Amy VS. The Sophomore Slump

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So I guess I’m an upperclassman now. Time flies, and all that jazz. It’s a bit…odd, looking back over my sophomore year and what I think of it. When I was putting together this post, I don’t think I truly appreciated how much of a wringer sophomore year was. Honestly, if my second year at college were an album, it would get mixed reviews. The bands just starting to get it’s sound together, but there’s a long amount of work ahead before a billboard 100 number.

And this metaphor has completely escaped me.

In retrospect, it’s been the most tumultuous year I’ve had since, well, freshman year (pause for cricket noise in place of laughter). Alright, that’s simply not true at all. Freshman year was a blur of ‘i’m at college’ fueled with desperation tinged adrenaline rushes. Sophomore year was like getting sucker punched by reality after getting off that roller coaster. I think the thing I struggled with the most was how transitory and stationary it felt – no one warns you about how much things change. All of a sudden you’re off this high and trying to figure out what’s actually happening – do you really like your friends? Or your classes? Are you sure that’s what you want to major in?

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I’ve lost contact with friends I could have sworn would one day attend my wedding. I experienced the biggest emotional downswing I’ve ever had. I felt frustrated at virtually every point – with classes, with art, with friends, with myself. I suffered a injury that meant I couldn’t exercise anymore, which had a profound impact on my happiness. More than anything else, sophomore year has been about getting over myself and what I envisioned and getting on with things. I literally like like that last grim faced survivor clambering out of the evil cabin into the watery light of a new dawn (or I’ve been watching too much Evil Dead with my dad).

On the other hand, sophomore year has kind of rocked. I’ve spent so much time focusing on the negative that when I was looking over the year, I couldn’t believe how much love and beautiful things I was able to experience. I pushed myself harder this year than any prior, but here’s a quick recap for future posterity (and when I start feeling whiny about my life). I wrote a ten minute play. I was in my first musical. I scripted, directed and acted in a web series. I was the editor for the school journal. I got my writing published in a literary magazine. I was given a grant to do special research that still gives me inspiration and opportunities today. I started a new job – and learned how to sew. I started a podcast. I was able to travel to Siem Reap. I saw my best friend more than once. I saw my other best friend nearly everyday. I saw BEYONCE. I was lucky enough to have my life filled with amazing people – many new, extraordinary friends – who continually pushed and supported me. This may sound like a paragraph full of bragging but I’m proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the way I pushed myself, and struggled to improve. But more than anything, I couldn’t have done it without the never-ending support and love of everyone in my life, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciated them.

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Anyway we’re all beautiful butterflies who are constantly in a state of metamorphosis and self growth blah blah blah whatever you get it. Thank you to anyone who was involved on my journeys, or simply for being there and reading this jet-lagged fueled spew of words. So mostly my mom and the friends she forwards these things to. Hi Mom’s friends! And also Junior year, apparently. I get to do this all again!

From the bottom of my heart – thank you, I love you, goodnight.

XX

 

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Welcome to Urinetown (The Musical)

It’s always strange when a play comes to an end.

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Getting into costume – Mrs. O Henry.

There’s always the immediate sensation of ‘well..what now?’. Urinetown has been such a big part of my life for the last two months. Every day I found myself at our theatre, singing, dancing and immersing myself into the wonderful cast of people I now consider my family. So when I found myself bidding goodbye to everyone (possibly the last time I’ll ever see some of our graduating seniors, or freshman who will move on to different things than the theatre), it was with both heavy heart.

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Act One Finale – Bobby Strong.

I’m so proud of the work that I’ve done during my time in Urinetown. Not least because it was one of the most physically challenging plays I’ve done. A quick change really earns it’s name when you have to race down to the voms and change into a completely new outfit and then burst back onto stage – all in 80 seconds. It wasn’t just the consistent racing to the bottom of the theatre though – for the first time I was selected to be a lead dancer, something I took on with no small amount of doubt and derision. After all, it was mostly a funny joke – that I was the one chosen to dance, with my bum knees and lack of experience . However I’m proud to say that every performance I gave it my all and held my own, even while sweating beneath a ski mask (which I am NOT sorry to say goodbye to)

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Cop Song with Officers Lockstock & Barrel.

Urinetown was quite possibly the funnest show I’ve ever been involved in, and I couldn’t be happier that it was my first department stage production. It’s constantly a shock and source of inspiration to me how talented the people around me are. One poor cast member actually sprained a foot halfway during our run – and gained standing applause for performing every dance on crutches!

