Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dancing Queen

Every Wednesday morning my routine is the same. Every Wednesday morning, I set an alarm for 9am, hit the snooze button three times, and roll out of bed by 9:15. Then I throw on clothes, make breakfast, and walk to my 10am class. I take off my jacket and shoes and sit on the studio floor. When we hear the music over the speakers, we know class has begun. We warm up for the first 5-10 minutes of class by stretching in our spaces, equidistant from each other, while music is playing in the background. Usually the first song is something calm, flowy, but still with climax. Think Adele’s song for the old James Bond movie.

Then after a few minutes, we hear the song change, accompanied with the words "partner up, stand equidistant from the other partners" from our loud, outspoken, blunt British professor. We know what to do by now. We partner up with another actor, facing our partners. One partner leads and the other partner follows. The "leading" partner does a series of exercises to stretch and warm up and use their body and the "following" partner mimics the "leading" partner. We hold eye contact the entire time. We never talk. Talking is not allowed during the entire morning. The only noise in the room is from the speakers. He yells at us again and the song changes to a cheesy, American song! Songs like
Dancing Queen by ABBA, Tainted Love, Run the world by Beyoncé, I will survive by Gloria Gaynor, and so many more crazy songs. There's something about the volume and the complete utter cheesiness of the songs that makes everyone want to DANCE. Then after some time, he yells at us to switch partners again. It's a whole new playlist every class period and I swear each song builds on the energy and cheesiness of the previous one, making us want to build on the energy and cheesiness. I have never shaken my behind more times than in that studio, every Wednesday morning.

After a few rounds of partners, he will yell "two groups of five". There are ten people in my acting intensive, so this means make two groups of five people. We get in two large groups, equidistant from each other. Next one person becomes the leader for the entire group and the rest of the group mimics the leader’s dance moves. Then gradually, somehow, without talking, the leadership role shifts to someone else. Any person from the group, whenever they feel like it, can start doing completely new dance moves and the rest of us eventually start following that person.  Sometimes you can see a lag in snatching the leadership position and it’s really difficult to lead. It’s a vicious cycle because usually the current person leading leads for a very long time, making the rest of us not want to lead. My best guess is that we are all afraid to take that leadership position because we are afraid to be the leader too long, we are afraid that we will run out of dance moves (you can only boogie and do the shopping cart move so many times, right?), and we think we will embarrass ourselves or seem uncreative.  

The goal is to redirect the energy acquired during warm ups to scene work later, become relaxed and comfortable in the space with all of the people dancing like clowns and dancing queens. This group dance exercise with a leadership position that flows from person to person is really interesting for me to analyze, especially because at Olin, we work in groups the majority of the time.  

There is one group during my time at Olin that has seemed to function without a leader, my User Oriented Collaborative Design “UOCD” group of five. We were friendly with each other and knew each other’s names, but somehow at this small school, I had not interacted with them much before the group formation. UOCD is a class that incorporates people of all majors to design products for a user group. For the first few weeks, I would describe us as meek to make decisions. I think we were hesitant to be bold because we were not familiar with each other yet. Right before the end of our first sprint, we began taking leadership on different things. There was not a single person that consistently led. Similar to the dance boogie warm up in my theatre class, the leadership shifted positions. If two or three of my team mates went on a user visit, then they took leadership on making the persona board for that person. Mainly we were good at dividing tasks and group discussion. Sometimes we were assigned many long papers, several on each topic, on topics such as framing, personas, scenarios, and user visits. We used a suggested style of homework for the class where each one of us reads all of the papers for one topic and then delivers a breakdown of the content to the rest of the members. It felt like all of us were talented designers and when there were decisions that needed to be made, we would discuss. Leadership would flow between us and usually the person who did the reading on the topic would refer to the reading as supporting evidence. We were really good about blending all of our ideas into a product. I felt because the leadership position shifted from person to person, depending on the subject and the day, we were all leaders.

