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Ages ago – January to be exact – when most of my friends were celebrating the start of 2014, I was on my first flight out of the country since 2011. The first few days were spent in Shanghai and some of its surrounding towns – a confusing journey in which the tour guide only spoke Mandarin and Cantonese, neither of which are languages I am fluent in – before settling in 香港/Hong Kong for a bulk of the trip. To settle makes it sound as if I was in Hong Kong for an extended period of time, when it was only the better part of nine days, but I remember it all as some dizzying adventure, the same ilk of The Grand Tours during the 1800s. Alas, I was not European nobility, nor roaming the streets of Europe, but instead a college student poking her head into side streets and tasting food I hadn’t eaten since I was a small child.

Looking back, it seems like there were too many and yet not enough photographs taken, leading to the severe edit of images you see here. ‘Authentic’ egg tarts, check. Architecture, check. Photos of self…well, maybe not so many of those. At some point though, now when I think of Asia, photographs just don’t do it for me anymore. I think of the smog in Shanghai and the pleasant weather in Hong Kong (although according to Sam, we’ll see what I think about Hong Kong once I experience a HK summer.) Hong Kong remains especially memorable for me – I got to finally meet Sam and Tania, the duo behind A Boy Named Sue, and also hang out with my friend Rachel, who I haven’t seen since I left Australia.

To sum up: over the course of eighteen days, I fell a little bit in love with Asia, fell a lot in love with Hong Kong, and rekindled a need to travel. My only regret is that I didn’t get to explore more of the art and street culture at either place, but things to consider the next time I go overseas.

cropped flowers

Happy belated mid-autumn moon festival! I hope everyone had a lovely time with their family (if you celebrate) and ate lots of moon cakes– those have always been one of my favourite things to eat at this time every year. Because of my coursework, I wasn’t able to return home for it this year, but I’ll make sure to get my moon cakes somehow.

Aside from a spot of dreadful humidity last Wednesday, September has been such a lovely month– there’s been all the excitement in the air from being back at school, from Fashion Week, from getting to see the ol’chums that slid out of your life during those warm summer months. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching for various studio assignments, one direction leading towards a coming of age, the other directed by my fondness for art history. I’m not completely sure where I’m headed with either of those concepts, but they’re getting there, hence my hybrid of flowers and the random assortment of Instagram updates.

And so, here’s a quick hello before I turn in for the night, before I resume my self-induced studying…on Sunday. I’m going to the NY Art Book Fair tomorrow at MoMa PS. 1 which, if last year was any indication, seems the most of promising ways to begin the last wind down of such weather that sticks to the back of your neck as ice coffees give way to pumpkin spice lattes.

 

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I bought my first set of pots and pans this week – it feels like there’s little more grown-up than buying your own cookware to start off a new school year. To be fair I’m only going to be living in an on campus apartment, but it’s miles difference from having to live in a dorm. (Having lived in a dorm since I was a junior in high school, I can’t say that I’m looking to extend the experience.) For once I feel like I have my school supplies under control and aside from a few more kitchen items I need (plus an eventual trip for groceries closer to the date), there’s not much left I have to do other than actually pack everything so that they can be lugged back to uni.

Anyways, I just finished re-reading An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. I’d read it first during spring break during the breaks I took from editing my portfolio, but I found myself able to really sink my teeth into the book this time around, with nothing to distract me. If you haven’t read it and you have an interest in art history, as I do, then you should definitely check it out. Bonus: there are twenty-two colour reproductions of some of the art work mentioned in the book that only adds to the appeal.

lemons

Since I was little I’ve been taught that oranges, specifically Mandarin oranges are a symbol of prosperity, good fortune, and longevity. It’s why my relatives always share orange slices with each other after getting together for important meals. It’s also why, every year around this time, my mother puts a bowl of oranges in each bedroom and on the dining room table. This year I don’t have oranges, but it’s okay. In keeping with the citrus family, I have lemons to give myself a citric start to the new year.

This week I found myself wishing that I could have time off so that I could go home and celebrate Chinese New Year with my family especially as a lot of my friends on the other side of the world have a few days off for the holiday. Instead the university canceled classes for today because of inclement weather i.e. the northeastern storm that’s been named Nemo. I still can’t go home, but, nonetheless, it was nice to have the day to sleep in and do everything somewhat languidly – a feeling that has long disappeared since spring semester started.

What was also a nice round off to the end of the week was that my Chinese professor treated the beginner and intermediate classes to dinner because of Chinese New Year this weekend. Not everyone could go and two people brought friends, so it was a interesting mix of people. We had to give short introductions in Chinese, but otherwise we used English. I remember around this time last year, I was determined to start learning a new language (knowing Latin and a sparse number of words in Cantonese can only get you so far.) I’m not sure if you can notice…but I can now string somewhat proper sentences together (hence the short summary at the end), even if they’re somewhat colloquial. I still have a lot to learn, but I like it. A lot.

明天就是新年了。因为下雪,所以我不可以回家。不过昨天晚上 (六点半)我中文老师请我和我的同学们吃除夕晚饭. 我们一边吃饭,一边练习说一点中文。(可是我们平常用营文。)我除了吃好意外,还跟朋友笑。因为我们晚才笑,我们十点回大学宿舍。今天我很累,可是还很高兴!

 

(Some essentials this semester– foreign policy texts, beginning chinese texts, new iPad case, moleskine planner.)

The other day I was at Costco and I was somewhat horrified to find that they were already starting to sell Christmas decorations– partly because it was still August at the time and partly because fall semester hasn’t started for me yet. It’s not even sweater-wearing time, although, when I was living in Perth, I came in possession of a wool sweater and my co-workers told me that if I could get through a summer’s day without taking it off, then I was truly assimilated to the Western Australian climate.

I do move back on campus on Monday though, where I suppose I will be safely tucked away from all things Christmas-y…until Halloween has past at least. Honestly, I wonder if I’ll even be coherent enough by the time December rolls around to take notice of everything being decked out; this semester I’m pushing myself a little bit more by taking an overload on my course load (four studios and two gen eds.)  All of it together could turn out to be complete insanity. At what point can you declare something crazy?

Here’s to September! I know I’m excited for it (:

One of my co-workers pointed out that despite the myriad of events during the school year, May is staunchly dance company galas and June is basically graduation month. My experience with attending graduations isn’t very high, but now I can say that I’ve seen more caps and gowns that are necessary and heard ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ more times than ever–although kudos to the one school for playing One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ three times in their graduation (that being said, it was a moving up ceremony for fifth graders.) One parent did take a picture of all of us putting together programs and hanging out backstage though, lest anyone believes we just stand around as security detail.

However, I was super happy to be able to attend the graduation at my alma mater and not only congratulate some of my friends but to also see fellow alumna and former teachers. The memories I created there are among the loveliest I have and stepping on campus reminded me of everything I loved about the school. And having worked several graduations since this one happened, I think my high school has the most beautiful graduation ceremony EVER.

(Westover Class of 2012– each showing their individual style in their white dresses.)

(The underclassmen wearing the traditional ‘sailor’ uniforms for special occasions.)

(Marching out to the athletic fields.)

(Singing Auld Lang Syne.)

(Congratulations Class of 2012!)