June 6 (Cambridge River Festival)

On June 6th, my friend Michele and I got up bright and early to help a friend out at the Cambridge River Festival, where she would be selling her own artwork and vintage silk kimono (in Japanese, you don’t add any equivalent to an “s” to make things plural!), as well as the makings of her fellow creatives back in Japan.

the shop's owner, Aiko

This is Aiko– a wonderful artist and new friend ( You can check out her website here! ).
She and her husband were at the festival while her mother-in-law watched their little boy for the day.  She is primarily a painter, specializing in cheery illustrations.

storefront_3

可愛いでしょう?

storefront_b_LOVE

brooke

Our friends Brooke (pictured above) and Bing stopped by to check out the festival as well- it was a really fun day, despite being somewhat chilly for June. Aiko dressed Michele and I up in kimono and obi, and we actually drew in a good number of customers, several of which went home with kimono of their own!
As a thank you for helping, Aiko offered Michele and I a free gift for the day.  I picked out a necklace of Mount Fuji, and slipped the money for it to her husband while she wasn’t looking.  She’s a hard worker, and gives the profits of each product to the artisans that made them.
It was definitely a purchase I would never regret.

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January 21st, 2015

It was dark and dusky, as I hid between the old bureaus and bed frames, wooden and covered in dust.  The light streamed weakly in through the lace curtains, swaying in the faint breeze.  Tattered with age.

They were coming for me.  I was among the few remaining inhabitants, and a threat to their system.  I was an anomaly and outsider, and it set a sour taste upon their tongues- the knowledge of my existence. I knew I had little time, so my mind danced and raced over all that I knew.  All I could do.  What should I keep? Should I even bother wasting my time mulling over objects, or simply run with my life?  No, they feared me with reason, did they not? I crept over the rickety floorboards, attempting to make as little sound as I could, towards the little glass jar I had always kept near.  It rested low on a shelf in the corner of the room, the thick glass coated with a beautifully cut tin filigree pattern, and an intricate lid tightly fixed atop of it.  The glass was milky and old, with a coppered hue from the aged metal around it.  But you could still see the yellow faintly through to the inside.  That beautiful flutter of golden sun. If anything was worth keeping; worth risking what little time I had left before they arrived, it was this.

 

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October 14th

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

It’s been a while, eh?

These photographs are from August 14th, one of the many ventures I’ve undertaken with Sampson (my Canon) this summer.
I’ve been pouring my all into the hunt (of job) for the past few months, which can get maddening as it generally places you in front of a computer screen for the bulk of the day, as everything is done online and electronically these days.  When my sanity seems in peril I take a break, usually to walk my dog or my camera.  Sometimes I just get into my car and drive around until I see something or some place that I find interesting, pull over, and have at it.

That’s what happened with the both of these photographs.  The first, a close-up of foliage and a rather dead tree-type of form, I came across after pulling over near one of the many stretches of massive power-lines.  I had ended up hiking up a small hill and down a barely-worn path.

The second photograph was also in pursuit of a herd of power-lines, although I had stopped short on a small path before even getting that far.  It was right next to a small, older woman’s little house.  She had been outside gardening, and I guess my presence had unnerved her, as she slowly made her way over to me to see what I was doing.  Her first language was not English, so she was pensive and visibly having a difficult time communicating, so I showed her my camera and said that I was (okay, I may not be any more but I WAS) an art student, and I am just taking photographs.  She seemed wary but somewhat understood- the look of caution fading a bit from her small features.

I made a note of her address so that I could send her a couple of photographs in the mail later, as a token of thanks.


august trails

Since I started going to school in the city, I’ve really grown to enjoy it so much more-so than I ever thought I would growing up.  I used to want to get my own ranch with a hundred or two hundred acres, a couple of horses and a dog or two.  Now I want my career to finally take off in the city, so I can get myself another little apartment, placed so as to give me the  ability to walk around to where I need to go, and wander, looking around at all of the different people, shops, architectural time-zones, etc.

I still adore the beauty that can be found in rural America, but I crave the activity of the city.  It has its own beauty, too.

Speaking of such- I have recently taken up a new part-time position working in a cafe in the city.  I can take the train in during the mornings I work, or stay with Preston or perhaps other friends.  Today was a little rough, with thoughts akin to “why am I back to doing this type of work?” and “why have I not been hired for a full-time, career-pursuing position by now?“.  Luckily (well, unfortunately for the two of us) one of my coworkers is in the exact same position as I am, so we can relate and remind each other that the business of newly-graduated student job-hunting is hard.  We are not failures, and in fact should be proud that we have taken the step to do whatever work we can while we search for our careers.  We are working earnestly.

I now hope not only for my own career to begin, but for hers too.


Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough.  I have a long shift at the cafe tomorrow!

June 19th, Coat of Arms

 

 


 


 

winters crest


 


 

 

Today (the 19th) has been an excessively stress-inducing kind of day.  There are a few activities that my body wanders to after these sorts of days- one of which being drawing.
This is actually a bit of an anomaly, as I rarely draw digitally (not to mention that now that I am out of school, I do not have a tablet with which to draw… this is all scroll-pad), but seems to have served its purpose of keeping my mind at bay and the time from passing far too slowly.

