Monday, December 19, 2016

Singing!


I know, I know...I haven't been very good with updating.

There's been a lot going on. I've been doing a LOT of reading, gave my first research presentation to the entire institute of public communication, worked on a couple of projects with my advisor, written an abstract (that was accepted!) for a conference, and started two other collaborative projects with other PhD students.

So, as always, there's been a lot to do at work. But not only! I also joined the choir at the conservatory here in Lugano, which had its concert this weekend. It was a nice evening and I'm happy that I got to show some of the people I've met here this aspect of my life.

Here are a couple of videos






This will most likely be the last blog of 2016. Here's to hoping that next year will be more engaging, even more productive, and all around better than this one!




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Conference in Berlin

Haven't been posting lately, but that's probably to do with the huge amount of things that I've had to get done lately. I had a conference in Berlin, where I had my first poster session. It was interesting if only a little bit quantitative. I guess I should have known, given that the hosting institution was the German Institute for Economics. Here's a picture of me posing awkwardly for my mom

and here is a picture of the actual venue with the podium and whatnot. All in all, it was an okay experience (even if I didn't sleep that much beforehand and kind of ended up getting sick)


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Patience

I literally have none.

I'm sick, a little bit heartbroken (I think?...not sure yet) and unmotivated to go back to work.

and I want all of this to be over with NOW.

I know that it will pass, but can it pass a little sooner?

Although, I don't know that it makes sense to wish for time to pass more quickly. I have to write two papers for conferences in September and October and I haven't even started. Also, there's going to be two weeks of PhD summer school where I'll really have to focus and won't be able to write. So much to do...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cutie.BPOC Festival 2016

This weekend I attended the Cutie.BPOC Festival 2016


It was amazing, healing, wonderful, beautiful, exhausting, a lot, a lot, a lot.

The first day, we met everyone and just talked and communed with the fam. It was really nice. There was also a Black Lives Matter protest, but I did not want to be around that energy (or around police officers, tbh)

Saturday meant a lot of workshops. I did a singing workshop, a workshop where we talked about decolonizing the politics of flirting, and a workshop for waacking, a style of dancing similar to voguing. I really wanted to talk about flirting and trying to center QTIBPOC people as worthy, valuable, and loveable, because this is something White heteropatriarchy makes all too difficult. I feel energized in that respect, at the moment. We'll see how long it lasts when I return to Lugano...

On Sunday, there were workshops planned, but I was too tired to attend anything. Instead, I sat, spoke, and laughed with members of my beautiful fam. It was very, very necessary.

Finally, Monday was a brunch organized at a different space, where I actually stayed much longer than I had planned to. It was weird to realize that it was the end. 

This festival made me remember how amazing it is to be around people that love and understand me. There were so many moments of realizing I had needed to hear something. Just this Aha! of  being affirmed in many ways. Speaking languages that I knew others would understand, being seen, being heard. It was all very lovely.

Of course, it wasn't without its challenges. I met a person whom I was interested in on many levels (because of course I did) who I don't think was that interested in me (because of course they weren't). Similar patterns, similar emotions. Very exhausting. Also, seeing all these beautiful people really made me aware of how much I don't have that in "real life"...

BUT

All in all, I would have to say it was still a very healing, beautiful experience. I can't wait until next year :)


Sunday, July 3, 2016

June!

It has been a pretty eventful month. So much so, that I never really had time to blog, or really take a breather. Every weekend has been occupied with some event or other, of which I took a copious amount of pictures.








There was a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting (something I still can't really process) and lots of beautiful and colorful moments. At the end, we rode to a club in a party limousine!

Another weekend, another Pride. This time, it was in Milan. It made me really miss living in a bigger city, but I guess you can't have it all.




And, finally, this last weekend I went to Munich to visit a good friend who was visiting Europe from the States. It was so nice to finally have someone to talk to that understands all my slang and craziness without having to explain myself. My social life in Lugano isn't ideal (I'm working on it) so it was good to remember that I actually have friends and that there are people who enjoy my company and vice-versa.



We spent most of the time wandering around the English gardens, which were HUGE. Also, we watched these surfers on a wave in the middle of the city! It was a good trip. All in all, I'm glad I went even if my back did not thank me after 7 hours on the bus back from Munich. Oh well...it was definitely worth it. 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day trip and long night

My weekends have been pretty full as of late. Last week, I went to Ascona, which is a(nother) pretty Swiss town situated next to a lake. I also walked up an entire mountain and went to this interesting restaurant/hotel/art gallery thing at the top.



