Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.


Earthquake!
2009/01/24, 06:41
Filed under: Los Angeles

Whoa…so I felt my first earthquake today. Another rite of passage for living on the west coast I’m assuming…

http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/recenteqs/Quakes/ci10373093.html

Tara and I were eating dinner, watching Two and A Half Men repeats when all of a sudden it sounded like our upstairs neighbors jumped really hard or took a nasty fall.  Except, it ended up lasting several seconds (5-10 maybe?) and I felt my chair shake. I think we were both just stunned and didn’t react, but we didn’t have enough time to react before it stopped.

Nothing damaged, nothing fell, which was good. Going by the above website, I’m guessing Tara and I are between 2-4 miles from the epicenter of a short 3.4ML.  Yikes.

I can’t say it’s the first earthquake I’ve experienced though…there was one in Potsdam when I was a sophomore. Gio and I were in my dorm hanging out one night when I heard all of this racket. I looked outside, thinking it was a bunch of freshman goofing off throwing things around outside, but didn’t see anyone (it was also very cold and late at night). I went to school the next day and the women in the cafeteria and the janitors were telling us how their homes were shaking. Turns out I heard the cars shaking in the parking lot! For some reason though, the dorms weren’t affected.

Hmmmm….

Okay, off to do some homework.  TWO, count them, TWO concerts tomorrow.  The mariachi one at 514 S Spring St. at the Latino Culture and History museum at 2pm.  Following that, I have the Chinese New Year Celebration at 7pm in Tom Bradley International Hall (3rd floor Ballroom).  Busy couple of days but it feels great to be playing music so much again!

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ChinaTOWN!!
2009/01/23, 08:59
Filed under: Los Angeles, Music, Thoughts

Today was quite the adventure, and a very long day…and one of those days when you can’t just seem to be punctual enough for buses!

I start the day off by sleeping in until 8:15am.  *#&$*&@$!  I’m supposed to catch the Culver City bus down to the downtown bus to get to China town by 8:49am.  I somehow make it out by quarter of…having shoveled cheerios into my mouth in about 5 minutes flat.

Bus #1 passes by me as I am running (with all of my heavy books and crap) down the street.  I could have caught it, but some guy walked out in front of me at the newsstand, cutting me off, making me miss the crosswalk just to watch the bus drive away.

Double *#&$*&@$!

So I catch the Santa Monica Blue Bus, which after paying twice as much for a transfer, I realized it doesn’t go as far south as I need it to.  I hop off, and walk down a few blocks.  I see the city bus at the light.  Crap.  I had to race across the street and to the bus stop.  I made it.  Though it would probably have been worth it to wait until the next Culver City Bus (which passed me as I was about 2 blocks from where I was headed).

Whoops. It was the 33 and not the 333. It stopped somewhere in the middle of downtown (Main/6th)…and I had to haul butt up to Chinatown to meet Morit (I did 1.5 miles in about 30 min…and that’s including time waiting at lights to cross…having to cross twice when sidewalks were closed…and carrying several pounds of books and my lunch). I could have taken the 333, but then I would have spent the change I needed to get back to school.

la-walk

I somehow arrived at César Chavez and Broadway as Morit’s bus was pulling up.  We go…try to find Chinese dresses for the New Year’s event we’re performing in this weekend.  After searching some shops and taking advice from some locals, we find a place that’s a) not too expensive and b) has our sizes.  We proceed to grab a bite to eat and head back to UCLA.

Bus #3…Passed us.  We went running down César Chavez/Sunset….but it left before we could manage to get there. Triple *#&$*&@$!

Bus #4 comes and we got to campus at 2:30pm.  Ugh, at the end of class (Quadruple *#&$*&@$). The coin machine on the bus wasn’t working and I didn’t have to pay to get back west after all.  Go figure, I could have used that to take another bus to avoid walking for 1.5 miles.  Hah. Oh well. I guess that gave me some exercise to substitute for not doing Yoga this week. :/

I was a little miffed at myself for missing class, but overall the day was quite an adventure. I really didn’t mind walking so much, and I was excited because today it was cloudy and it RAINED!!  I miss the rain and the air felt so much cleaner.  Plus the partly-cloudiness creates this depth to the sky that is aesthetically appealing to me.  Morit and I had a lot of fun in Chinatown and gabbing all day, plus we both found outfits for under $20.  Mission accomplished.