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Act One Finale – Little Sally, Mrs. O. Henry, Doctor Billeaux

There are always times when I doubt why I want to go into the theatre. Rehearsals are long and grueling, directors can be nitpicky, it’s very easy to feel discouraged when you receive a small part. However, all my doubts always wash away when I get up onto stage. There is nothing in the world like being a part of a production – creating your own world and sharing it with complete strangers. It’s a rush unlike anything else. And when I look around- at my wonderful castmates, at my friends sitting in the audience to support me, at the complete strangers there to listen to our story – then I realize there is nothing else I would rather be doing.

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From rehearsals…

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To showtime!

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Privilege to Pee – Penelope Pennywise.

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Follow Your Heart – Hope Cladwell and Bobby Strong.

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This is Urinetown!

Ah well, life moves on, and smacks you in the face with all the responsibilities you’ve been avoiding. It’s time to choose a major, time to figure out housing for next year. While Urinetown may be over, there are always more projects, more creativity to be found and explored. Urinetown, it’s been a privilege.

Life Lately

Hello!

While I’ve been busy scrambling to get my posts together, I thought I’d just do a quick little recap of everything that’s been happening for the last couple of months.

HALLOWEEN

That’s right! Rolling into November with a halloween post, what a good indication of how well I time my posts. In any case, my friends and I went as characters from Inside Out. Our Joy and Sadness absolutely won (I wasn’t committed to dying my hair green!). Later during the night I changed and went as Mabel Pines from one of my favorite cartoons, Gravity Falls. My roommate went as Dipper, and we were adorable, if I do say so myself.

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Birthday Shoutout to one of my favorite people :)

We also celebrated the fact that this one is officially not a teenage anymore!

 

El PESCADOR Y LA LLUVIA

 

Santa Monica Sunset

I spent the weekend shooting a short film for my professor (which I will share with you guys as soon as the release event happens). It’s one of a collection of shorts, all centered around the environment. Mine was focused on the drought in central California, and I was lucky enough to get to go to the beach for filming. The sunset was beautiful, and the film looks incredible. Very pleased with how it came out. It’s funny – when I’m filming things I never actually know how they’ll turn out. It’s a lot of guesswork on my part, so whenever I see a finished product it’s like a flash to the past.

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RAIN

 

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The weather over here has been steadily changing for the winter season, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. While it’s wonderful to not feel like my face is melting (thanks, non-airconditioned dorms!), it’s now getting a little bit too cold for comfort. I’m all about sweater weather, but could do without freezing my butt off on the ten minute walk to class. That being said, I woke up a couple of days to this view from my window. There’s something almost fantastical about rain in California. It just never happens, and when it does it’s magical. Waking up and seeing the rain coming down outside felt like a balm.

WORK

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I was talking to a a friend of mine about being in a creative rut. Since finished with Details (You can check it out HERE), I haven’t had anything creative that I’m looking forward to. It’s probably the worst part about being an artist for me, is the crash landing after the buzz of a performance or exhibition. These last few days I’ve been feeling incredibly lethargic and unmotivated. (It doesn’t help that the midterm slam took a lot of my energy away). I saw this comic and couldn’t stop laughing at how accurate it was. Here’s hoping this slump ends sometime soon.

 

So yes, just a brief catch up on what life has been like lately. I’m hoping to share a couple more of my writing with you guys (The feedback to my poem Monday was phenomenal! Much love to everyone, and be sure to look after yourself). I’m also hoping to post a book review this weekend (Ah, I remember reading fondly). There will also be a post later on the year about El Pescador, so keep an eye on this space.

 

Happy Wednesday!

 

XOXO

Details

I’m super excited to share with you something I’ve been working on for the last couple of months. Last semester, a friend of mine asked me to collaborate with him on the album he was in the process of creating. I was so nervous when he asked me to sing for him – it had been a while since I’d actually done any singing, and was sure I had lost my voice. Well, cut to four months later, and I am so so pleased to show you the amazing thing that he created.

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                   Album Cover for Details

Details is a band created by Evan DeLorenzo, and last Thursday was the official launch party of the album. The atmosphere of the night was incredible – Evan had asked so many amazingly talented people to help him out, and the efforts definitely payed off. 11 Music videos, a full album, live dance performances, and of course everyone who helped create the extravaganza that is Details.

 

Me with two of my amazing co-stars.

Me with two of my amazing co-stars – opening night!

I recorded for four of his songs – Cry, Dream Girl and This Side of LA parts I and II (all of which I helped write and compose) and acted for two. Seeing the process and months of work pay off in such a fantastic way certainly made me breathless. Sometimes I forget why I love acting and creating music so much – and then events like this bring me right back to the beginning.

