New career options?

While in Sevilla, i had the opportunity to tour the stunning cathedral with nursemyra.  This breathtaking structure (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), third largest in Europe, behind St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London, is a gothic architectural masterpiece.

One of the main reasons i travel is to broaden my perspective on the human condition.  And one area where perspective is helpful for me is “old”.  As in “what is old?”  In the United States, “old” is relatively new in the grand scheme of things.  A house over 200 years old can be named an “historic” site, whereas the same house in Europe would simply be considered a “fixer upper”. 

My trip to Cambodia last year, which included a visit to Angkor Wat, helped me internalize the concept of “old” in terms of human civilization.  The visit to the Cathedral in Sevilla also helped, as the structure was begun in the 12th century, first as a mosque, and later evolving into a cathedral during the 15th-16th centuries.

Based on a brief conversation with the lovely nursemyra during our visit, i came to realize that Australia shares the architectural newness with the United States.  As we gazed in awe at incredibly detailed, ancient carvings inside the cathedral:

nursemyra: That’s fucking old…

daisyfae:  Yeah… really fucking old…

It was shortly thereafter that we decided we should write our own tour book. 

Coming soon to a bookseller near you: “nursemyra and daisyfae’s guide to really old shit”.

15 thoughts on “New career options?

  1. That’s so cool!

    It really is all about perspective. I live in New England now which seems ancient to me because I’m from California where old is anything from 1940s.

  2. Ah yes. The “human condition”. Growing up in Canada, and well before I was even aware of things like urban renewal, I found everything around me to be “new”. Buildings and such where I lived were not all that old, architecturally speaking. My early impressions of the city of my birth (Sudbury, Ontario) were that that place was old. My grandparents lived in a “creepy old house”.

    Then I moved west (still at home with the folks) to northwestern Alberta. The area where we lived was pioneered in the 19 teens and twenties and had only had electricity since the ’50’s. The only “old” thing around there were some weatherbeaten farmhouses and granaries.

    Spent some time in Calgary – a modern city of concrete, steel and glass.

    Then I took a job in southeast Kansas. What a new perspective. I think I came across as a little insulting to the locals with my observation that everything around there looked “really old”. (In retrospect, I was confusing “old” with “rundown”.) I remember being amazed and dismayed in talking to one co-worker who told me his ancestors came to the area in the 1850’s. Amazed that his family had been in North America so long, dismayed that he didn’t really know where they came from. (My own families – maternal and paternal – had emigrated to Canada after the turn of the twentieth century. I’m 3rd generation on one side, 4th on the other.)

    Then I had the opportunity to travel to Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Austria) and found out what “old” was. For instance, when I visited, the town or city of Stade, Germany had recently celebrated its 1,000th year in existence. Of course, the buildings there are built to last. A point brought home by a German colleague who spent some time in Alberta and was a little disgusted by our wood frame building techniques. He regarded that as little better than using match sticks. The only thing I could counter with was “well, at least we don’t have/need hundred year mortgages…”

    Sorry for the long comment. Good story, though. I find the image of you two gals bantering “really fucking old” back and forth a bit amusing.

  3. Daisy Fae,

    Unfortunately the cathedrals in Europe are empty and the Islamic jihadists are exercising their muscle. France is gone, the UK will soon be next. The Cathedral in Sevilla will most likely be a mosque again……..

    At least Australia has the hangy down things to say to the extremists that if you don’t like it, leave.

    Ok, so I’m a right wing nut job, but I would be interested in your tour book of really old stuff–though I do like air conditioning, large rooms and large American cars…….

    I do enjoy your blogging, though……….

  4. I appreciate succinct and incisive critiques. I am so glad that you and Nursey enjoyed the cut and thrust of intellectual argument and discussion.
    Ooooo …….. gotta go ……. just found a ball of fluff in my navel that looks like John Lennon ……….

  5. yeah. Walking through those cathedrals with grave stones older than your own personal sense of history plays with your mind a bit.

    I did a trip with my mum and my grandmother through small parts of England (tri generational farting is killer). My mum wanted to talk with the populous. I wanted to drink in quaint pubs and the aged octagenarian wanted to see every frikkin’ church from here to Glasgow. But I’m glad we did. Walking through those amazing shaddow and light filled spaces, etched with the passage of time and filled with a thousand memories, was good for the soul. And a fuckin’ good reminder of how teeny we actually are in the grand scheme.

  6. got a sense of this on the trip to Scotland where everytime you turned around, there was a castle — each of which is OLDER than anything in the States…

    …then i have to back off a bit of that logic and stop being so Euro-centric…

    here in The Wilds of Ohio, we have the ‘Indian Mounds’ which, in your vernacular are pretty fucking old… gave me pause that our definition of ‘civilization’ needs revamping. and made me put the mounds [not a euphemism] on my “to visit” list

  7. silverstar – you’re on the team! you’ll have to be the photographer! for fireworks, we’ll share insightful comments like “Wow… look at that one! Sure was blue!” while you photograph the bursts!

    heartbreaktown – yep! San Diego and San Fran have some gorgeous 19th century stuff, but LA is one big slab of glass and asphalt! Waiting to hear from an astrophysicist friend – who will certainly remind me about the age of the galaxy/universe!

    rob – cool progression! it’s true that you don’t see as much “old wood” when touring the historic sites abroad… good reminder that rock is a bit more durable!

    cincygrad – Seems someone has had his McCain Flakes for breakfast 🙂 The Cathedral in Sevilla still holds mass. There seemed to be no shortage of folks in attendance… And i’ll keep you on the newsletter list so you know when we release our “nursemyra and daisyfae’s guide to big shiny man-made objects”, too!

    DP – you’re on the editorial team! especially if you can scour the countryside, and find lint that resembles Paul, George and Ringo! no help here. my latest find looks like Michael Stipe.

    dolce – sounds like a wonderful, if not frustrating, holiday! “tri-generational farting”? is there a CD? shame there was no way to combine all three interests – as in, finding a church with a quaint pub, and a chatty populous… oh, and good ventilation!

    gnu – yeah. the natives. but, see… they didn’t write in english, so how can i relate?!? seriously, i’m looking forward to the trip to South America (Peru, Galapagos) in October. that’ll be more cool old shit! Oh, and heh, heh… he said “mounds”…

    kyknoord – dinosaurs? they were really, really fucking old, weren’t they?

  8. Charles Bukowski said all you really need to know about the human condition can be learned on your front porch, of course it is alot more fun to travel… can’t wait for the book, just put a picture of corset friday on the front and it won’t matter what you call it, it’ll still sell.

  9. do it! I’d buy it……brilliant…….the cathedral is indeed very impressive……now get to Belfast next year….we have really old stuff, our waiters are particularly old……

  10. hey you didn’t mention our 35 storey climb up the giralda tower….. I felt pretty fuckin’ old by the time we got to the top….

    and yes, I got home safely this evening. missing that seville sunshine already….

  11. Ok so I’ll beat Uncle Keith to the comment “…if its old wood you’re looking for then you’ve come to the right place….”

  12. kono – Hmmm… from my front porch? the view is a some overgrown shrubs, a few stray cigarette butts, a beer can peeking out from under a bush and some doggie landmines in the front yard. now you know why i travel!

    manuel – we’ll add Belfast to the potential list of holiday sites! we’re considering a repeat adventure next year! if the book takes off, we’ll do a sequel on “old waiters”…

    nm – thankfully it had cooled down that afternoon, or we’d both still be sprawled out with the other relics!

    archie – intrigued! must tell us more over at the archive! any celebrities? animals? celebrity animals?

    umdalum – ba-dum-DUM! as they say, it’s the seasoned wood that makes the hottest fires… well. i’ve never heard anyone say that, but it sounded wise and frisky, didn’t it?

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