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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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.

Road Trip Crazy

Seriously-
When I came back from school for my mini-summer break, my mother dropped all my stuff off at the house up North, while I spent the weekend in the city with my boyfriend before going back to the house(which is on the market, so it’s all a bit crazy).
And included in my belogings were my vitamin supplements, PT bands, and prescriptions..
Awesome..

As you may know (or probably not, since, well, I’m not a large internet presence, and I tend to write more peronal things on my journal-ish wordpress, which is locked so only I can see it unless I invite you), I have to continuously be working at my health. It’s not something that is just granted to me like most. I can’t just eat whatever I want, or whenever I want. I can’t do all of the things I want or when or how.

I have to take various prescription medications, and have a record of popping tums like a kid would tic tacs. I have physical therapy (now) due to an operation I had to have done on my leg to be able to even “walk right again”.
But I digress-
I did not intend to get into why I needed to get my medical stuff from the house up North; just that I had to go up there.

So- On Wednesday night I took my pup (Lace) and drove up, alone for the first time, to the house. a 2.5 hour drive (aka 3+ for me). And I’m not a big fan of driving either. The next morning (yesterday) I drove us back down with my medical necessities in tow.
This morning at 6am myself, my mother, and her husband Ken left the house for VA, where my sister is graduating tomorrow. This is a fourteen hour drive.. Yikes.
So far we’ve gone, what, 6 hours? OH JOY.
Good thing I have my dramamine for carsickness..
I actually have a whole bottle of zofran up North still.. I left that, along with a few other prescriptions I don’t take daily, up there…

So ANYWAY, because apparently I have a ridiculously short attention span today- we’ll arrive in VA tonight, then leave again tomorrow after the graduation. We’ll get back home on Sunday.
At some point next week I’ll need to go back into the city for physical therapy and to meet with my academic advisor again.
I’m hoping he’ll have an availability on Wednesday or Thursday so I can just stay. On Friday, Preston (boyfriend- yay) is bringing me back home with him to New York (He lives on Long Island!). I’m so excited! I really don’t even care about the travel for that one- I just want to go!
I’ve never really spent time in the city there before. I have family in the countryside there, and the last time I was in NYC it was between horrible bus rides back up to MA from VA (I was loaning my car to my sister for the summer).
Also- I’m excited that he’s bringing me home! I really want to see what his family is like, and see his sister’s bearded dragons and try some of his grandparents’ home-cooked chinese food. It’s always better home-made.
and maybe talk to his Dad about his work! It really interests me, especially as it is art related (aha!).
He’ll be introducing me to his friends from home too- I hope everyone likes me (friends and family).
He’s been such a dear- planning it all out, finding places that I can eat food that I haven’t been able to eat since we found out why I was sick, finding places to bring me to and things we can do around the city.

I got myself a good one.

photo phriend

photo phriend

It’s not that I have anything particularly important to say; just that I haven’t written anything on here in a while.
It’s simply been life- college life- as I think it probably should have been from the start.
My friend Dave from photo class taught me how to blend photographs together, which I have yet to master, but definitely will! It’s something I’ve always been excited about- and I didn’t know I could do this without being some crazy photoshop guru. (Plus I’ve always been in the mindset that photoshop is cheating.. but for this type of thing I think I’m okay) – my professor (she’s awesome, by the way) always says that you should shoot it like you want it. Don’t rely on photoshop. You should have to do as little as possible when editing. And I agree.

– – – – – – – – –

This is an amalgamation of two of my photographs: one, of my friend on a bench in downtown Boston, and another of him holding a journal I bought from Barnes & Noble a while ago- handmade for a good cause.

– – – – – – –

I need to make a portfolio..
I’m currently sitting in one of my 3D design classes, and we’re all talking about portfolios- who to host with, who to sell work through, where to get layouts,etc.

oh life.

