Author Archives: keeyoung

The last Postcript…

My body is in Columbus now, but it seems that some of my minds are still remaining in New York City. I’ve got enough rest and got back to my dorm yesterday. Now, it is time to gather my floating thoughts arranging my memories in NY.

At the beginning of the trip, I became depressed when I was having my own difficulties. Moreover, my one-disabled arm was not helpful in the situation at all.

But fortunately, I met nice roommates, nice professors and nice friends. This helped me a lot, lowering my worries and psychological burdens.

Looking around amazing museums, dancing with the rhythms of Harlem Shake, watching funny dancing movements of friends, taking lots of photos of landscapes and people in New York, classes in the park, attending various events… Every experience remained to me as a beautiful and unforgettable memory.

Sometimes I caused troubles, bringing worries to professors and classmates. However, professors had never scolded me, listened to my clumsy explanations, taught me different things, wrote encouraging commentaries on my blog post.

Writing blog-post was one of the most challenging works to me while I was in New York. I remember that I became so worried when I heard that the blog post would be opened to everyone. However, thanks to this openness, I could see how people can think differently and write differently even though we shared same experience. I was surprised to see Lindsay’s honest thoughts and creative sentences. Nathan’s witty post and interesting story always made smile. Professor’s post demands high level of contemplations and brings inspiration, enabling us to broaden our perspectives.

Come to think of it, I’m never used to writing about my personal matters. I stopped writing about myself after I stopped writing diary when I was in middle school. But while in New York, I could write about whatever I want. This freedom of write gave me difficulty at first time because I was habituated to write papers and essays according to the given subjects. Even though this post is also relevant to the grade, this blog posting is completely new to me.

Then why did I stop write about me and my experience?  Not only me but most people seems to write less and less because we tend to spend more time to the media such as facebook or twitter which makes us easy to forget about writing ‘real’ stories or reading books.

I also became thinking about Arts education in South Korea through this program. I remember that teachers in high school sneakily (because it was illegal) erased music, art and physical education classes out of schedule and taught math and English instead. Music and art grade didn’t reflect in Korean SAT so we studied other subjects in art classes. This was ridiculous, but we didn’t even know that this was wrong.  I realize how art makes people’s life affluent and how sad my high school years were. Through the arts program in New York, I could feel, see and hear every aspect of arts and literature. Arts education must not be underestimated at all!

Saying good-bye is always sad and aching experience. 3 weeks in NY taught me so much things more than academic achievements. I thank you for everything and also be grateful to my parents who supported me to have this opportunity.

My arm gets much better than 3 weeks ago showing the passage of time. Soon, I expect it to be completely healed..

However, I believe that this memory in my mind will last forever. I’ll miss everything so much!

 

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The first & last photo that I took in NY

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Memory of literary tour

I had attended literary tour as the last tour before leaving New York. The day was raining and quite chilly. This time, Professor George specially guided us to the past tracks of writers stayed in New York.

First, It was surprising that so many important writers had lived very close to our residence and I didn’t even notice it for almost 3 weeks. Just within 30 minutes we started to walk circling around the Washington Square Park, we encountered several significant writers’ temporary place of residence. We did not need to take public transportation for the whole tour. I realized again that we had lived in a historical place.. and I became more grateful for that.

I was so glad to hear many famous writers whom professor mentioned during the tour. Some of the writers wrote the story that I’d like to read during the childhood. Some of the writers were whom I haven’t heard or could not remember. Professor kindly explained every places and writers and cited some of their works. The tour reminds me of the movie ‘midnight in Paris’; It was a journey following the traces of historical writers and their works. Every time we went to the different places and heard explanations, I could imagine the writers walking around the road, drinking bears in the pub and designing their stories in their home…. The tour was the grand finale marking the end of the literature class in New York.

