Update of Hooray-ness!

awesome things that have happened:

  • I painted my room! its not quite done yet, but it doesnt look as bad as my ‘art’ usually does! i love random art projects, hooray!

You can only see clearly with your heart…what is important is invisible to the eye…..

this is Fat Jan, my favourite bird that I painted. She is chubby from too many twinkies 🙂

  • they restocked the fridge with blueberries. enough said!

  • our house has an amazing hot tub. I love it. a lot.
  • rhythm lounge on the weekend with a random workshop with thomas and alice mei was so so sweet! – its ridiculous how many dance superstars are around the place all the time here!
  • have already finished all my workshift for the week, woop! 🙂
  • have plans to build a loft for my bed, go dancing 5 nights this week, and finish my assignment early.
  • i got fro yo on the weekend. i am fat, and happy.
  • I had a LOVELY yontef dinner with Allison and Paul, and Viv and Howard for Rosh Hashana. Happy New Year everyone! xxxxxxxxxx Shana Tova Umetuka.
  • Today it is a month since I left for the second time. I wish I could stay here a year, not just a semester. it is WONDERFUL.
  • I got a love package of tim tams and chocolate teddies in the mail. I distributed some to the other two ozzies here, but the rest are mine mine mineeeeee…. 🙂 *jealously hoardes tim tams*
  • I am going to try blues dancing again tonight. this is its last chance!!!
  • I went to my Film DeCal class. we watched Citizen Kane and then discussed it for ten minutes. I get University credit for that! AWESOME! 😀

thats about all that is interesting at the moment! lots of love to everyone, thankyou to Zoltan for the marvelous postcard!

Now I should go to class 🙂

x’s and o’s!

Sunday Night Shenaigans….

So last night we got a little bored…?

David Spinning up a storm…

and me!!!

Brianna, after playing Kings Cup.

yes, yes that is our house’s giant salad bowl 🙂

Trying to do too much!

Oh, the magic of procrastination! Lets tell you all some Vivi-related-news!

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the sun on Lower Sproul learning a Hip Hop routine for an audition to a dance team I had no intention of joining, and now I resemble a tomato. It was fun, but I am hopeless at Hip Hop. Luckily, however, better dancing was to be had last night! I decided to skip CZ’s first giant House party (with outside guests invited) to go dancing at the Rhythm Lounge in Redwood city. it was great! Carla Heiney (who runs it) had just got married so they were celebrating. she was really shiny and glamorous! and they had a welcome dance for me, and it was really nice 🙂

A wonderful thing is that I’m getting to know lots of people in the dance scene here, so am slowly feeling more comfortable. I can actually chill out an be my silly self and not worry! phew!

(two of my new dancing friends, who make Michael and I’s colossus attempt look like childs play! they DEMOLISHED everything on the table!)

In America, they bring you refills of EVERYTHING, even hot chocolate! (mum, I had the strongest hot chocolate in EXISTACE. I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes afterwards!)

I’ve had my first week of classes! I’m taking a college writing course; creative non-fiction, an English course about race, ethnicity and creative writing, which has sparked LOTS of contentious discussion (my teacher for that is so funny! he said he runs the class on creative writing and race because he thinks race is taboo and therefore sexy :)) and a class on musical theater in American history. (YAY! “what never?! no never! what never!? well… hardly ever!~!! he is hardly ever sick at sea!” *minces around like the captain of the HMS pinafore*)

they are all great, but as well as that, I am taking two DeCal subjects (subjects taught by Grad students). one is a journalism on film class, and the other is a HARRY POTTER CLASS. oh yes. I get university credit for discussing Harry Potter, going on a field trip to see the 7th movie part 1, and playing land quidditch! I can let out my inner HP nerd for two whole hours every week! YAY 🙂

also, I decided on a whim to audition for the University chorus, and got in! they are SO good, im SO excited. they are really serious, and the teacher wants me to go to a supplement voice class, which is exciting, as i’ve never had vocal training properly before! also, I might go to a beginner ballet class run at the university.

OOH. ALSO! I am going to be TEACHING at Berkeley!!! CRAZY! They have a swing dance DeCal, and I’m teaching classes on solo jazz movement and Lindy Hop in it! so I am officially teaching a university course!!! as well as teaching dance for the first time!!! woop!!! 😀 😀 :D!!!

SO. if you haven’t already got the gist of this, I have CLEARLY already bitten off way more than I can chew. Uni is hard here, its like school. they give us homework every day, and make sure we did the reading. its just as well things are so so interesting here, or it would be seriously annoying already. 🙂

other than that, many wonderful things have happened, like, I am learning to cook all sorts of new things in our industrial kitchen! I can poach an egg! also, a friend drove me down to a giant junk store called urban ore the other week, and I bought a super cheap couch! we had to totally revamp the room to accommodate it, but it looks shmick, or as my roommate Olga would say, tight/badass. 🙂 also, I have become a drug dealer.

