New York

My 10 am train glides through the french countryside, speeding through farms, cities and expansive fields. My gaze catches glimpses of a blurred world where only in an instant everything is clear. I breathe deeply and think of how I will soon be landing at the JFk airport and it’ll be as though I had never left New York.

For my last month in France I felt a longing to be home. In the same instant, as I finally made my way through customs to board my 9 hour flight, I sensed a deep appreciation for the world I merged with and knew that by leaving this place I would grow to love it even more.

Traveling abroad was one of the most life enriching choices, propelling me to further analyze what it means to live in the awareness of now while addressing the mortality of ones memories. Back in my hometown, I feel my past experiences blending into the moment. It’ll take a few times of saying “oui” and “merci” before I begin to say “yes” and “thank you”.


Leaflets and blades of grass catch the morning frost, holding it as a sign of winter and new holiday wonder. Each season here leaves its mark on the town where decades of tradition perspire down each street.

With only 7 days left abroad, I spent my Saturday letting the cold encase my hands and ears as I walked through the city center. From the start, I had the intent to sit down with a giant cup of hot chocolate and some pastries, letting the sweet warmth loosen my body from the frigid weather.


Each gulp rushed through me, dilating my pupils and pulling me further down into my chair. With a deep inhale my mind knew that this feeling wouldn’t have been possible without the cold. Experience makes us more keen to understanding each moment – appreciating life and the process of sensations. As I wandered back into the winter day, my mind was in a haze of sugar induced lull.

I was walking towards the bus stop as I saw my line leave and because of a bus strike this weekend the public transport is sparse – which left me stranded for 45 minutes. I was more than lucky to be left behind or else I would have missed a wonderful musical street performance…

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…and some more winter market fun

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Fêtes des lumières à Lyon (Festival of Lights)

For 4 days each year a few weeks before Christmas, Lyon becomes one of the brightest and liveliest cities in France. Millions of people crowd the streets to experience the Festival of Lights.

Buildings become canvases for dancing projections that play upon the architectural design, telling stories and showing off different artistic pursuits. Savory scents saturate the air as vendors rush to sell hot wine, chocolate and food. No matter where you wander you will most likely see a light show or some fireworks.


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The Holidays

The town has morphed into a bright swirl of lights and ribbons as the people prepare for Christmas. Though Thanksgiving truly remains an american tradition.

I celebrated turkey day by making myself a very basic dinner.


(Potatoes and veggies)

Memories of the yearly family feast flooded my mind and I felt a very strong nostalgia and longing to be home again. And although some knew what the holiday was, I couldn’t forget a day where food was consumed until it became painful.

I’m extremely thankful for everything in my life – my family, my friends, this opportunity – The list is infinite.

A wonderful complement to this American Holiday is the yearly “Marché de Noël” (Christmas Market).



At this market one can find vendors selling hot wine, churros, pretzels, sandwiches, candy, chocolate, beer, toys, pottery, vodka (there was a whole stand dedicated to russian vodka) and so much more.

During the day it’s quaint

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And at night, it’s stunning

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The town illuminates when the sun goes down








Victor Hugo

Known by some of his works such as Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables, Victor Hugo is one the many great writers from the 19th century who was Born in Besançon and well regarded for his political involvement through writing.

To indulge in some history I decided to visit his birth home which is called “Maison natale de Victor Hugo”. There, one will find two floors of busts, plaques, books, and interactive screens to learn about his life and influence.

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La Langue: La fenêtre de l’esprit (Language: Window of the Mind)

Quick clicks and whispers shake the air; each individual phoneme – sound, containing the intent of a want to communicate. Pervasive and unavoidable, language is life’s attempt to translate ideas into tangible, shareable meaning.

Being in the process of perfecting my French communication each day, I feel the immensity of language as a whole. This is to say – the history, the morphology, the subtleness in sounds and the intent put into each word and sentence. As an international student I’m constantly exposed to the worlds diverse culture – hearing Arab, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, German, etc. Every time a foreign tongue graces my perceptive bubble I become attentive to its noise because I know that it has a rich purpose for its existence. Like music, someone had the want to create it. I fall in love with each exotic utterance, desiring to know of its secret inner workings.

Truly, language is an ever growing puzzle. Of all the times I’ve failed at communicating a concept in French and especially in English, I couldn’t help but question – Does language ever capture the true intent of what’s trying to be exchanged?