The latter part of my day did include a highlight though- I received an email asking when would be a good time to set up an interview! For a job I applied for not twenty four hours before, too.
Although it is not my dream job (well of course not, how positively lucky do you think I am?), it is one I am sure to enjoy, and is also located within the city (Boston), and guess what? Would allow me to gain invaluable experience as well as somewhat of a reprieve for my tear-stained bank account.

Alas, even though I had a drug-induced (not recreational, kids) nap from 1-5pm today, I am still quite tired and my totoro pillow is calling my name.

Goodnight!

June 17th, Burano Colors

derrick blends into Burano

 

I believe that I spoke a bit about Burano in an earlier post, but it’s just such a crazy place that I had to add more.
I mean, look at how well Derrick could blend into the outer wall of one of the houses?

 Yes, HOUSES. This wasn’t just a marketing ploy, used on the facades of small island shops; it was employed in residential areas as well.

Burano homes

 

 

Hanging clothes and other linens on lines outside was also a huge thing in Italy.  It really reminded me of being back in Japan, where we would have a clothes line outside in most places, like on the little back porch of our tenth-story apartment in Fukuoka-shi..

Even the buildings that are seemingly abandoned are still of this unique aesthetic.

 

burano door

 

Isola di Burano is such a charming little place, so much so that it makes me think well why don’t Americans take care of their buildings like this? Even Italy in general (okay, I only stayed in Rome and Venice, but..) keeps buildings that are hundreds of years old intact, preserved/renovated, and functioning.

 

burano street 2

 

And then there are the ones that seem to have been dragged out from inside of a cartoon.
But they’re still interesting.

June 16th, meet Kay

A genuine smile caught candidly is one of the most beautiful things possible to behold in this world.

 

kay shoot 2

Right? I mean, if you deny that, then you must deny the fact that seeing a puppy will put a smile on your face or that looking up at a brilliant night sky can strike awe into the hearts of any onlooker.

Crazy people.

 

kay shoot

 

 

I was going through my photos, trying to find a good one of our little “family”, and realized that I didn’t have any of my own- they all belonged to others and generally have a different someone missing from each one.  With that, I decided, all right- I’ll just get a photograph of each of them, and then realized that I don’t have really nice photos of everyone, and I don’t want to leave one to two beautiful souls out.
And then I realized- I have a lot of pictures of little miss Kay.

 

kay graffiti

 

As you may have gathered, or I may have already explained (probably the latter, as I really tend to forget to whom I do or do not disclose what information..) I spent my final semester of undergraduate studies abroad in Italy, studying Italian (Venetian, mainly Renaissance) Art History and Documentary Photography.

That would be the reason why any human of college-age appearing in my Italy photographs is probably holding a camera.


kay kay

 

 

As mentioned, this is the lovely miss Kay “Yams”– a friend made on my latest venture and final act of my undergraduate career. She is a pharmacy student, a couple of years my junior, with an absolute love of Art History, which brought her to Italy with me.  Her lineage is half (South) Korean and half Japanese, and she is lucky enough to have been incorporated into both of those sides of her family, as well as being a complete and total American girl.

It was fun- whenever Derrick and Geoff or Steph started speaking in Chinese (at which point we just sit there with blank faces) we could turn to one another and speak in Japanese, allowing them a taste of how we felt.  We have a lot of common interests that allowed us to bond, and I have to say that I love this lady- she’s cute inside and out. Despite the fact that she is known to her back-home friend group as an (impeccably put) inside-out sour patch kid.

> The nickname is incredibly accurate, as she is a cute, smiling, positive and soft-spoken young lady in general, especially if you’re not well acquainted with her.. but once you do get to know her, you realize that she can actually be loud, hilarious, serious, and semi (yet still ladylike)-sailor-mouthed.

She’s awesome.

 

So here- bask in the glory that is  Kay Yams.  Her favorite color is black even when she seems to define a puffy, pastel-pink as a human in general.  She is incredibly intelligent and admirably worldly, and ever a presence I’d be glad to accompany.

kay so pretty

 


 

EDIT:


I just ran across this on Facebook; the amazing miss Carrie Ambo took and posted it, and it adequately contrasts the (outer/initial) personalities of both Kay and Derrick:

 

accurate; Kay and Derrick

June 9th – my morning coffee

Image

So this morning I was up promptly at 5:30am, despite the fact that I had only gone to bed (false: after a few minutes of attempting to sleep in this heat I was up with my camera again) at 1:30..
It’s now closing in on three o’clock and I’m still up working! I’m guessing that means the instant coffee I made this morning may have actually had some effect on me.  It was actually really good, despite having been made in an old microwave.

 

 

coffee jar close

My morning coffee while in Italy is always a bit.. unique. For the past six weeks I’ve been using an emptied jam jar for pretty much everything.  It took me a while, but I found instant coffee that is 100% Arabica beans- I hadn’t known it before coming here, but Italians don’t just use coffee beans in their coffee. They have caffe orzo- a mix of coffee beans and a grain. I forget which one orzo is (pretty sure it’s wheat), but it contains gluten so I always remember to steer clear.  I’m at the very end of a bottle of mixed coconut and rice milk, that I water down and heat up in my jam jar.
I’m actually really impressed by this instant coffee- it makes a pretty satisfactory cup o’ joe.

