In 2007, I moved to Providence for the graduate program in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design (risd). The new atmosphere came as a shock. Everything felt awkward and unfamiliar. I was completely alone. The streets were empty, and it was hard to encounter people. With nobody to stare at, and nobody to be stared by, I started to dress down. I left my high heels at home, and I started to not wear any make up. I realized that being alone in another culture meant that I had to trust myself more. I didn’t know what the social norm was so I wasn’t be pressured by it. Day by day, I felt the weight of achievement, and the longing to be beautiful start to dissolve. In its place was now a new desire. A desire to adjust to the new environment: to understand, internalize, and to empathize.
My first semester at risd was a time of change. Since I was studying in a different country, one without the same cultural restrictions of home, I allowed myself to explore openly through my work. I did not have any pressure to make beautiful or perfect form. I wanted to be more inventive. I wanted to make something new. I did not know what, but I was eager to explore without the expectations of a final product.