“And 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any questions?”

By Leanne Park

There were a couple murmurs, but no one raised their voice.  It was a warm August night, way too warm for the 50 or so of us to be learning a hip hop dance on the third floor of a parking structure and yet, there we were.  With sweat dripping down everyone’s faces, everyone seemed focused on learning the audition piece, but no one seemed particularly frustrated.  Everyone except for me, that is.

Brows furrowed and lips pursed in irritation, I probably did not look approachable by any means.  I had danced all throughout high school, even performing at pep rallies in front of hundreds of students, but, at the time of this audition, I hadn’t danced for two years and it was hitting me pretty hard that my skills had turned rusty. Even though it was the first of three audition days for USC’s competitive dance team, Chaotic 3, and we had two more days to practice the dance before the actual audition,  my heart sank as unflagging doubt seized and took over my initial hopes of making the team.

I contemplated not going through with the final audition.  I discussed it with multiple people, complaining about how hard the piece was, and voicing my doubts.  However, something told me not to give up that easily.  I was a transfer student who fought for my admission to USC and I was determined to make the most of my two years as a Trojan.  In my head, I imagined myself being on a USC dance team and I knew that I would hate myself forever if I didn’t at least try.  So for the next two days, I practiced the dance feverishly, watched the video of the choreographer a million times, and performed it in front of any and every mirror that I came upon.  I wanted to impress the team more than ever. Continue reading “And 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any questions?”

Why I am Best Friends with A Ninety-Year Old

By: Jackie Kim

Ever since I was young, I’ve had a great relationship with people who were older than me. I’ve always loved visiting my grandparents’ home, something that plenty of my peers despised. I’ll certainly never forget the time when my grandma whispered in my ear that I was her favorite grandchild and the feeling of guilty satisfaction and pride that welled in my heart. Later, when I moved to America in middle school, I was on texting basis with the majority of my teachers in each of the schools I attended.

During high school, I discovered my love for the nursing home. I found talking to and interacting with the residents naturally easy and comfortable, and it wasn’t long before I started traveling to the home twice a week to provide company to the senior citizens. Whenever I walked into the toasty nursing home, the residents’ faces melted into crooked smiles. I loved how they called me “Jackie Wacky” and “Honey,” how I always had to assure Audrey that I’ll always love, how Carol snuck me the centerpiece after I told her I loved flowers, and how Ken always asked for a kiss before I left.

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A World Without GPS

By Juli Kirkpatrick Leach

“Can we help you?” If my roommate Wendy and I had smart phones or even internet access back on January 7th, 1989, we might never have heard those reassuring words spoken by two young, nice-looking Italian guys on that fateful Saturday night.  Wendy and I had just arrived in Florence the day before to start a three month overseas studies program.  We were placed with a host family, the Miniati’s, in the “suburbs” and we could only get home by bus from the city center. According to my travel journal, we had gotten on bus 23C, realized it was the wrong one, and then got off, completely turned around and lost.  We found a payphone, but then realized that we needed a special token called a getone to use it, and we had no idea where to get one.  Had we had our handy dandy mobile devices, we could have done a number of things like look up the bus schedules and routes, gotten exact directions to our host family’s house and hailed a taxi, or just have even called our host family to come get us.  Instead, we just stood on the street corner not knowing what to do, laughing because it was better than crying.That’s when we heard those magic words first spoken by Leonardo, a tall slim guy with dark hair, deep-set blue eyes and an authentic Italian nose. He was accompanied by his buddy, Filippo, who was more boyish looking.  We told them we were lost and needed a getone to make a call and they got us one.  They also offered to give us a ride home.  Wendy and I looked at one another wondering if we could trust these guys, and then Leonardo offered to show us his ID.  That cinched it for me.

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