26 December, 2008

This Christmas was an intersection of the past and the future; very little was thought about the present as the two arms of time caught us and spun us around and around. We are still reeling and still trying to sort the bittersweet pieces of the day. Were more of them joyful, or sad? I don't always see a great distinction, actually.

My brother proposed to his girlfriend. I awoke to a text message announcing that she said yes. We began the day light-headed from sleep deprivation and joy over the first official extension of the family. Chip will be the first of all us cousins - the first of this generation of Marvin, Heidel, Pickett descendants - to marry and pass on this name. Maybe years from now Chip and Ellen will tell their children about how they married young with hardly anything to call their own, but supremely content because they never wanted to be united with anyone else. I am sorry their children won't be able to see what I can see on this day: the joy and tears in the eyes of the in-laws, the wonder ("Now we are coming full-circle") in my widowed grandmother's eyes, the speechless, proud awe on my cousin's face.

My aunt, Dad's oldest sister, has cancer. We don't know what to expect of the coming year, and her broken sentences and frequently-wet cheeks made no secret of this uncertainty. As we raised our glasses to one new joint life, we were indulging in nostalgia over one that is trying not to wane. Most of the gifts exchanged between the adult siblings were revivals of gag gifts from their childhood. Inside jokes we laugh along with, but can't fully share. I watched my father open an ornament that had been his favorite as a child; an angel aiming a slingshot (at his sisters, dad used to imagine). I watched him laugh, and I wished I could know what he looked like as a little boy stealthily crouching by the Christmas tree, choosing a target for his angel (Sue? or Dianne? or the dog?), and conjuring up in his head an epic battle in which weaponless sisters would surrender and do Chucky's bidding for a month. Similarly, my mother's family gives gifts steeped in the memory of past family homes, favorite childhood toys, and obscure references to family history. Despite photographs, letters, and the odd home video, there are some things that we can only pretend to know about the people who handed life to us. Though they are still a tangible presence, they are legends, mythical beings, in some ways. They carry a whole past that is only shadows and tales to me, but must be called to the forefront every Christmas to remind them who and why they are.

This wasn't a Christmas for thinking about myself (when should it ever be?). It was one for being reminded of what has shaped my predecessors, why they are the way they are, what splendid strands of their lives they have chosen to preserve, and how those choices affect my generation. What strands will my siblings and I hold onto? What sort of grand tapestry of legends and lessons will we fold around our children before ushering them into their own stories?

15 December, 2008

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with out mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in the office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark thought it is.

-W.S. Merwin

14 December, 2008

My life is full of routines, but not many rituals. Hours are broken up into segments, each segment filled with a task, that task simply serving as a springboard to the next. And so the hours pass without being really lived in or given meaning.

Lately I've taken to lighting candles at bedtime. This is the one time of day in which I am quite alone, quite silent, unhurried. It is a time to claim, to ritualize. The light of three small candles is so unobtrusive compared to electric light. It is concentrated in these little pillars and prompts me to gather my far-flung thoughts back into my little self.

I lie back with a Book of Hours and in the candlelight read about the Light of the World. For the first time, I actually grasp the strength of this name for the Messiah. The people of the ancient world (His world) saw nothing after night fell without moonlight, starlight, or fire of their own making. If none of these were to be had, they were helpless and in submission to the darkness til morning came. Imagine what a mental image this name, "Light of the World," would summon up in them. Imagine living in a world in which light and dark are severely, mercilessly delineated, and receiving news of a Light great enough for the whole world. Imagine a night so dark that one star could be a trustworthy guide. In my electric place and time, I can't fully imagine or know. So I like this ritual - plunging myself into the primeval darkness of night, making myself dependent upon this flame. It burns so confidently. Its rays are wide enough to illumine the words I need to read, the words that tell of the Light without which nothing in this world makes sense to me. The light brings to my mind the light of glory that shone at Christ's baptism, tearing the sky with purpose. All heaven broke loose when the sky was rent by Light, and the world was never the same.

