Author Archives: Nancy Zhu

Posts by Nancy Zhu


This play truly surprised me, like the acronym of the place it was shown at. When I first entered the BAM Harvey Theater, I could see the disgusted looks on the people’s face as we climbed a steep sketchy staircase to our seats. I was thinking to myself, I hope no one trips and falls on these stairs, because if anyone does the slightest topple, we’d all fall down like dominoes – that would not be good. The walls were peeling; the pipes were rusted. As we arrived to our seats, we were able to see the seats were just as steep. Sitting there waiting for the play to start made me tense that I might fall over and land on the stage. It didn’t seem like the play would be good, I thought.
But then, BAM! The lights dimmed, and the production amazed me. Combining technology and ordinary theatrical props, it created an interesting appeal to the play. There were various projectors shining not just light but screens of the stock market running across the top of the stage. A house stands at the middle of the stage and light played a really nice role – it manipulated whether or not the audience could see the people clearly or just their silhouette. At the end of the play, the house surprisingly transforms into a table, with the character, Mr. Alan Greenspan. the chairman of the Federal Reserve at the time, sitting at one end answering to questions of an interview.

The context of the House/Divided was just as interesting. It combined the struggles of those in the times of the Dust Bowl, and the struggles of the mortgage crisis. Throughout the play, there were occasional clips explaining in layman’s terms what was going on. This production made the two economic crises more interesting to learn about and understand.

Many actors played multiple roles. They alternated between the scenes at the stock exchange and the house falling apart. Their enthusiasm was clearly shown on their faces as they ran back and forth onstage and backstage – which was a clear sight for those like us who were sitting up really high. Several screens zoomed into the actors face live. It made the audience really feel a part of the play.

What happened after the play ended at the ‘Talk backs” should not be left out. Surprisingly, someone had the wits to stand up and say “You blew it.” She continued to destroy the performance and create havoc and confusion. In response, the director angrily replied, “you go write your own play.” It concluded the play in a more interesting way, and I had thought I was the only one with the doubts on the play.


Our Current Writer-in-Residence

Not too long ago, Katherine Vaz read to our class and many other her newest work, Below the Salt. After reading Our Lady of the Artichokes, a collection of short stories, one of her other books, it was interesting to see how her writing techniques and thought process could carry on throughout her work. In both stories, she showed the struggles of families and how they survived them.

She explained to us, “I wrote for about a year, stuff that was so terrible that I threw it in a box.” It was almost nice to know that a top-notch author could encounter writer’s block, like the way I’m sure many of us do too.

Vaz continues to read to us an excerpt of her latest work. It uses a lot of detailed words describing a man named John imprisoned with his mother in the 19th century. Feeling trapped and despair, they look to music and each other for inspiration and happiness. John is soon sent to fight in the Civil War. Vaz conducted extensive research to get the facts right and add her emotions of sympathy toward the ones who fought in that war. Through a well descriptive narrative of a man Vaz created, she was able to portray her sentiments on the war. Vaz explains, “the story just came to me.” She knew she had to write something about them, all the struggles and emotions families of that time faced. Her brilliant work did just the thing.

Paying a visit to the Metropolitan Museum

It was gratifying to revisit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I used to go often for an intensive drawing class shadowing Van Gogh’s art. However, it wasn’t to see that, I had a class field trip to see the African Art Exhibit and the Matisse Exhibit.

What shocked me the most after paying a visit to these two areas in the MET was that they were actually linked. African Art usually consisted of sculptures and carvings in portrayal of the human body. Multiple masks are lined up on display. Each similarly carved yet so different and unique at the same time.

It wasn’t so clear to me that African artworks are associated to the artworks by Picasso and Matisse, until I was told the Cubism movement looked back to African pieces in inspiration. Then I was able to see how the two vastly different time periods were in fact really alike.

The sculptures in African art often are created in geometric shapes and have most 90-degree angles. The abstractness in the sculptures also appeared very alike to Picasso’s famous creations.

It was an entirely different experience at the Matisse Exhibition. It wasn’t about comparing the similarities between the arts of two artists. Matisse actually created artworks in pairs – two differently composed paintings of the same subject. Matisse wanted to learn what technique better fits him. He portrays various perspectives by manipulating the same setting.

As one can observe the clear differences between the techniques used in creating an image of the subject, Matisse showed how either method and many more can recreate a scene in a beautiful manner.

Who She Was/Is

During the stressful season of college applications back in junior year of high school, everyone was applying to their dream school. Getting in was a different story. They say it depends all on that one college essay. Make it your best writing you’ll ever write. Not only did I learn about myself when I was writing it, I was amazed and moved by the narratives my friends were telling. Their stories were so inspiring. Whereas I was living this normal life, nothing I could ask for more. So thinking back on those stories, I asked my best friend if I could interview her and let her tell me her story once more.

Tian Tian Lin came to America with her single mom at the age of eleven. Born in America but raised in China since the age of two, she could only speak Chinese, and English was completely foreign and confusing to her. At the age of eleven, learning a new language seemed impossible. She faced her first rejection from the town’s better middle school. She recalls, “They asked me what my telephone number was, and I was so confused what they asked me.” So she went to a middle school already populated with other Chinese immigrant kids. The new friends she made were all within her comfort zone. English was never a language she had to really encounter, despite living in America. It was hard for her already at home. Her mom didn’t quite have a steady job. She missed her father. In the last year of middle school, she took the Specialized High School Standardized Admissions Test (SHSAT), aced the math section, and got into the HS for Math, Sciences and Engineering. It’s a small school of about four hundred kids total, averaging a hundred per grade. It wasn’t hard to know the names of everyone in the grade. I remember freshman year, Tian Tian was one of the quietest. She sat alone during lunch. We all thought she was shy! Hearing from her now, about four years later, it was in actuality, she had no idea what was going on in classes, or what people were saying to her. It was very difficult for her to keep up in school. However, she realized she had to step up her game, and forced herself to learn the new language. English speakers constantly surrounded her. At the time, we were also learning German as a ‘second’ language. She struggled to learn German when English was already not her forte. She didn’t receive the best grades in freshman year, but it was clear on her transcript she worked hard and improved tenfold as she climbed to the top ten in class rank by senior year. To top all of that, she made her mother proud by getting into Cornell University, winning scholarships, and receiving a great deal of financial aid. Her mother does not have to pay much, and she’s receiving  an Ivy League education. She worked hard for it – she deserved it. I’m very proud of her too, and indeed it inspires me to work hard in my studies.

