Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tip me a little good

As spring starts to roll around, the gloomy weather also follows its way in. And that really encounters  for the cause of a lot of sleeping in and low productivity. Yes, i blame you weather. Good news is, I'm back with this little blog post that i'm sure most of you have missed me a lot. Right?

  Talking about how a new season steps its foot in makes me reminisce the time I step my cold feet in the JFK airport in New York. Having no free WIFI is one of the great welcome i had when i stepped out of the plane. JFK is a big airport but since it's big, it has many divisions, and i think the division i was in was a small one, so lining up to get our passport checked and the little immigration stamp, making your passport looks like a traveler's collection was a mixed feeling.

  Once the staff at the counter stamp his chop chop on my passport, it was like a "welcome to the U.S, you're officially in the border now." moment. The staff did say welcome even though he kept his strict face all along.

    Things i hate about this country is you have to pay for almost everything and tip everyone. In my country, the baggage trolley is always free and you can take as many as you want. (only if you want that many). As soon as i got my two luggage, I have to pay i guess $4 dollars to hire that trolley for a short moment. Many have chosen to opt out for this option but i couldn't afford to push two luggage by myself that is of different heights. Although i have been told I have to pay for the trolley, still, i don't think it is reasonable to pay such a big amount to just use something that the airport is supposed to provide you with.

     To get to where I live, i have previously booked a shuttle. On its website, it says up to 10 people can fit in it so i expect the shuttle will go around a pick up people. So i waited in the waiting area in the airport next to the parking lot and crossed my fingers that the shuttle will arrive. Because i would not know what to do if it didnt arrived. I gave my receipt to the little counter of the shuttle company and the lady asked me to wait around and would call me when someone was going to pick me up.

Image result for jfk airport terminal 9

   It was a small space with two little coffee shops and some stands of tourist information. I picked up some maps and shows recommendation cards for myself and dug them into my bag. It was 6 a.m in the morning, feeling hungry, i thought it'd be good to grab myself some breakfast and get ready for the two to three hours shuttle ride.

    Approaching at the starbucks counter, i picked up a packet of banana bread and a 1L Smart water with me, The water in the airport was so expensive (was $5) but that how airport works. As i pay the cashier with the amount, she said it was not enough. I then checked the price tag again and added it up and asked, "isnt it $xx?"  She said, "No, its "$xx.xx, there's tax."   There I went, Oh, tax. I never have to pay any tax in the city of where i live so this is like a shock for me and i quickly opened my coins bag and tried to work out how many cents i had to pay more.

  Having almost no idea how to distinguish each coin and its value, it took me quite a long time and i literally spread the coins on the counter and trying to count. The cashier went on taking the order from the next customer and later she said, "Don't worry about it." I looked up at her and said " sorry?" The man lining up behind me added "You don't have to pay, she'll take care of it."
Then, the cashier took her employee card and beep it on the cashier, there, i was free of paying the tax.
 
   The amount of the tax i have to pay was not a lot and in fact there is some changes in the changes box which can help me cancel out the money i have to pay. But how the cashier saw my problem of distinguishing the coins and being new to the tax system and helped me out made me feel welcomed.

  After few minutes, my shuttle driver was here and thanked god for that, then my worry was like, please don't drive me to anywhere else. Well, he didn't and a bonus, i got to enjoy my banana bread and the $5 water all to myself in the shuttle. It felt like a private shuttle ride as only 1 passenger, me , was on the shuttle all along.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Blog post will be coming up

Updates: sorry i havent been active but i promise a blog post will be coming up . thanks!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

An act of LOVE

Graduation should be one of the marks or achievement of one's study journey or life. After nearly 2 decades of studying life, I graduated. Interestingly, I am not the one who see my graduation as something special, it was more like a show to put on, or another costume to get on and take some 'character photos'. Well, at least i have a gown to put on and see how i would look in it.. another play- pretend event.

  Maybe that's because I was not into the life of the program i was in in the past few college years. I was really going to school just for doing it and i could not wait to get out of it everyday so i could get on with my life. I guess the non-school part of my life is more fascinating and attracting.Let me summarize it for you, i did not feel a single bit that i belong to my core college. And I'm not surprised.