Last night I fell asleep without blowing out the candles. I awoke and panicked thinking of the fire that could have been; but then I laid back feeling comforted by the thought that they had been beside me in the darkness all through the night. I hope that with each year I improve at observing this season through other time-honored rituals. But I think the candles - stars brought down to my bedside to give meaning to my falling-asleep moments - are a good start.

13 December, 2008

I'm trying to write more frequently, but such concerted efforts never seem to produce anything very genuine. So I have been unfaithful to my blog, throwing away half-written letters, never returning its calls, rarely meeting up like we used to. I haven't broken up with it yet because I hold onto the slight hope that I'll have something worthwhile to say someday. For now, watch this, and then go buy the album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrQRS40OKNE

28 October, 2008

Como se dice...

The maintenance man in the law firm's building is a very cheerful Hispanic. He always stops to chat with me in Spanish - his face smiles warmly, but mine surely goes flaming red as I will myself to string together more than two words of this beautiful language. The best I could do today: "Estoy cansada." He never laughs at me or acts condescending when he corrects my mistakes, nor does he mind lapsing back into English when I've exhausted my supply of Spanish phrases. I see in his eyes and hear in his parting "Ciao, chica," simple, sheer enjoyment in the opportunity to share his language with another person willing to listen. Wouldn't I want that, too, if I were relocated to, say, Russia? Our language is part of our identity; when we share it with someone, we are also sharing part of our identity. When that someone engages with us on our level, in our language, they are recognizing our identity and value.

I am ashamed at how little Spanish I remember because I know that without it I can't engage in a deeper dialog with this man and so many like him. I can't communicate as fully as I want to the fact that I see them as more than a maintenance man, a cleaning lady, a gardener...I can't participate in and learn from their story, their culture.

I meant to ask what his name is, but I couldn't remember how.

26 October, 2008


I just happened to look through some old journal entries from when I was at L'Abri in March, and was reminded of a thought I wanted to explore. After one long lunchtime discussion I wrote this:

"At lunch we talked a lot about hospitality, enjoyment/pleasure (food, art, etc.), gratitude...One thought that came to me as a result of our discussion was this: perhaps GRATITUDE is what keeps ENJOYMENT from becoming GLUTTONY. I shall have to develop/unpack that later I think."

Obviously I forgot to do so! Honestly I'm not quite sure exactly how to go about "developing" this, but I'll have a go at it. I'd love to know what anyone who reads this thinks, too.

We take enjoyment from the pleasures of the created world. We take pleasure in beautiful music, beautiful art, well-made and delicious-tasting food, beautiful and comfortable environments. I don't think that this basic pleasure is, in and of itself, a bad thing. As Francis Schaeffer pointed out, God ordered the Israelites to decorate the temple with colorful images of fruit and other motifs; these didn't seem to serve a purpose aside from being beautiful, decorative, and pleasing to Him!

We do know, however, that this pleasure can be abused and taken to the extreme of gluttony. Paul warns of those whose gods are their bellies. St. Thomas Aquinas considered gluttony to be committed when one ate too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily, or wildly. Any and all of these attitudes toward eating (or, for that matter, using any of the pleasing gifts we have been given) would indicate a lack of discipline or reason, an unclear understanding of what food is and how it is to be used. If you eat too much, you are listening only to the urges of your appetite when it may not be wise or healthy to do so. If you eat wildly (which I assume means hastily), you are not taking any time to think about where the food has come from, acknowledging the person who made it, paying attention to what flavors and ingredients have been creatively combined to please and nourish you. Your actions are not grateful.

