Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
It's the little snacks and drinks in school that add up, plus the meals I have outside during the weekend. Why is food here so ridiculously expensive? Not to mention the art supplies I have to stock up on regularly. Now I make sure that I eat every grain of rice, finish every last sip of my drink, and have the waiter pack any leftovers I have when I eat out.
I've resolved to take biscuits to school for snacks. I'm even wondering if I should bring my own drinks. Not sure what to contain them in though. My water bottle?
Sigh. I need to learn to be more savvy with my finances. When adult life rolls around there'll be even more things to manage like investment portfolios and insurance.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Saw this photo today in a post titled 'The Design Student' on The Sartorialist and laughed because I recognized the toolbox- I have a similar one. Plus the roomy bag and cup of coffee. Doesn't that just scream 'design student'? We lug a load of art supplies to school everyday and survive on coffee to keep awake during marathon studio classes and while doing assignments.
So I just returned from my longest day of the week- a 6-hour life drawing session followed by English Literature class. Though such days are draining, they're also very fulfilling. Both are my favourite classes, and I always feel that I've achieved a lot in one day. We had a female model today called Yuko. I really do get a sense that both my gestures and long drawings are improving. For English class, we discussed two short stories- 'How I contemplated the world...' by Joyce Carol Oates and 'The Garden of Forking Paths' by Jorge Luis Borges, the latter of which I found pretty fascinating.
'The Garden of Forking Paths' derives its name from the fable of a Chinese man named Tsui Penn, governer of Yunnan, who withdrew from public duty to write a novel and construct a maze. After his death, his descendants found only a heap of seemingly contradictory drafts, and no physical maze. It took a Sinologist, Stephen Albert, many generations later to discover that the novel was in fact the maze. Unlike conventional stories in which the narrator chooses one option out of those presented and eliminates the others, Tsui Penn's novel diverges into all possible outcomes the way a maze 'forks', only that the forking exists in time, not in space. To sum it up, Tsui Penn's novel presents parallel futures that exist simultaneously.
I broke out my snuggly thick knitted cardigan today, also bought over the weekend. To enliven the grey colour, I pinned a faux jewel brooch to the 'lapel' (the collar area) and the effect worked well I think.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A: "Oh my god, where did you get that coat?"
Me: (slightly stunned) "Um, Forever 21? I just bought it over the weekend 'cos I was cold."
A: "I've been looking for a coat like that forever. How much was it?"
Me: "Like, 30 (USD)."
A: "Dude, I'm so getting that coat."
I guess I could see why he wants my coat. It's a classic cut, mid-thigh length, that you can button up and belt in colder weather or leave it open. It's snuggly, slightly oversized, basically everything I want in a coat. Plus, it's dark blue, one of my favourite colours.
I'm not selling that coat to him.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This seems frightening and daunting, but it can also be very liberating. Eating in a cafe with friends, walking in a shopping mall thousands of miles away from home, exploring the streets- these activities give me a great sense of freedom. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to live permanently in the States. I do miss Singapore a lot and I consider myself a Singaporean girl at heart. But there are times that make me think, This isn't so bad. Maybe I can live here after all. I wonder how I'm being remembered by those back home. I wonder if I'll return and find that things have changed and people have moved on.
On another note, I visited a new mall in Culver City and went crazy in the huge (2-storey) Forever 21 store. The offerings are SO much better than those in Singapore. I also found an Indian restaurant and got my Indian food fix. Yay!
Friday, October 2, 2009
The place made me feel like I'd been transported back to the Orient. I love the dark wood, hard-backed furniture, high ceilings, and plants. I'm more used to such details than carpeting and sofas (as comfy as the sofa in my apartment is).
On the recommendation of my friend, I tried Thai iced tea for the first time and it was delicious. I almost didn't want to drink it because of how pretty it looked when it arrived. Look at the layers of colour! The rich sienna is so enticing.
Then the food came and I was so excited to dig in that I totally forgot to take photos of it. I shared green curry and rice, spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, tom yam soup and coconut ice-cream with my friend. Here are two shots of our nearly-finished food:
Happy, satisfied me!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
View from the entrance.
My room (my bed's the one on the left).
The balcony that connects to our living room.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Life drawing yesterday was really enjoyable. For some reason I felt much more relaxed than in regular class. The instructor was playing some music on a stereo and suddenly Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game' came on. The sound of it in that silent, spacious room was magical.
I'll be posting some shots of my apartment soon.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Just returned from a marathon life drawing session, english lit. class and dinner at Taco Bell. I had chicken quesadilla- first time eating meat in... 2 or 3 weeks? I find meat too troublesome to prepare so I usually stick to eggs.
During lunch break I went shopping for fruits at the Farmers' Market opposite my school. The strawberries I bought are so sweet and juicy. Delicious. Strawberries were a luxury to me back in Singapore so I'm delighted that I can now have them whenever I want.