There was this energy path thing that one could walk along in order to recharge your chakras or something. Unfortunately the final circle was closed so I guess my chakras got to about 95%...



 After that lovely excursion, I came home and then thanks to the efforts of my hiking buddy, got a second wind and we decided to go to the "Notte lunge dei Musei" or long night of the museums. The exhibitions were open until midnight, which really is a long night for Lugano.



I have to say, it was a pretty eventful day. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day trip to Milan

This Friday I went to Milan for a symposium on English medium instruction at the Center for Higher Education Internationalisation (CHEI). It was held at the Università Cattolica del Sacre Cuore, which had a beautiful, old campus right in the center of Milan



The subject matter of the conference wasn't exactly what I'm interested in researching, but given that I want to focus on international education, it was a good chance to network and see what's out there when it comes to this field. 


The presentations were interesting, and, as always, gave me a lot of ideas for my own research. The only downside was that we were inside and underground in the Aula Cripta for most of the day. The weather was gorgeous and the surrounding areas were really interesting. 

Here are some pictures I took during the lunch break. 




After arriving back in Lugano that evening, I could only say that the day had been a success. I managed to learn some things in a field related to my own research interests and network and meet some interesting people. I'm glad I stumbled upon such an interesting opportunity. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A very Swiss experience

A few weeks ago, we were told to be ready to go on an "excursion" this last Wednesday with the other members of the Institute for Public Communication. It was all very hush-hush, to the point where we didn't find out where we were going until we were on the bus. Even then, they mislead us into thinking we would be going to the construction site of the new Gotthard tunnel between Zurich and Milan (which would have been interesting, I guess). Anyways, we roll up to this strange building with a bunch of people dressed in camouflage in front of it. 


The view from the mountain we had driven up was amazing.


They then tell us that we are actually at a military training base for the Swiss army. The entire day  consisted of a tour of the base, an explanation of the role of the Swiss army, and a demonstration of your average medical intervention. The whole thing was mostly in Italian, with some French and a little bit of German so, I only understood about half of what was going on at any given time. 

The demonstration was interesting, as some of the recruits were from the German- or French- speaking part of Switzerland, and communication took place in a mixture of the three.


They were very hospitable, offering us copious amount of the (in)famous military chocolate



At the end of the whole affair we were also treated to a beautiful aperitivo, with some very delicious finger foods and desserts.
After that, it was time to take our bus back home through the beautiful Ticino landscape. All in all, the experience was indicative of the multiculturality that constitutes a big part of the Swiss experience. It's probably not something I would have chosen to do, but I'm glad I did it. 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

So much to do!


Welcome to my University. I arrived back from my Easter Break in Berlin a couple of weeks ago, and dove back into the academic swamp in which I know find myself. First, it was a qualitative research methodologies course that was pretty much a week's worth of head-poundingly interesting subject matter. I can now say I have a pretty solid handle on what is expected of us as PhD students here at Universit√° della Svizzera Italiana when it comes to methodologies. 

After that week was over, my professor decided that I need to get back in touch with my communication studies roots, and then brush up on what it means to approach things from a critical standpoint. What does that mean? You guessed it! Theeeoorryyy!! Whoo. So now, I've pretty much been reading Foucault, Derrida, Saussure, Lacan, Hall, Barker, Butler, Martin and Nakayama,...the list goes on and on and on. Every time I see my professor, she hands me another book to read. 

                 

In addition to that, I've also been brushing up on discourse analysis for a project I'm going to help her with, reading/grading mid-term papers for our class, creating a lesson that I'm going to give on microagressions this coming Monday, refining some ideas for my dissertation, and trying to be social and whatnot in between. This has had detrimental effects on my health (my back is killing me) but, all things considered, I'm pretty happy to be where I am. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pictures

After coming back from Berlin, I jumped back into the swing of things by taking a week-long seminar in qualitative research methodologies. It was really interesting, but I didn't get much of a chance to do anything else. So, research and dissertation and whatnot took sort of a backseat...

In other news, I finally bought the phone I was talking about. It's called the Fairphone and it's pretty cool. Here's the link if anyone is interested. Basically, it's a phone that tries to be as fair and ethically sourced as possible. It was comparably priced to other mainstream phones but the producers are transparent about their business practices, which is something that I appreciate. Now that I have a phone that can take pictures, I made sure to jump headfirst into Generation Y and get on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Selfies and pictures of Lugano abound!





