Finally, I penned this down: the story of how my Annual Project is borned…
A lil background information about myself, I have a lot of interests, just way too many interests. I have yet to find my passion and I guess a part of me wanted to me a renaissance kind of person. Well, of course I am no Leonardo Da Vinci nor Michelangelo. But the wide range of interests have developed over time, some were short term, some were around for years – this could be explaining my commitment issue.
A throwback to somewhere in mid-2015, I saw a shared Facebook post by my buddy, Sumin on a Taiwanese performance artist, Tehching Hsieh who is famous with his One Year Performance. I remembered being inspired by his dedication on delivering a year in producing his performance artwork. This probably planted the idea for this Annual Project in my head…
Another throwback to 3rd November 2015, I remembered it was during the 5th semester’s exam period. I always get inspired during exam preparation - one of the result from my procrastination! I decided and penned this down immediately in my iPhone notes: as a birthday gift for myself: to document an annual project each year in dealing with my many interests. I will dedicate a year to learn/embrace a topic/lifestyle and draw inspiration from it.
So it did take me 5 years to create Instagram for a purpose. I had this idea by late 2015 to work on an Annual Project each year to deal with my many interests. Inspired by Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance, I am dedicating a year of commitment to learn something, anything and everything about the chosen topic or theme. The Annual Project of 2016 is Italy 🇮🇹 I hope you would come with me as I draw inspirations from this learning journey. 5 months since I have started, I am enjoying it tremendously. And I hope I haven't missed out too much on the Instagram actions yet 😁 #annualproject2016 #italy #tehchinghsieh
The Topic and Structure of Annual Project…
The inspiration poured in too quickly that very one night, I now have a list of projects to do which could last me for two decades. The chosen topic is purely any topic which I have a great interest to explore at that time, as long as it makes sense to me. There are no rules in the project, and there were no expectations. But I will be restructuring this for 2017’s.
I was going to go with Project Fear in 2016 which includes drafting a Horror Production. Then ITALY came up as the greatest interest at that point. The rest is history. An Instagram account is set up to document the learning journey. I immersed myself in the project and am pleased with the development.
2016: ITALY – the Review…
The food – Italians held great pride in their food and I learned to not start argue on food with the Italians. I tried to cook and bake a handful of Italian dishes, the experience was amazing, apart from a few failures. Who knows Tiramisu can be easy and frustrating at the same time!
4 Couchsurfing experience, 4 Airbnbs, 8 stops, 9 chapters for travelogue, 13 gelatos, 30 nights, 1500 photos later; it's time to say goodbye to Italy! To all the people I had met, thank you for the memories. It was a dream come true. And to Italy, I will be back! Shout out to Luigi who saved me from missing my flight! #annualproject2016 #italy #graduationtrip #lonelyplanet
The graduation trip – one month in Italy was the highlight of the year. I was so unprepared but it turned out to be a beautiful experience. The food, the people, the attractions, the lifestyle; everything was almost perfect and as usual, I pushed my boundaries – trying Couchsurfing and not planning almost anything.
The Italian friends – Thanks to the amazing language app: Hellotalk, I made a good number of Italian friends. I had a language partner whom I had regular Skype sessions with. I had a travel partner whom I met while travelling in Australia. I have a handful of Italian friends whom I am keeping in touch with. I have some unpleasant times. But I also met a Roman angel, another highlight of the year.
The culture and the lifestyle – From the friends and the obsession with Italy, I learned a fair bit about this beautiful country. The summer lifestyle, the pride with food, the flirty but romantic Italian men, the family culture, the university lifestyle, the beauty of the language… It is amazing to learn about culture from the other side of the world, it was fresh after the Malaysian and Australian experience.
The language: I took a 3-month elective course (Level A1) in basic Italian and excelled in it. My command is good enough to survive introductory conversation for 3 minutes. And point to an object and name it. But I did not manage to self-study and get to Level A2. I have invested enough of materials but can’t seem to find the time or the drive to study it when work has started.
With this, I concluded my undergraduate studies. I heaved a huge sigh of relief as I peeked through one eye to check my results. I was pleased, especially with my last minute elective course for this project, ITAL1002. Thanks to Dr Piera, Geovanna, Marco, two Roberto, Paolo and Davide for being with me in learning Italian. The self-studying mojo is still going strong 💪🎓 #annualproject2016 #italian #graduated
The Italian entertainment: I was hooked to an Italian drama (Gomorra) for a while, and some Italian pop songs. And I watched a couple of classic Italian black and white movies. It is a good platform to improve the language but the motivation is not there.
In summary for Italy and the Annual Project
For a first, I am pleased. I am crazy about Italy than any other thing. I love the overall experience and I hanged on for a year with Italy. And it gets emotional to move on to a new project as the year ends. But Italy will always live with me. And Italy is definitely my favourite country and is now the only country I know I would want to return to. What’s next is a new annual project for 2017 but I am aiming to continue to master Italian and I am sure the Italian elements will appear in the 2017 project.
I have some plans for the Annual Project and I hope I can develop it as a side commitment, it’s one of my 2017 resolution. If you are interested in doing an Annual Project, I urge you to jump into it, and share it with me!