Shaking my tail feather to Dancing Queen in this group circle every morning reminded me so much of this group. In my dance circle on Wednesday mornings, I was forced to pay attention to all of my peers in my circle. I noticed their looks and their body language. If one seemed confident and eager, then they were about to lead and I should wait for their instruction. If one looked scared, then I knew that they were thinking about going next. If someone else was doing other dance moves, then I should follow them because they wanted to lead. If the current leader seemed wide eyed and scared, then they needed help and I would try to pull the leadership. If I was the leader, well then it was continuous crazy dancing. I think my favorite dance moves to whip out are: the shopping cart, the jive, the move your head to the right and move your head to the left, the sprinkler, and the hip clock pop, in order of favoritism.

It would be really interesting to have some groups at Olin perform this exercise. I wonder how, if, and why leadership dynamics would shift. This exercise has enhanced my body language expression skills, my observation skills, made me more confident in my ability to hold leadership, and literally think of new dance moves on the spot. It also makes you more energized and comfortable with your group because well you all just saw each other dancing like maniacs to old pop songs.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Line? Line? Line?

Three or four weeks ago in my Acting in London class, we had a class session on how to memorize lines. Basically the trick is say your lines out loud, push yourself to memorize one line further than you thought you knew, say your lines as different characters, say them in different pitches of voice, say them with the lights on and then with the lights off, say them with your cheek on the floor (how cheeky!), and say them how you would if were a phone sex line operator. We did all of these things to memorize the Tommy Knocker rhyme.

The week after that, my Acting in London instructor brought in a scene. We did a cold read through. The scene did not have defined characters, instead at every dash, a new person could speak the line. Because we are all actors, we were all fighting for each opportunity to speak. The lines we said in class were assigned to us. We took those lines home to memorize. That was a bit difficult for me, but having an ensemble to play off of and lines that responded to the previous line mitigated my difficulties. The lines seemed to fit with the previous cue. It was also only a scene, 3 pages.
Currently, I am having a lot of trouble memorizing my lines for my Performing Shakespeare class! For this class, we will be putting on a show. This show would be a collection of our favorite, most daring and influential Shakespeare pieces. We each had to choose two or three monologues that we felt passionately about, that spoke about our beliefs, and liked the verse. I chose one of Emilia’s monologues from Othello where she is angrily ranting that it is a husband’s fault if their wives are unhappy because husbands (primarily hers since he is one of the biggest, worst villains in Shakespeare history--Iago) are cruel, abusive, peevishly jealous, restricting cheaters. I liked this piece, not only because she’s awesome and hates men, but also because somewhere during her angry rant, she has a brief line or two about equality. This is one of the only moments where Shakespeare mentions equality between men and women. Back then women were not allowed to perform in his plays, this made the thought of equality seem like a joke back then. However, Shakespeare is a badass, ahead of his time. Emilia, in Act IV, says “Let husbands know their wives have sense like them: they see and smell and have their palates both for sweet and sour, as husbands have.” Not only do I agree that men suck, but also my inner feminist drew me to one of the only lines depicting equality in Shakespeare’s works.  I am also currently very proud of myself because I just quoted Emilia without having to look at my script! This means that I successfully memorized Emilia’s monologue!

My second piece is much harder to memorize!  I chose one of Rosalind’s monologues from As You Like It. I liked this piece because it contrasts Emilia’s. Rosalind, in Act III, is playing a man. She is comically trying to persuade Phoebe that she is not beautiful, no one wants to go to bed with her with the lights on anyway, so she should just sell herself to Silvius now while he is chasing after her. This monologue is incredibly difficult to memorize because there are so many puns, weird negatives, Shakespeare does not say things I would normally hear them said or say them myself, and the rhythm has to keep in meter.

I was sitting in the kitchen with my ever so kind flat mate Elieen. She was running lines with me and it was incredibly frustrating. I would start my monologue and I would have the right idea but the words out of order, I would just flat out not know what comes next, or not know how to start the next line. The number of times I kept calling line was so numerous, it was sad. For those of you that don’t know, calling line is a term you use when you would like the person with the script to provide you with the beginning to the next line. I felt incredibly frustrated that it was taking me so long to absorb the ins and outs of the monologue.