So is gratitude the attitude that saves us from falling into gluttony? Does approaching food (or art, or music, or fill in the blank) with a humble heart that says, "This has been given to me for my good; I don't deserve it, and I could just as easily not have been given it," help us pay attention to it as we partake of it? And does it cause us to go slowly, stopping before we go over the edge of gluttony? I know, for instance, that I need to stop after two, maybe three drinks. To have more than that would inhibit my judgment, true; but more than that, it would render me unable to actually discern and enjoy the quality of the drink. Andy Crouch's thoughts on "The Pleasures and Perils of Fermentation" left a huge impact on me. I like how he put it:
"If we have any sense we’ll save our precious discretionary dollars for what is best—the best beer, the best wine, the best whiskey, so we will not drink often but we will drink well. We will drink from glasses that bear witness to culture at its best, to the long history of grapes and barley and wheat, to the lingering taste of soil and water and barrels and air. Jesus is the life of the party. He saves the best wine for last. Why would we get drunk, get to the point where we can’t recognize the best wine when it arrives?" This expresses gratitude; an understanding that food and drink are pleasures given by Jesus, and that they were not meant to be assembled and consumed in mindless haste. We are indebted to Him for them, and we owe Him our faithfulness in using them responsibly. Thus the way we consume is an act of gratitude and stewardship.

This is such a basic, cursory ramble, but I'm too tired to try taking it farther tonight :) ...But what do you think?

25 October, 2008

Kyrie eleison

This world gives me such sorrow. The disparity between me and a person of color, the abuse of the defenseless, the misuse of gifts like sex and money and food, the material excess in which I too often play a part...They clobber my head and heart and leave me dumbfounded. Love, come set us free. Light of the world, come into our darkness and free the addicted, heal the abused, mend the division caused by hatred, race, and class. You have mended the gap between God and man; please now also mend the gaps between people, so that we may really reflect the community of your kingdom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amwVyRH2B8A

There ain't no reason things are this way
It's how they've always been and they intend to stay
I can't explain why we live this way
We do it everyday

Preachers on the podiums speaking to saints
Prophets on the sidewalks begging for change
Old ladies laughing from the fire escape, cursing my name

I got a basket full of lemons and they all taste the same
A window and a pigeon with a broken wing
You can spend your whole life working for something
Just to have it taken away

People walk around pushing back their debts
Wearing pay checks like necklaces and bracelets
Talking 'bout nothing, not thinking about death
Every little heart beat, every little breath

People walk a tight rope on a razor's edge
Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons
It could be a bomb or a bullet or a pen
Or a thought or a word or a sentence

There ain't no reasons things are this way
It's how they've always been and they intend to stay
I don't know why I say the things I say,
But I say them anyway

But love will come set me free
Love will come set me free
I do believe
Love will come set me free
I know it will
Love will come set me free
Yes

Prison walls still standing tall
Some things never change at all
Keep on building prisons,
Gonna fill them all
Keep on building bombs,
Gonna drop them all

Working your fingers bare to the bone
Breaking your back, make you sell your soul
Like a lung is filled with coal,
Suffocating slow

The wind blows wild and I may move
But politicians lie and I am not fooled
You don't need no reason or a 3 piece suit
To argue the truth

The air on my skin and the world under my toes
Slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes
Chaos and commotion wherever I go
Love, I try to follow

But love will come set me free
Love will come set me free
I do believe
Love will come set me free
I know it will
Love will come set me free
Yes

There ain't no reasons things are this way
It's how they've always been and they intend to stay
I can't explain why we live this way
We do it everyday

17 October, 2008

Life through a Wodehouse lens

I shouldn't entertain any grand delusions about being a radiant, liberating injection of life, strewing joy and good will from my rickety mail cart as I promenade through the halls of a silent, industrious law firm. That said, I do my very best to smile and say "Good morning" to each individual as I hand them their phone bills, files from the Palo Alto office, and back issues of the lawyers' gossip rag. This greeting usually receives some type of muted response (at least a grunt, if the speaker can't look away from the computer for a nanosecond). But even if it doesn't - even if the impression they are forming of me is not one of a cheerfully efficient marvel but rather of an immature airheaded drip - I have decided not to care [too much]. I mean, really. Do we have to act like we're as starched as our pin-striped shirts? I cannot sacrifice humanity and community to professionalism. So, have a great day, darn it!