STAM, lol, just checking to see who was still reading ;D…!

in funny news, the Party that I skipped last night went full over capacity by 11.30 pm. they stopped letting people in, so the rowdy crowd outside got really angry, and bum rushed the door! someone pulled the fire alarm and now my house isn’t allowed to have out of house parties till January, because the cops came an gave them an Exhibit A. I missed all the drama (not sure if that is funny, or annoying), but am disappointed, as apparently they have to cancel the house’s notorious stripper party which was going to be in like a month. boo! ah well….

I’m going to leave it there, so as not to bore you/procrastinate TOO much, but a shout out to lovely Kerryn and Bonita, both of whom have admirably succeeded in turning 21! love you girls! and am sad to miss out on celebrating with you!

now I wish you’d all just be sensible already and come hang out with me on the 300’s roof. I’ll be up there for about an hour. who’s in?

xxxx

Settle, Gretel…

you know, I’m rather comfortable here…. the food is excellent, there is always entertainment, classes are quite awesome so far (I started Thursday), and all the while, Australia seems to be going to hell in a hand basket! (politics wise, at least)

not very much incentive to come home. no siree.

My agenda today is an interesting one, but has been stomped on thus far by the fact that it is really quite hard not to stay up until 3 am talking to the people who pretty much seem to be constantly hanging around in our common room.

for the meantime, things that have happened are;

I moved in to my new and proper room for the semester…. things are in DRAWS. it is MAGICAL!

behold, my corner of the room thus far (I plan to paint it all different colours. if anyone has any ideas, stupid or otherwise, let me know :))

glow sheep are up!

as are love letters that I have been sent…!

and this is the other sie of my space. check the awesome hat that I got in the free pile!

a great thing that this house has is the free pile. They’re all about the recycling, the reusing, the not throwing things or people away. So whenever you need something, the first place to go is not Target, or Walgreens! No sir! Go free pile hopping! Every co-op has one. Trash or treasure, opp shop style, they can be alternately awesome and completely unhelpful. Im simply pretty sure that they will help me accumulate clothes quicker and more cheaply than I had ever thought possible!

Today I went to Lindy on Sproul, Cal’s weekly swing dancing event. interesting, dancing on concrete, but lots of wonderful people there! I immediately set to work teaching them things like “TOV“, how the opposite to concrete is anti-concrete, and “hooray!”

they perhaps didnt learn as quickly as S.C.U.M* would have, but they were most enthusiastic, so joy abounded! Also, I have had an offer to help teach the Berkeley swing dancing subject, also known as a Decal Course. isn’t that ridiculous! they get ACTUAL UNIVERSITY CREDIT to learn swing dancing. as a SUBJECT. the jealousy! if ONLY! amazing 🙂

later on: my first cleaning challenge…. the BATHROOMS. *dramatic music, wails of terror*.

I got my scrubbedy dub on 🙂

and fulfilled a challenge from home :D!

see if you can spot my excellent sharpie pen work! 🙂

so the bathroom is sparkly, and tonight we have room to room! this is a party where everyone opens up their rooms with a different theme, and people go from floor to floor, acting like responsible adults, meeting each other in a non rowdy and drunken way. then we all sit down and have tea and biscuits that are not dodgy!

hooray! now I’m going to go make some jelly (jello) shots 🙂

if anyone wants to send me anything, the official address is:
Vivi Kalman, room 301, Casa Zimbabwe, 2422 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA, USA 94709

*Swing Crew UniMelb

My drug den home :)

so here is a story that I was told today about Casa Zimbabwe, aka, the drug den…..
long, long ago (last fall) the residents of CZ were divided up into two sects. the democratic-y sect, and the anarchists. the anarchists would sit on the smokers balcony hating life and being hardcore and organizing parties for the house. the other group would go about things pretty much regularly, partying here, going to uni, getting drunk there. All in a days work.

Each group had its affiliates; the people who would vote for its policies at council meetings, support it in house decisions, hang out with it at parties. Much like a mucked up situation in Australia that I know of, there were those independent parties, free rangers, one might call them, who swung from group to group, never realizing their affect on the politics of the co-operative drug den.

Then came a new group decision. the anarchists put forth the motion that CZars should be able to break bottles and glass in the common living space. If any member wanted, they should be able to smash a bottle, and create mess. or chaos. which is what the anarchists believed in. Free autonomy. The ability to do whatever one pleases, as members of a free society and democratic house.

However, there was conflict. the liberal co-opers did not agree with the obvious, nay, necessary notion of broken glass shards all over the floors of their kitchen. They put forward arguments that people could get hurt, that glass is indeed, rather sharp, and that smashing and breaking things promoted violence in the house. These opposing views had house members at odds with each other for months. Bottles went unbroken, floors remained suspiciously clean, but workshifts too, were done slackly by the anarchists, who felt crushed by a higher authority who did not care for their needs.

eventually, the co-opers of yore (last fall) came to the mutually beneficial agreement to reserve an area of the courtyard specifically for the smashing of bottles. Many co-opers will go there daily to get their smash on. It is a much beloved facility that Casa Zimbabwe has to offer.  And those who do not partake in activities involving broken glass do not have to be involved, which keeps a light an cheery atmosphere for all!

isn’t that wonderful?


