Tag Archives: History

Ready…Set…GO!

BAM!

My final semester at university has begun! I am so excited to finally say those words, er…type those words. Haha! I graduated from high school back in 2008 and it has taken me 8 years to get this far to my final semester to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree. I know that it should only take 4 years to get your Bachelor’s Degree, but I took two semesters off to participate in the Disney College Program internship in Orlando, Florida for a year from 2010-2011. Then 2013-2014 I had to take a year off due to medical problems so that I could recover and get my health back to normal. Finally, I started classes again the Fall of 2015 and now…after all this time, I’m so close to the finish line and I’m so excited to graduate in December!

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The best news? Only two classes stand in my way of completing my goal. This last semester, I am taking “Survey of Asian Art” and “Music Appreciation”. Now why those two you may ask? Well, as an Art Major, I am required to take a Music, Theater, or Dance class and I didn’t mean to put it off until my last semester, that’s just how it happened, so Music Appreciation it was. And, I needed one more Art History elective class, and I really am a BIG appreciator of Asian culture, so I just HAD to take that class when I saw it was an option, haha!

So…please wish me luck!

– Soleil

 

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Just, