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May Update

I recently returned from my first visit to Europe. I left New York City on a Wednesday night to arrive in Reykjavíc around 5:30AM. It was one of the cleanest and most efficient airports I've ever arrived in. I skipped the travelers hostel this time around, though I had some misgivings about whether or not that would be a good idea, and opted instead for a bed+breakfast type called Egilsborg Guesthouse. The above photo is taken from Saebrut, one of the main roads in Reykjavíc, looking out on the North Atlantic. I spent most of the day wandering around Reykjavíc and found it surprisingly easy to get around. I went to the Saga Museum, then walked to Hallgrimskírkja—a massive church in the center of the city and the architectual highlight. After that I found out for myself the delicacy of Iceland's national dish: the fermented shark. Chewy and gummy with a pink fleshy color, it has a flavor that really sneaks up on you, that's for sure. The next day I took a bus tour to the country, photos of which will be found on my photo blog when I get the film developed. The remainder of my trip I spent in the sunshine (mostly) in Hamburg and traveled a little bit around northern Germany with some friends who live there; all wonderful, beautiful, intelligent people.

Now that I'm back in the U.S. I'm getting ready for the third annual Potomac River snakehead tournament. I fell off a bit with this story during the winter, but now that our short spring is almost over and it's nearly summer again, the fish will be active in the shallows. I've reconnected with sources and am hoping to get on the water with them before the tournament to get an inside view of the snakehead problem and its potential solutions. The fish remains an exotic, trendy specimen when brought to the table, and its potential as a sustainable food source remains uncertain, but there are many reasons why this could/should happen.

I'm also working on a story about an art therapy group for war veterans called Combat Paper and is run by a friend of my brother's who is a former Marine who served in Iraq. Combat Paper offers veterans a chance to express themselves and, in effect, transform their experiences into art through the act of turning their uniforms into cellulose, to paper. It's a practice that has its detractors given the reverence (most of) the public has toward veterans and current members of the military during wartime, but it's not a new one either. This type of therapy has been practiced in support groups around the world, for example with victims of the sex-trafficking industry. Their theme is Deconstruct, Reclaim, Communicate, and the program has been highly effective, particularly for younger veterans who are trying to readjust to civilian life. Combat Paper holds several workshops each month, from their headquarters in New Jersey to college campuses to military hospitals. One might wonder how well-received the transformative process of art would be to a combat veteran just returning from Afghanistan, and this story will focus on that aspect and the program's effectiveness.

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    Response: click site
    Great Web site, Continue the good work. Thank you so much!

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