I wasn’t able to interview her in person since she’s in upstate New York at the moment, so I don’t have any audio to attach. She’s still a bit shy, so she suggested I could share a drawing of her portrait instead.

A picture is worth a thousand words

The carefully selected and curated photographs in the exhibit of Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life at the International Center of Photography (ICP) show the remnants and everlasting struggles of apartheid, the segregation in South Africa more than sixty years ago. Curated by Okwui Enwezor and Rory Bester, the exhibition proposes the power of the photography and journalism, and honors the exceptional achievement of South African journalists and photographers.

The exhibition examines the apartheid system and how it affected every aspect of South Africa. Through photographs, films, books, magazines, and newspapers, the exhibit showed how apartheid interfered with all of social aspects, ranging from housing, public amenities, and transportation to education, social events, tourism, religion and businesses. A big part of South African history is documented and on display right here in the center of the Big Apple at ICP.

There were photographs of people living behind gates and barbed wires. It shows how much resemblance there is between that and a prison. Alcan aluminum window frames were also on display in the lower level of the museum to represent the business aspect in South Africa. There plentiful portraits of important figures, such as Nelson Mandela. One particularly famous one is the one with Nelson Mandela dressed in traditional beads and a bed spread, as he was hiding out from the police during his period as the “black pimpernel” in 1961. There were also numerous accounts of protests – crowds of people with the same idea holding up posters and signs expressing their powerful thoughts of justice.

Out of the hundreds of media presented at the museum, two really stood out to me. I apologize ahead of time for the lack of the photographs I am about to describe, because the museum did not allow photos to be taken of the exhibit.

One was a photograph of a police interference with innocent villagers even after such incident. The photograph’s caption was: “After a funeral of a three-year old child shot in the head by a policeman’s rubber bullet, angry mourners clash with police near the family’s home.” It’s troubling to hear about such misery apartheid could bring to an innocent family, and many other families across South Africa as well.

My second photograph was a picture capturing African Americans in a fashion show and having a party. This picture, I thought, not only shows happiness, but strength in the people of South Africa. The strength they held within them throughout the period of apartheid. Without that strength, they would not been able to endure the hardships and put an end to apartheid.

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Imagine 500 pictures. How powerful is that?


My Collage Project

New York City is already diverse in its culture. But what is culture? How broad could the term “culture” be defined? No one would think of typography as a subsection of the dissimilar cultures in New York City, and this is why I chose it. Typography comes in all different shapes and forms; I figured Serif, Sans Serif, and all the rest should be considered as distinctive cultures.

Typography in itself involves the selection of various aspects, such as: typefaces, point size, line length, and spacing between letters. And where else would perfect examples of the diversity in the art of typography be but on storefronts all around New York City.

My Collage Project therefore focuses on multiple typographic designs found all over the Big Apple. To make things interesting, my collage is on Prezi and each frame zooms into a letter of the alphabet, each with an example of a word that begins with that letter. I faced some minor challenges in choosing one picture over another of two different examples, because they both display amazing artwork. In the end, I had to go with the more unique one.


iPhone Photography

“You don’t need thousand dollar equipment, last year’s photo award was made with an iPhone.” Max Flatow embedded in our minds that anyone could be a photographer, and we don’t need a pricey camera to be one. He shares that even as a professional photographer, he uses his iPhone to capture the moments he wants to keep.

Flatow tells us that his love for photography started in seventh grade. “I’m self taught. I spend a lot of my free time honing my skills.” He had motivation, which made the art of photography more the interesting for him to discover techniques on his own. He took over an unused darkroom in college and started studying photojournalism. After his study abroad trip to Spain of his senior year, he decided to hold a gallery at a local café, where he gained some attention and were able to sell some of his artwork. He worked for a set designer, Meredith, by painting sets, which gave him great exposure to photography.

What exists everywhere, no matter where in the world? Food. Flatow works mostly on wedding photography, though he also photographs food on the side. On his job, he actually does a lot of travelling, and at every new location, he tries to contact local restaurants to have their dishes be photographed professionally. One couple had him travel to India. He describes that trip to be the most interesting wedding he’s ever been able to photograph. The couple walked onto the scene on elephants! The vibrant colors he captured allowed us to peer at what amazing time and experience he had on the job.

Going through his slideshow, he would also stop to tell us the techniques he used for each picture. He gave us pointers on how to create a depth in field effect, perfect a silhouette, and more. He inspired me to take photos of my own to capture everything around me. He was self-taught, and it only takes practice. Maybe I can get there some day.

All taken by Max Flatow

Chinese Thanksgiving

Everyone’s excited for their Thanksgiving feast of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, apple pie and pumpkin pie, and of course, the five pounds of weight gain afterwards. While among Chinese families, it isn’t a holiday we normally value and celebrate, at least not to the level of extravagance of most American families. It is a holiday when companies and schools have a day off, so we use this time to have a family gathering, not to celebrate the essence of Thanksgiving, though just to spend some time together and see each other.

My large family, grandparents and cousins included, came over to my house to have dinner. So this Thanksgiving and like my other Thanksgivings, we had roasted duck instead of turkey. We had bok choy and other Asian vegetables. We had cold-dish jellyfish, sautéed tilapia fish, and cocktail shrimps. What part of this sounds like a Thanksgiving dinner?

This isn’t just our family though. Turkey just isn’t a popular food item among Chinese people. They say, “turkey doesn’t taste good, it tastes bland.” Oh well. At least we won’t have to fight for the last turkey at the supermarket, or the last baked pumpkin pie on the shelf. So we just had ice cream cones for dessert. Watched some TV, talked about each other’s families, and we called it a night.

I’m sure “Thanksgiving” is celebrated differently at other non-American families too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Paint the Town Red

The reason for choosing my theme of red for my street photography project is because red is a color that represents boldness, or alert, which should be a color that grabs the attention of an observer. My camera has a functions setting to only capture one color in its field of vision and leave the rest of the picture in black and white. I thought, this setting on my camera would be perfect for this project. I could make all items red stand out more than it normally would.

The title of my Street Photography Project is “Paint the Town Red”. In my photographs, I captured the red essence in each scene by eliminating color in the background. The photos were taken in the span of a month, from day to night, in my daily routines traveling from home to school and from school back home. The slideshow is ordered in a chronological sense in a day’s activity. Day photos are placed at the beginning, while nighttime photos are placed at the end.

My point and shoot camera was always conveniently placed in my right-hand side coat pocket, ready to snap a photo. To take these pictures, I looked out for any large outstanding groups of objects in the shade of red or of a similar hue. Many times, the red is usually a garment on a stranger, and I must carefully snap a picture before or without them realizing for the picture to remain candid. Only candid photos, I believe, capture the true essence of the streets of New York City. No picture of a still taxicab or an empty train station can grasp the idea of the busy nights in the Big Apple.