I think some things about DC might make it seem like an unvaried and boring city to some people. Take its skyline, for instance.
"......What skyline?" you ask.
Exactly.
Most major cities have a visually interesting skyline with which they can emblazon postcards, t-shirts, and Starbucks mugs. DC's fine souvenir establishments must simply feature the White House, or the Capitol, or the Washington Monument (or, if they're feeling creative, cluster them all together, surrounded by a wreath of fireworks). "Why do we have such a flat city?" was the question I pondered intelligently as I ate lunch on the roof (13th floor) and realized that I could see Virginia. The state. Across the bally Potomac. From the bally 13th floor.

Apparently there is a law in place which prohibits buildings in DC to be no taller than 20 feet higher than the width of the adjacent street (consult Wikipedia for an entirely credible history of the Height of Buildings Act). Perhaps this is to give security guards at the Capitol a good vantage point. Perhaps they were watching me eat my questionable "chicken salad" sandwich today.

I don't really mind short buildings, honestly. Skyscrapers can make one feel rather caged. DC is not a very intimidating city, architecturally speaking. Certain of its lawyers, however.......

14 August, 2008

Well, the internship concluded on Friday. I am back at home for now, continuing the job search. I am so thankful to have been a part of the PMA for a summer; I already miss it so much, especially my intern buddies and the Asian art collections!
We Education interns put together a nice notebook encapsulating our experience; we included photos, all the lesson plans we wrote, and info about our craft project. This is something we can take to job interviews to show what we've accomplished. We also each had to write a "personal reflection" to include. I thought I'd post mine, because it deals with what was one of the major things I thought about over the summer.....I think Messiah College gives its students a great concern for material needs, and teaches them to think that everything you do should be a service that meets those needs. These are not bad things, don't misunderstand me; but after four years in that environment I struggle to feel that working in a museum is enough. So...I'm glad to have worked in a metropolitan museum and to have seen what involvement in the arts can do for kids. You don't have to read this reflection, I know it's rather long. But for what it's worth, here it is.

I’ve heard it said that “your calling lies where your skill and the world’s great needs meet.” From the time I befriended “Anne-with-an-E” Shirley at age 9, I knew that I wanted to be an educator of some kind. I knew that I cared about people and wanted to inspire them. These instincts gained a clearer direction during my college years as my art history courses and professors transformed my view of the world; I realized that nothing excited me more than sharing those discoveries with other people.
I was ecstatic when I was offered an education internship at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; I had never taught formally, but I couldn’t wait to do my best to help the city’s children form life-changing relationships with art. Yet after a month of training and preparing and talking about how art could change lives, I found myself growing skeptical. Every day I rode the bus to the museum through crumbling, impoverished neighborhoods; I passed homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk; I saw people scrape together all their change for the bus fare. Signs of brokenness cried to me from every corner and made me begin to feel that walking kids around a museum wasn’t going to heal any of it. How important were colors and shapes when some of these kids couldn’t even afford to bring a lunch?
However, all of my doubts were hushed when we finally began teaching. I was astounded by children’s “Aha!” moments in front of “Ghost,” their breathless wonder at the other-worldly Japanese Teahouse, their gleeful promises to bring their families on a Sunday, their exclamations of, “Miss
Virginia! That picture has SYMMETRY!” Those moments have all been worth gold to me, because they have shown me that in this museum children are finding art’s relevance to their lives. They are seeing how architecture can affect our moods; colors and shapes can express ideas; visual symbols can communicate things about who we are. I have to believe that whether or not they remember my name, the children whose lives have briefly intersected with mine will carry home all of those truths about art…along with their gluey craft projects. I know I want to continue to facilitate such discoveries for other people. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced.
I want to quickly record my gratitude to our supervisor, Barry. He had faith in me when I struggled to have any for myself, and offered me an opportunity that has built my confidence and purpose. He also selected five incredible people with whom I’ve been honored to work. Thank you all for your humor, your selfless service in chaotic moments, and your beautiful perspectives on art and life. My life is richer from knowing you. Thank you, Barry, Louise, Cassie, Diana, Zach, and Teresa.

