Day IV: LFK-Des Moines
Oh, Lawrence F*king Kansas. What a place.
I would have never thought that I missed this place so much until I lived in Tally. Visiting Lawrence in 16 was quite emotional. This is just the same. But this time I have seen slightly more people, and they all meant more to me than last time.
I left the motel early and had a little time to do a little campus tour. Lawrence is developing very fast. K-10 construction is done this time and now there is a byway instead of go through 23rd St. While I know my bearing, it feels weird to see how much it has changed. Lied Center is still the same, and probably Bales would still be exactly the same, so I didn’t bother. However, when I go down Irving Hill Road, I freaked out. The road became so wide and there were multiple huge science building complexes in the originally barren land. That scared me. Of course, there are also new student apartments building, everything just look so different. However, the sculpture of Ju Ming is still standing strong at where it has always been.
I still couldn’t believe that this belongs to KU, and both of my undergrad alma mater own the Taichi series. At CUHK, that is such a landmark and is the center of our campus life. It witnessed so many historical events, debates and movements. Here, this solo Taichi practitioner quietly experiencing the transformation of energy, witnessing the change of life in the exact same way. Every time I see it, I feel strangely peaceful, while it fuels me with some sense of urge to strive for social justice.
Dr. Pierce and I were supposed to meet at Alchemy coffee, and I went to the one that I always knew. However, I discovered that they have a downtown location now, so I went there instead. Well, I was right all along and Dr. Pierce were in the original shop waiting for me for 15 minutes. Seeing him was such an amazing feeling. Not only because he changed me life so tremendously, his spirituality also inspired me a lot. I still don’t know much about it but he is always so calm and filled with wonders. I still remember his parting words, he swore with such calmity. I told him a lot about the things I experienced in the last two years and how alive I finally felt when I got out of Florida, as well as the many ideas I have had for my doctorate. He also shared a lot of thoughts and his experience at the U of M. That was a brief meeting but that was so much needed. Just hearing from him and see his thinking and fascinated face made me believe that I am making some right choices, and my life is indeed exciting.
Then I met two friends from collegium and Dr. Pierce’s class. Talking about what we are doing and what are our next steps. The fact is that there are many more people who care about me than I am aware of. I need to remember that. Also, I don’t have to feel isolated, my support network is huge. My friends are also doing amazing and exciting things. We are a big family of great minds.
However, the development of LFK sacrifaced something, or it is still not as attractive as KC. Super sad that I could not visit hank charcuterie, nor Ingredient, my favorite restaurant in Lawrence downtown. That is a real loss for Lawrence.
Finally meeting Joe Scoonover. I barely knew him because of, again, Dr. Pierce. We played in the new music ensemble once together. I got to know him a little better after graduation, and he is such a talented guitarist, and I would love to know more about his music and thinking. It did not disappoint me, his vision on his music and art is tremendous. The fact that displaying colors and aesthetics is so important to him proves that the expression of ideas is so crucial to good art. We touched a little on music theory pedagogy, and unfortunately, I have seen so many people like him that are failed by our current way of approaching fundamental musical knowledge. Things have to change, not in terms of the content we deliever, but how we make the content relevant to today’s musicking.
The drive to Des Moines was peaceful and full of fields. Oh midwestern life.