   Let me tell you in whisper, I think I have the strongest sense of belonging to the program i was in in Long Island , New York.  Oh Stony Brook, If i could wear that bright red graduation gown, I wouldn't hesitate to put it on and be a happy proud college student. Yeah, I am more attached and feel more included in that school than the one i was in for years.



  Anyways, if I were going to dig into the details, I would not be able to finish this blog without making it too long. What i want to share in this post after two months of not posting anything is that I freaking love one of the classes i was in during my study there. Like, LOVE. Yeah, I don't know how you can really love your classmates in a class when you just see them twice a week for two hours each time. It never happened before and i didn't expect it would. I think that's the magic of stage. Strangers become friends and friends become families.




  Acting, was the class' title. I was not in the first class as it was jammed at first and I luckily grabbed my spot later as someone dropped the class during the add-drop period. So there i was, in my second class. I was not expecting anything from this class during my first lesson. There i was, probably in my white Christmas sweater and winter boots, walked in a space with black bricked walls, (actually everything in black) , three tiers of auditorium chairs and a huge space in front of it.

   There was once a sweet girl whose name i could not recall now, she was being extra nice in my first acting class. You know, girls remember every compliment. We had a little get-to-know-each-other sort of ice breaker activities and i don't really remember how i teamed up with her. So after asking and answering questions, our teacher asked each team to introduce your new friend to the class. And so nicely of her of just chatting like 5 minutes to me, she was speaking oh-so wonderfully of me, not about the things i talked, but like a personality compliments. And there i was, standing there introducing her basic information that i gathered while she spoke so highly of me demeanor.  Thank you.

   During our classes, we did lots, i mean lots of crazy acting activities, if you did not know and walked past our classroom, you'd think you gone to a zoo or an asylum as we would be pretending to be different kinds of animals running around in the room. One of the exercises i remembered was somehow touching each other and we had to do something according to that, and i think that was like the first bit of our bonds to grow and ice to break among us.

 For the first assignment, we had to a scene with a partner. I got teamed up with a guy from Korea who looked much like a teddy bear in my opinion, or a koala. (Well you get the idea.) Because we both missed a class. Ha. I remember we were playing as reporters discovering something and to do that we spent time to discuss what to do. We didn't spend too much time together discussing it as he totally trusted my directions as he didn't have any acting experience but still we spent some time getting to know each other which was rare in my college life. We became closer because of this assignment and he once walked me to the mail room afar which was really nice.



  So rolling on we had our second assignment doing another scene, this time with teams of three, and in between lessons, lots of other activities that we could do together with everyone in the class. There were moments where i learned from watching and there were some nice moments which the class teacher, who liked me very much, gave me compliments and directions to become better. Sometimes, being put under the spotlight can really keep you with pressure to drive you to become better and better.

  There was a favorite activity of our class - improv. I remember how just about 15 of our students went all in for the activity. We were pretending to be driving in a car, unscripted, and let it happen. Each time a student jumps in the scene and one would go out, creating a new story. I was totally in it and had so cool chemistry with the classmates and what really satisfied me was i felt like i was really in a car with them and also i made the audience laugh. I didn't think i have the humor to do that but this class changed my perception and reminded me of what i was capable of.

  


   Our class was so fun sometimes we would hide and turn the lights off just to scare the teacher... Fun times... And the teacher also grew closer with us as she started to flaunt one day as one of the students said he liked her scarf.

 Acting 105, it is a class that I don't want to miss because of the fun and people. In our last class, we had to do our monologue as a final examination. Since i had to go early for the Jimmy Fallon Live in the city, i had to leave early. As sad as that, i didn't have a chance to say a proper goodbye. So as I walked out the classroom, to my surprise, i said loudly to the room, "I Love y'all". because that was what i felt.

  Since when do you say "I love y'all" to a class...I have to say that was one of my favourite class, or actually, a group of nice, adorable, interesting, fun people i had spent with in this short term of study life.

 There I was, a strong sense of belonging college student. even for a short glimpse of moment.



