Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let's walk out our window - Sangjae Lee

There is a site called Highrise: Out My Window. This site introduces interesting lives of different people throughout the world. Among many people introduced, Zanillya from Amsterdam was my main focus. By viewing her life, I've earned an opportunity to look back on my life. The following essay is what I've felt from the life of Zanillya.

Another Life in Amsterdam
 Sangjae Lee

Our lives have been different from those of the past. Development of Internet technology, transportation technology, and other technologies has made us live in a more convenient environment. One of the major changes in our lifestyles is the change in our dwellings. Unlike the past when we had live in houses no more than two-story high, nowadays, fifteen-story high apartments are common in cities. The emergence of such high-rises definitely created a new trend in the 21st century.
Zanillya, a woman from Amsterdam, Holland, has also adopted such trend. She lives in Bijlmermeer, a high-rise which was once deemed to be Europe’s most completely functional satellite community. Its construction started in 1966 to build a residence which could house maximum 40000 people. After it was constructed, it had to be reconstructed twice to possess its complete shape. First was when the building collapsed due to its mistake in the previous construction. Second was when an airplane heading to a nearby airport crashed to the building, resulting in heavy casualties. As a consequence of repeated renewals, it stands as a durable structure. Furthermore, Bijlmermeer is recognized for its conspicuousness in the region it is located. Being the only high-story building in the district and located among the untouched nature, it is definitely a noticeable structure.
Zanillya’s high-rise reminded me of the building I live in right now in a sense that it is quite exotic in the area. I live in Gangwon, South Korea. A white, twelve-story building in which I live is a dormitory of my school, KMLA. The dormitory was built approximately ten years ago, when the school started to accept quite many students and I have lived here since last year when I enrolled in KMLA. One of the characteristics of our school is that it is located far from the cities where beautiful nature, such as mountains, surrounding it provides an excellent view. Moreover, many people farm and raise livestock outside of our campus. Even inside the campus, many traditional Korean structures stand around the dormitory, emphasizing the national identity, which our school deems to be important. These surrounding environments lucidly show contrast with a tall and white dormitory building. In essence, I felt Zanillya’s high-rise to be somewhat similar with my dormitory.
Although similar in some aspects, Zanillya’s house and my dormitory room are different in their interior. In Zanillya’s house, there is much antique-looking furniture. Chandelier hangs from the ceiling and a decorous carpet lies on the floor, adding to the beauty and the luxury of the house. Moreover, there are several lamps hanging on the wall, glowing to produce a somewhat homely atmosphere. Also, tables, chairs, drawers with silver decoration, and many golden ornaments exhibited on the wall fill the room to make it seem compact and gorgeous. The whole sight of the room gave me the impression of an ancient Indian palace.
Such atmosphere is totally different from that of the place in which I live. Since dormitory is planned to provide students with only the most basic requirements, it is built as simply as possible. For instance, inside the room, there are only a desk, a closet, a drawer, and a bed per a person. Furthermore, the furniture is only painted brown, without any decoration, giving students the sense of uniformity and simplicity. Compared to plain design of my dormitory room, Zanillya’s room was such an ornamented and luxurious one.
Other than the exterior or interior of her house, her life also impressed me. Born between her mother who was a Roman gypsy and her father who was a famous musician among the 70s, Zanillya strived to fulfill her dream of becoming a musician. She tried painstakingly and finally became a musician. Her music also reveals her life to some extent. Capable of speaking five different languages, she introduces parts with different languages in her song. Furthermore, a part of the lyric, “want my soul in harmony,” reveals her intention of expressing her true self through her music. Additionally, another part of the lyric, “I get strength for my enemies,” shows Zanillya’s strong will to transcend any hardships she will confront. Through her music, I could feel her true passion towards music.
Her life made me reflect on myself. Zanillya knew exactly what she liked and devoted herself fully into it since young. She had a clear motive of pursuing her goal. However, I live without such a profound goal. I am not even sure what I like exactly. When young, I liked playing soccer so much that I wanted to become a soccer player and I also wished to become a pilot because they seemed to be so fascinating. However, as I grew older, such dreams came to be an absurd dream driven by my childish fancy. Looking at Zanillya’s life, I had a chance to think about my future and establish a solid goal.
Through the documentary “Out My Window,” I could actually have a good grasp of diverse lifestyles in the world. Although living in a same world, people differ in their lives, including residences, cultures, or personal pursuits. Through indirectly experiencing the diverse aspects of human lives, I not only learned to respect various ways of living but also had an opportunity to reflect on myself, comparing with others.

After viewing the life of Zanillya in Amsterdam, I got to think of my life. Throughout my life until now, I found several aspects in which I found interesting. Although I live in a small portion of the whole world, I could expand my view to the entire earth through my experience in KMLA. I believe such effort should be truly called "out my window." By expanding myself to a bigger world, I could mature and find another self. It is definately amazing experience and I tried to express such on the prezi. Enjoy it!

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