I asked myself why this was so hard? Olin has taught me problem solving, innovative design, the uses of technology, how to stimulate my creativity, how to fight to the death for classes you want to take next semester, how to be a good team member, how to learn, what recycled food in the dining hall tastes like, but never ever memorization.  Memorization is not one of the skills Olin teaches its students. The only thing I have to memorize at Olin is the 3 digit combination to my mail box and I failed to memorize even that! I just leave my mailbox open and whoever wants to take my mail, can have it! I don’t really need it anyway! But no one really takes my mail because it’s boring mail and the honor code exists.

I find it so interesting that I’m struggling with this. I guess this is the part of my curriculum here that is very important to theatre majors, but will not be important to me when I go back to Olin. However, I guess it’s nice to know that if I ever need to memorize anything, I know how to do it…by pretending I have a phone sex hotline!  

Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya -- Dublin Trip

My Dublin trip was amazing! My study abroad coordinators from CIEE decided to take us on a historical, academic learning adventure to Dublin!

Before this trip, I had a preconceived notion of Ireland. When I thought of Ireland, I thought of the Potato Famine, clovers, luck of the Irish and other stereotypical symbols. In high school, I stage managed Juno and the Paycock, a show set during the Irish civil war about a struggling Irish family that inherits a large sum of money from a dead family member. Then spoiler alert (!), drama ensues and the son gets drafted into the IRA, the daughter gets pregnant, the money isn’t coming to them anymore, the father won’t stop drinking, and the entire family falls apart. Juno and the Paycock provided me with all of my information about Ireland before this trip.

We arrived on Friday around noon and they drove us to our hostel. They rented this huge bus to transport all of us, it was pretty comical. We checked into the 4 courts hostel, it was pretty nice. It's one of the best hostels I've stayed in during my time in Europe so I definitely recommend it. Then we went to lunch at the Hairy Lemon, sounds appetizing huh?? Well they didn't have hair or lemons or lemons with hair on them so...I don't know where the name came from. I had an amazing traditional Beef and Guinness Stew with potatoes and vegetables. It was perfect, everything a stew should be: creamy, thick, savory, and diverse in texture. Then I ordered the Chocolate and Guinness Mousse with a layer of "breadcrumbs" meaning like a layer of crushed graham cracker. The dessert was a piece of a heaven on earth, it was like the first smell of spring, it was like the taste of victory, it tasted how I imagine happiness would taste.

My friend Sarah and I drinking our
 perfectly poured pint of Guinness! 
Then we went to the Guinness factory!

Do you notice a trend here? I...think...the Irish like their Guinness. That, friends, is an understatement. Guinness is about as important to Irish people as is water!

The Guinness factory was amazing! We learned about Andrew Guinness developing his business and the different plants used to make Guinness --barley, hops, and other grains. We learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. The certificate exclaiming I poured the perfect pint is now hanging on my wall. The best part was we got to drink the pint we poured!

Then my friend Sarah found a friend she goes to school with back in America and her incredibly nice friend invited us out to a pub crawl. We went to 5 pubs and got a free drink at each of them. It was so much fun! They would often sing American songs but with an Irish jig! It was so different hearing “Hey there Delilah” sung by an Irish man with an Irish beat. Additionally, we made a stop at Wheelans, the pub where P.S - I love you, the movie, was filmed. We ended the night with horrible Chinese fried rice, yum!

Newgrange from the outside.
The next morning we woke up pretty early to go to Country Meath, about 50 minutes away from Dublin. It was beautiful! First we went to Newgrange, a prehistoric monument built during the neolithic period. This monument is older than Stonehenge, super old, and it has a beautiful view! Every year, on the winter solstice, the sun shines in the perfect spot so that the light comes through the entrance, fills the dome, and the peak of the light touches the door to the tomb. This happens just once a year and this is meant to signify the beginning of a new year.
View from the path to Newgrange

Then we got back on the bus and went to visit the Battle of the Boyne site. This was a really informative tour!
Basically in 1689, Catholic King James II was the head of England, Scotland, and Ireland. People were worried because he was too overly Catholic and the government wanted to keep a Protestant lineage to the throne. William of Orange, a Dutch Protestant, married his cousin, King James II’s daughter. King James II was both father-in-law and uncle to William of Orange. Protestant nobles then invited William of Orange to steal his father-in-law’s and uncle’s throne. How’s that for family problems?? Anyways, then King James II runs away to France, to be with his best friend, Catholic King Louis XIV. That same year King Louis XIV of France gives King James II the men and the ships to sail back to Ireland to regain the throne. It benefited France to have a Catholic King on the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Plus, William of Orange hated King Louis XIV, rivals!
Chilling at the river
King James II believed Ireland was the first step in regaining his throne. He also thought it would be easy since Ireland was Catholic. William of Orange, the very asthmatic man that he was, decided that he needed to squash King James II and King Louis XIV of France early on. He assembled the largest force he could and took them all across the Irish Sea. The monarchs and their armies met at the Boyne River, a little north of Dublin. Funny enough, William of Orange was exploring the river Boyne a day or two before real battle started and one of King James II’s men shot at him! Rumour went around that he died, but the bullet only grazed his shoulder. What a badass William of Orange, huh? William of Orange won the battle by deceiving King James II. William of Orange moved men to the south bank of the river, tricking King James II into sending most of his men there. When the tide was low, William of Orange crossed the river on the north side and made it all the way to Dublin, capturing Dublin. William of Orange won a grand victory. This meant that the throne was back in Protestant hands. Everyone now loves William of Orange!

Walking up to Hill of Slane!
After that, we went to the Hill of Slane!
Hill of Slane!
Hill of Slane had tombstones. 

Here St. Patrick not only ran away all of the snakes, but he also prepared and held a grand Easter feast in an effort to convert Ireland’s Celtic pagans to Catholicism. St. Patrick lit his fire on the Hill of Slane. The Celtics thought that if the fire was not put out right away, it would burn forever. It did burn forever, St. Patrick succeeded at converting them to Catholicism. Hill of Slane was really cool and beautiful.

That night, several of us went out to a dinner that served American breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and pancakes for dinner that night.

The next morning, we woke up and went looking for Oscar Wilde. His statue, I mean. We found both Mary Malone and Oscar Wilde.

The brothers of the sheep used to make my sweater
Finally, the last thing we did before I got on the bus to the airport was buy an authentic, hand made, purple sweater made from sheep’s wool. It’s incredibly soft and amazing!

It was a fantastic trip! Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world. The Country Meathe sites were absolutely beautiful and rich with history; the people were funny, kind, and drink a lot of beer; and it felt so good to just walk around and exist there!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

“This is a bathroom, not a peep show!" "The deed is done, mister!”

The night was young and I went to the liquor store around 5:30pm yesterday. Yes, this is indicative of the crazy adventures my flat mates Harry, Rachel, and I had last night! Rachel is the sweetest girl who always loves DRAGging us to “do weird shit.” Literally, DRAG because she is in love with drag queens. Apparently, she googled something along the lines of weird clubs to go to with drag queens and every time, CellarDoor kept popping up. She was craving to visit and Harry and I were down for anything fun.

At 6:45, we hopped on the tube, me drinking out my water bottle. CellarDoor is apparently part bar, part club, so it opened around 6pm. However, Rachel said the reviews warned against arriving past 7:30 because there would already be people there, saving their seats for the show at 9pm. We exited the tube and used google maps to run to the club. I was navigating, but I couldn’t find it. We kept circling this large building with many shops and theatres. Google said we kept passing it but I didn’t see a sign for the club. Rachel was panicking because it was 7:30 so Harry took the phone away from me, accusing me of being too drunk to find it. Five minutes later, he couldn’t find it either! Confused, we all leaned against a tree and I sat down on the curb across the street from the large building. Directly in front of us was the large building we kept circling but on our side of the street there stood what looked like a telephone booth with a bouncer standing in front of it. Harry figured it out first and pointed to the bouncer, informing us that was the club. I was so confused because it literally looked like a telephone booth and then it clicked!! THE CLUB WAS LITERALLY THROUGH A CELLAR DOOR! Until this point, this club was a source of entertainment like any other club and I was honestly only coming to appease Rachel. After this point, the club increased in coolness! We ran up to the bouncer, asking for entry. The bouncer looked us over and sadly informed us that the club was at maximum capacity. He told us to call at 8pm to see if there was an opening. Rachel looked sad, but we tried to cheer her up by saying that we could come another night?

