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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Faith, Religion, and Art

Like the past couple of days, the day started out with the morning routine: breakfast and Qi Gong. Today Dr. John Gilmore, the Qi Gong teacher, taught us the last move for Qi Gong and expects us to be able to do it ourselves now. Half of the class went to the auditorium for a theatre workshop led by Dr. Lisa Jo Epstein. After Qi Gong, we had the option of choosing which workshops wanted to go to. There was a workshop about how religion can tie in with social justice and an open mic discussion. Jun and I went to the religion workshop. It was nice to hear about people opening up about their religions and to see how diverse our class was. In the class, there were people who were Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, and Atheist. Throughout the three hours we were in class, we discussed why people turn to religion and how it gives them comfort. Some people talked about their own religious challenges; for instance, one classmate said that she would like to be more spiritual and connect more with her religion however, it seems that her heart is not there. 

Isaiah and his family
At lunch, Jun and I went to Houston Market and bought food with our Penn Card. Then we met up with Elexis and Chiamaka. Since we were in different workshops, we started to talk about what we learned in the workshops we attended. In the afternoon, Jun and I had to go to South St. (in Philadelphia) with our groups for a site visit while Elexis and Chiamaka had to return back to their workshop. We visited Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, which is a museum of mosaics done by Isaiah Zagar. The museum reminded me a lot of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia. The museum reminded me somewhat of the mosaics that can be seen in Richmond. I thought that the mosaics were very interesting and resourceful. According to the tour guide, Olivia, most of the tiles and other materials are donated by people around and out of the neighborhood. We learned a bit about the history how the organization came to be and through lots of perseverance and hard work it became what it is today. After touring the museum for a bit, Isaiah Zagar, who is the main artist and owns the museum, came and did a Q & A session with us. People asked him questions about how the place came to be and what inspired him. Although he was wearing a mic, I couldn't hear him since I was in the back but I heard him talking about how "hip" he was since he was into social media such as Instagram. If I ever come back to Philadelphia, I would definitely come back to the museum again. 
The secret message is...

Since there wasn't a lot of us, we all took the bus back to the campus. Jun and I met up with Chiamaka and Elexis at the Quad and then with Justeen, we went to the gym. After we were done going to the gym, we figured that the 1920 Commons was closed so we went to eat at a food court near CVS by 34th Street. It turns out that that place was closed too so we went to a cafe called Cosi. The food was not bad but it was a bit overpriced. I ordered a tuna sandwich and it wasn't bad but it could be better. I feel like my expectations have gone down after eating at the Chinese restaurant with Justeen, Jun, and Elexis on Sunday. After we were done eating, all of us did some catching up since we haven't seen each other all day. 
Late night dinner/hangout 
When we went back to the Quad, we talked about which activities to sign up for on Sunday and then went up to the sign in room and signed ourselves in. I went to Justeen's room to blog because I didn't want to wake my roommate up. Since it was almost time for me to be on my floor, I went back to my dorm. I took a break from blogging and went outside in the hall to chat a bit with my RC, Sarah, and my floor manager, Abdelis. We talked about the floor meeting that will happen tomorrow and a bit about what is going to be covered in tomorrow's floor meeting. 

Tomorrow, I will be attending the theatre workshop and hopefully it will go well. I was not able to sign up in time for the Art Museum that Summer Discovery is going to take us to but hopefully tomorrow I will be able to go since there is a stand-by. The classes are already halfway done and in a week and a half I can't believe that I will be leaving this campus. 

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