Performers at Louder Than A Bomb 2010 by Flickr user cvyn2010
Taking a bound away from logic, I've gone and explored my own mind, and what IÂ found is something that can't be told, it needs to be experienced. When you listen to this, I ask that you go in with an open mind,Â and try toÂ imagine the best you can. I promise I'll try my best to explain what it is like to be… well,Â me.
Ain't the South Side of Chicago gorgeous?
I live in the great city of Chicago and not only has summer begun, it is in full sweltering, mosquito biting, leaf wilting, sweaty armpitting FORCE. Hey, no one lives here for the weather. But before it really got started, I have to take myself back to the beginning when summer was actually light and breezy, filled with chirping birds and neighbors out and about.
This week's feature, about the very beginning of summer here in the Second City, comes from Tonette of Curie Youth Radio. Summer on 64th is short and sweet so regardless of whether you live in the sultry Midwest, or the breezy coasts, you can get outside and enjoy your summer because one thing's for sure: in a few months time, you'll wish you were this sticky again.
The newly installed camera that Tonette mentions. Thanks, Google!
Music in this episode is by YACHT. You can download their album, See Mystery Lights, for free because it is all up on the Free Music Archive.
Ece Ergadöz produced the feature in the most recent episode of YouthCast. And though she produced it with the Youth Media Project in New Mexico, she has returned home to Turkey for the summer. She answered some questions via email ("Hi! I have my driver's test tomorrow, so sorry in advance for the short answers ") to let us know how her memory was jogged and her feature, Peculiar Privilege and the Elegy, was made.
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Why did it feel so awkward to ask that question about being an outsider toy your classmate? Why do you think people looked at you so strangely?
It was strange because a very tolerant atmosphere towards all cultures exists at [United World College]. Therefore, asking my friend about the feeling of outsiderness was a little out of place I think.
How did you get involved with the Youth Media Project?
I got involved because I was very involved with the Constructive Engagement of Conflict program at our school. Naomi, the director, suggested that I join YMP. I came to love the project right away.
Did you set out with a full idea of what you wanted to communicate through this story, or did it evolve more organically?
I actually had no idea about what to do at the beginning, But after talking to my German friend Tina, who is featured in my piece, I decided upon this project.
What was your writing process like? And then after that, what was your editing process like?
The writing process did not take too long because once I got the idea, it was sort of like a stream of consciousness. Editing process was tough though, especially choosing short pieces out of the long interviews I made with my friends, and figuring out the technical aspect of editing. But I had lots of fun!
Tell me a little more about growing up in Turkey. You talk about feeling out of place in your own family, but where do you feel like an insider? How would you define your culture?
I grew up in Istanbul so I have been immersed in the modern day city culture of Turkey. I am really not familiar with my parentsâ€™ ethnical backgrounds and cultures to this day. Plus, my mother was also born in Istanbul and my father moved here when he was 1-year-old. So, I have been well immersed in the majorityâ€™s culture.
Did you visit your father's hometown?
No, I havenâ€™t been there yet. I just graduated from high school, so after all the stress I suffered during the college admission process, I much more prefer the Turkish south with lots of beaches for this summer Iâ€™m planning to go to my father's hometown next year. (Itâ€™s kind of cold out there in Kars)
What are you up to now?
I will be off to Harvard next fall. Thanks for featuring my story!
Chandra Touch, bottom row and fourth from the left, Captain of Plymouth State University's spirit squad.
We all do things our parents wouldn't approve of. For Chandra Touch, one of those things was the most normal activity an American girl can do: be a cheerleader. Chandra's mom grew up in Cambodia, so cheerleading seemed like a risque activity to her. Chandra turned the mic on her mom and on herself to gain some perspective.
This piece was produced for Blunt Youth Radio in Portland, Maine (my radio alma mater! woot woot!) with help from Youth Radio in California. More about Blunt: High school age youth from the Portland area, both free and incarcerated, staff a live call-in talk radio show. It is almost entirely youth-produced, from guest booking to engineering to production on reports, like this one that Chandra made.
Chandra is currently a third year student at Plymouth State University. She is a Social Work major with a minor in Psychology. I snagged her through email, since class has now started and everyone is busybusybusy.
You made this piece two years ago. How has it come back to "haunt" you?
Recently I was volunteering at MIT for the Terrascope Youth Radio Program and was searching for this particular piece online. I came across multiple websites that had featured my piece and it had listeners post comments. I read the comments and realized that I was not alone. My piece had reached out to many listeners who understood and could relate to the culture clash that my mother and I had. As a young Asian American I remind myself everyday that although I was brought up a bit different from most of my friends; I am still the one who lives my life.
Have these issues with your mom, her being skeptical of your choice, remained as you've gone to college?
Of course it has, my mother is a hard headed person, as am I. She still reminds me how much life would be easier at home. Especially this year because I had just got my own off-campus apartment and this summer my income wasn't so great so I came to school with nothing and am stressing about how I will pay for $948 for books this semester.
Is she coping with everything on her own?
She has always been an independent woman but like every person she needs support and someone to tell her that everything is going to be OK. She has had her occasional break downs and cries for me to come back and help her and offers me multiple scenarios to the better college life but she is a strong woman and has always been capable of being on her own. She has been since she was sixteen.
Do you still cheerlead?
Yes, I do. I was Captain last season and was also the Head Coach for New Found Regional High School Varsity Cheerleading Team but here in New Hampshire they call cheering "Spirit."
How has talking about yourself and your family in the media changed how you look at yourself and your family?
This piece has definitely been a reflection piece of my life past, present, and future. It makes me think back to when I was just a senior in high school uncertain of my future as a first generation Asian American. Do I stay home and help out the family or do I venture out of my four walls and leave what I know? I look back and listen to this piece and I know through all the disagreements and the stress that I have caused my mother by leaving her, she is proud of me not matter what.
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