You know that feeling when you get rejected and that makes you what it even more? That’s exactly how I felt about this club after we got turned away! I was willing to walk back over at 8pm to ask for entry again. We went across the street to a pub. I looked at my phone and it was around 7:55. I glanced out the window towards the entrance of the club and I saw a queue! With very few words to Harry and Rachel, I bolted to add myself to the end of the queue! The people in front of me were talking about the small chance they had of getting into this club since it was already full. They left to the queue, so somehow I rose to the front of the queue. I was waiting, making small talk with the bouncer and asking him about his life, when suddenly two people left! The bouncer, my new friend, was like “congrats, you can now go in” and I was like “OH MY GOSH, CAN I RUN AND GET MY FRIENDS?” He hesitated, but consented. Rachel, Harry, and I walked down the stairs through the telephone booth and entered this very small, intimate, lively room with a bar at the front. We found the only table with no chairs, but I thought who needs chairs when you can dance?

 We started dancing to normal pop music. For example, they played Bang Bang once by Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande.

Then sometime later, probably around 9, the curtain next to us opened to reveal a drag queen with blue feathered hair named Uma! She was DJ-ing right next to our table! Suddenly, the entire environment changed. The songs changed from pop to throwback old school music! For example, she played September by Earth, Wind, and Fire. There were a lot of older women there, so the older tunes definitely got them pumped because I felt the energy spike as soon as she started DJ-ing!

We took so many selfies with Uma because did I mention that Rachel is obsessed with drag queens? Well, she is.

As one does when one has had too much liquid, one goes to the bathroom. I really had to pee. So I walked two steps away from our table to the bathroom. I was standing in front of the bathroom because there was a lady in there doing her makeup. Now that I think about it, I felt like I was in the bathroom with her but I wasn’t. It feels like that because the door was see-through. I didn’t think of it for too long. I turned the door knob to the right until it wouldn’t go anymore and then I peed. After I was done washing my hands and about to unlock the door, I noticed that I could see out into the hallway. I was very confused, but I thought that the door was like FBI glass where I could see out to the hallway but no one could see in? At least that’s what I kept telling myself so that I wouldn’t panic because I might have JUST PEED WITH A SEE THROUGH DOOR. Luckily, I didn’t notice anyone walk by when I was peeing so I justified that it was all okay!

I walked back to Rachel and Harry to continue dancing. Later, Rachel was like “I need to pee.” So she walked the two steps away from our table to the bathroom. I was dancing when she hollered for me. I walked over and she was like “CASEY THIS DOOR IS SEE THROUGH!” and I was like “HUH?” so she tried to figure out how to make it not see through anymore. She tried, but she failed. She instructed me to stand in front of the door while she peed so that no one would see through it. I consented but when the next good song came on, I started dancing and stopped fully covering the door. Suddenly the same bouncer that let us in walks by, he sees me, smiles, looks behind me to see Rachel peeing, and gives me a face of horror. I was like “what?” He, appalled, says “This is a bathroom, not a peep show!” Rachel walks out of the bathroom and exclaims to the man “The deed is done, mister!” She grabs my hand and we walk back to the table to continue dancing. I bet that in that moment, the bouncer regretted letting us into the club!!

About half an hour later, we talked about leaving for another club. Before leaving, Rachel and I decided we wanted to use the bathroom again. I went over to stand in front of Rachel while she used the bathroom, but I looked at the corner of the door and discovered it was no longer see-through! Rachel figured it out! There was another metallic ring around the door knob that you needed to rotate around the door knob to make the glass opaque! Thinking back to the bouncer yelling at me, he did say something like turn the ring around the door knob, but oops, it was too late!

We just aren’t classy enough to use fancy bathrooms.

We left to dance at a gay club with great music. We danced the night away until 3:30 am and I learned that Rachel doesn’t like the song Crazy in Love by BeyoncĂ©. After the club, Harry, being the god that he is, bought us McDonalds. We got home around 4:30 and I fell hard asleep until noon this morning!

