Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the final stretch!

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the absence,,, I just finished my recital preview this morning, and let's just say that I've had, and will have, no life until my recital is over.  Actually, no,,, until everything else is over... but let's not think about that right now...

Though the preview was a bit rough around the edges, I passed!  In case you don't know what a recital preview entails, you basically run through your recital program for the panel (in my case Mr. Lin, and Mr. Kantor), and they decide if you are ready to give the recital or not.  Scary and really stressful because that means you have to have your recital ready to go at an earlier date, but in the end, a very useful and helpful practice!  Now, I have a week and a half until November 2nd to really polish the pieces I'm playing!  oh, and breathe... and chill...  haha both Mr. Lin and Mr. Kantor told me that I need to relax after the preview today. =p

So this is the final stretch until the recital on November 2nd at 3 pm!  If you are in the Houston area, you are all invited!  Would love to see you there.  It will be an intense recital of Bach g minor Sonata, Struass Sonata, and Ravel Tzigane!  =)
Then, later that evening, at 8 pm, the Shepherd Symphony is giving a concert of Dvorak 7th Symphony and Hindemith Mathis der Maler, and yes, I am playing in this one too.
Then, the next day we start rehearing Golijov's Last Round for Mr. Lin's recital which is happening that Wednesday!  And I'm so sooo excited to be performing with Mr. Lin!   =D =D =D!!  what! so stoked for this concert!
Then, we have the chamber marathon in which I'm playing the Beethoven Trio Op. 70 No. 2.

 *excuse me while I go hyperventilate a little bit about the sheer amount of music I need to learn*

It's going to be such a hurricane of performances and activities and then BAM. chill time. at least for a weekend.  I can't wait! =)

In the meantime, I've been having cravings for anything munchy or greasy. For example, last weekend, I just really really wanted a burger!  yup, I do believe it's the stress-eating syndrome kicking in.  I'm the worst about chowing down my stress..  haha
but hey, this burger was pretty darn tasty, and sometimes, you just really crave a good, juicy burger, ya know?  no harm done, I'll probably feel the intense desire to detox and go all vegetarian as soon as I can breathe again, but until then, bring on the munchies!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wonderful Weekend =)

Hello everyone,

Happy Columbus Day and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
We had a really great weekend (funny how much you enjoy everything more when you're less stressed! haha)  Though we still worked some throughout the weekend, having today and tomorrow off really took a lot of pressure off of my shoulders, and man. this weekend was such a relaxing and happy one  =)

We started off the weened by watching Gravity in 3D.  We tried to go to.. 9:30 pm showing I think? but when we got there, it was all sold out!  Thankfully, we were a little late (per usual) so we only had 25 minutes or so until the next show, which ended up being only about half way full!  And since we were the first ones there, (a phenomenon we have never experienced before.. we usually get there right as the movie starts and we miss most of the previews) we got to pick the best seats in the house!  

And guys, if you haven't seen Gravity, you totally should!  Apparently IMAX 3D is the way to go, but even just watching it in 3D was such a visual feast!  They did an amazing job of creating the piece.  The story line was not something we talked about over and over after the movie, but the visual effects? Man, the visuals were beautiful.  and really quite amazing how they managed to capture outer space and incorporate the CG and the camera work so flawlessly.

Next day, we made our (almost) weekly run to H Mart to get some lunch and groceries.  I was strangely craving the Korean fried chicken, Tong Dak, which is soo sooo good.. well, not very good for you, but such a comfort food for me, so that's what we ended up having for lunch!  =)  I'm obviously so excited haha

And then, as we were shopping, an announcement came over the intercom saying that there's a traditional rice cake making exhibition happening at the prepared-foods corner!  so of course, we had to check it out!
This is how they used to make rice cakes folks!
And then, they asked if anyone in the audience wanted to try, so naturally, I stepped up to the plate to try my hand at swinging the hammer looking contraption.  How hard could it be? right?
well,,, let's just say that the hammer thing was much much heavier than I had anticipated.
me struggling.  especially in the last photo because the about-to-be-rice-cake mixture is super sticky!
but then we got to try the freshly made rice cakes, and that made everything all worth it.  so. good.  yum!