With a digital camera, I was able to take many precautions before taking each photograph. One thing to look out for was that the lines in my photograph were straight and the perspective looked aesthetically pleasing. Another difficulty in taking these pictures was the timing. Since my subjects were strangers, I could not control where they stood, how they stood, and how they looked on camera. I would have to shift myself to get the right angle. Often times, I had to crouch down or move in a particular way to capture exactly what I wanted. Most of the time, after seeing something of value, and before actually capturing the instance, I would have formulated an anticipated picture in my head of what I envision my outcome to look like. Then I would take multiple pictures to match what I had in mind.

It was rather easy for me to take pictures, since red is such a common color. I was able to find red everywhere I go. Instead, the challenges to me in putting this project together was naming each photograph and deciding on the final twelve that get to be shared. I found it tough to decide on a final twelve when I have about a dozen snapshots for each day of the month I spent taking photographs. I wanted to display all of my artwork and share what I encountered each day. Although in the end, I chose what popped out the most to me from each set of photos. I am satisfied with what I was able to capture of the Big –Red- Apple.

GDE Error: Unable to load requested profile.

Do y’all got chicken?

“What’s shakin’?”
“Hello! Are you here to buy movie tickets?” I greeted a frequent visitor into the student life office.
“I don’t got no chicken,” said Bob.
“What? I didn’t ask for chickens.”
“Nah, you see, chicken is slang for” – and he rubs his fingers together to represent money –
“Sorry Bob,” I said sarcastically, “we don’t accept chickens here in the office. We accept cash and exact change only.”
“Haha. Even my grandma is catching up on slang.” He turns to my co-worker, who was just as confused as me, “you know what ‘what’s shakin’ ‘ mean?”
“No.” She said.
“What’s up?” I suggested.
“Yeah yeah she’s got it.” Bob said. “See Jenn, you gotta be like Nancy. Me and my bros be talking English but if you listened to us talk, you wouldn’t understand a single thing.” He says jokingly.
“I only know old school slang, slang changes too much I can’t keep up with the jargon,” Jenn rebutted.

I considered this an encounter of cultural clash, because the difference in lingo is one important aspect of different cultures. It shows how diverse even the same language can be. Bob could have spoken to us in that foreign language of English slang, but to us he spoke normal English.

I think I found Waldo

I think I found Waldo

An Italian Birthday

During my senior year of high school, it became a tradition to go out for dinner to celebrate the birthday of every one in our friend group.  Diverse with our taste buds, we covered a range of Chinese, Thai, Ecuadorian, Korean, and Indian cuisines, having nothing to do with our ethnicities. Each of the aforementioned cuisines cost me about $6 – $20, but after several birthdays and day activities that accompany each birthday, my expenses built up. Though these nights with friends were enjoyable, there’s a limit to how much I’m willing to spend per day out, especially without having a job. I wasn’t the only one, of course. All my college-bound friends have the same thought process. Accustomed to Chinese cuisine, I am used to getting a wide variety of dishes and being too full to eat any more, for the cost of maximum $20 per person after tax and gratuity.

To celebrate the birthday of my Guyanese friend, my Bengali friend suggested an Italian restaurant located near Central Park, reassuring the rest of us that it is family style and the cost wouldn’t be more than $20. Seating thirteen people around a table, we ordered about 6 family style dishes and passed them around clockwise one by one. Looking around, seeing that there were twelve more mouths to feed after me, I took my fraction of each dish: a piece of fried calamari, some spaghetti, a meatball, a fried zucchini, and maybe some more pastas, but not much, hoping that the dish would come back around with some extras later. Unfortunately, by the time each dish reached around the eighth person, they were almost cleared and the interesting meats were already all taken. It was clear no one was completely full even after licking each plate clean; we ordered some desserts – a birthday cake – to sing the traditional Happy Birthday song with.

A few appetizers, six family style dishes, and a dessert for the birthday boy split between twelve people. “No big deal,” I thought.

Dropped jaws and wide eyes spread as the receipt came to the people sitting closest to the waiter. “Well how much is it?” echoed across the table.

After intense mathematical analysis, long division, and triple checking, the table’s smartest math guy concluded $40 per person without the birthday guy pitching in.

Our wallets were already flattened at the movies earlier that day, and now this dinner completely emptied them.

This was my first Italian cuisine, and now I thought, this is going to be my last. Never do I want to pay so much for not being full again. Maybe for my birthday – when I won’t need to pay. Just kidding. I’ll just stick to Chinese cuisines.

Metropolitan Opera’s Carmen

What seems to be a lightning bolt of glowing red light in the curtains sets the stage for a powerful opera ahead. A familiar dynamic orchestral piece preludes Metropolitan Opera’s version of Georges Bizet’s renowned Carmen. The curtains finally open up to show a pair of dancers embracing each other in their every step, conveying love, lust, and passion. Their dance sets off the mood of intimacy and seductiveness. Curtains closed and opened once more to show a cylindrical frame of a cigarette factory slowly rotating on the stage.

The story begins with sweet-voiced Michaela, played by Kate Royal, coming through the high fences lining the factory walls looking for her lover, Don Jose, played by Yonghoon Lee. Officer Morales, played by Trever Scheunemann, and the other Spanish soldiers who sing to balance Morales’ powerful and demanding voice, beseeched Michaela to stay for a while, for they will keep her company. When Michaela comes back to Don Jose, the two make a beautiful duet in both singing and acting, for they were able to convey their love and passion for each other physically and with complimentary vocals.

All the soldiers chant in unison and wonder on the whereabouts of the protagonist, Carmen, played by Anita Rachvelishvili, who enters the stage last from the factory, through the hole in the platform. Her flirtatious clothing stands out from that of all the other factory women. Her acting and voice is strongest in this act where she plays her role of a promiscuous Gypsy by flirting with every soldier as she sings the famous aria, Habanera, finally alluring Don Jose by smashing a rose into his chest and laughing it off. However, as the opera went on, it is evident Carmen became tired and slightly lost the vigor in her voice.

Yonghoon Lee, playing as Don Jose, did an amazing job throughout, having to convey his conflicted feelings of love, weighing between his hometown sweetheart, and this lustrous new girl. He abandons Michaela, goes against the will of his mother, drops his military duties, and becomes convinced he’s in love with Carmen to free her from jail landing him in prison. The violent intensity in his voice and his enthusiastic acting becomes difficult to compare with the voice of the glorious matador, Escamillo, played by Kyle Ketelson. Kyle Ketelson nails the infamous aria, Les Toreadors (Votre Toast) with the orchestra playing perfectly in the background.

