Friday, January 2, 2009

new beginnings: semper augustus.

in the spirit of the shedding-of the-old, embracing-of-the-new attitude of the season, i'm going to largely (but not completely) abandon my journaling here on of orchids and such. this is part of a new year shift that began for me earlier this year that i'd like to continue with into 2009. this shift includes reading more, writing more letters, being more intentional about investing in tangible relationships wherever in the world i might find myself, and generally spending less time piddling around on the web. i've begun a stripped-down variation over at wordpress, which will be less commentary about me and my life and more about linking to current events news, other blogs, and miscellaneous interestings. it's also possible that i'm going to begin writing literature reviews for captain obvious, in an effort to get his indie kids into reading books of substance, so keep your eyes peeled there as well.

i'll leave you with the tracklist for this year's mix. i've titled it 'semper augustus', in honor of a beautiful, extinct flower, and maybe for other reasons as well... i'll be making the mix available online for select friends and relations.
to those of you i love and cherish, enjoy.


1. "Walking" - The Dodos
2. "Souveniers" - Architecture in Helsinki
3. "Wedding Dress" - Samamidon
4. "Oh, La" - Ra Ra Riot
5. "Blood" - The Middle East
6. "Whole Wide World" - Wreckless Eric
7. "Alone Again Or" - Love
8. "Anna" - Hello Saferide
9. "Eraser" - No Age
10. "Ain't No Sunshine" - Bill Withers
11. "RoboCop" - Kanye West
12. "California Stars" - Billy Bragg and Wilco
13. "Furr" - Blitzen Trapper
14. "Dreaming of Me" - Depeche Mode
15. "Willow Tree" - Chad VanGaalen
16. "On Tour With Zykos" - Okkervil River
17. "The Modern Leper" - Frightened Rabbit
18. "1981" - The Tough Alliance

Monday, November 3, 2008

l'abri autumn 2008

so it's been rather difficult to get in much blogging time here at l'abri. most of the time i have to pay to use the internet, and i'm intentional and brief when i do get on this thing. however, i've spent this afternoon uploading some photos for your viewing pleasure.

my time here at l'abri has been (insert a thousand adjectives) eventful. i've come through a difficult time of work and vocation exploration, and now have begun reading books i want to read and having conversations i want to have, as opposed to feeling like i need to do these things (like i did when i first came). i think i've become less stressed and better at holding things in tension. if nothing else (and there are other things), i've learned this. now i'm looking forward to going home, but trying not to give too much head space to this and live here and drink in being here every day until i have to leave. i'm not sure what's next for me, but i think i'm okay with that for now.

sadly my absentee ballot never came in the mail, so i'll have to sit back and watch tomorrow's election unfold without contributing a vote of my own.
lord be with us all.

much love from beautiful switzerland. -b.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mademoiselle DiCristina

Meet Lily Sofia DiCristina. The newest addition to the DiCristina clan.

Lily was born to my brother and sister-in-law just before midnight on Monday, September 15. She weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz. at birth and was 21 inches long. She allegedly has long fingers and a dimple on one side (not sure which one!). Mother and child are healthy, and, as far as I can tell, Mark and Monica are loving being parents (and Mom and Dad, despite the unavoidable reality check, are loving being grandparents!). When I spoke to Mark the other day, he was saying things like "she's really cool", and "I'm not as tired as I thought I'd be." As much as it pains me to be away from family during these first moments of my first niece's life, I'm oh so grateful for the effortlessness of communication. It makes her delicacy, newness and beauty not seem quite so far away. What a miracle her life, and likewise all life, is. Even though I haven't held her, heard her, or really even seen her, I feel a gush of love for her. Mark, Michael and I never had a sister, and my parents never a daughter, so Ms. Lily will undoubtedly be one cherished and special little girl.