Since I was already up and had my camera out from shooting at ridiculous hours, I decided to take a photo of this particular morning’s concoction, and ended up extremely happy that I did so.  I even pulled out my tripod while my roommates went down to breakfast and took a few photographs of myself too.

Being the person behind the camera, I don’t generally end up with nice photos of myself.. so sometimes I indulge in a private and inherently embarrassing venture of “self-portraits” (I use quotes because technically, that’s what they are, but I really don’t see them that way).

Forgive me, yet again, as I haven’t the time to really write much- especially since I need to convert any images I plan to use to a smaller file type since I perpetually shoot in RAW.
But I leave Italy in three days! So while I may be crying, I guess the positive side is that I’ll have the time (to find a big girl job..) and the internet to resume writing and working with images, and therefore providing some form of entertainment for what sparse few come across Dusk Dawning.

Wish me luck as I power through my last ever undergraduate finals!

May 27th – the day I became Bat Girl

batgirl

… yeah.. I got distracted and made a little batgirl..

I woke up to a group facebook message from the boys.

Geoff : There’s a dead bat .. on our floor

With a cell-phone picture of said bat.

So I got out of bed, made sure my shoulders and knees were covered (as we are living in a Monastery, and modesty is a cultural must within any kind of church or religious building), slipped into some flats, and headed down to breakfast.  I left the small corridor that contains three of our group’s bedrooms (the boys, my shared room with Sam & Christine, and another room of lovely lady companions), passed through our main classroom- where Derrick and Geoff sat, on their computers– up a small set of stairs, and through a larger hall with a better amount of natural light. Just sitting there in a little clump of fur was the bat.  Poor little guy- his fur was tousled and he sat still, looking somewhat mangey like he had a really rough night.
So I turned tail and veered right into the kitchen at the bottom of the stairs, before I reached the classroom.  I didn’t know whose they were, but there were plastic cups and plates, so I grabbed one of each.
I really didn’t think the bat was dead. It was the morning, and although he looked out of sorts- not so much so.
I used the cup to scoop the little guy onto the plate; a rude awakening for him.  Luckily he wasn’t in too much of a mood and settled down as I walked to the front desk.  I wasn’t sure how this particular receptionist’s english was, so I just said “excuse me” (one of the few things I can say in Italian) and questioned her, “English?”. She replied yes and so I brought the plate forward and told her it was a bat.  When she continued to look at me quizzically, with her brow furrowed, I told her, “it has wings, and flies at night” and I watched as her brow loosened and she understood what I was trying to tell her.  I told her that the students had found it and thought it dead, but it was just having a rough morning, and I didn’t want to leave it to a) get hurt or b) for someone to frighten it and it, in turn, bite them.

She told me, “Oh! I’ve caught two” previously. She continued to explain that there are bats that live in that part of the building, out in one of the courtyards, and that sometimes – especially on a cold night like the one before – they get inside.
Obviously feeling quite validated in my decision to rescue the bat, as she reached across the counter of the reception desk for it, I thanked her and promptly turned on my heels, heading towards the boys who thought I was just being a crazy country-person for going near it at all.

And of course Derrick’s first words to me were, “wash your hands!”.

–   –   –   –

As usual, after finishing class on-site (usually in a church or in a piazza) I returned to the Don Orione (the monastery) and asked for my room key at the reception desk, “Chinque chento quatro?”
She handed me my key as the receptionist from earlier in the day came out of the office and told me , “your bat” and made a flying motion with her hands.  I told her I was happy he was alright and thanked her for working with me, and she was smiling and said that it wasn’t a problem.  I think she enjoyed helping him as much as I did- especially since she had helped two before.

So yeah- that’s the story of how I saved the bat.

May 21st, 2014

Image

 

So that happened.
I’m not completely sure of my Great Aunt’s intentions on this one, but the outcome was hilarious.

Forgive me for my lack of travel documentation/commentary.  I’ve honestly either been busy or dead-tired, with a side of slow internet (shared by all 32 Northeastern students studying abroad here).

I am having a wonderful time, though! It’s kind of a great fit for me to be studying here in Italy, as I am a huge culture/language/art/anthropology/etc buff, and this place as an amalgamation of it all.  It was completely entertaining to be walking around the Montemartini Museum and hear about all of the myths that went along with the carved stone representations of (perhaps)mythical figures and deities. That was back in Rome, somewhere around the time that this photo was taken.

Well, I hate to cut myself short yet again, but we have class in 40 minutes and I need to figure out some form of breakfast.  We’re supposed to get that meal included here at the Monastery but I literally cannot eat anything they provide.  I can have the orange juice, and hot water for tea. The coffee comes out of the machine pre-mixed with dairy too!
All of the baked goods smell nice though.

Alrighty, headed out!
– Kristen