29 July, 2008

Every week we interns spend Mondays and Thursday afternoons talking with curators, taking field trips, etc. Yesterday we met the Curator of East Asian Art. She showed us three Japanese objects: a bowl for a tea ceremony, a writing box, and a scroll with silver cranes. I learned so much and was mesmerized by the Japanese aesthetic encapsulated in these three things. The curator, Felice, said that the participatory nature of Japanese art is what she loves so much; she finds it much harder to stand in awe in front of a huge painting than to handle a tea bowl or unroll a scroll. The Japanese make handling any of these objects an experience in itself, before you even begin to use them; they're all packaged in beautiful boxes tied with interesting knots, or wrapped in patterned fabrics that you unfold slowly...It's all about being involved in the moment, paying attention to and participating in every moment of unwrapping each object. Felice said she thinks the Japanese are so good at animation and film because they have the scroll experience: remembering what has been, attending to the present image, and also anticipating what is about to unfold.

Here is a [mediocre] photo of the box, made by Hon'ami Koetsu. Some of his works have been declared national treasures in Japan. This box is from the early 17th century, but when I first saw it I thought it looked shockingly modern - Art Deco, perhaps? It's lacquer on wood with mother-of-pearl inlay and lead. I wish this picture could give you a true sense of how beautiful it is. Inside there would have been brushes, ink, etc.
These and other decorative arts objects are so interesting to me because I think they show the remarkable instinct mankind has to embellish our surroundings, our everyday implements. A box doesn't need to be anything more than a bottom and a lid to do its job; but Koetsu wanted it to be beautiful to look at, too. Windows only need to be panes of glass to keep weather out and let light in; yet people loved using colors and shapes to build stories into them. A plate just needs to be large enough to contain food and have a rim one can grip; but we want it to have a pleasing pattern or illustration, as well. We love beauty, we love to create, and it is not enough that our creativity extend only to paintings, drawings, sculptures, or performance. We want to experience beauty in the objects we live with. I don't know why but I find that wonderful and intriguing.

22 July, 2008

Potpourri

Teaching is NEVER boring, that's for sure. Some days I have groups of up to 25, and other days no groups show up at all, for whatever reason! This morning, most of the scheduled groups didn't come so I finished writing a second lesson. It's about a beautiful ceiling from a Chinese temple; the carving is gorgeous, featuring a huge coiled dragon and clouds in the center. There is a lot of symbolism all over the room, so I think it will be fun to talk about with kids. The great thing about an education internship is that it keeps us in the galleries, looking, learning, and thinking about new ways to talk about what we see.

Sometimes kids have been here before and have already seen things we have planned to talk about. They usually spout out everything they remember ("That's by Picasso and it's called Three Musicians and he painted it about his friends and one of his friends was a monk and he died!") ...On these occasions, we interns feel rather usurped!

This summer I've been going by "Virginia"--initially this was in order to avoid the whole "Ginny/Jenny" confusion, but I've gotten used to it and really love it now. However, one day when I introduced myself to my tour group as "Miss Virginia," one of the chaperons asked me where my beauty pageant sash was. !!!!! Maybe I should go by my MIDDLE name!

I'm pretty sure that my favorite part of this museum is the Asian art wing...It's my favorite area to teach from, and my favorite to wander through when I have some free time. I learned recently that Korean art is a very young field, and there are only 3 curators of Korean art in the U.S. Maybe that's where all the jobs are ;) Speaking of jobs, no updates yet, but believe me, I'm working on it. Prayers for less anxiety on my part and positive news from any of the places I've applied would be worth gold. :)

09 July, 2008


It's been a while! Well, after four weeks of orientation and preparation, we finally began teaching groups of kids yesterday. It is so tiring, but unbelievably exciting and rewarding. So many of the kids are utterly precious. It feels like such a privilege to be an integral part of their museum experience...I hope that they will all have good experiences, and that they will come back. One little girl who came yesterday was wearing a flowy pink top and pink skirt, and told me proudly that she chose that outfit specifically for that day because she thought pink would be a good color for the art museum!