Sunday, April 3, 2016

Berlin

Last week, we had Easter break at USI so, I took the opportunity to visit Berlin. There was also a festival taking place Easter weekend which I had been looking forward to since attending it last year while living in Berlin. The festival, Stretch, is about spirituality, intimacy, vulnerability, and all that touchy-feely stuff.  It was pretty interesting/helpful/difficult, particularly Saturday, where I was forced to come in contact with some pretty deep-seated emotions that I've apparently largely been ignoring. All in all, I would say that the weekend was necessary, and that I'm still processing a lot of what happened.
During the week, I met up with friends that I hadn't seen in a while and recounted the last two months of living in Lugano. The whole experience made me realize two things: 1) I am very happy to no longer be living in Berlin and 2) this PhD position is an awesome opportunity. To the first point, I won't say that I dislike Berlin, or even that I will never live there again. I will, however, say that I'm glad I'm not in that distracting, transitory hub for all that is impermanent at the moment. The festival (and to some extent my friends) reminded me that everyone in Berlin is very focused on themselves, which is not inherently a bad thing. Although, when confronted with this I find myself feeling ignored/unwanted/lonely most of the time. This was the case at the festival as well, which I experienced as sort of a hyper-Berlinesque microcosm. The atmosphere of the city produces a feeling of having overwhelming options. I noticed that I don't enjoy this feeling in a similar way to the people I know there. So, there's that. Also, I really feel good about the work I'm doing here in Lugano, my research, the feedback I'm getting, and the direction I'm headed. Berlin was a great place to have lived and now it's time to move on. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Poland

I've been pretty lax about updating recently, which can only be attributed to the approximately 189283 bajillion things on my to-do list. One of those things was a trip to Poland, which took up most of last week. My university is part of this network of (mostly German-speaking) institutions that make up what is called the Intercultural Campus (here is a link if you're interested). There was a meeting where representatives of each Uni got together and discussed their research, possible collaborations, and the future of the Intercultural Campus. It was pretty cool to get out and network so quickly after starting my PhD. 

Another aspect of the Intercultural Campus meeting was the cultural program that the organizing university in Poznan coordinated. All of the participants were taken to the Centrum Kultury Poznan, which is housed in a castle located near the University.


The building itself had a lot of history, especially given Poland's situation during World War 2


We were also taken to a cute little cafe near the town hall, Cafe Misja, where we were audience for a few musical performances and book readings. 


All in all, the 5 days I was gone were fairly well spent

Now, I've had to catch up on work that was left here in Switzerland. Unfortunately, the travel and general stress of having so much to do has caught up with me. I'm pretty sick and had to take off even more days of work, something that was not ideal but necessary. I hope that when Monday arrives I'll be ready to go. Like I said, there's so much to do!



Sunday, February 21, 2016

LAC: Markus Raetz

Last week, we went to the Markus Raetz exhibition at the Lugano Arte e Cultura Museum (LAC)


It was a nice exhibition, by an artist called Markus Raetz. A lot of his works were characterized by shifting perspective, like this video that I took:



I kind of like the idea of NO turning into YES...in any case, it was a cool little excursion and, even though we didn't get to speak a lot of Italian, I would say it was worth it. 



Friday, February 12, 2016

Un giro

This Thursday, I went on a city tour with my Italian class to some of the more picturesque places in Lugano. It was nice to be out of the classroom, even though part of me just wants to be fluent yesterday...


Here is the city building of Lugano, with the nice seal of the city itself. Apparently there were a lot of revolutions and whatnot fought right in front of its steps. 


This is the lake and one of the beautiful mountains that surrounds the city. 


This is the Franciscan church on the left, with a beautiful fresco (that I unfortunately couldn't get a good picture of)


and look! snow! It's nice being able to view it from afar...

All in all, I would say that I'm growing accustomed to living here. It's officially been about two weeks and, although I don't have a lot of the bureaucratic things 100% lined up yet, I'm slowly finding my feet. The next few cool things going on include: lots and lots of reading for a project where I'm doing the discourse analysis (in Spanish!), going over the syllabus for the bachelor's level class that I'm going to be TA'ing, and figuring out a rough timeline for my dissertation. Fun times, but a lot to do!