The lights also played an enormous role in the advancement of the plot. As suspense slowly peaked with the orchestra’s aid to the opera’s climax, where Don Jose stabs Carmen in a rage of jealousy, the lights were the color of a daunting red, like blood, and the music came to a complete silence. The arena walls rotated to end the opera with a juxtaposition of Carmen’s death and the Escamillo’s victorious kill of the bull.

Different Approaches on Photography

Photography is a method of viewing objects and other common things we see in a new perspective. That’s the challenge for a photographer, says Alexander Rodchenko. He discusses in his article the cliché in photography and how he takes the modern path less traveled on. He explains the history, the past path, of photography and paintings, how most objects and subjects are viewed from the eye level or the belly button level. Many artists have potentially tried to portray their subjects in a different angle; the objects would be on top of each other but each object was still drawn in its front profile. A camera doesn’t change the perspective; the photographer can manipulate that. Why not challenge the mind and take photographs in a different viewpoint to make things appear more interesting? I think he made a valid point in his article. I enjoy taking photographs in my free time and often times I find myself trying to capture a view that no one would normally see that object in, because it looks more fascinating, new to our eyes. In complete contrast to Alexander Rodchenko, Larry Sultan describes that his drive to photograph is to capture the most familiar – the family. It also makes sense that one would want to photograph for keepsake purposes, and to glorify the loved ones.

Berenice Abbott argues in her article that the purpose of photography is “to recreate the living world of our time,” because photography captures “realism – real life – the now.” She reasons that a photograph is only powerful if the purpose behind taking that picture is meaningful. For this I also agree, because with a camera always readily available, I am able to capture the moment when things happen for a reason to have it as a memorabilia.

Ken Light shares that photojournalism, the documenting of important events through the medium of photography, can be powerful and hold a voice of the photographer, a “witness” of the world. Since photographs are physical documents, they provide a glimpse of the past to future generations. His interview with Susan Meiselas showed how important it was to document things, to share with the world what another person’s world is like.


Photography Terms

Latent Image – The invisible image left by the action of light on photographic film or paper. When processed, this latent image will become a visible image either in reversed tones (as in a negative) or in positive tones (as in a color slide).

Polarizing Screen (Filter) – A filter that transmits light traveling in one plane while absorbing light traveling in other planes. When placed on a camera lens or on light sources, it can eliminate undesirable reflections from a subject such as water, glass, or other objects with shiny surfaces.

Program Exposure – An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that automatically sets both the aperture and the shutter speed for proper exposure.

Overexposure – A condition in which too much light reaches the film, producing a dense negative or a very light print.

Vignetting – A fall-off in brightness at the edges of an image.

Falling for Dance

“Did you Fall for Dance?” the playbill says loud and clear at the top. I’d say yes, I have. The ninth annual Fall for Dance Festival showcased five unique programs, an interesting mix of modernized cultural dances by companies from all around the world: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, The Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The show started with lively music entertained by glittery ballerinas twirling across the stage like stars across the sky. Although the beautiful movements blended well with the composition of the music, the group choreography was very repetitive and without a storyline. I was able to predict the next step. The ballerinas of Grand Pas From Paquita were not in sync, which became very distracting from enjoying the show. As a group, they lost synchronization with the music. The power and the emotions conveyed from the music was not the same way as the sensations conveyed in their dance. Though the opening performance started off disappointing, the ballerinas progressively showed improvement in their dance as the music slowed down and their dance steps were lighter. The solos were much more exciting and received much more applause from the audience. One particular dancer thrilled the audience with her leaping entrance and graceful steps. The male dancers harmoniously danced about the stage to the beat of the music.

Curtains closed and opened to a unique, amazingly choreographed, and humorously done, High Heel Blues. Although outfitting in non-traditional ballet attire, the two dancers, one male, one female, pranced around delicately barefoot and on their toes expressing the story sang in the blues song playing. The audience responded with laughter and smiles. If a performance causes a change in the audience’s emotions, then it is a good performance.

The third performance, Tarian Malam, was weak; the suspense it could have made with the sluggish movements and silence seemed to take forever until there were finally some drum hitting and energy in the dancers. The costumes were interesting though. The theme was clearly red; the lighting had matched their bright fiery clothing. When they did begin to move to the beat, there were a lot of head shaking, and their hair was flying, which emphasized on energy. Only for a few minutes of energy until they died down to slow steps again. It was clear the performance confused the audience when numerous individuals began to pay more attention to themselves and could not help but let out a cough. Its brief description explains that this showpiece is a contemporary narrative about the earthquake that struck in 2009, but it was very difficult to feel the same emotions through the performance.

The concluding performances were a wonderful mix of faster-paced dancing, which brought the audience’s mood back up again. The Russian collection, Moiseyev’s Classics, caused “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” to echo the theater. The Dance of Bessarabia Gypsies was very festive with their decorated and colorful dresses. The men dancing in Tatarotchka amused the audience with their shoulder dances and quick feet.×471.jpg

Fall for Dance left a wonderful impression of contemporary dance. Will you fall for dance?

Annyeonghaseyo , je ileum-eun Nancy ibnida

Annie and I coincidentally spotted each other the day the Korean Student Associations’ first general interest meeting poster was tacked in the sea of other flyers. Caught up with the student media trends, their flyer showcased the signature dance move of Psy, made famous by his recent song and music video, Gangnam Style. Although printed in black and white, Psy’s silhouette stood out of the motley chaos of student textbook advertisements and club meetings flyers. Note that the flyer had said somewhere along the lines of “Everyone is invited to come – does not have to speak Korean.” It immediately sparked our interests. As big fans of the current Korean media, the both of us flew over and asked one another in unison whether or not the other could accompany in attending this meeting. It was a mess of murmurs to any stranger passing by, but we understood each other perfectly.

“Welcome to Korean Students Association. Nae ileum-eun gim syalon ibnida. Wa jusyeoseo gamsahabnida….” The lady in front of the room thanked us for coming and shared with us her Korean name.

At first it all sounded like English to me, because I have been so used to hearing Korean from watching Korean dramas (with subtitles). I was able to catch a few words here and there, but nothing made sense to me.

I looked and Annie. Annie looked at me.

I whispered to her, “don’t you wish a line of subtitles were playing across the room?” She replied, “Exactly what I was thinking!! I hope we aren’t the only ones who don’t understand.”