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At the lunchtime, professor treated lunch to us at the pub where Dylan Thomas used to make a visit. Inside the pub, there was a portrait of Dylan and a small sign giving short information of Dylan. Even if I was sorry that professor couldn’t fully enjoy the food, the lunchtime with Lindsay, Nathan and professor was so valuable and special. We had fun having conversation, talking about our pets, laughing and taking photos. Professor talked to us without difficulty, making a comfortable atmosphere. I’ve never had a free, close conversation with professors before, so it meant a lot to me.  Nathan and Lindsay also cheerfully made conversations. I was so grateful for that, feeling warm-hearted. I can still remember the feelings that I’ve got from the little journey, conversations that we shared and the sunshine which came through the window of the pub that day.

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Cinderella, ballet; artistic sublimation

The tale of Cinderella pervades almost every culture. Cinderella we’ve watched on Tuesdays was in ballet version. It was my first time ever seeing ballet in my life.

The plot was slightly different from which I’ve already known from the Disney version. However, everyone knows basic plots of Cinderella story. I could easily follow the flow on stage. Happy ending story and lovely dance scenes of Cinderella and Prince were very sweet and heart-warming. The most splendid scene was when Cinderella transformed into a beautiful princess. With the appearance of fancy carriage, horses and servants, the act 2 drops the curtain.

 

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Unlike other ballet performances, comic elements are noticeable in the ballet Cinderella, thanks to the stepsisters’ brilliant exploit. “The stepfamily’s lighthearted acting and outrageous costumes kept the ballet fun and fast-paced. Purposeful ungainly movements in heavy costumes and comical acts made the audience bear no resentment toward the characters; the stepsisters are not portrayed as evil, but as clowns who don’t know any better.” (http://dailyuw.com/archive/2012/09/24/arts-entertainment/ballet-review-cinderella)

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Ballerinas’ dancing movements on their tip toes were beautiful, elegant and delicate. Their graceful movements brought much resemblance to the little mermaid. The little mermaid dances beautifully after becoming human. However, anytime she takes a step, the legs will feel like they are being pierced by a sword. The dancing is accompanied by the constant paid of swords jutting into her legs. She would be able to dance better than any dancer, in order to show her feelings of love for the prince but it would hurt like hell

To me, every ballerinas dancing on stage looked like pitiful mermaid leaving behind all the pains and sufferings. It brought somewhat sympathetic sense of pity while watching the ballet. How much times they had to change their pointe-shoes, how much they had suffered to be able to dance like that! For me, I cannot stand on tip of my toes no more than few seconds.  Numerous turns, jumps and all the pointe-movements must be the fruits of thousands hours of practicing. They must have endured the pain out of an obsession with perfection and to move many hearts of audiences. Truly amazing and sacrificial acts of art!

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   ( Rusalochka, (the little mermaid), USSR&Bulgaria, 1976)

In the film, the mermaid gets two legs from witch in exchange of hair color instead of voice

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Actual feet of world-famous ballerina

This photo shows how much pain they’ve endured to make perfection

After the ballet, I googled ballet, ballerina and their life out of curiosity. A life of ballerina is quite hard and sacrificing. They could hardly have a social life, a danger of injury is always near them. Favoritism and jealousies are everywhere. Economic earnings is also never enough. Only passion for dancing can let them keep dancing. Mental struggles and fierce competition in ballet society are vividly described in the well-known movie “Black Swan” starred by Natalie Portman.

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(Black Swan, 2010)

 It was truly wonderful night with beautiful music and dance, I will never forget this invaluable experience. This experience made me fall into the world of ballet.

Today, I watched the most representative ballet “Swan Lake” through the Youtube. This was the first time that I’ve watched this masterpiece from start to the end. Through the Youtube, we could see some of the most famous ballet performances in full version, thankfully. Next ballet that I’ll watch later is The Nutcracker, second world famous ballet.