This is how things work in the house I have moved into. Co-opers put forward motions, about aspects of life they feel need changing, for the good of all. Eventually, we come to group decisions about them. As well as cooking and cleaning co-operatively, people try to live co-operatively, and that involves some serious politics. better than anything I think I could learn in a political science class 🙂

Joking aside, though, this is a wonderful place. I shit you not that that story is 100% true (with my dramatic embellishments, of course), but this is a colourful, loud, awesome place to be. Right across from campus. And the community feel and culture of the place is unlike anything i’ve ever experienced before. It’s run by students, therefore noone here is older than, say, 26. very different from kibbutz, with many a responsible adult deciding what is right, and what should go. The system here is constantly changing, and adjusting as people move in and out. First council meeting is tonight, and then I am signing up for IKC, intensive kitchen clean, my first shift.

YAY!


p.s. congratulations to all my lovely AUSTRALIAN JITTERBUG CHAMPIONS! you rock my socks. especially one particularly awesome SHOWCASE event. 😀 😀 😀 😀 :D!

Sleepless, in Seattle

I love Seattle. I could live on Capitol Hill. it is beautiful and green and well thought out, with views, and parks and dancing and meteors.

and they dance FAST. brilliantly. until 5 in the morning. oh yes, I was sleepless. dead on my feet, in complete and utter heaven. happy like a bee in honey.

not to mention it was 40 degrees sunny the entire weekend. not ideal dance weather for a city which should promise super amounts of gumboot rain. everyone looked like sea monsters approximately 30 seconds after they entered those sweltering ballrooms. and even then, the band and djs were merciless. 200 bpm an average pace. STFO heaven for Vivi.

the live music made my weekend. dancing to live music is so much more real. It is just so much more… dancing! the give and take of energy between dancers and a band playing the music you want to hear makes the room feel a little electric. zingy, in the tips of your fingers.

But I especially love Seattle because of the people. what a warm, welcoming, down to earth bunch. I felt so immediately at home, and most importantly, able to chillax and be my wacky self 😀 a far cry from LA where the number of superstars and competitions lent a tense atmosphere to the dancing. this was just about the lindy hop…. and boy can they hop!!

so three days of intense dancing flew by, leaving me sleep deprived, on another plane with muscles not talking to me….

but here I am in the east bay of San Francisco!

expect many a post on the beauty of Berkeley and how ridiculous this whole shenanigan is, but for now,

here is our stadium…

and here is a group of us relaxing n the sun in front of the Campanile (giant clock tower thing with views like heaven.)

Berkeley is something else…

so, on another note, they have this idea in the bay area that science learning should be joyful and fun. (Harris: “but science IS fun!!!”) they express this in the form of several museums around the place, in which they teach weird and wacky magical/science things in awesome ways. I play in there for hours.

today we hiked up a RIDICULOUS hill, 3 new friends and I, to this museum. I will have thighs of STEEL upon my return, I swear it. the landscape here never considered a naive australian tourist, used to miles of flat flat flat.

one of my new friends is Nathan, whose favorite sandwich is chicken salad. the other one is Joy, with whom the reason for my friendship is self explanatory 🙂

on the way up the hill, I found cherry plums, fresh off a tree, and nearly broke something scrambling to pick them. they were warm in the sun. there was juice on my fingers. 🙂

A second attempt!!

so I think i’ve jinxed myself up and down….: its friday the 13th, I slept through my alarm, my vital visa form almost did not arrive, I told a whole lot of people that i’d probably be back in 2 weeks, and to top it all off, I walked the dog last night and forgot to being a plastic bag, so was unable to pick up some dog business, so major bad karma as well as jinxing.

but my theory is, I am currently SO jinxed up, that the jinxing has counteracted itself and I am back to neutral. yeah? does that make NO sense whatsoever?! I thought so 😀 hooray!!!

as much as I whinged the whole week, it was really wonderful to see you all again, especially it was amazing to spend so much time with the family. being together really makes me happy, and even though it was under terrible circumstances, I feel very blessed to have you all.  and that goes to all the friends who showed themselves to be so much more than expected this week.

Zaida Arie taught me to keep taking on new challenges and to keep learning new things about life and yourself even after everyone else seems to have stopped or slowed down.  so America should freaking watch out! (in a non threat-to-homeland-security-way.) last time I was nervous to go, but right now, GET ME ON TO THAT PLANE. 😀

other than that, heaps of excellent things came of coming home, full list to come later (or likely, not, as I hopefully wont have time to write it.)

but in the end, nothing is really lost, Im still making it to the Seattle Lindy Exchange tonight!!!

YAY!!! what could be better?!?!!!!!