At long last, finally some time and motivation to write here again! Goodness, it's been 5 months since I last wrote something here...let's, uh, wipe off some of this virtual dust here...anyways, let's see what I've been up to these 5 months:
The obvious first...My three-year venture into the music world has officially come to an end: I finished my spring semester at Mannes and graduated, so I'm now a proud owner of a Master's of Music with a double major in cello performance and music theory! Not that it feels any different than four years ago when I was a proud owner of a Bachelor's of Arts with a major in computer science and a minor in music...I'm still asking myself the same question - "What now??" But, I am glad I took the time out, the things I've learned, musically or life related, have been tremendous. Yeah, this probably calls for more reflection...but another time.
A few weeks after graduation, I got a phone call from the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra - they needed another cellist for their 2-week tour to Korea. There wasn't much of a pay (if you can count $100 pocket money "pay" to begin with), but the free flight to Asia came in quite handy since I'd been planning to visit my relatives in Taiwan around that same time anyways. Korea was fun - except for one night where the orchestra administration apparently couldn't book rooms in a decent hotel for us and had to resort to motels, located in, ummm, the red light district...Yes, some people even had free condoms in their rooms. But, free porn! :) Anyways, Taiwan after that was pretty great too...some sightseeing, and lots of table tennis playing with my dad (who was also visiting around the same time). I also had a chance to see my cousin Johnny, whom I haven't seen in about 10 years I think. And even then, it was only for a day or so, as part of a family reunion, so bottom line is that I didn't really know him at all. But we got to hang out for a whole day in Taipei, which was fun. After the Taiwan visit, I took a little side trip to Osaka, Japan to visit my piano trio pianist and good friend Kiyomi...then it was back to Seoul, Korea for a few days to hang out with good ol' Mike Cho. The highlight there definitely was the night out in a club trying what's called "booking" - essentially you pay about $500 or so, and your group of friends gets a private room, some food, some booze, and a waiter whose job it is to spend the night running around the club looking for single women and bringing them to your room (though never against their will, and they are free to leave your room whenever they want). I suppose the idea is that it gets rid of the uncomfortable task of approaching women if you're the guy...though there definitely were some awkward moments too. But, a fun experience, nonetheless, and it's not everyday that you walk out of a night club at 6am in the morning...I got back to US soil around midnight of the 9th of July, just in time to resume my teaching at the Bryn Mawr Conservatory that afternoon, MAJORLY jet-lagged...
BTW, while in Taiwan I snatched up a new cellphone/PDA, the HTC Touch. A bit similar to the IPhone (well, primarily intended to be finger driven), except better, IMO. Man, it is tiny, it is sleek, it is HOT, and I'm absolutely in love with it. Yeah.
And after that? I moved into a new apartment with my brother, out in Forest Hills. Nice, clean, safe area, I really like it out there. Then, last weekend, on the 21st, I drove down to Gettysburg, PA, for a wedding of two fellow Swarthmore graduates (and the bride is also a fellow Mannes alum!) and saw none other than Nori Heikkinen - fellow Swarthmore '03 member, Midnight Quintet and PYO buddy, and fellow music/computer science freak/geek - for the first time in four years (since graduation)! Playing together again, plus hanging out and catching up at the dinner was great - and I learned how to waltz (yes, that's right - I, the Viennese, was taught how to dance the quintessential Viennese dance by an American with Finnish last name. Funny, huh).
Well, I think that about sums it up. Now that the fun & frolicking is over, it's time to get serious and get a job...