We looked around; everyone there looked Korean, and of course understanding every word, they smiled and nodded. Two seats down sat an African American young man. We smiled, thinking, “good, we’re not the only ones.”

Sure enough, after all the members of the E-Board introduced themselves in completely Korean, they asked us each to stand up to introduce ourselves. We only knew that was what they had asked of us when they pointed at a gentleman in one corner, and asked him to stand up and he said his name. Phew, only name. I can do that. These elementary lines are often used in Korean dramas.

“Annyeonghaseyo, je ileum-eun Nancy ibnida,” which means “Hi, my name is Nancy.” – I quickly recited in my head.

The president then announced in English as well, “When you introduce yourselves, please tell us your name, your age, your major, and hobbies! Thank you!” And the gentleman continued in Korean.

Annie and I exchanged surprised looks. “You want to just run for it? The door is right there.”

Too scared to rudely interrupt the meeting, and still interested in what the club had to offer, we watched the dominos fall onto us as it was up to our turn to speak. She spoke first, blushing, she says, “annyeonghaseyo, je ileum-eun Annie ibnida. I am Chinese, so I’ll speak in English. My hobby is listening to Korean music and watching Korean dramas, therefore this club interested me.” She sits down.

It was my turn now. All the eyes were on me. I was glad I wasn’t the first between us to speak, but I was still extremely nervous. I stood up.
“Hi, my name is Nancy.”
I paused. “Ugh, why didn’t I say that in Korean? I haven’t been listening to the others’ introductions so I can recite it in my head.” I thought to myself.

I continued the rest in English, similarly to Annie, explaining myself that I am Chinese and I also have interest in Korean culture. I felt my face reddening with every “uhm” I said.

Two other people presented themselves in Korean, and it was up to the African American’s turn. To our surprise, and everyone’s surprise, he spoke in fluent Korean – no uhms, no blushing, no nail biting, no signs of nervousness. Our jaws dropped in awe, and everyone applauded.

It was amazing how he subtly shocked everyone. With the diversity in our age and place of New York City, one just really can’t judge a book by its cover.

After all the introductions, the vice president came over to warmly welcome us in English, expressing that he was glad we still decided to sit through it respectfully and invited us to attend their upcoming party KSA was hosting. Embarrassed, we smiled, and thanked him for his offer.

Club Hours was over soon enough; it was time for class, and our humiliation was over. We exited the room to re-enter into a realm of English speaking students with English side conversations that we could perfectly understand if we wanted to eavesdrop. But of course, that’s none of our business. We were just simply glad and sighed a breath of relief. Life was back to normal.


Psy’s infamous Gangnam Style

“How about this?”

…Her Managing Editor, Elizabeth Aldrich, had wrote across a post-it note stuck onto a picture of Loie Fuller, all atop Jody Sperling’s desktop when she was working as the Illustrations Editor for the International Encyclopedia of Dance. Loie Fuller was a free-dance practitioner and became famous for her choreography with significantly outsized silk costumes illuminated by her unique use of the vibrant colors of theatrical lighting, Sperling introduces with a slideshow of Loie Fuller. She adds, at first she relented, but was encouraged that it would be a fun and unforgettable gig to choreograph and perform Loie Fuller’s butterfly dance in a “15-feet pink wings”.

Jody Sperling elegantly slicing the air with her 15-feet pink wings

In her presentation of how and why she became the founder of a modern dance company in New York City, Jody Sperling explains that it was Loie Fuller’s confidence and passion for dancing and her unique use of theatrical lighting in the 19th century that deeply inspired Sperling to follow her own dreams as a dancer and choreographer to start her own dance company, Time Lapse Dance. ( Heavily influenced by Fuller’s colorful swirls, Sperling’s choreographed performances at Time Lapse Dance mesmerized a great number of friends, family and dance lovers to help keep the twelve-year-old non-profit company running and well-funded. Jody Sperling’s slideshow transitions over to show photographs and videos of herself and her dance group performing a “re-imagined” Fuller’s Serpentine Dance by smoothly blending colors with graceful movements of silk and using mirrors to challenge the idea of symmetry. One does not have to see the dance in action to witness the flow in her choreography and her effective manipulation of the space around her, but the photographs clearly show the elegance with her every step.

Elegance, Symmetry, Balance

Usage of Mirrors

One might assume it is simply a dance of waving fabric around, but Jody Sperling explains it is in actuality a difficult form and requires a lot of patience, coordination and practice. Although it is of silk material, the costume is heavy, especially to be propped up at 5-feet further from her regular wingspan, Sperling continues, backing up with physics concepts of torque. It is a beautiful concept of dance form, integrating all principles of visual art: movement, unity, harmony, variety, balance, contrast, proportion, and rhythm/pattern. To create a harmonious colorful-themed Loie Fuller inspired choreography for numerous dancers on stage to be performed to music is a talent Jody Sperling has, and she shared with us a glimpse of exactly that.

Look what I found at the 23rd St R/N/Q Train Station later that day!

Respect for the Unnamed

Vulgar and wretched, yet sympathetic, cries of a traumatized white train driver echoed the compact theater and startled me with his every exclamation as I was sitting merely a few feet from stage.  Roelf Visagie (Ritchie Coster), the train driver, enters the scene to accompany Simon Hanabe (Leon Addison Brown), the old gravedigger, at center stage by climbing down from realistic train tracks onto an actual bashed-up car located at the side of a sand and garbage covered stage.

Scattered everywhere were mounds of sand to represent graves of the “unnamed,” those who died and have not been claimed for. The setting was stagnant; the play took place at the graveyard all throughout because the element of time was nicely made clear the focus by the play of lighting to represent the passing of time.

Photograph by Nancy Zhu

Everything was truly realistic: the sand dust floating in the air with every forceful digging Roelf does, using actual fire to light the candle, and the power in both the characters’ emotions. With the audience situated so close to the stage, it is not difficult to understand that the play captured everyone’s attention and grasped onto our emotions.

Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver aimed to bring to light a different point of view during apartheid in South Africa. The play holds the view of the situation through the mind of the white train driver in the times where whites were superior to blacks. Here, Fugard portrays that though Roelf was a white male, accidentally killing a black woman and her child was not an easy thing for him to get over. In fact, he exclaims, “Does she know she ruined my life?” We learn through Roelf’s mix of angered and distressed emotions effectively portrayed by his drunk-like behavior of endless rants and incomprehensible murmuring that he blames the unnamed black woman, who jumped in front of his train, for his loss of everything and his hope to find an answer to essentially the question, “Why is life so?” We can see he shifts his perception from completely blaming her to, in the end, sympathizing for her and wishing that somebody had claimed her, as his steps and voice become noticeably calmer. It was touching to learn that despite the clash and constant tension between blacks and whites in the apartheid in South Africa, Roelf, a white man, through socializing with an old black haggard character, Simon, was able to come to a conclusion that although he lives in a completely different world and he has no way of finding out the way the unnamed black woman may have lived, or why she decided to jump in front of the train, he is certain that she is human too and deserves more respect in her grave. She deserved someone to claim her, thus he wished he had done so for respect.

