“Hi, I’m Juna.” — between moving to a new city, meeting new people in a new environment, while walking in to an audition room every chance I have, this is probably the phrase I’ve said most since graduating. It’s weird- when you’re used to being in a comfortable, constant environment for four years straight, it’s not until you walk in to a new environment where you have to introduce yourself starting with the simplicity of your name that you start thinking, who am I really? Who have I become since the last time I had to introduce myself to a crowd that knows little to nothing about me. Biggest thing I learned is: you just have to trust that person, the experiences you’ve had thus far in life, and be proud of that. The key is: to simply just be you. Sounds cheesy but I’ve found it being one of the hardest things to do. Anyways, hi, I’m Juna, and one thing I know for certain is: I’m really happy to be where I’m at in life. #happymonday
**Note that this was written lastnight as I depressingly waited at the top of the stairs of my Brooklyn sublet for my roommate to let me in (you’ll know what I mean mid-way through this post.) ———
September 25, 2018 —
From the beginning of this year up until mid-July, I had feared this day. Upon ending my contract at Tent, my visa status allowed me up to 90 days of unemployment to find a job within my degree and once the days were up, I was to leave this country. So on June 25, 2018 the internal clock that would whisper to me everyday reminding me of the day I have to fly 6000 miles back home sneaking up to me, started ticking. >>
It is a well known reality that establishing a career in the theatre industry takes years for anyone, let alone a fresh graduate, but my heart was set to move to NYC so here I was in the city of my dreams, a week after ending my early summer contract, trying to hide the anxiety lurking around that kept hissing at me “83 days...79 days...68 days...” >>
Fast forward to now, the 90 days have passed, my “clock” is stopped at 60, and I am sitting on the top of the stairs of my now second sublet, typing away in my notes as I wait for my roommate. / Yes, I have been waiting for over an hour now because of course on the last day of being at this sublet, the night I have to pack all my stuff, I forget my keys in the room. But. I am blessed. I am so so blessed that I am still here, in the middle of Brooklyn, about to pull this all nighter to make the move to Union City. Because at least I’m still here, getting to pursue my passion, being stimulated every day by fellow artists who create beautiful, innovative work. Being in New York has already brought me so many blessings, one of which being that I get to stay in this country a little bit longer but- I would not have been able to be here right now without the people around me, my friends back in Illinois, well, all over the country really, and of course my friends and family back home. There is so much more to this journey, it is only just the beginning. But I needed to take a moment to thank all the people that have been there for me, supporting me, and caring for me. — CONT’D IN COMMENTS!!
Last night, through a series of incredibly fortunate events, I met one of my biggest idols that inspired me to pursue my lifelong passion as a career seven years ago. (So please, excuse my distraught state in this photo for I was busy trying to keep as calm of a state as possible.) Baayork- you have one of the most genuine and giving souls I have ever encountered and I cannot thank you enough for the encouragement and wisdom you have given me since I first made the decision to pursue a career in theatre in the U.S. I am forever grateful for the people that NYC has brought me to in the past few months and am blessed every single day to live and breathe the life I’ve always imagined. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been tough, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything else.
thought i’d have to wait for another summer in tokyo to see this gal but LOOK AT US WE’RE ALL GROWN UP AND HUGGING IN NYC. missed you so much and beyond proud of everything you’ve done and are going to do. 💓
it’s been 8 months since the last classic ‘departure’ pic at HND. this time instead of bloomington i’m heading back to my favorite city. it’s always a humbling experience coming back home and this trip was no exception. until next time tokyo 👋🏻 🇯🇵