Later that night, we attended Houston chapter of USA Dance's social dance party, Second Saturday dance.  The theme of the night was the Masquerade, so I happily got my hands 'gluey' getting some crafts on  =p
David didn't want any bling on his mask for some reason, so I had to be content with just glueing some decorations on mine  haha

For a $2 and 5 minute project, I was pretty happy with how they turned out  =)

about to dance the night away~

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Hello everyone!

I know it's not Tuesday, but there's a blog post going up!  what?! gasp!    shocking, I know, but we're on fall break!!!  yay!!  hip hip horray!
ok, so fall break at Rice isn't really that big of a deal (just monday and tuesday off) but it coming right now, at this point in the semester, is really truly a godsend.  
now that I don't have to worry about classes, I can really focus on my recital cramming!!!  haha..  eh.. heh..

Anyway, before I go dash off for that, I wanted to share 2 photos from the last week or so.  It's been really wonderful because I've had visits by 2 friends from different parts of my life, and musical journey so far. One friend is actually from the Seattle area, but funnily enough (yes, I just used the word 'funnily') we didn't meet there originally.  We met right here in Texas, actually, at a place called Round Top because we were placed as roommates (along with Meredith) at the summer festival.  
Interestingly, Round Top at about the halfway point between Austin and Houston, and just guess where Grace is living right now.  yup.  in Austin. Funny how these things happen like this, isn't it?
omg! look how young we look!  ahh!! this was us 5 years ago! and you know the craziest thing about this photo of friends from Round Top?  3 of the people (me, Emily, and Christiano) are actually at Rice!  We're all at Shepherd School of Music pursuing our Master of Music, and Grace is also in Texas at UT Austin, and of course, Timmay and I are in the Meadowlark Trio together  =)  They say the music world is small,,, but seriously, I'm beginning to really experience how tiny it really is.

roomy photo at Round Top

 Anyway, she came to visit Houston, so of course, we had to go catch up and stuff  =)   (She's visited before and you can see the posts from her visits here and here)
It's always so nice to get to catch up with Grace, and I can't wait for the next meet up!  =)

Then, just a couple of days ago, I got a message for Julien saying that he would be in Houston!  He goes to school at Texas A&M, but was here for a conference, so of course we jumped at the chance to catch up.  I briefly took French while I was at UNL because I just really love that language, and everyone in my circle of my friends was taking French.  So I hopped on the bandwagon and took French 101 for a semester.  It was such an incredible class, and at the end we all really became a big family.  Our professor Monsieur Kwambamba would bring his son, his wife would bring us food while we were in class, and we would generally have an incredible time together.  Anyway, that is how I got to know Julien.  He was studying French (his Master's degree) and he actually taught Alexios.

Funny how we both graduated from UNL and then ended up in Texas!  =)  gotta love the Nebraskans! Nebraska will always be a very special place in my heart, and it's always nice to see people that I got to know there again.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Houston Greek Festival!!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the weekly Tuesday blog post!  haha  
I'm really not sure how I managed to blog multiple times a week last year...  but I am definitely busier this year with the doctoral audition prep and!!! my recital that is happening in less than a month!!!  AAHHH  I can't believe it's coming up so soon!  and the preview is in exactly 2 weeks!!  this preview business is something that Rice does that still really throws me for the loop.  It's like your recital date is actually that much earlier because everything has to be ready to go and in top shape by your preview!  For someone like me who likes to cram at the last minute, the previews are like the most stressful things ever!  haha  anyway, I had my recital last year during the spring semester, and moving it up to the fall semester has definitely amped up my work level this semester...  I even got a violin hicky for the first time in my life!  (if you don't know what a violin hicky is, it's the dark spot on virtually every violinist's neck where the violin chinrest rubs against the skin.  and sometimes, it looks strikingly like a hicky that you would get from.. not a violin)