been a while

It’s already September 27th (2012).  My gosh, time is a ridiculous thing.  It’s either barely ticking by or it’s flying.  I feel lucky though, that (for once) for me, it’s flying.
I’m back at my university in Boston, after an incredibly hard semester last fall and a medical leave in the spring/summer.  My major is changed- from East Asian Studies to Art & Design.  Instead of cramming every bit of information into my notebook, I actually get to (not only work, but) hold conversations with my classmates (who, by the way, speak English. Well. And mostly as their first language).  I don’t think people understand how much easier that makes it to MAKE FRIENDS. Conversation is completely necessary.
Sure, I get stressed sometimes (I honestly feel like the village idiot in my photography class, since everyone else has done the prerequisites at this school while my last photo teacher was simply awful- we learned NOTHING) but I feel that I’m dealing with it better than last year.  Panic attacks? None yet this semester (and we’re what, five weeks in?)!  Which makes me so incredibly happy.  Last fall I was having them at least 3 times per week, and then even on medical leave I was having them (albeit less frequently).
I’m working at the university library, and working out almost every day (“insanity” workouts, running on the treadmills in my building, and my “homework” for physical therapy).  It’s not just that I’m physically exerting myself, but also improving mental health and whatnot, so I try to keep it up.  Every 2 or 3 days, though, I have to rest because my insides just can’t take so much action, and I get sick if I do something.
I’m living on campus again, and it’s so much better than the pit I was in last year.  There’s air conditioning, a dining hall, more than one elevator, lights(in my room), and working heat.
A big throwback, though, is that Witchaya (my man of 3+ years) is on co-op, and so he’s not living in the city.. So I can get pretty lonely.  I mean, growing up as a triplet, with step-sisters and dogs, there has always been someone to come home to at night.  Over the summer I at least had my pup, Lace, waiting at home for me.  But now it’s just me.

I wish I could have a dog here.

Alas, it’s kind of late and I have to get to the Museum of Fine Arts when it opens tomorrow morning.  Good night to anyone who happens to read this- I’ll definitely try to post more frequently on here.

timeskip

Is it strange that I often wish that I could just skip a few years into the future?
Not that it would be many- just two or three.. perhaps four.

Everyone says that their college years are the most exciting years of their life- looking back on all the fun they had, with the freedom that comes with being between two key phases in life; our dependent childhood and high school antics, and being out in the working world, a full fledged “adult”. Whatever that means.

We are adults, independent but not quite all on our own.  We are still in school, but it was a “choice” (technically, anyway), not a government required education.  We have bills, loans, tuition, and  other finances to worry about, but we don’t always know how to handle them.  They are new to us.
For many of us we are in a new locale – surrounded by entirely new people.  Even after a few years there is still so much that we do not know.

I am trying to get into the habit of looking at this time in my life as others have- as an exciting time of freedom, both in that I am living on my own, in a city of “my own”, taking control of my studies as best I can.  But after three years of university (this is my fourth), I just wish I could move ahead already.  Be working every day in a field, in an occupation, that I enjoy.  Marrying the man I have  loved for years.  Getting pregnant for the first time and setting up my home.  Creating a family and rooting myself.

 

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cement city

I was in Boston, but not Boston as we know it.  I was in an apartment that my boyfriend Adam was living in.  He had moved into it after starting his new job; it was his “work buddy”’s apartment.  I had come to the building to see it for the first time.  It was dark, and there were random odds and ends everywhere- undoubtedly his room-mate’s.  And then I met her.  A pretty, skinny blonde.   She introduced herself but I forgot the name- I was mortified.  I had been trying to get Adam to get an apartment with me for years, and now he’s living with some other girl? What the hell? I was so mad.  He was oblivious like an idiot, and didn’t even seem to understand the scowl on my face when we were alone in one of the apartment’s dim rooms.

“What?” he asked, which just made me all the more mad.

“You’re living with another girl?” My gosh. Furious.

“What? She has a boyfriend.” This is just too much.

“I don’t care if she has a boyfriend! You’re living with another woman! What the hell Adam? “ I took a deep breath to try and calm myself.  It didn’t work, “I’ve been trying to get you to move into an apartment with me for years.  You won’t live with me but you’ll live with her?!”

“What? It’s a big space- her boyfriend stays over all the time, depending on what hospital he’ll be working out of”.   Apparently her boyfriend was a doctor, moving between Tufts and Mass General.  He had his own place but stayed over frequently.  He stayed in his girlfriend’s room though, leaving one free of an occupant.

“What if I live here?  She has a spare room, and I can pay rent” I offered… Somewhat defiantly.  Arms crossed.

Speak of the devil, “Mmm. no” she said, passing through the room, a “sweet” little smile on her annoyingly pretty mug, “I like having an extra room for my stuff”.  That’s loosely translated to squirm, bitch, squirm.