(dorm made lunch by myself)
   

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Capturing Real Life Stories

  It has been a while since a new post is seen on here, almost like a delay never got noticed. Just like the train i used to hop on to the city got a new schedule on the weekend due to a renovation of a bridge. By the time our train arrived at the change station, when all passengers decided to walk over to the other train, that train was gone. So about thirty people were just lost there on the platform, got nothing to do, and surprisingly no one was complaining and just sat there to wait for the next train... only in an hour... But at least the train finally came. Like this post.

  Train rides to the city has always been an exciting one. Although it takes two freaking long hours, the excitement and anticipation back to the city is always something new, something i look forward to. Either just to sleep on, watch the clouds and houses go by or observe other passengers near me. And when the silhouette and skyline of Manhattan finally came to sight, i knew i was more than ready and instantly energized about what might happen next.


  But what about train rides back to Long Island? Usually it's me with my go-to-dinner or i'll just sleep through it as it usually gets dark and it's so cozy just to sit back and relax and let the train bring me back to my bed. Well not bed, but close.

   The train has two sides between an aisle, on the left side locates two seats and the right has three. One night after my visit to the city,i hopped on a crowded train and found myself a seat on the right. Usually people don't sit in the middle if there's just one person on the aisle, as there was a guy, probably 18 or 19 sitting on the very right of the three seated seats, i settled on the very left.

   As the train left the station, stepping its feet into the dark tunnel, i brought my camera out and started reviewing the photos i took of the day. After reviewing the photos for like 10 minutes, i placed it back to my bag. Few moments afterwards, the guy sitting on my right near the window asked, "Are you a photographer?" I looked to his direction and shook my head as i smiled No. "You seem professional." He added. So I told him i was just casually taking pictures as i like taking pictures.

  I think he then told me his name which i forgot... and i told him mine too. And i don't know how but we began chatting with each other. It was so nice to have someone to chat with during the train ride as it was such a quiet moment and you get to know about another person's story in this complete random situation. I mean it would not be random, for we are going to sit on the same place for quite some time. Usually people just smile at me but never really engage me in a full  conversation in the train ride. So i was interested in the conversation he held.

   What i learned about him was that he didn't used to live in New York but some small town in another state and was only here for a job, been here a few weeks i guess. We talked about places and attractions he needed to visit in the town as he told me it was his first time visiting the city. I told him all the places he needed to go and showed him my map in my bag. he moved to sit in the middle as we talked and we learned a little about each other  during the short time.

    Having conversations always make time goes faster. When it was his time to get off, and after that we never saw each other again nor had any contacts. Sometimes i wished i had asked for his contact not because of anything, but just to know one more person's life story.

     Taking pictures surely tells a story, but what if we can hear a real, vivid story from a person? Isn't it as interesting?

  Have you ever sparked a conversation with a total stranger? If you haven't,  you should totally try. Either just say hi or smile back, just because human connection is such an important thing in our lives and who knows we may make someone's day.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Faith in Kindness

   Central Park is like the lung of New York City. More than providing just greenery,  posh and sophisticated architectures and a true renewal spot amidst the concrete towers in Manhattan, it is cultivating millions of dynamic lives. Musicians, actors, businessmen, tourists... all gather in this space to renew and recharge. There are always a certain type of people who fascinate me here- people who work out,people who run down the trails surrounded by trees and lakes,people who bike along the road listening to the chirping of birds and the hustle of pedestrians under the glistening sunlight peeking its way through the canopy of leaves.

    To be honest, one of my checklist is to workout in Central Park. It sounds like a luxury to me, imagine just bringing keys and nothing else in your workout clothes and just running through this beautiful park and you can just head back to your apartment nearby. Well, that would not happen to me right now but at least i can figure out a part of that.

   So one day in the morning, i tied my hair up and dressed myself in my beloved broadway
camp  T-shirt in ruby and a running shorts. There i went, into the city, just for working out in central park. I grabbed myself a strawberry waffle along my way from the station to the park. My plan was simple, to run around and then hire a bike from those biking racks. (those citibikes provided by the city)

   Just when i was walking towards the entrance of the park, a young man, with a leaflet in his hand approached by my side and asked if i'd like to hire a bicycle. I glanced at the prices for a second and thought it was too expensive for an hour so i shook my head and smiled as i continued to walk along the street. And for my first plan was to run so i didn't look further. He asked where i was going, as friendly as he was, i told him i was going for a run. He then replied, why not hire a bike! Then i said, maybe later. I want to run first. As i continued to walk and with him following by my side, we encountered the traffic lights and there we stopped, waiting for the walk sign,