Fugard’s play, The Train Driver, was performed so smoothly and realistically that this is worth the time for any one to give theater a shot.



Asian drivers are wrongly accused of being “horrible drivers”

Stereotypes in America accuse Asians of being horrible drivers, and I just think that Asian immigrant drivers are not used to the rules and driving etiquettes here in America. I actually think otherwise; that Americans’ driving skills are not at the Chinese level: the Chinese can maneuver through the busiest traffic given that their population is extremely large and perfect parallel parking.

I have been in China so many times before, but never have I ever realized or noticed how much their driving methods differ from ours. Firstly, there is no such thing as a One Way Street like we have in America. No matter how narrow the road is, cars are allowed to enter from either side of the street. I was surprised when I learned that first hand — when I sat in a car facing another car driving in my direction on a road I thought was too narrow to fit two cars side by side. To resolve the situation, I learned from multiple experiences, whichever car entered the street last, has to back up and allow the first car to pass, or the two cars, so professionally done, manage to pass each other side-by-side without scraping each other’s doors.

Secondly, it is normal to park with cars face to face. Refer to the image below:


I took that picture from the door of the hotel I was staying at. I spent a few minutes staring at those cars every time I exited and entered the hotel. It was supposedly a common method, because on this particular street, it was only allowed to park on one side of the street due to how narrow the street was. So it made sense. Kind of. In a way. In America, I usually take a quick glance for the direction the parked cars face, and I immediately know from which way the cars will be coming from when I cross the street. It definitely took me my entire stay in that city to get used to the fact that it was okay to park in whichever way possible. This encounter only left me more impressed of the Chinese’ skill in driving and parking.

Quick Relevant Fact: In some Chinese cities, to be more environmentally friendly by avoiding too much CO2 emissions and to eliminate frequent traffic jams, the government issued laws that cars with license plates that begin with an odd number can only drive on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Similarly, license plates that begin with an even number can only drive on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. This encourages civilians to take public transportation or bike to work or school.  – I think this idea is simply ingenious.

Collage Proposal

Even though I have lived in New York City all my life, nothing about my strides on the same streets of New York bored me, because there is always something new and fascinating to me. My collage project will portray the urban streets of New York City through my daily encounters in my commute to school, to clubs, to hangouts, and back home; specifically what I feel makes New York the magnificent city it is.

My presentation will consist of a mostly a variety of photos: from grandeur and infamous architectural masterpieces to miniscule details on the side of a building. My photos will be edited, and may be manipulated to depict my theme and carry the message across. I suppose I will try out Prezi as well for my presentation. With its zoom-in ability, I will zoom into the details of things to show how art is everywhere: from a far-away point of view, to an up-close and clear point of view. Either perspective, this collage will represent the aspects of New York City that stand out to me.

Ein süßes chinesisches Mädchen hat mir geholfen

“Wo bist du?” I couldn’t help but overhear a German lady ask for her friend’s location over the phone.
“Roosevelt? Wo ist Roosevelt Avenue?”
Pause –
“Roosevelt Avenue und neunzig Straße?”
Pause –
Her face appeared so lost, looking left and right and in every direction possible.

I was in Jackson Heights, home to majority Hispanic, Indian, and a bit of Korean culture. Jackson Heights is the last place I’d expect to hear German.

Although I had learned German in my first three years of high school, I only remembered fragments. I felt hesitant.

“Uhh … “ I approached her.

“Entschuldigung? Excuse me? Sind Sie versuchen, für Roosevelt Avenue und neunzig Straße finden? I asked, hoping I got all the verb conjugations right and the proper etiquette for speaking to a stranger.

“Ja! Wissen Sie?” She said in excitement.

“Ja. Uhm. It’s 2 blocks down this street and left another. So Sie gehen zwei Straßen und dann gehen Sie nach links.” I tried, translating my own English. In my head, I was more concerned over my grammatical syntax than the idea that I was trying to help a stranger with directions. It was like a mini pop quiz in my head, and my heart started to pound. I felt embarrassed to butcher the beautiful language in front of a native speaker. I never really spoke German outside of the classroom other than playing around with my friends. At the same time, I felt knowledgeable and helpful.

“Danke schon!” she thanked me with a puff of air in relief to finally know where to go.

“Bitte,” I smiled, and huffed a breath of air to realize the “quiz” was over, and I succeeded.

“Ein süßes chinesisches Mädchen hat mir geholfen,” I hear her telling her friend as she crossed the street in a hurry.

“A sweet Chinese girl helped me,” she had said. That cultural encounter made my day.

Subway Inspiration

I don’t usually identify myself as an artist right off the bat, but trying to think of something unique to write about myself made me realize I can vaguely fit into that category. I thought about what I like to do in my free time, because what we do during those times is what really identifies us.

So in my free time, I find myself starting “projects” and they usually tend to be long term. I really enjoy hand-making things, keeping myself busy. So it all started with my love for the NYC subway system. In middle school, I made a paper maché desktop organizer with the MTA subway map, because I just loved how nicely the colors intertwined. Most teenagers have a poster of their favorite band or actor/actress on their wall. I have the subway map.

On my daily commute in sophomore year of high school, the large mosaics, so intricately pieced together, at every other NYC subway station inspired me to start a project. For this project, I began to collect MetroCards. Note that I went to a NYC public high school, and I received “Student Metros” which are white in color and provide 3 free rides daily. The MetroCards that I gathered are the regular -yellow/blue- ones. So I patiently accumulated used MetroCards, from my parents, from my weekend usage, and occasionally from my friends. I finally accumulated enough cards to start my project in senior year.

I cut up about twenty to thirty MetroCards into tiny pieces, only to glue them back together on an 8’’ by 11’’ to form a larger and to-scale MetroCard. It took me about fifteen hours of constant cutting and gluing, over the span of a little more than a week, in my senior year. My end result: I felt really accomplished. It gave me reason to continue doing art. This represents what I do.