I think I'm going for an extra life drawing class tomorrow. Feel like I need more practice. I must conquer life drawing. It's definitely the toughest art class I've ever had.
Monday, September 21, 2009
2) Denim shorts (this seems to be a staple around here; usually paired with button-down shirts or tank tops)
3) Sunglasses! (essential for shielding the glare)
4) A cardigan, lightweight sweater or some sort of cover-up (it gets chilly when it's windy, or when night approaches)
You know how in Singapore people will stare if someone has the audacity to don a hat or a pair of sunglasses in public? Well here no one will bat an eye. In fact, you're an anomaly if you don't own a pair.
Despite the mostly mundane quality of daily life, sometimes it still feels surreal to be here. I guess after planning something for so long and that thing actually happens, you find it hard to believe. I never really gave much thought to the consequences of my actions, or at least I thought I understood what those consequences were. I just focussed on getting here. But now, with people's exclamations of astonishment at how far I came (all the way from Singapore!) and the fact that I'm the youngest child, have never lived by myself and don't know anyone in the immediate vicinity, I started thinking. They say I'm brave or, as my aunt put it, I'm not 'simple' (translated from Chinese). Sometimes it takes sweat and tears to step out of your comfort zone, but I can say that it's well worth it. Even if I were to fail in my studies (I certainly hope I don't), at least I can say that I tried, instead of spending the rest of my life wondering about what could have been. And already, I've learnt so much about the world and myself just by coming here. I now know what's important to me, which some people take a lifetime to discover.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Inari sushi and stir-fried kangkong for dinner! The sushi is not of my own making, though I wish it were.
I frequently get hungry because classes are physically and mentally draining, so it's a challenge to find snacks that are quick and easy. Hence things like granola bars and fruits.
Monday, September 14, 2009
We also went to the African-American National Museum (no pictures of that though). I like how the figure is stylized in African art and their ritualistic masks.
It felt good to get away from school for a bit and explore the place, which I frankly haven't done much of. Looking forward to doing more shopping when I find the time.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The second week of school is almost over, so I thought I'd talk a bit about my life. I usually wake up around 6.30 in the morning to prepare for my lessons, which start at 8am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I pack my lunch and art materials (which are a LOT). My hands are almost always full and for the first few days I suffered from body aches because I wasn't used to the weight.
I take my own lunch because the food over here is expensive compared to Singapore, and because I'm spending a lot on supplies and school fees already. Lunch is usually leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or a quick sandwich. In the morning we have to wait a while for the elevator in school, because there are many people getting to class at that time. For studio classes I arrive 10-15 min. early to set up my working area.
I have 7 classes in total- 4 studio (art) classes and 3 liberal studies classes. And I consistently have homework for all of them. The studio classes are Drawing and Composition (perspective), Form and Space (constructing basic forms), Life Drawing (analysing the inner structure of the body), and Principles of Design (basic design theory and expressing simple concepts). The bracketed words are what I'm doing for each class now- we'll progress to doing other things like constructing more complex sculptural forms in Form & Space, doing more expressive figure drawings in Life Drawing and using design software in Principles of Design.
My favourite studio classes are Life Drawing and Design. For Life Drawing we literally draw 'life' from a nude model. Last week we had a female model; this week a male one. We study anatomy and the mechanics of the body in order to illustrate the figure accurately- it's all very scientific right now. For example I can name all the major bones of the skeleton already, and some time later we have to draw the skeleton from memory in a test (?!). Life Drawing is immensely frustrating but potentially very rewarding. Design class is fun- we get to play around with how to express certain concepts and use varying shapes and lines to come up with original and interesting designs.
My liberal studies (academic) classes are Visual Culture/ Art History, English Lit. and Cultural Studies. All of them are pretty interesting. We do weekly readings and blog responses, and later on we'll have to submit papers. But the papers are not in 'paper' form- it's in electronic format (sort of like a website) which is more fun as we can play around with visuals like font and graphics to best express our ideas. I think it's more useful for our role as artists and designers as well.
Wednesday is my longest day as I'm in school from 8am-6.30pm. But on the morning of that day there's a Farmers' Market opposite the school. During lunch break I'd walk over there to check out the food. There's a combination of fresh produce and prepared snack food like tamales and lemonade. It's a great way to get away from lessons for a bit.
I'm usually exhausted by the time I get home. I do some homework, shower and have dinnner, clean up and read a little of my notes before I sleep. There isn't much to do at night without a car as it's dangerous to go out. I go to bed at 10.30-11 to get a good night's sleep. I'm an anomaly though as my friends often stay up til 1 or so.
Ok so I've described a good deal of my life already. I'll try to blog a few times a week. In the following posts I'll be showing a bit of my apartment and the food I eat.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The Muji store in Hong Kong international airport