   As i thought he would forget about selling his business to me, he asked who i was running with, i told him it was just me. To my surprise he asked if he could run with me. Instantly, i laughed at that idea as he was still holding his price list of the renting of the bike. So i told him, "but you have to do your business." Then he said, "i could run with you and still do my business!" I obviously didn't know what else to say, it was funny and silly at the same time. And at last i said no and waved him goodbye as i crossed the road. Just when i thought it was all finished, he offered me to lend me their bicycles for free. It was very tempting but i couldn't accept it for i really wanted to run first. I smiled again and refused and at last, i went for a run.

  Let's face it, my idea of him doing all the talking was just wanting me to rent his bicycle and all he ever wanted was my money. Even when offered the bicycle for me for free, i was afraid i had to pay other sort of fees when it's all done. But when i think about it, what if he really wanted to just run with me, what if he really wanted to lend me the bike for free. that brought me back to the issue of trust. It's very hard to trust a stranger, even someone you know very well. My issue of trust was shaken when a close classmate of mine back in high school did something "betrayal" to me and most of the time, the crush i had promised me something but never kept that promise. It got the point where it was very hard to trust someone completely just by what they say. But with this, i wondered if my trust issue got to a very secured point where i could possibly turned down someone with good intention and kindness. I'd never know, but at least this young man made me reconsider my level of trust and try to open my mind to trusting people again, or at least give them a little chance to see what they could offer.





And on a final note, i did hire a bike from those bicycles racks after my glorious run across the beautiful sheep meadow, biked around central park, to Queensboro bridge and back to 34th street.


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Curious Coney Island

    Living in New York City and Long Island is a great balance for me, I am always the girl who wants to have busy lives with dynamic things going on every second but sometimes i just want to relax and breath in the fresh air from the countryside where greenery, flowers and a huge blue sky can be seen . Where you just have to interact with the animals. Ahem.

   Between these two balanced lives, there was a time i wanted more, a place where it is different from the city and the tranquil country living, a place that is more intimate, much like a small town. I did a few researches online, hoping i would get out of New York City for a trip,  I thought of going to New Jersey, which was just a train ride away from the station i usually got off to the city, and also a place i could not remember the name, 3 hours train ride away from the city. Yet, through all the considerations i have had, i put these ideas aside and decided my trip would be completed by this special spot - Coney Island.

 Oh Coney Island, the first thought or impression i had for you was based on the Phantom Of the Opera - Love Never Dies. The story of how Christine Daae got away from phantom and has been living and performing in Coney Island secretly alone was such a gripping idea for me to go visit this circus-y, mysterious place. And as i googled the site, what i felt like about this place was it was old, full of history, fantasical and strange at the same time. Well, if you didn't know already, Coney Island is basically a beach with a carnival/ roller coasters sort of attractions. Spoiler alert, there is no circus so we won't be seeing Christine Daae. What i found from the website was it was the month of the Mermaid Parade which everyone can dress as a mermaid and stride down the road if they
want. Interesting. The other thing i found was the icon which i think was a clown, grinning from ear to ear to you doesn't seem pleasing at all, in fact, was a bit eerie. There is certainly something mysterious about this place, This place is old, has been cultivating the American history and i felt I could just step right into the 1950s when i got there.





     The weather on the day i planned to go there wasn't nice at all, it was so cloudy it almost felt like it could rain any moment. So i squeezed in Finding Neverland the musical to my afternoon itinerary first and got to decide if i wanted to go to Coney Island afterwards. Part of it was because of the weather but part of it was because it felt like i was going somewhere else, somewhere out of Manhattan, having nobody knew where i was going, the idea was a bit scary for me as i totally didn't know the  place, will there be any gansters...okay. So let's talk a bit about  Finding Neverland the musical first before we moved on to Coney Island. It was completely different from what i expected, it was not a Peter Panny fantasy storyline, Matthew Morrison's attempt on British accent was not that pleasing but what i didn't expect was i shed a tear in one of the scenes as it was too touching. I thought this would be a family musical where fantasies happened, who knew it would be that touching.