Yeah, my flat mates are pretty cool, even though we don’t really know how to pee in fancy bathrooms and we go to McDonalds at 4:00am. 

“The floor is the best partner an actor can have for it is unrelentlessly hard”

My first couple of weeks in London have been…bloody brilliant! My first week consisted of orientation 3 days a week, each one for about an hour a day. There was much room for sightseeing that week!

 My second week here, school started. I only have classes on Mondays from 1pm – 8pm and Wednesdays from 10am – 10pm. I don’t mind the long hours because this means more time for traveling on the weekends.

I think this is one of my favorite paintings
ever and it's at the National Gallery here! 
     My acting classes are fascinating. I am learning so much about my body, improv, and acting techniques. During one of my acting classes, we lay on the floor and we were instructed to just breathe. We noticed our breathing patterns and the rhythmic movement of our body parts as each breath filled us.

Then we were instructed to try as many different positions as possible and notice how our breathing changed.  I previously thought of my body as a blob that I carried around, now it’s my prop for communicating with others.

Westminster is one of the most
 beautiful places I've seen. 
Afterwards, we were instructed to move, but keep one or two points of contact with the floor at all times. Points of contact meaning one or two surfaces of your body touching the floor, the goal was to see how many funky positions you could twist your body into. Using the heel of my foot and the palm of my hand as my points of contact, I was in mid lunge. So focused on balancing to think about other positions I could transition to or other points of contact, I fell hard on my thigh.  My instructor came over with “I loved what you were doing with your body and you can go so many places from there.”  She placed herself in my position; balancing so much better than I did, and showed me the flexibility I had in that position. She effortlessly transitioned into 5 more positions and left me with the task of finding more. After she untangled herself from a pretzel like position, she comforting said “Sorry you fell. The floor is the best partner an actor can have, though, for it is unrelentlessly hard.” I had never thought of the floor that way and I loved this new idea that the floor was my partner. I was willing to try again. Previously I thought I had exhausted the different positions I could make holding myself up with my palm and my heel.  Since I was blank on inspiration, I started pulling inspiration from water, food, etc. Essentially, asking myself if someone poured water on top of my head, how could I guide it down with my body, like a water slide? However, if I could push through, let my body guide me, and pull from multiple depots of inspiration, it opened up a whole new world for possibilities.

Right next to Westminster is Westminster Abbey,
the most beautiful Cathedral 
Pushing through and pulling from other sources of inspiration came in handy in another acting class. The improv game felt like it was going on forever. I have a hat of ideas and when it feels like I might get to the bottom of my idea hat, I think back to that day and think about other sources of inspiration. I think about what I’m not thinking about, about my facebook news feed, about my cooking experience, about any films or anything I’ve seen recently. Usually, then I can form an idea for a scene. With improv and with other things, you don’t have to plan out the entire scene. You can have an initial idea and just go with it to see what comes out! I feel like this was an important lecture for me. Just letting go and instinctively, reacting with my body and my words. Because acting is about reacting! Writing this blog post and reflecting on pushing through and pulling out more creativity reminds me of Ben Linder’s bird lecture.  

I found Big Ben sightseeing!
This wasn't super hard to spot! 
For those of you that don’t know, first years at Olin College take a course called Design Nature where they design animals inspired by nature. It’s an introductory design and machining class at Olin College. Ben Linder, the Design Nature instructor, once challenged us to individually scribble on a post-it note as many birds as we could think of in 1 minute. I recorded 20, maybe?
Post exercise, the students shared their count of total birds. Unless you were Riley Chapman, most of us had around 20-30? Then Ben Linder asked Debbie Chandra, another instructor who participated and swore she did not know the topic beforehand, to share her bird count and she had around 80! AROUND EIGHTY! In his lecture, he revealed that the secret to listing as many birds as possible was FRAMING. Instead of asking yourself to list out all the birds you know, you should frame the problem differently. You should first think about all the places where you might see birds. Then go through each location and write down the birds you see at that location. Then, move on to another location.  For example, start with downtown, ask yourself how many birds you know that belong around the city. You should then think about the zoo and ask yourself what birds you would see in any downtown city.  Instead of going hard at once and writing down all the birds you can think of at once, frame the problem into categories.  I feel like framing is coming in handy during my improv games!

