It has begun: I became a senior in college at 7:45 on Thursday night, and have embarked on summer vacation with my personal proclamation that this will be The Summer of Culture. I want to spend my time enriching my soul with new experiences, lessons, and achievements between work and sleep. I don’t necessarily mean that I want to be at museums or poetry readings all the time — I more just want to participate in things that make me feel worldly. A ton of my friends will be in Orange this summer as well, and we might go hike unexplored spots, or check out new breweries, or baptize ourselves weekly in the Pacific Ocean at different beaches each time. As for my personal goals though, I’ve got a few lined up so far.
For starters, I want to brush up on my Spanish and propel myself further into the semantics in preparation for the next time I get a chance to smash a language barrier. Last year, I assisted with a simple clarification at Target between customer and employee, and although it was very rudimentary, I was so freaking jazzed that I'd even been able to conjure up two sentences that quickly after three years since a formal Spanish class, that I've been dying for another opportunity to arise so I can test myself again. Since then, I have been reviewing my level of proficiency in my head and have decided to administer some self-taught lessons. Estoy lista para continuar aprendiendo. If I had one superpower, I would want to be completely fluent in every language. Even the obsolete ones. I’ll write my next blog in hieroglyphs, I don’t care. But really, I would just love to be able to pick any spot in the world to travel, and ingratiate myself with the locals in this way. Step one is to keep practicing my Spanish.
Another goal of mine is to play the piano again. I have fiddled around on keyboards, but have not competently played a tune since perhaps the first grade. I did not indulge in the importance of practicing after my lessons when I was seven. I did not appreciate the grace of classical music when I was seven. I possibly wasn’t even fully dexterous when I was seven. I feel I can confidently say that within these parameters, I have really turned my life around. I want to read music again, which I have not done since my vocal lessons in high school, and prior that, since my flautist days in junior high. I was going to embellish myself and write “first flautist,” but I can’t pretend that Liang Chin Su didn’t beat me in the scales test every single time. Haunting.
I truly enjoy the feeling of my fingers dashing across a computer keyboard to create my favorite art form, and I think the delicate skill of piano-playing is so analogous to this that no matter how poor the quality of my music is at the beginning, I will still enjoy practicing it. If he allows it, I will take my brother’s keyboard from home this summer and re-teach myself at my house in Orange. If he decides to take it instead, then my next step will be to find a pub with a piano in it, befriend the bartenders, and grace their ears with my rendition of Hot Cross Buns after hours. They won’t be sorry once I graduate to Bach. Are you wondering what kind of bar wants Bach Suites as their house music? Me too! Maybe my intermediate songs will cover classics like Sweet Caroline that everyone and their mom’s enjoys getting down to. It’s all part of the plan for free wine.
Speaking of wine, that’s another aspect of this culture theme I’ve got cooking. I’d like to continue trying new ones. This won’t be a change of pace at all, as it is already a habit I enjoy immensely. I fancy myself a wine and cheese pairing connoisseur. At the beginning of this past semester when I moved in to my house to sublease after being abroad, and met all of my roommates, they would make fun of the frequency of evenings in which I’d partake in this routine. It wasn’t every evening— but enough to where they realized that there needn’t be any kind of special occasion for the glasses to be poured and the plate to be arranged on the living room coffee table. I always shared though, and watched as one by one, they all started coming home from Trader Joe’s with their own vino of choice and blocks of English cheddars or wedges of brie to eagerly join me at wine o’clock. I knew it would happen. No one can resist the lifestyle once its upon them.
This summer will also consist of movies and books, art and music, and a deeper concentration for each. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year which I have stuck to like glue was to watch films I had never seen before, in order to broaden my knowledge of not only the classics but to expose my mind to new writing, different actors, and stories I hadn’t already seen a thousand times. Whether they are heavily referenced movies like Shawshank Redemption, critically acclaimed foreign films, or Netflix originals that no one has ever heard of, I am watching them and keeping a list of my favorites. I’ve got some great recommendations, should anyone need any! Pursuant of my screenwriting passion, this has been a very apropos spring of culture for me. Not to mention, it has proved a colossal advantage for my friends and I during the Movie Quotes round of Tuesday trivia nights.
I also very recently recovered from my IB English trauma of highlighting five different themes in entire books and annotating every empty space of each page for a grade, and am finally back in the “reading for pleasure” game. I like to begin each sunny morning by stretching out on the couch on my back patio in my pajamas and sunglasses, hot coffee in hand, and my dog-eared book propped against my legs while I read. Not one single complaint about that. I’m almost done with Atonement, and will soon be riding my bike down the road to the Used-Book store to begin my next search. My ears are open to suggestions!
And lastly, for now at least until more ideas crop up, I’ll be working on my writing. I think each new experience I attain this summer will only inspire me further!