Here's to two proud parents, two proud grandparents, and two unspeakably proud uncles. Here's to new life, and to you, Lily Sofia. I love you and can't wait to meet you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

my niece.

so as a result of my decision to stay on at l'abri as a helper for the fall term means that i won't be stateside for the birth of my neice, lily sophia dicristina. this is a big moment for my family (the first child of my brothers and i), and it pains me knowing that i won't be around for lily's arrival. i suppose i'm doing some pre-grieving and public acknowledgment that i feel terrible that i will miss the occasion.

the photo above was taken at the mac store in lausanne yesterday. the stupid computer wouldn't let me on the internet except for looking at, so i opened the 'mail' application and downloaded three months worth of emails onto the computer just to read a couple new ones. one of the emails i received was from mark (who, with my sister-in-law, are expecting in september), as he had taken several photos of their handsome pooch arthur with his fancy new camera. i stuck my favorite one on the desktop and smiled.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

greatest show ever: sigur ros for free.

so after my last post i mentioned that i would either be going to see paul simon in montreux or sigur ros in lausanne. several of you asked which show i ended up at, and i'm pleased to say that a friend and i both got into see sigur ros with just one ticket. before i saw them, i would have said that if i could see any band in the world, i'd see sigur ros. thankfully it lived up to my expectations. it was perhaps the best show i've ever been to. it was happy and sad and so beautiful. so here's the scoop:

i drove to lausanne with a friend who has a car, and we were totally lost in the city so we were asking people for directions and no one spoke english. so we ended up asking this guy and he was going to the show, which was crazy because we were on the total opposite end of the town and we'd have never found the venue without dude. we took him in our car and he told us that a friend of his might have a couple tickets. he called and said his friend only had one. so we waited around and a histerical woman sold us a ticket for the original price (60 francs) and waited for dude's friend to show up. ten minutes later his friend called and said his girlfriend would be coming with him and so he didn't have a ticket. mega let down. so we still had only one. we were begging and cajoling the security to just let us in or let us pay ticket price or something, but to no avail. so i told eric to go ahead and go in, and he did. fifteen minutes later he felt bad and came out and asked the security if i could go in if he came out. they reluctantly said yes, so i walked in. and i guess they had a flush of compassion, because they let eric back in after me. so i got in without a ticket to see sigur ros. in switzerland. it was amazing.

arvo part says that music should be thought of more as texture than structure. meaning that it should be a place for people to dwell, not just notes for people to appreciate the theory or aesthetic. i think this is what i like about sigur ros. i have no idea what they're saying, but i can feel the sheer emotion pulsing through so clearly, and it takes me up.

so beautiful.

this is a video of the show i took that night. it's the first couple minutes of 'saeglopur', which is one of my faves. make sure you turn your volume down before you play it, as it was quite loud inside the venue.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


evening at the targets with magda.

another evening at the targets with a friend, curtis, from oklahoma.

one cold, cloudy day.

moonrise over the l'argentine ridge.

afternoon hike at solalex.

my temporary home. taken outside chalet chesalet, where i eat some of my meals.

lovely swiss cows, their bells ringing day and night.

downstairs at farel house, our library/chapel.

taken at la gourmandine the last time i posted. jongmoon (above at right) was teaching everyone a south korean game.

cousin magda! this was taken at the targets the night of her one-year anniversary. we drank ollon's finest pinot noir in memory of joel.

this is the view from my room, the first day i arrived.

so i've decided to stay on at l'abri as a helper for the fall term, which means i won't be back stateside until december. i don't know how it ended up that i came for ten days and will now be staying for six months, but it just did. lots of theology, philosophy, and vocation-specific exploration in the coming months. thanks to everyone for your prayers and well-wishes.

a friend from california has a car here, and this afternoon we're deciding which of two concerts to go to and try and scalp for tickets:

sigur ros in lausanne.
paul simon at the montreaux jazz festival.

my heart hurts at taking one over the other, but we shall see what eventualizes.

i must sign off for now, but i'll post more photos and life commentary soon...

much love, from la suisse.