School Daze II

I was watching Akeelah And The Bee a while back when memories of my school experience came flooding back. In the film Akeelah was bullied at first and then she became popular when she won the national spelling bee. My school experience was exactly the opposite. I was made fun of and bullied in grade school. I was very shy and introverted as a result. I went to school everyday however because I loved learning and reading. I would ignore the taunting and bullying and go to school and try to focus on learning new things.

When I was in 5th grade I was subjected to extreme bullying and taunting. I was accused of spreading a rumor about a "dating" couple and everone at school hated me. I didn't think about killiing myself because of what had happened to my older brother. He killed himself in prison in 1976 when I was six years old. I went to school everyday and focused on learning and reading. In sixth grade I was also severely taunted and bullied. It really puzzled me that the teacher did nothing to stop the taunting and bullying. My biggest fear was that I would get beat up at school. Luckily that never happened. I did worry that it would however.

Akeelah had a big brother in the film who supported and loved her. It made me wonder how I would have been had my brother lived. I would have had a big brother who loved and supported me. I would have been a more confident person. I really missed my brother growing up. He was 19 when he died. I wasn't very close to him as his little sister. I was mainly an annoyance. I think he loved me but didn't show it very much.

My mother was clueless about my daily trials at school. I didn't tell her about the taunting and the bullying. I just endured it. I didn't try to fight it. I just tried to ignore it. Most of the time I would spend alot of time at the local library. I would get lost in books. It was my only refuge. I read alot. I would also go to movies by myself. I really enjoyed those movies. My dad gave me an allowance and I always spent the money on books and going to movies.

I had a very low self-esteem and image. I hated myself. I didn't get bullied in Jr. High or High School but I was very introverted. I didn't have any friends. I continued to lose myself in books and school work and movies and tv. I internalized alot of the taunting and bullying I went through in grade school. I really didn't like myself. I knew I couldn't be popular. I couldn't afford nice clothes. I didn't have a car so I never went out.

When I joined the church I was love bombed. It overwhelmed me. I couldn't believe people actually liked me and wanted to spend time with me. I was fiercely loyal to the church for twenty years because of the relationships I had. I couldn't bear to be lonely again the way I was when I was in school. I think that's why I endured the spiritual and emotional abuse within the church for so long. I wanted to please these people. I wanted to be spiritual and evangelistic and fruitful by converting alot of people. Leaving the church was hard but I had to to save my sanity.

Not working I spend alot of time alone. It's hard. It makes me think of all that time I spent alone growing up. I really hate being alone. I need social interaction on some level. I miss the social events at my church and being busy doing things that involved being around people. I really appreciate social media because it helps me connect with people if only on a superficial level.
I really appreciate the time I spend on social media. It doesn't compare with the real thing however.

The only time I felt good about myself was when I was manic or hypomanic. These feelings go away and give way to depression however. When I feel good about myself other people's opinion of me doesn't matter. I don't feel that I need to please anyone anymore. I finally feel that I like myself and who I am . That didn't really happen until I left the church I was in.

School was 25 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long. I sometimes feel as if it was yesterday. I really am glad those days are over. I need to see how my love for learning and reading saved me from getting really depressed during those days. I could have killed myself or dropped out. I persevered because I wanted an education.

I guess that's why it really hurt me when I couldn't finish college. I tried really hard to stay in school and get a degree but my illness made that impossible. It really hurts that I couldn't finish school. I felt useless and a failure for so long after dropping out. I tried to finish later on but my illness got in the way again and I couldn' finish classes so I dropped out again. I really felt like I had wasted alot of money for nothing.

My school experience and church experience molded my personality and made me who I am today. I wish teenagers would realize that school is a temporary experience and doesn't reflect the real world. It's an experience and then you go into the real world and you can learn to like yourself.

New Year New You

Coming up with New Years Resolutions this year has been difficult! I have no interest in setting mindless resolutions such as loose x number of pounds. I know come February my mind will no longer be on keeping my resolution. Instead I want to set goals that are meaningful to me and where I am in my life right now.

First up on the list is I want to become closer to God. This is first and foremost on my list! I have always been very active in my faith. In college however it was easy to get caught up in all of the excitement and begin missing Sunday mornings at church, forgetting a prayer before dinner, etc. That isn't easy to say because it is definitely not something I'm proud of. This year I am making a goal to put my relationship with God first and everything else second.