Anyway, enough about work and practicing!  to keep myself sane (because I have a tendency to be totally fine with stress, or think I'm fine with it, until it piles up, and then I give myself ulcers or insomnia out of the blue) I've been trying to fit in non violin activities regularly.  It's good for the mind and the soul to get out of the practice room every now and again.  and what's more perfect for a practice break than a Greek Festival!!  We had so much fun at the Polish Harvest Festival that we decided to give the Greek one a try too  ;)

The festival was held at the Greek Orthodox Church, and let me tell you, it was insane how big this festival was!

not only is this their 47th year of doing the festival, but it's also held for 4 days!!  this has to be the biggest cultural festival I've attended, and even on Saturday night (3rd day of the festival) it was packed!

after being overwhelmed for a bit, we made our way to the Souvlaki stand because the line looked the shortest and we couldn't find the gyro stand  haha

 look at this intense grilling that's going on here!

It was really delicious, and of course, we had to try to eat it in the most barbaric manner because, I mean, how else do you eat a kabob?  eating in style is serious business people!  ;)

We had to finish the Souvlaki quickly because we wanted to catch the Greek dance performance, and at the last minute we realized that we couldn't bring food or drinks into the performance space.  Good thing we didn't buy a whole lot of food until after the performance! haha

I had been to a couple of different Greek festivals before because my friend Alexios is Greek (as I'm sure you could tell by his name  ;)  haha) and it was really interesting to me that I recognized some of the dances and the songs!

So many colorful costumes and different styles of dancing!  After thoroughly enjoying the show, we headed back out to get more food!  Most importantly, I was on the hunt for some gyros!  Ahhh I love me some gyros!  I know they're not the healthiest for you, but who cares, you're at a Greek Festival!  oh, and you can't forget Baklava! oh my goodness, I was so excited for these two, as you can tell by the photos I'm sure  haha

 and I have to say, the Gyros did not disappoint!  it was so good that David didn't even realize he had some of the sauce on his nose  =p

We also tried this rice pudding thing that was really good as well, but I'm not sure what it is called..

It was such a fun time, and we both left with full, happy tummies, and sore throats from yelling 'Opa!' so many times  =)

Well, back to practicing I go!
I hope you all had an amazing weekend as well, and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rice Gallery

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
It seems that Tuesdays are my blogging days  haha.  It's completely unintentional, but I guess Tuesday afternoons tend to be my freer afternoons!

Last week, David and I visited the Rice Gallery for their grand opening for the year!  The work is by the artist Gaia, and the installation is named 'Mashland', after the Rice University's founder William Marsh Rice. The work is a reflection of Gaia's perceptions of the Rice and Houston communities, and Rice University's relationship to the city.

The work consists of 3 floor-to-ceiling mural walls that reflect Gaia's views and perceptions of Houston, and a structure in the middle that mimics the architectural style of Rice (arches and bricks!) that has paintings of different administrators, faculty, and students.

It was so interesting to walk around the installation and to learn about how he went about working on this project through different video clips that were playing in the foyer.

We also had fun trying to see if we recognized anyone among the paintings.  =)

It was a neat little installation, and we recommend visiting (and mosey on out of Shepherd once in awhile if you are a Shepherd student  haha) if you are around Rice!  It's a good study/practice break, and also a nice relief from the heat... because yes, it is still soo hot in Houston!  hello?! it's October!  where's my fall weather!!

Another funny thing about my experience with the installation was that I automatically knew that the structure in the middle with all of the arches and brick was about Rice even before reading that the work was about Rice.  How did I know, you ask?  That is because all I see all day, every day at Rice is exactly that kind of architecture.  Like this one!   =)

We're so blessed to have such a beautiful campus, and I absolutely love, LOVE this type of architecture. David, on the other hand, Mr. Berkeley hippie, (=p) feels that the architectures seem all too similar and old fashioned.  I guess every person's entitled to his/her opinions!  haha

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful rest of the week!