  Anyways, let's get back to the main point. I plucked up my courage and bought myself a single ride ticket to Coney Island. Stepping into the unknown was always intimdating and exciting and i am so glad i took the step. The thing about METRO was really interesting, you can get to anywhere with $2.5. As far as Coney Island to as close as 3 streets away, which literally takes you 5 minutes. The price is the same. That was also why i chose to walk whenever possible like 40 streets down, no problem. i could do that, So $2.5 to Coney Island felt like i earned a lot.

   As i arrived the station of Coney Island, i followed the sign - Mermaid Ave and got out. Shops and restaurants with huge banner reminding me of the Old America greeted me as I walked out. The colors were old, rustic and very American. I felt like i was not in the modern ages anymore.





  Passing along these oldies, i found myself walking up the wooden- boarded stairs and onto the pier of Coney Island. The air of salty, beachy smell wafted into my nose. I have been watching some vlogs where people videotaped themselves on piers in Brighton Piers and that pretty much felt like Brighton Pier. With a cobbled stoned beach, the sea, a pier lined with shops, if i didn't tell you from the picture, it wasn't that much different from Brighten Pier.


    It wasn't raining when i got there. But blue sky was no where to be seen. I wonder how beautiful it would be if it was a sunny day with the sun shining brightly to the sea, casting some crystal reflections on each wave. Still, despite the weather, the voices of seagulls flying across the sky and walking on the wooden boarded pier, hoping to get some food crumbs from the people who just got the food from the shops were producing a lovely scene to this calm place. Stalls of hotdogs, bars with beautiful banners were lying along the pier, people, usually family or friends gather together to walk along the pier or to grab a drink or food, sitting down to enjoy a lazy day from the busy city.










    The walk along the pier was a relaxing moment. It really brought me back to the old days, where pastel colors, bold prints, A-line skirt, prim and proper clothes were in fashion. Like those scene from Brooklyn the movie. Though the movie version was much more intensified in these elements.

   What kind of trip would be completed in Coney Island if i didn't go into the amusement park. So i went inside, hoping to ride on a ride or two before i could catch the train back to the city. Seeing the prices on the game stalls, i wasn't sure what to do. The lowest price one has to pay was $40 and with that $40, you can play up to 6 rides in one zone only. Since the amusement park have totally like 3 zones, it felt really stupid to spend $40 in just one zone. And i didn't have time for that as well. So i walked around and found myself a less intimating roller coaster.





   I approached the staff monitoring that roller coaster/entrance and asked if i could just pay for the ride and how much it would cost for one time only. As i remembered, he was a black guy, young and with a little hair, i think he was wearing a hat too? anyways, he said, Why you just want to ride this one? So i said to him, " I'm just travelling and i will have to leave in 15 minutes but i really want to play this once before i catch the train." (Actually i didn't know why i was in such a rush to catch the 6-ish train duh. But ya that happened.) That staff looked around, seemingly looking for anyone to answer my question.  A few moment later, he said to me, "Don't worry about that", and spun the entrance for me and let me go in for free.


 That was the happiest moment of the day. HE LET ME PLAYED THE ROLLER COASTER FOR FREE. That was the most generous thing i have ever encountered and i could tell you that only happen in Coney Island. I smiled and thanked him and got on the ride which scarily there was no seat belt. So i held tight to the handles on the "horses" and as the bell rang, the "horses" were ready to dash off. It was such an amazing feeling not only i felt adrenaline running through my veins, what's more rewarding was when the "horses" got to the top, i was able to see a bird-eyed view of the pier, the shoreline and the sea. It was so peaceful. I know it's a weird word to use in riding roller coaster, but it really felt like that.

 Thank you for the staff who let me ride that roller coaster for free. The trip would not be completed with his kind act.

Have you ever encountered someone giving you a kind act? And have you ever given to the others?

 

    

Friday, March 25, 2016

The best adventure is those that are unknown

 The great adventure finds you when you least expect it. And when they knock on your door, you have to have the courage to turn the knob. Either you take it, see where it takes you, or you stay on the same ground.