 

Waiting for the show to begin - the place was packed.

Waiting for the show to begin – the place was packed.

 

There was such an air of exhilaration, and watching all the music videos was such a trip. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by such talented artists. Being included among their number is certainly an honor. Below are just a few of my favorites, but each video is incredibly well done. So, without further ado – I present Details.

 

I am the Pumpkin Queen.

Hey wonderful people! Taking a quick break from all the posts about my summer vacation to talk a little about a trip that happened a lot more recently. This past week I just returned from a quick weekend jaunt from Oregon, where I was lucky enough to stay in a sorority, walk around OSU and go to my first pumpkin patch! (Or at least the first one I can remember- no matter what Mom says, things that happen when I’m so young I don’t remember them happening, it doesn’t count).

 

We couldn't figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

We couldn’t figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

 

I have to start this post off with a confession – I don’t really get the pumpkin thing. Why is it when it turns to October american’s go bananas for pumpkin? If it’s so popular, then why isn’t it available year round? It just seems strange to me. Whenever I tell my friends I think pumpkin is just alright, they look at me like I’ve personally hurt them. That being said, I found the whole trip out there hilarious and super fun.

The pumpkin patch was definitely nothing like I was expecting. Although in hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from an event called ‘A Pumpkin Patch’. Seems pretty explanatory, I admit.

 

This post is brought to you by my Dad's oversized 80's sweater.

This post is brought to you by my Dad’s oversized 80’s sweater. Also feat. the corn maze we couldn’t figure a way out of.

 

We pulled up onto a patch of dirt. There are moments in my life where I’m truly struck by how American some things are. That same feeling washed over me as she turned the ignition off and turned to look at me. From my view as we drove by, I’d just seen a whole bunch of hay and a small field stretching out into the distance. This was a far cry from Hong Kong – and also from LA. The first thing we saw was a massively fat turkey. I immediately started laughing – I always laugh whenever I see a turkey. All I can think about is how it could have been the national animal of America, per the wish of Ben Franklin. (To quote: I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character). It makes me giggle to imagine the turkey on any official document. It just also hammered in the fact that I was firmly in America.

 

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

 

We wandered through the pumpkin patch leisurely. It was nice, the feeling of leisure that seemed washed over the patch. It was such a family place. We were almost certainly the only college aged kids I saw wandering around. Little kids everywhere were running around giggling, with parents wandering after.

I discovered something about myself that day. I am terrible at mazes. Just flat out awful. We kept running into dead ends and giggling at how long it was taking us to get through. By the time we’d finished three mazes, it was official: if I was ever forced to run into a maze for safety, I would definitely get murdered). I think one of the funnest things about the mazes was hearing everyone else trying to figure it out. From the know-alls who follow the left turn rule, to the kids giggling about being lost, to the mom’s trying to figure it out. It was just so interesting being a part of such a group activity, while remaining separate.

After we freed ourselves from our corn and hay cages, the next stop was the main attraction – the pumpkin patch itself. Wandering around the field, K inspected pumpkins with the eye of an expert. This one was too lumpy, the other not orange enough. She seemed to know what she was doing, so I wandered happily behind.

 

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

 

In a super coincidence, we ran into a family from Hong Kong. It was so wild meeting people from my home town – especially people who haven’t been back in years. It’s always exciting to catch up on what’s changed and listen to their memories. it just goes to show what a small world it actually is. After a few missed chances (the pumpkin below was sadly left behind…) we found two small pumpkins. Well, more like one small pumpkin and an incredibly misshapen gourd that made both of us laugh so hard we had to bring it home. The guys who weighed the pumpkins looked incredibly unimpressed when we put our choices on the scale.

 

Our rejected pumpkin - strange but lovable.

Our rejected pumpkin – strange but lovable.

 

And of course, what would be an american tradition without some form of food? We bought the largest bag of caramel corn I think I’ve seen, and some hot drinks. Sitting on a hay bale, drinking apple cider and looking over a field of pumpkins definitely made me see why american’s love fall. It’s just so wonderful to have opportunities to go out and enjoy something like that. It’s something I know that I am so pleased to have experienced, and can’t wait to go to another pumpkin patch. Hopefully next year I’ll actually get to carve something.

 

XOXO.

 

Scotland: The Fringe, Castles and Maps.

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One of the most beautiful cities – Edinburgh!

