For my third co-op, I remained in Yellow Springs. During this co-op quarter, I have spent my time dedicated to my work and taking the beginning steps towards my senior project. For this quarter, I worked as a Kitchen Assistant in the Antioch Kitchens, as a Miller Fellow for the Office for Diversity & Inclusion at Antioch College, and as a Miller Fellow for the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions. I have been extremely fortunate with the jobs that I have been hired for this quarter. I am so proud to say that I love all of them and consider myself lucky to have them on my resume.
For the research part of my co-op, I had the privilege of working with an alum of Antioch who is now an adjunct at the college. With her help, I have been able to lay the groundwork for my senior project, which is based on my self-designed major that focuses on the intersections of self through the lens of literature and anthropology.
During this co-op, I spent a great deal of time thinking about space and place, including how I view and choose space while I interact with it. My thoughts and conversation around space have helped me with my relationship with Antioch as well as helping me ground myself within my senior project and my jobs. For my co-op class, we were required to document our experiences of place and space through three documented vignettes. For my third and final one, I explored and reflected on my experiences over the last year. I spent time meditating on the Winter Solstice, the journey that I have survived, and the future that becomes me. I am ready for what comes next and I am grateful for where I am and where I have been.
Photo credit: https://www.communitysolution.org/
The saying “never look a gift horse in the mouth” has always been a favorite of mine and I really do feel that it perfectly catches the reasoning and experience behind my recent trip to Cambodia for part of my second co-op.
A year ago now, two family friends that I now call my adopted grandparents, offered to pay my airfare on the condition that I would film and take pictures for them while in Cambodia. Naturally, I thought this was a joke. I mean, who just offers to pay well over $1,000 U.S. dollars so that you can point your camera at something?! I, of course, said yes immediately. There I was, flight itinerary in hand; my Gift Horse if you will. Ready to board.
Now, for those of you familiar with the phrase that I quoted above, then you most likely know that that particular phrase is rarely taken as an entirely positive statement.
I boarded the plane in Cleveland, Ohio knowing that my life would never be the same, but there is no way that I could have ever predicted any of the events that would follow.
After a 5 hour lay-over in New York, a 15 hour flight, a 23 hour lay-over in Shanghai and then another 4 hour flight, we finally landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Upon exiting the airport, we were greeted by friends and family of my adopted grandparents. It was 23:30 and hotter than it would be in Ohio for the next three months (at the time in February). We were escorted to our incredible place of lodging for the following 3 weeks: The Angkor Pearl Hotel. Still, to this day, I miss the entire staff there and writing about them brings tears to my eyes. We frequently spent our evenings on the veranda of the hotel and spent hours talking to the staff of the hotel.
We immediately dove into lesson plans and I was filming as we went. Our humorous and kindhearted Tuk Tuk drivers showed us around their beautiful city. By day, we taught and worked with the children of Siem Reap and by evening we dined in 5 star restaurants. I must admit that the difference between our days and our nights were a form of culture shock alone but still to this day (over a week later) I am still feeling quite out of place and feeling the true effects of the culture shock that took place and is taking place still.
In a mere three weeks, I filmed and photographed and worked with some of the most amazing people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The people of Cambodia are extremely kind and loving. We quickly made friends everywhere we went. They would pause their day to help you. During our all to brief time there, I visited sacred cultural sites such as Ta Phrom Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple, taught english, submerged myself into the city by day and by night, played with wild dogs and most importantly, I made a family over there. The school that we spent the majority of our time working with was run almost completely by one man and his family. They were quick to take us in under their roof and help us in any way they could.
This trip and the people that I met whilst there have forever changed my life and I already have plans to visit again after I graduate from Antioch. While this trip was full of a multitude of ups and downs. I will forever be grateful for this Gift Horse, for never looking it in the mouth (as it were) and for my adopted grandparents for blessing me with such an opportunity.
My first co-op was as a documentary intern at Zoetrope Aubry Productions (ZAP) in the Presidio of San Francisco, California. I have grown up with a love for media and the arts, and a long-time passion of mine has been film and all of the steps taken to release a film. Because of this incredible opportunity to work at ZAP, I was able to learn the stages of post-film production.
In my time with ZAP, I helped create tribute reels for award winners of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). While working with ZAP and the SFIFF, I was able to view films that I helped work on.
Over this co-op, I learned and tuned my knowledge of post-production equipment, programs, and even how to run a film screening myself. I could not have imagined a better first co-op.
Photo credit: https://www.zap-sf.com/