It’s weird, I didn’t think much of this semester would tie back to Olin! But hey, surprise! The process of generating creative ideas for improv scenes can also be applied to generating creative ideas for engineering projects! Framing is important for fruitful and diverse thinking apparently!

Also the rumors are true, Wicked is the best musical in town. Simply amazing.

Oh and also, the Buzzfeed article was a lie! I have located both avocados and peanut butter. The avocados taste just like they do at home. I bought 3 huge avocados for 2 pounds at Borough Market on Friday and made guacamole for dinner yesterday. However, I haven't tried the peanut butter brand here since I'm not done with my large tub of peanut butter that I brought with me from the states! I will keep you updated! 

Later, friends! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

No Avocados or Peanut Butter in the UK??

This morning I had an avocado for breakfast, my last avocado for three whole months. According to this Buzzfeed Article, the UK does not have avocados or peanut butter!! Fun fact about me: I love food more than anything else. Guess what two of my favorite foods are? Avocados and peanut butter!! This is a very serious matter, a matter my friend Peter and I think might interest the Queen! She should be aware that her people need her to rescue the avocado and peanut butter and make their lives better by providing them with these goods! Convincing argument, huh? I was freaking out to my friend Emily Mamula, whose family is very British. She assured me that the Buzzfeed article was incorrect and that peanut butter does exist in England, so I will go on a mission to seek the peanut butter when I arrive in London tomorrow morning!

I am currently a junior studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, USA. This fall semester, I will take a break from engineering to study theatre and performance at Goldsmiths in London, UK!

My backstory is when I was in high school, I was confident I was going to study performing arts in college. My sophomore year of high school, I enrolled in a computer science course to fill my schedule. I was honestly planning to blow off the course, but instead I was so intrigued! I was blown away by the logic and power of computer science! The labs were...actually really fun.  Everything I thought I wanted--the stage, the acting, the dancing, the storytelling, the fame--was now in question. Under some encouragement, I applied to a handful of engineering colleges but most of them were too boringly rigid for my taste. My high school counselor recommended Olin. Candidate’s weekend can best be described as a huge bundle of energy emanating from everyone and everything in the space, this energy carried me and my fellow candidates to complete the task of designing a solution to the proposed challenge. The experience was electrifying awesome; not only did they blast all of my favorite songs while we worked, but I felt like my creativity and imagination were in full swing and in full demand to design a solution!

Figure 1: I co-directed a cheesy rock musical,
Xanadu, in the fall 2015.
Photocredz: Jessica Diller. 
I chose Olin because I felt that, at Olin, I could take my creativity from the stage to the classroom. My homework included real people problems! Plus, engineering is pretty awesome! I thought being involved with Olin's Franklin W. Olin Players (FWOP) would quench my thirst for performance drama. 

Figure 2: Me and most of our Xanadu actors.
Photocredz: Jessica Diller

Uuhhh I tried, I really did, but I wanted more plays and different literature. Plus, I never had the time to be in all of the shows I wanted to be in or balance FWOP and my classes particularly well because an engineering curriculum has strenuous courses. I had the crazy thought to take a semester off from engineering and study theatre in London. While Shakespeare causes all of my friends to drool in their sleep, Shakespeare's wit causes me to drool with admiration. London is one of the best hubs for theatre and I am so excited!

It will take a lot of effort, but I am willing to live without avocados and peanut butter at every meal for an entire semester. I will just explore more food options! I am so excited because theatre will be my homework and my class work! I will be taking three drama classes:
--Acting in London
--London Theatre

And a computer science class, of course:
--Artificial Intelligence

I also plan to attend every show possible and eat as much authentic food as possible! Keep reading my blog and I will keep updating you about my food, shows I've seen, and my adventures! Plus, don’t you want to know if England has peanut butter??

If you have any thoughts about my blog post, please feel free to reach me at! I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, friends!