 

 

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Harlem Tour

Since I attended African American Literature class last semester, I became familiar with African American culture and Harlem Renaissance. Perhaps the music “Harlem Shake” and the term “Harlem” would be everyone’s familiar subject as well. Harlem tour was one of the most anticipating listed schedules which I wanted to attend.

Before we began the tour, we heard the general explanation of Harlem history from the tour guide, which was quite informative and impressive.

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However, the scenery of Harlem streets was somewhat different from which I expected. The street was so quite and calm, people were busy on their ways. Many houses in Harlem were similar with which I’ve seen at the Brooklyn. Brilliant traces of Harlem Renaissance were hard to find. If there were no people in the street and no sign marked as Malcolm X blvd, we would barely recognize that we’re in Harlem.

Compared to the fame and long history that Harlem possesses, I felt something lacking from the tour. Distinctive characteristics that only Harlem could possess weren’t enough, or probably, my expectation would have been too high. Still, I think we hadn’t toured enough even though we diligently followed the tour guide until we became seriously hungry. Maybe that’s why the guide kept saying “You have to come to the Harlem again on Sunday”. Maybe on Sunday, there would be more to watch and see, like he said.

After touring Harlem, I became to think of the impression that I’ve got from the Tiffany store. Tiffany in the present has been so much changed and modernized from the Tiffany in the movie. I feel lost when things are not as it used to be. But it doesn’t mean that meaningful places should keep their old customs and appearances, because, New York is definitely not only for tourists. Buildings and landscapes would naturally change to serve the convenience of local residents. But still, it would be wonderful if people preserved some of the old buildings of significant spots (as tenement museum did) so that we could experience the past memory and the record of history in our raw eyes.

After all, visiting Harlem was an exciting experience. It reminded me of many significant events of African American history and many important artists and writers that I’ve learned from the class. Somehow, I felt something deep sadness and strong emotions after visiting Harlem.

Image Street view of Harlem during the period of Harlem Renaissance (the scenery I expected)

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by | June 12, 2014 · 3:41 am

Attending church service on Sunday

I originally have catholic religion. But recently, I attended various church services, and every service I attended had different characteristics.

Yesterday morning, I went to the church with Lindsay, Professor George and a friend of professor (I’m sorry for not specifying the name on here..).The weather was great, and the location of church was so close from our dorm, gladly. It was a service for kids. We sang the hymns, heard a sermon. It was so interesting because kids were showing their talents during the service. Every time their small performance ended, people gave a big applause for the kids. It was especially moving, since their sound of music was so innocent and unaffected though they made small mistakes. I could see that parents are really paying attention to their children’s specialties and trying to develop their musical, cultural refinements. I feel so sad when seeing parents disregarding their children’s genuine values.  I think that every kids’ talents are so special and have to be appreciated properly.

Kid’s small performance in the service reminded me of my parents. My mother used to ‘force’ me to go to the piano academy when I was a kid and I always grunted for that, because piano teacher was so strict and I was scared of that. After all, I become adjusted to play the piano, then my mother sent me to the priest and the organ instructor, and I played the organ in the Catholic church for a long period of time. Never yielding for that, my mom let me sing a soliste part in the church chorus in the special occasions. Back then, I was lazy, grumbling kid who didn’t want to go to church on weekend. I always complained to my mom. And now, I’m so regretting about my immature behavior and grateful to my parents for letting me sing a song and play the musical instrument in front of public.

Back to the point, after the kid’s cute play, I heard a preach. As noticed before, it was about southern writers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to his preach perfectly, but he complimented southern writers’ significant works recorded in American literature history arranging the names of many important southern writers without breathing space. It was impressive because the preach wasn’t only about the god, but about cultural, literary theme.

I heard that there are many kinds among protestant church, and I wondered what branch does this church belong to. However, that’s not important at all. It only matters if we live a good life in a good way… In fact, religious subjects are so immense and controversial that I do not dare to mention about …

 

 

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Thank you to professor for having me wonderful experience at church.

