Prague!


It's funny because my acting class (a whopping total of 13 acting students to the 60 some-odd filmmakers and directors) is made up of a huge variety of people from different places (mostly Europe, though) and I've been enjoying their accents as well. A young woman in my program, Jana ("Yah-nah"), who's from Slovakia, has told us on numerous occasions that she loves the American accents. Being around so many different people has made me truly despise it. I'm so excited to be learning a British accent later this semester. Other than that, here are the most exciting things that have happened so. far:

1.) My bags were left in London and one of my two fantastic flatmates, Nora, stayed with me, keeping my mind off it for over 3 hours until they arrived at my apartment with my bags.

2.) I took the bus and the metro fine. I got on the Tram and this Tram Police guy told me that I needed to pay 700Kc (crown, local currency) because I had violated whatever rule he was explaining in Czech. When I freaked out, telling him I had no cash, he and his partner walked me to the nearest ATM. As we walked up a flight of stairs (on our way), the original officer offered to hold my rolling bag. I politely refused (No. I will not let the mean officer who fined a 19-year-old American girl within her first hour in Prague).

3.) I met my fantastic FlatMates (yes, I just said Flatmates!), Nora and Elizabeth, who both possess many familiar characteristics which is making me feel a lot calmer.

4.) I made it to school all by myself (just me, a map and the tram!) on Saturday morning for orientation.

5.) My flatmates (plus a new friend from the acting ensemble, Lucy) took me out to dinner on my birthday AND I drank free wine and beer with my teachers on Saturday night ("Yeah, drink more while it's free!")

6.) I slept in until 5:30 am on saturday night and actually slept through all of last night!!!! That jetlag should be cleared up RRRREAL soon.

7.) I <3>

8.) I love being able to drink with dinner. It's very calming and pleasant.

9.) Prague is gorgeous. We went to see the castle (plus some other monuments) and, by 1:30 into our 2 hour tour, I couldn't digest any more beauty.

10.) Got through classes today. Am loving every minute. I know things may get harder. Today they are A+


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Lube Pro

There are over a dozen anagrams for the letters that "Blog" and "Prague" don't have in common (Blo Praue) and about double the amount of anagrams for the words BLOG PRAGUE.

I'm considering using them as titles for my blogs.

Holycrap I leave tomorrow. Damn.