My next goal is to excel at my senior internship. I can't wait to get my masters and begin teaching but the first step is this internship. I want to take advantage of this opportunity and learn as much as possible! I am ready and excited to begin in just over a week!

I want to spend more time thinking of others this year. This is a big goal that has lots of parts to it! By this I mean I want to perform random acts of kindness, I want to send more thank you cards, I want to check in with friends and family more, I want to put others before myself.

Don't forget to enter the My Memories Giveaway  I am hosting. You can enter it here!!

The Bowery Boys Year In Review -- and the 1,000th post!

Here's a listing of all the podcasts we recorded in 2011. This year we followed New York's contribution to electricity and film, bridged the Narrows and took to the sky, revisited the Revolutionary War via the city's most influential tavern, and spent the summer surviving riots and conspiracies cooked up during the Civil War. If you missed any, you can download directly via the links below, or find us on iTunes or other podcast aggregate sites.

Our podcasts #120 NYC and the Birth of the Movies and #127 The Civil War Draft Riots and  were our most popular shows of the year, but our most downloaded show of 2011 was recorded in December 2010 -- #118 Times Square.

We both would like to thank everybody for listening in this past year! And we look forward to bringing you new tales of the city in 2012. Also, if everything falls in place, we'll be doing our first real expansion into different media next year.

This is also my 1,000 post for the Bowery Boys: New York City History blog. Onward to 2,000!

#119 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

#120 NYC and the Birth of the Movies

#121 Fraunces Tavern
Click here to download 

#122 The Grid - The Commissioners Plan of 1811

#123 TRUMP

#124 Idlewild/JFK Airport
#125 Sardi's Restaurant

#126 Fernando Wood: The Scoundrel Mayor

#127 The Civil War Draft Riots
Click here to download 

#128 Hoaxes and Conspiracies of 1864
Click here to download 
Blog page: Welcome to 1864! A 24-karat hoax, New York's first theme restaurant, and a Confederate plot to torch the city

#129 Chinatown
Click here to download 
Blog page: Manhattan's Chinatown: A tribute to the old neighborhood, and to the temptations of rich delicacies and basement vices

#130 Haunted Histories of New York
Click here to download 
Blog page: Haunted Histories of New York: What horrors lie beneath the foundations of the city's treasured landmarks?

#131 The First Apartment Building
Click here to download 

#132 Electric New York: Edison and the City Lights
Click here to download
Blog page: Electric New York: From gaslight to Edison's Pearl Street Station, illuminating the shadows, re-visualizing the night

BALI CLASSICAL NIGHTS / Canggu Club / Thursday 29 December 2011

The second evening of Bali Classical Nights was held at the Canggu Club, a Balinese scaled-down version of the Tanglin Club, on Thursday 29 December 2011. There was a smaller audience in a more intimate venue, but the general vibe and spirit was more pervasive and infectious. With the new year looming ahead, everybody was determined to enjoy themselves, and have a jolly good time. The choice of music seemed to reflect that joie de vivre.

The wonderful strains of Beomjae Kim's unaccompanied flute kicked off the evening, with a Telemann Fantasia and Isang Yun's fiendishly difficult Etude No.5, which provided a dramatic tour de force of technical display.

Tou Liang thinks he can perform Rachmaninov, in this case the Vocalise (transcribed by Alan Richardson), especially because he has the same hairstylist as Sviatoslav Richter.

Next, Korean violinist Yoojin Jung and Montenegrin pianist Boris Kraljevic put the polish on Beethoven's Spring Sonata Op.24 (1st movement).

Bali resident Ruzanna Staroverova played Babajanian's Poem without her shoes! At any rate, it still sounded great.

Boris then performed Chopin's Berceuse beautifully, and went on to accompany soprano Nancy Yuen in two Puccini arias, O mio babbino caro (Gianni Schicchi) and Vissi d'arte (Tosca).

After the interval, it was piano 6 hands - Grainger's Zanzibar Boat Song, inspired by a poem by Rudyard Kipling. Normally, the teacher plays the more demanding secondo part, but here Neil Franks was more than up to the challenge.

Debussy's haunting Syrinx for solo flute, played by Frenchman Philippe Bernold, gave one of the evening's most sublime moments.