I promised I’d try and get this post up sooner than I got to it. Oops. Regardless, here are some photos from the summer trip I went on. For nearly a month I was able to travel around England, Scotland and Ireland. It was unbelievable!! I couldn’t believe how much fun it was. Not only were my parents able to join me, but my best friend and her family also flew out. It was quite possibly one of the best summer’s I’ve had for a while.

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Ignore the gloomy skies – it was actually quite lovely!

 

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom!

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom! (It was a little windy, can you tell?)

I spent most of the trip completely enamored with the Fringe Festival. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of celebration and artistry that was happening. Everywhere we went, there were people going to or coming from performances, absolutely buzzing with excitement. Every street yielded a street performer or musician (some were…better than others, for sure). It was just amazing!! As an actress I didn’t ever want to leave. We managed to see some incredible shows – Shitfaced Shakespeare was my absolute favorite though. And I’m not saying I want to try drinking half a bottle of vodka and seeing how well I know my Lady Macbeth, but I’m not not saying it…

 

Checking out some of the street performances.

Checking out some of the street performances.

 

Aside from some incredible performances, we also did the requisite amount of sightseeing. Climbing up to Edinburgh castle definitely took some work, as we had to push through the throng of people waving flyers. By the time we got to the top I was thrilled to see the view of Edinburgh. Scotland is such a beautiful country, and the history!

 

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The castle looking appropriately gothic.

 

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival...

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival…

 

As a history nerd, going to Scotland and getting to walk around all the old buildings was just a dream. It’s both daunting and comforting to look at a building and realize that it’s centuries older than you are. That you’re just a speck in the history of the world, and not even a consideration when compared to how old Edinburgh is. For example: there was a pond – a pond! – right by where we were staying that was created before the American Revolution was even a consideration.

 

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

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It was hilarious traveling with my best friend and her family. Perhaps the best description of just how opposite our families can be came from a day trip we took to a small castle. While my dad and I worked our way through every plaque possible and chatted about the history of the place, the others were outside running around. Definitely very different travelers, for sure!

 

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

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waiting in one of the many, many lines…

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Scotland was an unbelievable experience. I am so thrilled that I got to go, and really hope to be back again some day. As a performer? well, that would be a dream come true…

 

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Driving (Or How I Nearly Killed My Mom Four Times in 48 Hours)

Ah, driving. That thing most hallowed in a teen’s life. Symbolic of freedom, of the dream, of the yearning drive for adventure that finds us wherever we may tread.

Also the cause of my Mom’s ninety-five new stress induced ulcers.

Yes dear listeners! I am successfully inducted into this new and terrifying club of being able to drive. With full compliance to the law, I too, can emerge onto the dangerous and absolutely NUTS freeway. The law allows me to do this! I am legal to drive places! By myself!

Here are all the faces my Mother and I made on the trip down. Coincidentally, also all the faces I make whenever someone makes me drive somewhere.

Here are all the faces I make whenever someone makes me drive somewhere.

What a world.

Around a month ago, I went to go visit my Mom in Oregon. The next two days would comprise of us driving down from Oregon to California. A feat, I imagine, on par with Lewis and Clark traversing west.

The trip went relatively smoothly, except for the four times that I nearly killed the both of us. A common refrain on the trip was ‘JESUS CHRIST!,’ The sound of suppressed panic was the soundtrack that accompanied us down the freeway. (Mom, if you are reading this, I love you!).

Wine played a large part in the recovery process.

Luckily enough, we managed to get there safely, even if my mom says that I shaved ten years off of her life.

Driving is one of those things that I have always thought quintessentially America. It’s something so tied into the mythos of the country, and especially with being a teenager. My best friend is a huge car person, so I’ve had a little exposure to the world of driving. For most of my life though, driving is something that Happens to Other People. I am perfectly content either being chauffeured places, or taking public transportation. Oh, how I miss good public transportation.

Never to be taken for granted again.

Never to be taken for granted again.

Now that I’ve been fully exposed however, I can safely say that I HATE driving. I HATE IT. It is terrible and scary. I get into the car and it’s like Grand Theft Auto in my mind. Which brilliant mind came up with the idea to pack a whole bunch of humans into death-causing pods and jam them all down a single road? Who decided to just trust that nothing there would go wrong? Everytime I get out onto the road, all I can think is ‘The Government is allowing me to do this. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think that’s a great idea. They’ve also licensed you, which I’m also not sure about. That guy in front of me is swerving an awful lot, and the lady to my right is checking herself out in the mirror. Oh god, all of you guys are going to be zooming by me, and we’re all just going to do our best’.

THAT IS STUPID. IT IS A STUPID IDEA. Cars are like, a billion times more dangerous than airplanes, bees, sharks, trains and boats combined. Ok, the science might not be 100% accurate there, but I’m not wrong.

