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 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!

June 7th

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A big thank you to the lovely Steph Ma for actually taking some sort of photograph of me.
So here it is- proof that Kristen was indeed in Venice.

This was actually on the Rialto bridge, yesterday.  On the other side, rowers were already practicing for the upcoming Vogalonga – a boat race that will take place tomorrow, June 8th.  The Vogalonga is a huge race, through the Grand Canal from Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square) to Isola di Burano (the island of Burano). It is not a competitive race, but one that you would simply want the experience of taking part in.  Basically any kind of rowing or paddle boat is acceptable for use in the event, giving the canal an amazingly diverse assortment of vessels.
As in I passed two teams from different Chinese dragon boats on my way home from the supermarket this afternoon.

This was my supermarket companion, by the way:
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His name is Geoff, and he’s awesome.  Everyone on this trip with us knows this as fact.

This picture I actually took about a week and a half ago (or two and a half..?), on Isola di Murano.  The island is known for it’s glass, as it used to be one of the very few places where glass-blowing was cultivated, adding to the allure and grandeur of the Venetian Lagoon.  Now it’s really quite touristy, with cartoon-esque figurines and various glass bead jewelry lining the windowsills of small shops.
Sorry to be blunt, but it’s true.

After exploring the island, buying souvenirs for girlfriends and parents (except for this girl– I seriously couldn’t find anything that was both non-cheesy and not incredibly overpriced), we entered a little restaurant, where we were led out back into an enclosed seating area, ending with a gate into a little courtyard scattered with pigeons.  There were vines and foliage laced across the seating area, resulting in those really fun light patches being thrown about- including the one on Geoff’s face..
But that’s okay. He still looks nice!

 

Well, this was random.  I’m actually amidst the finals-rush and simultaneously writing this while figuring out a final paper for my Venetian Art History class.. I should probably devote my attention whole-heartedly to the pressing matter..

Ciao!

 

 


 

– E D I T –

Did I mention that my roommate got slapped in the face by a pigeon in flight today?
Well now I have.

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.

May 21st, 2014

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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

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.

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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