Her boyfriend came out of the spare room and introduced himself to me. Mark, he said was his name.  He was a pleasant, tall man with grey eyes and light blonde hair that moved as he shook his head.  So for right now he’s the only person in this place that I’m not angry with.  He politely finished his chat with me and headed to the bathroom to shower before rounds.

“I’m taking a walk” I stated, walking stiffly to the door, closing it a little harder than necessary once I was in the hall.  All around me was concrete.  The hall was cramped and cold, clammy even.  There were spiral stairwells made only of metal rods winding to the other floors.  I followed a man that looked around my age down the small stairwell at the end of the hall (only about 10 feet from the door I just came out of.  I wasn’t kidding about it being cramped).  I followed the spiral down seven floors to the building’s exit.  The last of the steps opening up into a wide tunnel, also cement, but circular- as if I had just walked into a giant drainage pipe.  Which I probably had.  The city had come to “recycle” these sorts of things during construction.  The result was pretty dingy in my opinion.  It made me feel like a street rat, all this living in cement blocks and walking through pipes and tunnels.

The tunnel stretched out to either side of me.  Left or right, I had forgotten from which way I had come.  I decided on left, and passed a small convenience store built into the wall on my left.  It didn’t look like a very welcoming place, so I kept walking.  On my right stood two older men, one African-American with a graying beard, and a white man with a navy beanie on his head.  They leaned against the far wall.  The bearded man had a cigar between his teeth, and they both eyed me wearily for a couple of seconds before returning to their slow conversation.  Their presence didn’t exactly comfort me either, so I continued a bit more hurriedly down the tunnel.

Ahead on my left was an old basketball court, cut out of the left of the tunnel.  It was still completely closed off to the outside world, as if a cement box had been fused to the side of the tunnel, and the portion of wall between the two had been cut out.  A group of young men paused their game to watch as I walked by.  The boy with the ball had his hoodie pulled up over his head, keeping the ball bouncing slowly as the group’s attention focused elsewhere.

I fought the urge to speed up, looking straight ahead and trying my hardest not to look like I was nervous walking past.  Just ahead was a pair of deep green doors, the only windows being small, barred, and higher than I could reach.  I passed through them, after a decent amount of effort to get them open.  They weren’t just large, they were thick too.  But just after entering I recognized it for what it was: a high school building.  So I slowly turned around and forced open those big old doors again.  This time, on my way back, I did hurry.  I didn’t care so much about what those men all thought as I passed them.  I was passing them again anyways, so they’d know I’d gotten myself lost taking a wrong turn somewhere.

When I got back to the stairwell I headed back up.  I was still angry and now embarrassed and a bit frightened, so I decided it best for me to just go somewhere I know…Not to mention that it had been planned (before I knew of this girl situation)  for me to stay the night.

When I got back I walked straight to the spare room without saying a word to anyone.  My backpack was leaning up against the yellow couch, and I curled up and pulled the flannel blanket over me.  And stared, straight ahead.  I didn’t want to talk.  I didn’t want to look at anyone in this place.  I wanted to be alone, and I wanted to calm down.

And that girl was seriously annoying.  The only real things in this room was the couch and a television..  Which she had out in the living room as well.  Why not add these to her room?  Or move them out somewhere?  Other than that the only things in the room were junk and clothes, scattered about, but not so many that they warranted their own space.

Mark came and sat on the edge of the couch, resting his hand on my blanketed leg.  Seriously, why is this guy being so friendly with me?  Does he not notice that I hate his girlfriend?  But whatever.  If Adam can live with another woman, I can be close on the couch with another man.  “ I’m sorry about this,” he said.  That surprised me a bit, “Hanna can be pretty cruel sometimes, but your boyfriend won’t cheat on you”.

I was still mad.  “There’s still no reason for him to be living here.  Especially when he would never get an apartment with me.  Saying that he wants to save money,” I said, still facing the television, not that I was watching it.  Mark was rubbing my leg now, trying to comfort me.  Is this what it’s like to have an older brother?  I mean, usually, you’d think this picture would have some kind of sexual tension- beautiful blonde man comforting the small-statured eternally “cute” girl on the couch in a dim apartment.  But it didn’t- so perhaps it was more familial?

He leaned towards me, hovering, as if to make sure that I pay attention to his following words, “Sometimes we just aren’t aware of the reasons” he said, holding my gaze.  I didn’t want to hear it.  What reasons could he possibly have? And why wouldn’t he have given them to me when I asked?  Instead of saying that it was a big space.  What the heck.