Archive for November, 2010

DAY 26.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Car in hotel yard

I travel to Washington D.C this morning. I feel immediately at home, because there are bicyclists! I go straight to Tessa’s house who lives in Mount Pleasant. Her grandparents were illegal immigrants in US. I got in contact with Tessa trough her mother Lisa who lives in Colorado. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a possibility to travel to Colorado so this was a very good opportunity to meet Tessa who can share the family story with me.

Tessa tells me that she wonders sometimes why everything has to be bigger and bigger in US: cars, houses etc. This is something I think about constantly, too. For example, I couldn’t manage here without a credit card. I couldn’t travel at all, because all the tickets are paid by credit. I suppose this is the same with everything else if you would live here. Credit credit credit.

Tessa’s daughter is also very interested in using my video camera and we make a princess and mom’s feet videos…

DAY 25.

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

I’ve been on the road (and sky and sea) for 26 days altogether now. Airplane, ship, trains, subways, places to stay, to eat, everyday, surprises, people and locations.
I have 17 days left. No days off, new people, excitement, energy drained from me. And received.

I entered to the world of Charles – a 3D pop artist who lives in New Rochelle. I’m amazed by the colours and details of his work. We discuss about Finland, his mother is Finnish. But also about art world. He is worried about young artists not understanding that the art world is commercial. An artist is a business and it should be run that way. Charles has been very successful. Many galleries around the world represent him and he also designs posters etc. for big events.

DAY 24.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I meet Seija and her family husband Donald and daughter Jennie. They live in a very nice apartment in upper Manhattan. Seija is an immigrant from Finland and she also came by a ship – just like me. I interview her as well as little bit her daughter who has a fresh, young person’s insight to immigration: she doesn’t think about who is from where and why, because all of her friends are immigration generations anyway. Donald thinks that the laws should be obeyed. And the borders should be controlled more carefully to prevent illegal immigrants entering the country.

Seija tells a funny story about Jenny’s and her brother’s childhood. She always told them that she is an alien. But the children totally disagreed: Our mother is not from outer space!

I’ve been very delighted that people tend to think I’m younger than I really am. But I also notice it bugs me a little. I mean when I’m asked if I know what is bar mitzvah or who is Annie Leibowits, how young (or ignorant for that matter) people think I might be! This amuses me.

DAY 23.

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

How to become an American?

I go to Ellis Island to visit the museum. It is located in former immigration centre. So many people came to US trough Ellis Island. The building was even abandoned for a while, but is totally renovated and is a home of a very coherent collection of immigration history. In addition to the collection, there are photographs exhibited about the building when it was empty. Very romantic decadence. There is a honorary wall on the yard where immigrants’ names are printed. I find names of some relatives and also Anja Kortman’s name and Lisa Gastrom’s grandmother’s name.

Statue of Liberty is on the way but it fails to impress me. My idea was to film it as an iconic symbol of liberty for all those immigrants who came to US trough Ellis Island. I can’t get right images. It might be that the statue is in so may movies and photographs that it doesn’t matter anymore what kind of picture I take or if I see it in real life. Of course, it is very beautiful.

DAY 22.

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Embraced by USA

I spent the day with Elsa and David. They really made a New York City experience! This was a nice day off from work. We went to MoMa and then, to a Broadway show in the evening. US embraced me (see pic above by David). I don’t know how I will pay my depth back to the world. Elsa and David have been so good to me as so many other people who have been helping me on my journey. It is unbelievable. I feel I’m making friends even though it usually happens very slowly with me.

Elsa is happy living in New York because it has been and still is the melting pot of nationalities. You can hear all the languages on the streets. You become American when you have so many nationalities in your background that you can’t count them anymore. We had a chat also with Elsa’s housekeeper Sylvia whose from Albania. She thinks that she can’t live anywhere else than New York City. This is where all the energy and aspiration is. NYC is unique.

I’ve been thinking that US is a young country as it is but it also acts like a youngster. It’s strong, courageous, ambitious and full of energy. But it has also the illusion of a youngster that think they are all-powerful. Old and weak don’t count.

Times Square was a true American experience. It was too much light, too many people, too many everything. Fantastic!