Today, as my family and I went out for a Labor Day outing at the beach, we bumped into my uncle’s coworker and her family. My cousin and I were too busy fishing by the shore to notice the company back at our base. My uncle yells out to us in Cantonese (our native language), “Hey, you two! Come greet Auntie and Uncle!” It was my first time meeting this family. A little white girl popped out from behind her Chinese mother. I turned around to see the father, a tall and slim Russian man. The little girl seemed shy, so I went over to introduce myself. “Hi, my name is Nancy. What’s your name?” I asked in English. “Wo jang pu tong hua,” she says, meaning, ‘I speak Mandarin’. To my surprise, her Mandarin was so clear; rather, it was much better than my self-taught (and not so fluent) Mandarin.

Here’s a little background on Chinese dialects: the national spoken language is Mandarin. Different dialects are not to be used in school and are usually spoken at home with the family and the community. Cantonese is the second most used spoken language in China, and the two dialects are very different.

The reason it was very surprising to me was that the little girl’s pale skin made me assume that English would be the language she preferred to speak in addition to it probably being the language she spoke at home and school, and even if it were to be Chinese, it would not be so clear, based on my experience of teaching Chinese to my American friends.

We had a language barrier, but it wasn’t so much that we could not communicate at all. I spoke in English, and she spoke in Mandarin. We both understood each other perfectly fine. And I learned that her name was Dasha, and she’s seven years old.

5 Critical Terms

1. Aria – a musical structure that expresses emotions as opposed to advancing the plot of a drama

2. Improvisationthe situation in which actors spontaneously invent the dialogue and action of the character he plays

3. Futurism – a movement, originated in Italy in the 20th century, emphasized the impact of technology on society

4. Drama – a literary work that tells a story, opposite of comedy, through dialogue intended to be performed by actors

5. Interlude – short, light pieces in which are performed in between acts

NYC Style

Op op op oppa gangnam style ‘ kept singing nonstop in my head. Soon enough, the loud yet catchy beat began to fill the background. My friends and I exchanged glances and looked around the restaurant to find many people around us cracking a smile, also recognizing the tune. Without speaking a word, we knew we were all thinking the same. It was just the previous night that I, a Chinese girl, had linked my non-Korean friends to a Korean music video that went viral.

As a typical Korean-pop fan, I had long awaited for this particular music video to come out. Familiar with the nature of the artist, Psy, I knew he would produce something jocular and witty. Upon seeing it, I knew my friends would like it too. Soon after its release, many American celebrities tweeted and shared their interest in the video. Check out Psy’s Gangnam Style yourself.

I had begun listening to K-pop music since middle school, when my Chinese friend first introduced me to the culture. Almost immediately, I gained interest, and I filled my iPod with discographies of my favorite Korean bands. Without realizing, I had immersed myself into the sea of Korean-media fans. I started to watch Korean films and dramas; I felt almost accustomed to their language. Don’t get me started on their food because I can go on and on. In short, I occasionally find myself craving kimchi or bulgogi, and the best places to find Korean food are either at Korean Town (32nd St and 6th Ave) or at Flushing. I have not yet tried the Korean food vendor outside of the Vertical Campus building, but from the rich aroma escaping the cart as I pass by everyday, I just know it will be good.

This is why I love staying in the city. New York City is amazingly and conveniently diverse.