And we’ve somehow managed to think: Hey, having a car is great! Why don’t we continue to pollute the world as opposed to building safer and more efficient public transportation?

The point of this post isn’t to completely poop on driving. Driving can be fun!! There’s an indescribable feeling of freedom that comes from being able to go anywhere. It’s amazing to be able to just drive and drive – and end up in places you’ve never even heard of. I love jamming to music in the car. It’s also become the place where I try to practice my harmonies. There’s nothing like the sound of poor Idina Menzel belting out No Good Deed, and then me going incredibly out of tune trying to figure out what a third below her is. But the fact is that I am a new driver in one of the craziest places to drive.

Pictured: PURE TERROR.

TERROR IN IT’S PUREST FORM.

This post was sponsored in part by the fifty heart attacks I have whenever I get behind the wheel, and also the most stressful 20 minutes of my life, when I had to drive at night to pick my friend up at the airport. 25 minutes of a death grip on the wheel, absolute silence except for intermittent yelling at Siri to ‘Direct Me to the right place Goddamnit!, winding up adding an extra 10 minutes driving around the back of the airport in the dark, and then me pulling up, sweaty and shaken, to the curb.

Driving, am I right?

Hello Summer!!

I am officially, 100% finished with my first year of university. All my essays turned in, all my classes over, the end. I have been so incredibly lucky to have had such a great year. Honestly – I’ve met the most amazing people, whom I already miss terribly. It’s funny to look back at where I started, barely eight months ago. I was petrified to begin. I wonder what orientation day me would have thought of the me that I am today. She’d certainly have questions, that’s for sure. And I think the thing that I would answer with is: It’s not easy, but most of the time it turns out better than you ever thought it would. Also, it’s way more fun than you imagined, so go easy on yourself, OK?

Funny how time gives us perspective on things. Of course I have regrets – there are things I could have done differently. But on the whole, I think I did a smashing job flailing my way through uni, america and everything else. Like being a real proper adult – EEK.

Speaking of being a real proper adult – I cannot believe this, but I’m actually staying in my own apartment for the summer. That’s right – staying in america, without any safety net of college. I’ve got some great roommates and am really looking forward to making the best of my internship. I’m researching a lady who worked for the Red Cross in WW2 called Sue. A couple of hours ago I just read a hilarious letter where she describes how her undergarments were stolen by the french maid. That’s not even covering the delightful correspondence between her and her family. It feels creepy sometimes – this is a person’s life I am reading, after all. But most of the time it feels insanely cool. I get a whole new perspective into the war. Alright, enough history geeking for one day.

Still working on driving without feeling like I’m having a panic attack behind the wheel. Driving is the worst. Why didn’t I pick a country or state or city with good public transportation? Bad show, Past Me.

Also, obsessed with the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Who amongst us doesn’t want to be a Phryne when they grow up? A fast-talking, feminist, gun-toting, fashionista, lady detective with irrepressible humor? Sign me up for the starter course! The second I finish you can expect a more in depth review.

There are good things ahead – I may be done with first year, but I’m certainly not done with the summer. I’ll keep you posted on future events – and on whether or not Sue ever recovers her stolen underwear.

 

XX

It’s the Final(s) Countdown

Finals week – EEK.  Two words that strike fear into the hearts of many a college student. So while I’m buckling down under the weight of papers and tests, I decided to day dream a little bit about what this summer is going to bring/things that are making me happy right now.

-I’ve been listening to this 80’s mix for the last several days. I feel like I’m going to a modern 80’s prom, if that makes sense. Two days ago my roommate walked in on my impromptu dance party, which was par for the course. Sometimes a girl just wants to get her groove on – https://8tracks.com/sashayed/beating-hearts.

-In less than 8 days I will officially be DONE with first year. I actually cannot believe how fast the time has flown. I’ve made amazing friends and I feel like I’ve grown so so much as a human being.

-Working on recording some music with a friend. The tracks we are producing sound KILLER, and I’m so excited to share them.

-Going to be attending a film screening that I was lucky enough to work on. This will be the first film I’ve ever helped out with, so I’m super excited to see what it looks like.

-I have a huge list of books that I’m planning on reading and reviewing, so watch this space. A couple of titles that I’m looking forward to – Shadow scale, All Roads Lead to You, Yes Please.

-Planning my trip to Europe!! I’ve been scouring the internet like crazy, looking for fun things to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please drop a comment below.

-That’s about it for now. Day dreaming about the summer ahead – and going to the beach!