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Free day

Free day

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 Last week, we had two free days, Thursday and Saturday. Think back what I did those days, I did nothing particular. I tried to do homework, but I couldn’t concentrate that much somehow. Everyday should be valuable in New York, because there are so many places to explore. But taking a break and meeting old friends were valuable experience as well.
 On friday night, I met my friend, who used to live next door(neighborhood) back in Korea. We are in the same university band. Since he is staying in New York until June, I gladly met him. At first I thought that it would feel completely different when meeting him in different place. However when I  really met him, everything felt familiar and I became comfortable with it. We went to the pub located near my dorm. We drank bears, walked around Washington Park, and then separated. He was studying in California while I was in Georgia. We talked about our past experience in America and talked about future plans, such as “What are you going to do after going back to Korea” stuffs. It was good to meet hometown friend, and it reminded me of my other club members and friends too.
 The next day, I went to the Time Square in New York with another friend. While we walking through the street, many people disguised as famous characters such as Spiderman, Batman and superman were waving at us and offered us to take photos with. Half naked women are promoting some products.  It was an interesting scenery. Streets were full of tourists. I heard that new yorkers don’t like to go to the time square because it’s too crowded with tourists and there’s nothing particular for them.
 We went to the disney store after walking awhile. It was heaven for kids. Not only kids but also a lot of adults were fascinated by disney products. No wonder Disney is one of the successful business all over the world.
 And then we watched a movie called “The Fault in our Stars”. It is the film based on the novel by author John Green. Since my friend is a fan of John Green, we decided to see the movie. The movie is about sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel meeting and falling in love with seventeen-year-old August Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee. It describes suffering of sick children and their family, and their aching love story. I could hear people cry so hard in the theater during the scene of the boy’s funeral. My friend said that the novel is much better than movie version, and I should see the novel first. Of course,  generally, original is better than later-created version, I replied. I personally believe that movie cannot externalize every single words and meanings that novel implies.
 Eye-shopping, lunch and movie. Last Saturday was like an ordinary day as before, but I saw wonderful electronic displays and unusual scenes on the street, marking another day in NY at the Time Square.

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Experiencing Grand Nature

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Yesterday, me and the group visited American Museum of Natural History. On our way to the museum, I belatedly realized that I didn’t bring my metro card in the subway, (again), so I had to go back to dorm and headed to the museum by myself. It feels frustrating when I keep making same mistakes. Some stuffs are always missing. I tend to be  forgetful, but the symptoms became worse after  in New York. It seems that hectic atmosphere, busy schedule and obsession to adjust to new environment make me completely besotted  sometimes. Hope that free time in Thursday would make me recover and refresh my senses.

Anyway, back to the point, American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest and innovative natural history museum in the world. Whereas the Met museum showed human-made collections, Museum of Natural History displayed nature-made collections. I felt so much awe for Mother Nature, so different feelings from the impression that I’ve got from the Met museum. In dinosaur sections, I could not believe my eyes that the fossils are real ones. Space section was the most interesting part for me. In front of grand nature and cosmos, human beings descend to be mere, incompetent creature. Allegedly, lots of astronomers commit suicide after realizing vanity of human mortality, that human beings are nothing more than dust compared to an infinite universe. It is commonly known that scientists are not likely to have religions. But I remember one of my friend told me that many biologists starts to believe in gods after finding out that only the existence of god can explain the law of nature. The more we study, the more mysteries we encounter. This has been bringing emotions of nihilism to many scholars.

However, human curiosity motivates us to develop further researches and studies. That’s why human beings have never stopped progressing no matter how grand nature may frustrate us. Furthermore, we try to record our studies and preserve this knowledges through establishing museums. Truly, museum can be the greatest teacher rather than any other textbooks or classrooms.

The following quotes are from Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the US, inscribed inside the Roosevelt Memorial rotunda at the museum;  I brought 3 impressive ones.

” There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.

The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.

Conservation means development as much as it does protection”

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