Comments by Nancy Zhu

"I feel so sad when I see kids probably younger than the age of 5 holding an iPad. I cringe when I see the sloppy and dirty hands of a little one touching the nice slim screens of such an expensive device, and then it slips out of their hands. I noticed a case specifically designed to accompany an app made for children. The case had the side with the buttons with sounds like the books we used to have. Marketers have accepted that these devices are now targeted to children too. The apps are merely picture books too! I suppose they might be more interactive. But I feel sad when I see kids on the train demanding their parents to hand over their phones or tablets. I just want to hand them a picture book, and have them enjoy the turning of pages. And your note can apply to me as well, as I feel strongly about this topic too."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Is Technology Destroying our Culture? )
"Hot pot!! It's such a nice Chinese culture.To relate, my family celebrates holidays with hot pot too. This post makes me want to have some right now!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post The Spirit of Thanksgiving )
"The way you described the different styles of hair to representing the way someone is. I did just recently want to put highlights in my hair or some way to add some subtle color. However, I gave it some further thought, and realized something as simple as hair might cause different judgements by people, especially at interviews. But go with what you want, I don't want to discourage you from your creativity. Like Nastassia said, it's great to see that your stories relating back to your personal ideals."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Styling Personality )
"I like how you viewed the different phone companies as different cultures - and I agree. It makes a lot of sense that the phone companies' war is in a way useless. It's more about the individual user and how they are oriented. I think they're both great systems. I own an iPod touch, and I gave a chance to Android phones. After using the Android, I really want to use the iPhone now. I used to say PCs were better than Macs, but now that I transferred over to my MacBook Pro, I think the Mac is the better choice. It's not so much I'm leaning toward a certain brand, I'm using what's most comfortable for me."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post More than just a phone )
"It's nice you wrote about your experience in this store. I could relate since I lived in New York City all my life. When I was a small child, my mom would bring me to this store and the many other extravagant stores in the city. It was like a dream land. It's also a nice perspective that I gained as a business student now. That this kind of interior design and way to market to children is a great way to capture the interests of little kids and their parents."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post New York’s 150 Year Old Toy Store )
"I enjoyed your cultural encounter a lot. As a Chinese student, I never really noticed that I wouldn't say no for those reasons. I always thought that I was just never firm enough. I couldn't say no to people even when I really need to. I tend to just brush it off with a "maybe later." It's also interesting that you also related it to other cultures."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post The Art of “No” )
"I like your observation! It's very interesting you chose to write about this topic, because I too, of Chinese descent, know how to play the piano as well. I would say it also in a way runs through our blood. It's Chinese culture and tradition to pass on these skills, or at least educate the children in those areas. This brings me to a question you didn't quite mention the answer to in your cultural encounter: how do you fit into this Chinese student culture - do you play piano/violin, read/write Chinese, etc?"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post What can you do? )
"I agree with Sifan! The contrast here bewteen artificial art and natural beauty is really interesting. If you recall, we also had several artificial waterfalls at the bridges on Hudson River. They were beautiful on its own and imitated a waterfall really well, however, it just seemed so out of place. Great idea for a cultural encounter post!"
--( posted on Dec 13, 2012, commenting on the post Waterfalls- Real vs. Fake )
"It's interesting you chose this topic, because I was actually about to do a similar theme. I really like the narrative of how you got to choosing your title. I can relate to that because Starbucks, as it seems, is a place where many people sit to relax and enjoy their cup of coffee - a coffee break! Their traditional storefront is a huge glass window allowing people inside to see outside, and outside to peep inside. During the winter especially, the store is so cozy, one would really not want to leave. There definitely is a vibe of peace and tranquility in there."
--( posted on Dec 13, 2012, commenting on the post Every corner– there is a Starbucks. )
"I very much enjoyed reading your cultural encounter. I never really thought we'd have a language barrier in a language we technically both speak. Apparently, I say "yesterday" without pronouncing the "r", which then makes me sound like I have a Brooklyn accent. This also makes me think if it's super obvious that I am foreign to the country of China when though I'm speaking in fluent Chinese, I may have different ways of addressing things that they wouldn't normally refer as."
--( posted on Oct 26, 2012, commenting on the post Language Barrier )
"Having Asian parents, I completely understand what you mean. My mom wants me to help around the house, complaining about how much time I spend on my computer as opposed to do cleaning the house. I tell her about how I have to mop the floors and wipe the tables after the toddlers eat at the daycare, my summer job. And she would respond with, "why don't you do that at home? When I was your age, your grandmother had to go to work and so I did all those household chores PLUS cooking dinner." To try to answer your questions, I'd say it's because of the social ladder our parents' generation climbed, along with our generation of technological savvy and dependent people that we've changed drastically. I wonder more what will happen when our generation grows up to become the heads of families; how will we manage to fit household chores into our busy schedules?"
--( posted on Oct 26, 2012, commenting on the post At My Age )
"What you said about organized basketball is nothing like street ball is so true. Without a referee and completely settled between you and your opponents, street ball can get pretty rough. For one, there is no foul called in street ball. Though I'm a girl, and girls normally don't play as rough as the guys do, I can see it in the competitiveness when I watch my guy friends play."
--( posted on Oct 26, 2012, commenting on the post Streetball )
"I like the way you ended it - "right mind". You shared an interesting culture, and it indeed affects us all. I'm glad you mentioned the difficulties of eating at the dinner table. I loathe eating next to my left-handed cousin at a small table. We bump elbows almost every 3 minutes. But other than that, I feel like left handed people mirror us, right handed people, and of course vice versa, which makes sense how you saw this as a cultural encounter."
--( posted on Oct 20, 2012, commenting on the post Culture of the Southpaws )
"Yep. I forgot to mention that in China, streets are really crowded, and it's actually common that the cars are like practically bumper to bumper. Maybe like 2 inches in between, but he'd be slacking. I remember a time when I was riding a double decker bus, I sat at the very first window seat looking out to the front of the bus on the second floor, and the bus stopped less than a foot away from the double decker in front of us. I thought we were going to crash, and that's the view the drivers get there all the time."
--( posted on Oct 8, 2012, commenting on the post Asian drivers are wrongly accused of being “horrible drivers” )
"I agree that it was a nice touch to your story with the way you shared with us the way people looked at you. I would like to add to your story and Chris' comment, that there is a restaurant called "Chinese Take-Out, Mexican Take-In" in Far Rockaway by Rockaway Beach. Whenever my friends and I go to that beach, it has been a "tourist attraction" for us; we must point to it every single time and joke that we should take Chinese in and Mexican out. (Inside joke hehe)"
--( posted on Oct 8, 2012, commenting on the post Taste of Growing Up )
"I completely understand that awkward silence and head nodding when a parent is talking to you in a heavily accented and different dialect. And I also agree with Shen Shen that the Chinese language is by far the most diverse in its dialects in the world. My mother explained to me that different communities with the size as small as a county (like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, Ridgewood, Flushing, etc, and more that all make up only the borough of Queens) has its own different and completely foreign sounding to its neighboring county. I find it amazing how long these different dialects lived on for, despite possible difficulties in communicating with each other, and the thought of survival of the fittest would wipe some dialects out."
--( posted on Oct 8, 2012, commenting on the post Cultural Encounter )
"First of all, I want to say that I LOVE NAAN. It's my favorite type of bread, despite that, interesting enough, I actually dislike the popular Chinese bread (mantou). I don't know if you have been to this Indian place downtown (I don't remember the name but you can get there by getting off at 2nd Ave on the F train), but it is amazing there! Food was great and service was splendid. Go there to celebrate a birthday, because one really friendly waiter will sing and dance for you!! It was a memory I will never forget. Also, now that I think back on it, I used my hand to eat the naan, yet usually I hate dirtying my hands when eating. I eat burgers with a napkin over it. It's interesting to learn that the diversity in NYC really blinds us from realizing in actuality how distinct each culture is from each other when we experience it every day."
--( posted on Oct 8, 2012, commenting on the post Eating in a Different Style )
"It's interesting that you wrote about this experience. I have been living in the city for all my life and I have never encountered such here. However, I have seen this in China. It was a crazy experience, something I would have thought only happened in shows. I saw this man follow another man with an extended chopsticks reaching into his pants pocket in a busy street. But the man fortunately felt it, turned around, and snapped at him. I wonder to what extent and what some people do in other countries..."
--( posted on Sep 21, 2012, commenting on the post Safety in the City )
"Haha! I completely agree with you on that last part - I love New York City Subways too. You find out that most people are just super friendly. I love it when people are willingly to help complete strangers with the most random things from answering questions about directions, to donating money, and even to offer to wake up my friend at his stop. And then, the smooth and fluent switch of languages just brings us New Yorkers even closer with each other. Travelling via NYC Subway is one amazing experience every one must get."
--( posted on Sep 20, 2012, commenting on the post Oh NYC Subways… )
"Great post! I'm Chinese, so I know what you're talking about. This reminds me of a well-known comedian, Russell Peters. I don't want to give it all away, but here, you can watch the excerpt where he talked about the same thing. Check it out!"
--( posted on Sep 14, 2012, commenting on the post THE Word )
"Reading your post was like reliving my last time I went to China. It's so detailed. I completely understand you and what you went through! I had accompanied my parents to have dinner with their coworkers, so I had no one my age to talk to. Technically, the restaurant has "no smoking" signs posted on all of the walls. But since we had our own VIP room, and one of the coworkers now own the restaurant that we were in, all of the coworkers began to smoke, after ordering from the menus. I would think they were finished after one cigarette; but no, the room was filled with smoke the whole night. Every once in a while, in between bites, they'd pass around cigarettes. I went to the bathroom a good 5 times in the 2 hours, each time staying longer than the last, just to escape the fumes in my face. The sound of the ventilation system in the bathroom made me delighted. I couldn't believe that I was never happier to breathe in bathroom air."
--( posted on Sep 14, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cultural Encounter )