Yoojin and Boris were back for Vittorio Monti's rousing Csardas, which gave the audience much to cheer about.

Neil provided a degree of gravitas in Debussy's Sarabande from Pour le piano.

The evening's main programme closed on a high with Philippe and Boris in Francois Borne's Carmen Fantasy, which began with the Entracte from Act 3 of Bizet's opera.

There's always time for one delightful encore: Wilhelm Ganz's grand gallop de concert Qui Vive, played on 6 hands piano with two flutes and one violin for good measure. Was that a world premiere or what?

All eight performers enjoy the overwhelming applause, a grand close to Bali Classical Nights 2011. Now we can't wait for Bali Classical Nights 2012!

BALI CLASSICAL NIGHTS / Bali Tugu Hotel / Wednesday 28 December 2011

The first evening of Bali Classical Nights took place on Wednesday (28 December 2011) at the luxurious Bali Tugu Hotel on Canggu beach. The splendid setting was a Balinese stage complete with a Garuda and a Yamaha grand piano specially flown in from Jakarta. The roar of the surf, clicking of geckos and the occasional firework going off provided a typically Balinese counterpoint to the proceedings. The heady spirit of Bali during the 1930s, of luminaries like Walter Spies, Colin McPhee, Rudolf Bonnet, Margaret Mead, Miguel and Martha Covarrubias, was relived albeit for a couple of hours...

Opening the concert was Korean violinist Yoojin Jung and Montenegrin pianist Boris Kraljevic in Dvorak's Humoresque. Yoojin played a short improvised prelude to begin.

Tou Liang tried his best in the late Intermezzo in A major (Op.118 No.2) by Brahms, in between his emcee duties.

Korean flautist Beomjae Kim performed an unaccompanied Fantasy by Telemann and Caprice No.23 by Sigfried Karg-Elert, an impressive show of sensitivity and virtuosity.

Then it was Boris's turn to go solo, with Franz Liszt's Sposalizio from his Années de pélérinage, inspired by Raphael's painting "Marriage of the Virgin".

A segment of the enthusiastic audience, seated on three sides of the stage.

Bali-based Russian-Armenian pianist Ruzanna Staroverova produced a stunning display of digital dexterity in Arno Babajanian's Poem.

Accompanied by Boris, Hong Kong soprano Nancy Yuen sang two Chinese songs, I Live At The Source of the Yangtze River and The Green Pastures of July.

The sound of 6-hands piano opened the second half, when Boris, Neil Franks and Tou Liang played Rachmaninov's Romance, written for the three Skalon sisters. Neil had the honour of playing the introduction, which later appears in the slow movement of the Second Piano Concerto.

A glorious examplar of the hallowed French flute school, Philippe Bernold played Francis Poulenc's Flute Sonata, all three lovely movements, with Boris at the piano.

Neil Franks, the British gentleman who was the inspiration behind Bali Classical Nights, performed the Petrarch Sonnet No.123 by Liszt.

Nancy completed her programme with a Bellini arietta and Verdi's Ah forse lui... Sempre libera, Violetta's big coloratura aria from La Traviata.

To conclude the formal programme, Yoojin and Boris returned for the rousing Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens, with its diablerie enthralling the full-house audience.

An obviously chuffed Boris played a sublime encore, with Debussy's Bruyeres from Preludes Book Two.

All the performers take a final bow, after an enjoyable evening of music-making.

Reunited and It Feels So Good

It's tempting to say my favorite part of Christmas break is Christmas day but, if I were to be completely honest I would have to say my favorite part is getting to spend time with family and friends you have been separated from. I was very lucky to have many of my good friends attend the same school as I but there are still a good handful I only get to see on special visits and trips home. Last night all of my high school friends decided to get together for the night. We had an absolute blast! I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long time. My favorite part of the night was looking at old pictures and listening to our old CD's. Hello Spice Girls and Nelly, ha! I am so fortunate to have remained close with so many good friends!

My post is coming to you late because I have been spending time with my grandmother all day. She is big into playing cards so my sister and I had lunch and played canasta for a while. I learned a new game and now understand why she loves it so much! Lucky for me I get to spend time with more friends tonight!! My mom, sister and I will be having dinner and drinks with some family friends. Quality girl time that I LOVE.. I'm sure I'll post about it tomorrow!

Don't forget to enter the My Memories giveaway here!