For our first week of teaching we are working in pairs. I have been partnered with Louise, and together we have been teaching kids about a Picasso painting, a Calder mobile, an Indian sculpture, and the Japanese teahouse. The kids ask a lot of questions, which is great, but some of them are surprisingly hard to answer on the fly, particularly those regarding nudity or religion...Two difficult things to speak objectively about. One child pointed at a [nude] statue of the goddess Diana and asked, "What kind of clothes is he wearing?" I was a bit baffled and found it odd to inform him that she was actually not wearing any clothes...Also, today a girl asked me if the Hindu god in the statue I was teaching about was a real person. I said that people who believe in the Hindu religion believe that he is a real person, and left it at that. We're not in Grantham anymore, Toto.

Here are a few photos from last week (preparing the classroom where we supervise the art projects after each tour) and today:


Zach building the "arch."


Europe!


Cutting LOTS of paper...


Zach and Cassie and loads of kids!

27 June, 2008


I spotted this on a walk into the city yesterday...Has Banksy come to Philly?? :)

It's hard to believe that week 3 is over! It was a good week, full of new lessons. We are still working on our lesson plans and also working hard on the craft project and planning the decorations for our classroom for the summer. We're all excited, but also getting a bit nervous and anxious to just get the first week of teaching over with.

Last night some of us interns went for a late dinner and karaoke at a local dive called The Happy Rooster. It was a funny place...some intense karaoke devotees were in attendance, making for quite an entertaining evening!

Tomorrow I am headed to NYC for the day! On the agenda are the Neue Galerie and the Met Museum, but of course I'm always up for some unplanned adventures...

16 June, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Today we interns had two very interesting meetings that gave me some good things to think about. First, we attended a panel discussion with six members of the Development department. They work tirelessly to raise the funds to operate this institution (at least $45 million dollars a year). The thing that impressed me, though, was their focus on supporting great art more than "lining the coffers." From everything I have seen in the last week, the PMA is not about being a business; it is dedicated to bringing diverse, quality collections to as many people as possible. One woman mentioned of Anne D'Harnoncourt, the Director of the PMA who passed away very suddenly a few weeks ago, that she was never one to sell out. She would never, ever, approve an exhibition of popular big names (Impressionists, for instance) just to appeal to popular taste and attract a lot of paying visitors; rather, she would only approve exhibitions that she felt would impart new knowledge and represented excellent scholarship. That integrity permeates the whole museum.

Second, we had a meeting with the Curator of European Painting, who gave us a preview of an upcoming Cezanne exhibit and shared a bit about the process of planning and assembling such an exhibition. When asked about his background and what got him to this position, this was his immediate response: "Never sit at your desk. Work on your languages every day. Move about in the world, and look at things." He went on to say that although some people say otherwise, it is absolutely essential to have a postgraduate degree these days. I left that meeting with a sneaking suspicion that maybe I wouldn't mind curatorial work, and inspired to finally master one of the languages I have dabbled in and obtain that Master's Degree, by George!

14 June, 2008

"With a million other faces I shoot through the city veins"

("Black Cloud," Carlos Morales [?], Philadelphia Museum of ART)

This has been an excellent week. Friday ended with a delightful evening of good music, good food, and good company; three of my new friends, Auntie Di, and I stayed for "Art After 5." I had a lovely plate of three small tarts and a glass of Chardonnay for dinner, and apricot creme brulee for dessert. The jazz pianist played a great mix of standards ("Summertime") and originals, and the bassist was fab. It was a great way to unwind together after our first week of work; we all get along really well, and it's such a true delight to spend some free time together.

Today was my first free day to go downtown! I went to my old favorite, Walnut Street. Had coffee at Joe's while I did some homework, then did a little shopping. Then Diana, another education intern, and I met up for lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering Center City, popping into stores when we needed air conditioning! One especially fun moment came as we strolled through Rittenhouse Square; a trumpeter and a guitarist were playing together on a bench, and a photographer was sitting across from them, about to take their photo. The trumpeter saw us and said, "I sure would love it if you ladies would be in the picture with us." For half a second I was going to say a quick "No thanks" and keep walking---But, what the heck? We're in the city on a beautiful day! Live a little! So we squeezed between them, took the picture, and then stayed while they played "The Girl from Ipanema"--the trumpeter didn't know it so I held up the sheet music for him. :) As Diana and I continued our stroll through the city, I decided that there aren't enough meals in the day for all the great restaurants I want to try this summer. Alas.