I think back to the philosopher Donal Davidson who proposed that metaphors can only be taken in their literal meaning and not metaphorical. In a nut shell Davidson said that because a metaphor (Juliet is the sun, John is a pig, etc.) relies on the meaning of the individual word used to construct itself, any meaning beyond the literal meaning is subjective. So meaning in metaphors is never truly shared the same amongst each person. To derive meaning beyond the individual words (Sun, Pig, etc.) is to ignore the inherent meaning in these words and assign an entirely new purpose for them.

There’s a lot more to Davidson’s work but this one idea has had me questioning the meaning of individual words themselves. Is there really such a thing as literal meaning in words and does anyone ever truly comprehend the meaning of what’s uttered by someone else?

Sure, when someone mentions the word table they have an approximation of the idea – used for eating, studying, legs, square, round… BUT each image of this word is entirely different depending on who hears it. One person may see their grandmas ceramic round table they used draw on as a kid or the most recent experience with something table-like.

So this beckons the inquiry of how well we can approximate what’s being said by someone else.

As much as language has its sociological roots, its use by the individual brings a very personal and subjective element to its construction. More than a system of cultural exchange, language is insight into the workings of a mind.

“Metaphor is the dreamwork of language, and, like all dreamwork, its interpretation reflects as much on the interpreter as on the originator” (Donald Davidson 1978)


Amsterdam/Paris Vacation Part 2

Paris is a wonderful city, though less structurally organized than Amsterdam. The metro and a decent map will be your best friend.

Sacré Coeur – located in Montmarte,_Paris

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Other parts of Paris

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This Museum is immense, requiring at least two or three full days to experience most of the art and shows.

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Lucky for us, we arrived just in time to experience a really huge chocolate/dessert fair. Two floors, hundreds of chocolatiers, bakers, desserts, food. By the time we left, we swore off chocolate for at least one full day…

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Finally, the most recognizable symbol of Paris.

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Amsterdam/Paris Vacation Part 1

Amsterdam is a beautifully designed, easily navigable and truly enjoyable place holding some of the best gems of scenery.



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There’s an amazing selection of places to eat. Unfortunately these are the only two photos I managed to take. My excitement made it hard to take pictures. As you can see in the second photo, I had a mid realization moment that I should document it.


(Waffle with vanilla ice cream and caramel)



(Crepe with eggs, cheese, and veggies)





The Amsterdam Library

One of the largest libraries in Europe  spanning 10 floors with an art exhibition room, a cafeteria and millions of books, cds, movies.

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Musée du temps (Museum of Time)

A big life motif, time has found its appreciation in this museum. Reserved at first, I had no idea as to what I would find except a bunch of clocks. Though, some of the coolest sculptures and paintings are found in La Musée du temps.



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Stars like eyes, the uncertain light plays with the future,
Stretching from the past to rest in the moment.
It sees its humanity settled between life and death with the old and the young.
To sleep in this house, this bed, is an eternity that calls softly.

Bien Urbain – The graffiti of Besançon

Splashed onto walls and etched into foundation, Bien Urbain is a modern artistic movement in Besançon. Some pieces are dark while others are a bright surrealism. Below, you’ll find some art and reactions to my favorite pieces. Enjoy!


Dream like bodies are drained upwards swimming towards some unseen destination. The nakedness and the black and white color might represent desire – always wanting to move in some direction “upwards”.








“I would like no more than to never work”


Phrases like this are hidden all around the city. Another one of my preferred pieces, this etching and the intention behind all the other sentences expresses an honesty within our selves that one needs to be willing to discover.

The truth is hard to look at – and even harder to find.




Originally this ditch was meant to be something – maybe a building or a park. But for reasons I couldn’t understand the construction was cancelled.

“Pardon” was written jokingly to mean “Excuse me for this.”



A façade on the side of this building.




The artist who created this is called 108 (Cent Huit)



Created as a homage to old advertisements, it translates as “Painting the old”



I love this one a lot. The houses are Asian inspired. My thoughts? I don’t really know yet…




“In fact, I’m truly superficial”




“OH” – 108

I find this to be really fascinating and cool. To make this sound in French it’s necessary to have a consonant after the vowel. If it was just O it would be succinct. Though, with the H to cap it, it draws out the sound to be more like “Ohh”.
I see the colors as the connection in sound, starting with a hard vowel and ending in a voiceless consonant that pulls the sound a little further.


Thanks for reading!