I’m really enjoying Chinese Ensemble…I had never known much about Chinese music before, but Ching Yi and Morit play in it, so when ChingYi told me to join, I figured…Why not!?  So here I am, playing erhu and cymbals.  The music from rehearsal today is still in my head 🙂  I also realize how much I love the wide range of timbral effects and the wonderfully delicate sound that it has (well….except for my cymbals!).

Anways, there’s SOO much to do in the next few  days.  Saturday, I will perform with the mariachi group (my first time! About 8 of the 10 songs are memorized) downtown, and the Chinese ensemble for the Chinese New Year (Happy year of the Ox!), going straight from one to the other, and having to juggle between three instruments and three outfits.  🙂

Later, I have pictures to post from Chinatown and when Tara and I went hiking Monday in the Santa Monica Mountains…



Staying up late…
2009/01/17, 08:22
Filed under: Thoughts, Travel

Staying up late…BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

Anyways, yes, I am 24 years old today (Jan 16th….when I started the post).  It’s crazy…17,18,19 years old…they all seem so recent…and I don’t feel much different than I did even in high school.  I refuse to think I am old.  The day went pretty well…plenty of birthday wishes…class…Erhu lesson (which I’m enjoying!)…some cheesecake and coffee with ChingYi…dinner and time with Tara.

Tomorrow is the party, so maybe I’ll have some pictures.

And on another note…Gio and I were discussing over the phone the other day a memory of Berlin, and he brought up a good point.  Think of all the people (especially when you travel) who you see (but not meet), and without them knowing it, they become a huge part of your experience in a place…even influence your entire impression of somewhere (which is not always bad, but in the following case, neutral)…

Example.

Gio and I arrived in Berlin during our backpacking trip.  It was between 8:30am and 9am, and these two cops came up to us, walking over all jolly-like and teasingly went…”Are you LOST!?”  We weren’t really lost, but just adjusting to the area after a night on the Eurrail (the 5 euro sleeping arrangements…sitting on uncomfortable as hell seats for several hours).  With the help of the cops, we figured out the time cards for travel by train (there arent turnstyles there, at least in 2006), found our local train and headed towards our hostel.  I was never really sure if the police approached us because we looked completely lost, or because we stuck out like sore thumbs there.  Here we were, both of us below 5’7″ (me, barely 5’4″), tanned, dark hair, in a land of what seemed like giants.  This observation was magnified on the train when we sat down and realized we barely came to the shoulders of the Germans next to us.  At one of the stops, a man stepped on the train, DUCKING underneath the door to step in.  Clearly he was larger than the average German, but as I tend to tell the story….”He ducked down to crouch into the train car, and his head was the size of my abdomen!!  His voice was as deep as James Earl Jones’, and he had a gigantic can of beer in his hand!”  That is barely an exaggeration!

It was complete culture shock for us… if I did not speak in Spain, France, or Italy, nobody ever questioned where I was from, but now I stood out just by being short and morena.  I felt like I was ten years old again!!  Everyone kept staring at us on the trains and around town…not to be rude…but in a curious way, as if thinking…”where the heck are they from!?”  Most realized Gio was Ecuadorian and kept chit chat to 2006 world cup predictions.

But that man on the train continues to be included in our stories whenever we talk about our trip.  Even three years later.

I guess a parallel would be in this picture…I didn’t notice anything in particular when the picture was taken, but afterward, you can’t help but think about the girl in the fantastic, multiple-shades-of-green outfit!!  It looks like I inserted her, and she’s a female version of Where’s Waldo(ette).  I assure you though, there weren’t any computer tricks involved in this one.