09 June, 2008

Like my office?

I moved up to Philly on Saturday and began my internship today! It was a wonderful day and I'm so excited to go back tomorrow. I still can't quite believe that I'm a part of such a great institution; as we walked through the collections and hallways today, wearing our official badges, it was all I could do to keep my expression professional, instead of wide-eyed and grinning.
There are nearly 30 interns. I really liked those that I met - I think a few might be "kindred spirits." It's an interesting group from all over the country. I feel honored to learn with them. We spent today filling out forms, touring the building, learning security procedures, and doing "get-to-know-you" sorts of activities. Tomorrow we will do things more specific to our departments, so I'll start learning details about the Education department and what my role will be. Stay tuned!
I get a lot of perks such as discounts and free tickets thanks to my badge...something positive to think about on my painfully long commute back home! The drive to the museum was 20 minutes this morning; the bus ride back, including a transfer and a half hour wait, totaled 1 hr 5 minutes. FUN.
Other good news: I live near Manayunk, which is a quirky little neighborhood with lots of little shops and cafes and a few galleries. I look forward to exploring it. Also, I visited a church that I liked. It's called Liberti. I met a few kind people, including one girl who gave me her number and offered to give me a ride to a weeknight Bible study. I appreciated that expression of hospitality more than I can say.

21 May, 2008

So, any bets on how far a B.A. in Art History will take me? ;o)
This is me with my fellow ARTH Seniors and our profs. Graduation was a mixed-up day of rejoicing and partings. I didn't like it.

I'm getting so excited about my internship. I get butterflies in my stomach every time we receive an email from the coordinator; they remind me that I am going to be part of a community again, part of a team learning together, hopefully supporting one another, and representing a wonderful museum. I can't wait to meet the people represented by the email addresses in each email. Hopefully there will be one or two "kindred spirits" among them.

In my couple of weeks at home I hope to brush up on my art history facts, especially on non-Western art, because I think we'll be teaching about a lot of different cultures this summer. I also need to get a professional summer wardrobe at some point...Who knew I'd ever become the suit type?

13 May, 2008

Ready to Spread Wings...and Roots...

I took my last exam today (German). The professor and I have enjoyed a really lovely camaraderie over the semester; she gave me a big hug as I left. I think that made it all really begin to sink in. For four years I've had a place of my own, a niche, a community, and a collective experience of which to be a part. I've been able to learn from and form relationships with educators who have a real passion for their fields and believe in being "life-long learners." Now I've got to move on and begin all over again somewhere else. I know it's a good thing, and that similar situations have always turned out well, but it is nonetheless rather sad and daunting.

Everyone's telling us to spread our wings and vault into this big world...and most of the time I want that too. But sometimes, when it is a golden evening like this, all I really want is to put down some roots.

03 May, 2008

"You might just make it after all."


I guess I'm entering the "Mary Tyler Moore Season 1" phase of my life: Striking out on my own, entering a totally unfamiliar field of work, moving to a city, finding new friends...and of course, trying to create a different fabulous outfit for every day of the week.

Yes, soon I will be leaving the comforts of undergrad life. I remember my very first night at college - I was utterly miserable, thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life, and fell asleep hoping it was all a dream and praying that I might actually wake up in my own bed at home. I half anticipate revisiting those emotions on my last night here...Oh well. I know it's time to be moving on. Maybe I'll get to be a student again someday.

I learned yesterday that I am going to be an intern for the summer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. So, come June 9, I will be living in the City of Brotherly Love and trying to insert myself gracefully into the high-class world of the museum professional. This blog is my way of keeping up with whoever feels like following my adventures--a depository for stories, photos, links, etc., from my post-college adventures. I hope those adventures will include cultural events, outreach opportunities, friends old and new, and of course--good food! Until next time...