That one time I drew Snorlax, pole dancing in a g-string, onstage in front of 100+ people. It happens.

Hey y’all! In this post, I mention a fellow cartoonist/artist who is way more talented than I am! Go look at her blog here!

One of my favorite things about living in Australia is my dorm, or as the Australians call it, my “residential college.” I’ve discovered that my college– the International House– is more than just a place to live. It’s a fully-functioning community. We have dances and sports tournaments and restaurant outings. The residents, despite their various backgrounds, are shockingly open and friendly. I feel so fortunate to be able to live in IH (getting a room is competitive– I had to write essays, send my transcript, and even do a Skype interview) since I’ve really been milking my time here.

One of our many events is an annual talent show known as iNight. Once a year, the IH residents organize a slew of videos, performances, and musical acts for everyone to enjoy. I know, I know: a “talent show” sounds so middle-school, but the IH is actually bursting with talent.

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So, in August, a sign-up sheet appeared in our main bulletin board. Names slowly started appearing on the list: some kids were forming a band, some others were filming a video, another was planning to sing…

I should also mention, at this point, this website– my blog– was spreading around my close acquaintances. A small community means that news travels fast, I guess. Thus, one of my friends suggested:

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And that’s that, I thought. But my blog really was spreading around the House…

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Oh, screw it. I put my name down.

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But all I know how to do is draw comics. I’m not some sort of art virtuoso. Um… what could I do?

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Luckily for me…

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This resident, a visual arts student, was not only interested in comics, but is also a very, very talented artist!

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So we plotted.

And plotted.

And wondered… what could we draw live that people would enjoy? 

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A few days before the iNight, I put this poster on the front board.

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This box accompanied it.

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And we promised that, on iNight, we would pick people’s suggestions from the box, and draw them in under one minute.

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Well, it looked like we were going to have to. Because, before we knew it, we found ourselves backstage.

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The rules were like this: Our host would pull a random suggestion from our suggestion box. We would have one minute to draw it. There were cameras mounted above both of our tables, so that the audience could watch us draw live.

Me on stage!

Me on stage!

Drawing in progress!

Drawing in progress!

And here’s a sampling of the things we came up with!

PROMPT: “Bryony riding a Gengar”

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My drawing is on the right, and Bryony’s is on the left.

PROMPT: “Darth Vader wearing a tutu farting rainbows”

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My drawing is on the right, and Bryony’s is on the left.

PROMPT: “Draw a dick.” (Yeah… it was bound to happen.)

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For those unaware of Australian politics– the dude on the left is Tony Abbott, Australia’s current prime minister.

PROMPT: “An evil hamster fighting a man-eating burger with a piranha gun.”

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PROMPT: “Snorlax pole dancing.”

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It was a blur of markers and paper. I didn’t bother gauging the audience’s reaction– I was focusing too much on drawing. After 10 minutes of furious sketching, I stumbled off stage to regroup with my drawing buddy.

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Obviously, I was a little overwhelmed. A little nervous. A little oh-my-dude-why-did-I-agree-to-this-again? 

But, you know what? 

It was really fun!

Despite being on stage, in front of a huge audience, with a high-pressure time limit, I had a lot of fun doing the act. I mean, I hadn’t even planned on doing an act. I didn’t think it was possible for me to do an act. I didn’t have the confidence to pull off a successful performance. Yet, somehow, we had made it happen. Not only did we make it happen, but people actually enjoyed it!

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As a result, that night, I felt a wee bit better about myself. I’ve never been encouraged to learn how to draw; quite the contrary, really. So it was nice to see that my amateur skills were enough to entertain, amaze, and amuse. I’ll be forever known as that-one-girl-who-can-draw-weird-blobby-cartoony-things! 

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Finally, I could sit back and enjoy the rest of iNight.

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Somehow, I had not only been roped into organizing the fashion show segment of the night, but also modeling the Egyptian national costume. I’m not Egyptian. Long story.

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Nope, definitely still Asian.

And that’s how I ended up strutting my stuff twice in the same night.

In which the cosmos sends me into my quarter-life crisis.

I turned 20 a few weeks ago, so my friends here wanted to go out and celebrate.

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Yeah. I’m no less childish at 20 than I was at 19. Listen, I just really like DDR!

Still, I know that 20 is supposed to be a monumental age. I’ve beaten teenage pregnancy. I’ve survived for two decades. By this time, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft.  Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice. Charles Lindbergh learned to fly.

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To worsen my existential crisis, I went stargazing with my residential college, the International House. IH has their own log cabin in Belanglo State Forest, about 2 hours out of Sydney.

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When not in use by residents, the log cabin can be rented out by other groups. For example, the MacArthur Astronomical Society regularly stays in the cabin. In fact, they were there when our 40+ people bus pulled into the woods.

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They had their own telescopes and everything! These guys aren’t joking around– each scope is worth thousands of dollars.

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We arrived at the cabin a bit early, so we had some time to kill before nightfall. The International House organized a scavenger hunt to keep us occupied.

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And, in the style of the Aussies, we had a barbecue dinner.

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The sun began to set. Thankfully, we had a completely clear, cloudless night. The outside of the cabin is only lit with red lights, since they interfere less with your night vision. So the stars slowly came into view…

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…and we were even able to see planets.

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It was incredible! I’ve never seen that many stars in my life. I wished I could bring the sky home with me.

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I thought the photos came out rather well.

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It was a breathtaking sight. Especially since I’ve lived all my life in either the suburban sprawl or the city. There’s way too much light pollution there to see much of anything. There’s a Calvin and Hobbes strip on the awe of stargazing, actually:

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So. Since I was stargazing, I was obligated to contemplate the difficult questions.

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One year older, zero years wiser.