As the birds fly home for winter, so do I.
They cherish the moment in where they go and flee from the cold, for a brief moment, but remember why they flew out in the first place. The thing is, Puerto Rico- where I live, lies in the perfect spot in the Caribbean. It has perfect sunsets, copious amounts of beautiful beaches, colorful people, in short as many locals call it in social media #paradise. The problem does not lie in the beautiful, geographic aspect of the island, no; the problem lies in its economical stress and little job opportunities creating an unstable environment, where the happiest island on Earth is tormented by metal illness, poverty, and constant forced exile.
When I was in my undergrad, I went to the InterAmerican University Metro campus, where an alumni gave a conference about musical therapy. While I was toying with the idea of applying once more to graduate school to further my musical studies, one thing stuck to me about his keynote presentation. “Sadly, we (all of you who are sitting and are close to my age) are the generation of lost dreams and forced exile.” In this economy, which it worldwide, everybody in their “prime” (age group 21-35) are leaving Puerto Rico. Why? Because we cannot find a job. Cost of living is high, and if you find yourself lucky, the first job opportunity are offered is… a cashier in a fast food establishment. Not saying that this is not a stable income or unworthy employment, but I am talking individuals with Doctoral degrees, Masters degrees, doctors, lawyers, teachers are either at these types of jobs or homeless. I’ve read before that “the island of enchantment”, as we call our country, is one of the most educated places in the world, while simultaneously have these individuals flee from our island, myself included, to find better opportunities. Area of Choice? The United States.
It is in the United States where, compared to Puerto Rico, one can do the same job, but twice as much than in PR. While the grass is always greener on the other side, families are forced to find jobs in the US for they want to have a better life. The sad aspect of this is what we leave behind. A rich culture that we have to try to carry with us alongside our traditions. Friends and families, as in my case go somewhere alone where nobody knows you and start from scratch. Essentially, a life. And go to uncharted lands and start anew. Most people fail and have to go back and try to make amends, but most of us. We thrive. We make most of the situation and fight for what we want, but as nature intends we fly home for winter. Even if it’s for a small window of time, we fly home, visit where we come from and know that our sacrifices will not be in vain. That our sacrifices makes us stronger, and it’s there where we are unique. It is there where we are resilient. And in resilience, there is power.
Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated. That’s what Graduate School does to you. You’re constantly, as a professor calls it, in crisis management mode. Between writing papers, constant research, reading articles, music ensembles, and office hours you can lose track of time. This happens to an extreme if you add constant Netflix adventures.
It is because of my long leave of absence that I will share with you a haiku from a second year graduate student.
sadly in despair
work is not done
and just for fun, let’s have another one!
so much to read
is it break already?
Wandering through the foggy woodland
breathing the musty sods
twilight is upon us
skulking through murky, moldy dunes
A bridge is upon us,
filled by webs and fueled by decay
summoned by the dark, looming loch
Walking through the unstable path,
fixed upon the scrutiny of the unknown
-the fae beckons-
as you slowly gather up the storm
Walk, and walk you must
through the darkness you shall pass
until the shire comes at last
until your truth unfolds
until the embers dim to you
Collapse the mirrors of your soul
walk through the valley and inhale…
Recite the numbers in your head
walk through the pastures, but wait…
A wind flurry is stirring ahead
feel nature at its best
recite the numbers out loud
– one, two, three- I’ve found
a gust of wind caressing my skin
as the valley closes and I, breath
At the edge you’ll find
wind billowing, stirring, and whirling
If you step off,
the wind will embrace you,
inhibitions will falter and
The wind, as time, does not pause
nor the sky
or the stars
As summer falls to autumn
For future remembrance
think not of what challenges come your way,
in the pebbles in your path
in the troubles of the past
Think of the victories, and
ponder on the possibilities
the gamble of your play
contemplate on the adventures, and
lessons that’ll come your way
Anticipate the success,
the possible loss
For future remembrance
A friend of mine wrote this. I love it!
Have you ever noticed that birds enjoy the morning? They sing as the run rises and fly about catching worms and other small insects they can take back to their nest to feed their young. Even on my morning runs, they are flying about from one place to another, grabbing food or twigs to add to their nest. Many birds like to chirp as the sun rises, just like a rooster. In a way, it is a nice way to help wake you up for early morning chores or duties.
Some birds like to get started before the sun rises. At what time does this occur? Between 4:00am-4:30am of course! Every morning, Henry (that is what I have chosen to name this bird), sits outside my apartment and chirps. While most birds stay in one place, Henry likes to be an adventurer. He flys from one window ledge to the…
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The verses tattooed on your soul
captive in your piercing gaze
let them be
let them free
let them fly
let them soar
The song of your life
a prisoner of the war
-the turmoil boiling in you-
let it breathe
let it sing
let it perform
let it live
A dear friend of mine, who shall remain in anonymity, once showed me e.e. cummings’ i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart). As clichéd as it sounds, I loved it. In the course of this past semester, I enrolled in a composition class. In this class put my big boy pants, and I set this poem to music. It was an uphill battle (choosing the singers, rehearsal time) in short, a battle. I won the battle and the war! Here is the finished product, while not perfect, it is pretty darn close. I hope this a start of a new, complementary chapter in my life.
If you want to commission me for a choral piece, do not hesitate in doing so! Without further ado, i carry your heart with me (i carry it my heart).
Ethan Q. Ivey
José Clavell, conductor
“Secrecy is the ultimate form of tension. A writer should hide the essence of his or her work. In doing so, the reader can fight in finding their own truth about the authors legacy. It is only that way that the author can reach literacy immortality.”
As the song entails, school is officially over. But, not really. As the end of the semester windles down, I decided to take the nerdy way out and register in a summer course. This semester has ben a hectic one. I’ve had a lot of stress, mostly papers to write, concerts, and not to mention, more papers. It has been a good semester. I wasn’t fond of the grading I received, especially in my music history course, but you can’t always get what you want. In this semester, I have also pondered on the two possibilities I have after I finish my Masters. I could stay here in the United States or go back to my home country, Puerto Rico, and search for a job there
As the song states, schools out for the summer so I won’t think about it… too much. ‘ve also toying with the possibility of pursuing a Doctorate degree in Musicology (a PhD), instead of a DMA in Choral Conducting (for all of you who do not know the acronyms a DMA is a Doctorates in Musical Ars). The root of this moral, career dilemma, is that with a PhD in Musicology, I can assess Latin American repertoire and unveil the mysteries and all of the inaccuracies that’s out there (this is technically called ethnomusicology. With a DMA, I would just focus on an ensemble and how to create a professional sound out of them. Both of the things I would love, but time will tell which one I will choose.
Speaking of musicology and the mysteries it implies, specifically ethnomusicology, my independent study will focus on what ethnomusicology is, how it has evolved, and how it has been reflected in Latin America. I will hope this new adventure provides itself to be truthful! Also, in this summer I will add to my agenda to update this blog (more than I have been lately). So I will stop with my binge watching of anything that is on Netflix (although Scandal Season 3 is really tempting, I kid you not) and focus on maintaining this blog in tip, top shape.
That will be all for now!