A little Gogol before bed

Had my second final of the semester today – ‘Fundamental Steps in Western Literature’, basically we have spent the year reading A LOT of classics, discussing and analyzing them. Among the texts we read: The Odyssey, The Iliad, parts of the Bible, parts of the New Testament, parts of the Qur’an, The epic of Gilgamesh, The Peloponese Wars, Plato and Aristotle, The Divine Comedy, Decameron, The Prince, The Canterbury Tale, Don Quixote and King Lear – and this list is still missing a few titles! Did I mention that was some crazy schedule? It was. Utterly crazy. But I enjoyed every minute of it. I think taking a course like this in University is a chance of a lifetime to read these ancient classics, which otherwise I would probably never have gotten around to, despite the best of intentions.

I spent the couple of hours prior to the test sitting in the cafeteria, sipping coffee and doing one last, slightly frantic revision. The cafeteria is on the ground floor, and has large windows looking out, onto a small garden. The sunlight was streaming in, and a tabby cat sprawled himself on the grass right outside the window. Don’t you find cat-watching to be such a stress relieving activity? It certainly made me smile.

As I studied I listened to my new favourite thing – instrumental mixes on 8track, these consist both of classical music, and contemporary music from movie soundtracks – Harry Potter has a fantastic score, and apparently so do a lot of other movies! The score in movies was never something that I paid much attention to, but now I am falling in love with these mixes. They give me a magical feeling, as though for a few hours I am transported with them to a magical world; I sit and study and imagine that I am in the library at Hogwarts. Well, I always was such a Hermione.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

1) http://8tracks.com/theelephantschild/make-believe – short and sweet

2) http://8tracks.com/thegirlnamedjedrzejko/ultimate-study-playlist-i – very long, six hours, I think? perfect for a long, serious study session!

3) http://8tracks.com/mhaigheo/hogwarts-library – this is the first of a three-part series called Hogwarts Library, just the name makes me happy 🙂 it is ultra short but I like hearing it on repeat

I finished the book I was currently reading on the train back home, ‘The Art of Hearing Heartbeats’, by Jan-Philipp Sendker. It was a wistful love story, light and sad at the same time. A very quick read, perfect for reading after a strenuous test. It dealt with that old idea of true love, absolute love, transcending time and distance. The only power stronger than fear. 

The next book I have picked out to read is the aforementioned Gogol, or more precisely – Petersburg Tales, a collection of short stories including such classics as The Nose, Diary of Madman and so on. I have never read Gogol before, but he is considered to be a genius, so I am excited to see how I will like it!

It is past midnight and everyone is sleeping, the AC is turned on, transforming my room into an icy cold haven (it is dreadfully hot and humid in Israel this time of year), curled in the thick blanket, my furry white cat sitting in my lap and purring, now is the perfect time to read and dream of Russia, and bid you adieus! 

All my love, Leore-Joanne


Dreams coing true – going on safari

A little hint as to what I’m going to be doing this upcoming September!

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

My heart is sick for places I have never known – Oxford, Africa, South America. There are places I’ve been dreaming of for years. Some of them I shall never reach, because they only exist in the land of imagination [Narnia, Hogwarts, Lyra’s world, Middle Earth], and some of them just don’t exist anymore [the Victorian period, carnivals in the 1930’s, 1940’s England], but those places that DO exist suddenly seem almost within reach, because I am travelling to Kenya this September! For a safari! I am going to see the Serengeti, lions and leopards, elephants, chimpanzees, wildebeest (isn’t that name just plain romantic?), I am going to see the people of the Masai tribe, feel the African sun, go on adventures and go to sleep in a lodge, in the middle of a reserve, right next to a watering hole, so that I can watch the animals come to drink right from my veranda!

I am so excited that I simply cannot put it into words. Yesterday I was commuting back home on the train after a test, I was listening to my ipod and ‘The Circle of Life’ from The Lion King came up, one of my absolute favourite songs as a child. I upped the volume and listened to it with my eyes closed, my chin in my hands. The sounds surrounded me and I became so ecstatic with the music and the thoughts of Africa that I was smiling and tearing up at the same time. The people sitting opposite me must have thought I was crazy, but I was just so touched, so excited, feeling all my dreams slowly coming true, happiness flooded me with a rush od adrenalin, as it sometimes does.

I have been nursing the idea of becoming a wildlife vet for a few years now, and before that of working in some national reserve in Africa, and BEFORE that, as a child, my dream was to do research as a biologist in the jungles of Africa.

Just a week before my parents told me that they are indeed going to Africa, but also taking me and my brother with them, I was standing with my boyfriend at the African exhibition at the Jerusalem Zoo, and asking him how he would like to live in Africa for a year, sometime in the far future. I was looking at the animals and dreaming. Dreaming.

I have been dreaming for years, I’ve always been a dreamer. But in the past year I have started taking responsibility, and turning my dreams into reality. It is a long long road, and it doesn’t always go smoothly, and there have been many a bump in that road, I have certainly not taken the direct route, I took “the road less travelled”, and it will take several more years to reach all of my expectations and dreams, but it is well worth it, and this trip just helps me remember what it is that I am striving for.

Leore Joanne.