So I’ve been waddling around Warsaw for the past week. As previously mentioned, I’m here for neither business nor pleasure, for a funeral is neither something to profit from nor derive happiness from. What frightens me about life is not loss or change, it’s how quickly we get over them. Everything is so transient and we are so resilient, it invites the bleak sort of nihilism that is difficult to negotiate once it really takes hold. But in the midst of death and the philosophical inquiries it provokes, we are surrounded by life that is strong and persistent. As a result of my coming to Warsaw, I’ve seen faces that I had previously declared long-gone, dead in their own way, now resurrected. I have…
I’m going to Warsaw for my dad’s funeral. It’s a city so interwoven with his character and history that every other conceivable place in the world would be too wrong and too small for him. I’m glad, too, because it’s the only place I’ve ever felt at home.∗
Krakow: A pretty girl who hates being photographed is photographed.
In the center of Warsaw lies a tiny room. The space in the room is mostly occupied by a large Photoplasticon and a few stools. The viewer sits and the Photoplasticon rotates to show three-dimensional pictures of Warsaw from the years 1915 to 1918. This particular photograph shows market vendors working on Szeroki Dunaj in the year 1916.
Take a break in Warsaw’s botanical gardens.
A visit to the Photoplasticon is a delightfully fitting frame for my next point: Warsaw is changing rapidly and blatantly. There are two types of Warsaw of my own label – “static” Warsaw, or the parts of the city that will never change due to historical significance and the honoring of architectural and aesthetic traditions, and “dynamic” Warsaw, the areas that have adopted the modernism of London and the sleek minimalism of Scandinavia. Pre-war brick structures are now being fitted with glass walls and ceilings. Newer restaurants look like the one pictured; this pizzeria also happens to be named after one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe, Powazki Cemetary, its neighbor across the street. People don’t discard old things in Warsaw; they simply allow them to grow and change with the times. For better or for worse, this mix amounts to quite a cool city.
Behold: the unbelievable beauty of a Russian autumn in Novgorod.
A friend and I were walking along Novgorod’s residential streets. A woman picked us off the street and ushered us into her garden. Tatiana was her name. She gifted us with kilos and kilos of produce: apples, plums, cucumbers, and homemade pickles. We were positively giddy.
She is so uniquely beautiful.
Hand-carved and painted domovoys. They are meant to protect your house. I couldn’t walk away without one.
If I were a guy, I’d move to Russia (but with that logic, Brazil would work too):
A Petersburg kind of night. I don’t want to be anywhere else.