10-giojessstmarc



Resolutions!
2009/01/07, 07:51
Filed under: Los Angeles, Moving, Thoughts

Classes started today…I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of my friends still on the semester system, but at least this quarter seems bearable and interesting (not that last quarter wasn’t, but the adjustment was pretty tough).

The trip back west went pretty well yesterday.  Took the obnoxiously early flight from JFK – LAX (I forgot that American Airlines charges for checked bags…even just for one…and in my half-asleep stupor I was pretty annoyed, but other than that things were fine).  I sat next to a woman who was friendly, we talked for a minute, and then we both went to reading books and taking naps.  Talk about a great person to sit with!!  I wish all rides were as smooth and had as considerate people as that one.  Granted, most of the plane slept the entire way.

It was tough to leave family, friends, and especially Gio at the airport.  I have to admit, long distance relationships are tough, but it has been worth every minute of it.  Luckily, Gio was able to catch an earlier flight home as stand-by for  $0.10 (the difference in taxes or something…payable in cash only!! 🙂   )  Unfortunately, his bag was sent to Aruba instead of Austin!

So anyways, when I landed in LAX, it was a weird sensation.  The weather here is BEAUTIFUL… it felt like the day in the spring time in NY…typically around Easter time, when it’s the FIRST day that the weather is just undeniably fantastic.  At a place like Potsdam, it’s the first day you look around and see EVERYONE has an excuse to be outside in the sun.  Playing sports.  Reading.  Walking.  Talking.  Practicing their instruments.  Eating.  Lounging around in the quads.  The first day you feel like life suddenly blossomed.  Or the first time you notice that the buds on the trees actually became leaves!  Then I realized that people who are from places like Los Angeles and have never lived in a 4-seasons region just don’t get that feeling or experience, and I’m really glad I do!  The last two days I’ve had an extra spring in my step 🙂

Okay, and to end this post, I will share my New Year’s Resolutions.

a) Try my best to adhere to a consistent, healthy sleep schedule. In bed between 10:30pm-12am (which gives me 24 minutes!)  I spent all last year teaching going to bed anywhere from 12am – 5am.  None of my other teaching friends did this.  Yes, I know I was crazy.  The miracle is, I never drank coffee or became a coffee drinker…and I made it through every day off sheer adrenaline and whatever else.  Granted, I spent many of my lunch periods napping.  Weeks of mid-terms and finals might require some fudging of this, but hopefully not!

b) Consistently practice Yoga again…perhaps even join a class at UCLA.  This is contingent with resolution a, and my hope is to wake up between 7am and 9am to practice yoga before classes.  This will give me the exercise I’ve always enjoyed, keep my endorphines up, and reduce stress.

c) Complete more of my reading and school work at school/in the library. Less distractions.  More of a relaxing vibe at home.  Enough said.

and finally…

d) Volunteer at the Lange Foundation down the street. I am severely deprived of animals (seeing as how I’ve never NOT had a pet in my life, and I really miss being around animals.  Heck, when I don’t think anyone is looking, I stare at and talk to the squirrels on campus sometimes!)  I also am worried about adopting a pet due to limited funds and uncertainty of where I’ll have an apartment next year.  I would be completely devastated if I had to give up a pet due to something as much of a nuisance as strict landlords.  I hope they’ll understand I’m a graduate student and not mind that it might be only a few hours a week and the availability changes frequently with the quarter system.



Happy 2009
2009/01/01, 16:33
Filed under: Thoughts, Uncategorized

Hope everyone’s Christmas (Chanukah, Eid, etc.) and New Year’s were great!  I had a lot of fun seeing family and friends while I was home, but it definitely wasn’t enough time!  Just a few more days to relax and relish time with Gio’s family (currently we are in Brooklyn) before I head to the CRAZINESS that will be the following two quarters.  It’s what I live for.

Anyways, this is what Gio and I do to pass the time in the bus station when we’re stuck for an extra hour due to snowy, arctic weather.  That’s Syracuse for you.  God bless Apple Macbooks.

Enjoy 🙂