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.