March 14th, 2015

looking-over-al-academia

The last train ride I took, I met a really nice man that had just moved to the area.  I asked where from and we got into talking about travel (and work, and life..) when he said that most recently he had been living in Nepal, working with trafficked youths.

It’s so interesting to learn about the different experiences people have.  He had studied abroad in Ireland while in college and has since taken whatever chances he could to travel and work around the world. He met his significant other, Hai, in Vietnam, and the two of them will be traveling to Tokyo for their friends’ wedding later this year.

It was fun talking with him and learning about the work he does, which I found really interesting- he assesses infants and young children to identify any kind of developmental delays or anything of the sort, and can then help the family access services that would help them- anything from speech therapy for the child to marital counseling for the parents.

Anyway, I was just missing Japan and Italy. Travel.
Today I spoke with the CEO of the nonprofit I worked with a few years ago in Japan, and my Uncle (my Dad’s best friend) just told me he’s going to be visiting Japan for work soon too.

Well, this was kind of a meaningless post, but it is what it is! And now it’s late so I’ll be ending it here.
Thanks for listening to (reading?) me ramble.

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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

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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 21st, Burano

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Image

 

A classmate of mine took a photo of me.. taking a photo. It’s photo-ception, guys. So the first image is that photo of me (hi!) and the second is the photo I was taking (for my capstone/documentary photography/photojournalism project).

On Wednesday (May 21) all of the students from our school studying abroad here in Venice took a trip out to the island of Burano.  It was a bit of a ride, about 40 minutes each way on the Vaporetto (it’s like Boston’s MBTA or NYC’s MTA, but with boats).  We played the game Heads Up to pass the time on our rides, with a growing crowd of entertained and confused European onlookers (we hold a cell phone to our forehead, a word is displayed on the screen and everyone gives that person clues so they can guess the word; if you get it right you dip your head down and back up to move to the next word, and if you’re stuck, you throw your head back and then return to normal head-positioning in order to skip.  we obviously looked quite silly).

The island of Burano is known for two things. 
   a) its incredibly colorful arrangement of buildings
   b) its lace
– As you could imagine, for a group of young adults studying Italian history and documentary photography, it was a field-day of sorts. Just running around with our cameras and looking through all of the lace (yes, even the men.. although it was mostly for gifts for their girlfriends and mothers).

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I was super tempted to pick one of these up for my mother’s lovely neighbor Val, who is expecting her daughter Maya this summer!
But then I realized that she wouldn’t be big enough to fit into one this season, and would probably have grown too much by next summer to fit into it either..

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Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything, due to the inflated prices of tourist-poaching shopkeepers and my wallet’s still being in shock over the unexpected expenses of this trip.  Had I found something that I really loved, though, I would have pushed myself to purchase it.  I’ve decided that I will do that, while I finish up my stay here in Italy, as a graduation gift to myself.
I mean come on- I graduated from a five-year top-rated institution with my sanity intact, magna cum laude.
I need to learn to give myself a break and reward my efforts once in a while.

 

All in all, I had a lot of fun wandering around the small island (and by small, I mean take a ten minute walk from one side to the other), taking photographs with my newly-apropriated friends.