    My very first official audition in New York City was a moment i have been forever waiting for for months. The whole system is a bit complicated, most of them are not cattle calls and most of them are only asking for equity members, (let's not talk about the fact that i have to get up at 5am to take the morning train to the city). so basically if you don't have the card, you cannot go. So for weeks after weeks i finally could search one that i can go which was the Mary Poppins ensemble call. Interestingly, the call was scheduled on the day after a concert i had to attend. Which means, after a night of screaming, being in the snow (with minimal clothing as i wanted to look nice in the concert, um..) and not resting. There was no way i was going to skip the concert for this call so having my fingers crossed, i screamed in a special way in the concert and braced myself in the cold, somehow being too happy and excited and not sleeping until 2am and waking up at 7 (thanks god I was staying in the hotel about only 7 streets away) and somehow, spoiler alert, i managed to do my best.


 The best wasn't at Mary Poppins though. After having bananas, bread and cereal for breakfast, i grabbed myself a blueberry muffin from the breakfast counter and headed out for the day. When it was about 9 or 10, i waited in the area where the call was held. To my surprise, there wasn't many people but just around 3 girls in their dresses and a few guys who were stretching their legs in the open space, with their dance leg muscles sticking out and toes in their pointe.. As i was sitting on the bench and casually changing my winter boots to my heels, (i swear the girls were looking at my action..) i saw an old man went towards the room and before he went inside, he spent some time with us girls. We learned about he was the producer for the show, which i learned he was only a guy providing money for all of these and had almost nothing to do with anything else and most important of all, we were told they were not seeing anyone who were not on their list until those people who were are done, and it was still their decision whether more wanted to be seen so we were told to come around at 12 to only see their decisions.

   I turned to look at the other girls, 2 of them seemed to be friends and 1 were not, four of us haven't really talked with each other until then. So when the producer was away, we had come to an agreement that it was either you can stay here or just go and how it all explained why there were only so few of us here. What was in my mind was that there was no freaking way i was going as i have waited for this since so long ago. So with my bottom stuck on the bench as hard as glue, the two girls started to get change back to their winter clothes and got up. "I like your heels,", said one of the girls. To be honest with you, i thought they hated my heels and the way i changed it. So that compliment was really out of no where and made me surprisingly happy. "Thanks", i replied. "They are so pretty, i can never wear white heels, They are so easy to get dirty." Said the girl. And there, we started a short conversation about my heels.

    Just when they were about to leave, the two girls asked me and the other girl if we wanted to go to another audition.  We were a bit skeptical about that decision but since there was nothing we could do in that few hours, after several minutes of consideration, i decided to go with them, and the other girl did too. The funny thing was that i thought the other call was only downstairs so i didn't change my shoes back. But the truth was, it was 20 streets away. So not having to wear my boots back, i stumbled my way in the open air and took the subway with the 3 girls. I hate that i am not writing their names because i totally forgot them all. How i wish i remember them...


  Having absolutely no idea what the call/show is, where is it, what do we have to do, we just followed the girl who happened to receive the information on her phone and she also had no idea what that was about. So there we were, a fearless audition squad. During the whole 'trip' to another location, we managed to learn more about each other and one just randomly sing in the subway made me feel like i was in the sound of music or something. And i liked it.

   The train ride was quick, but long enough to form a new bond among us four. We then arrived to that small rehearsal place and a relatively rustic and plain one compared to the one we were in after climbing 2 floors of wooden stairs, squeaking as we went along. At last, we found the location, a rehearsal studio with pastel green and red tone style and some simple wooden setting. We settled in a small room with about 20 other girls in their dresses and were ready for any instructions.



(sobs . memories)

   I'm not going to talk about what details happened next but i really like to mention how our little squad stuck together in the corridor while waiting to be seen, (and that time a guys randomly did a monkey climb with his legs on both walls while waiting in line) and how during the day, we bravely and stupidly went to another audition with absolutely no information nor preparation together and somehow learning more about each other's story. And how i managed to do my first NYC audition. I did not care about what the show was, i sounded cool in the room, i have my people with me and i had the best adventure ever. Although the time was short for us (OH, and the one i got close with looked like a mix of the Old Miley Cyrus and Angie Miller, and i told her about that too), they were the people who made my adventure and made me feel like i was not doing it alone. That really made my first time a special one.

  Do you have any impromptu adventures that you dont know where it would bring you?
xx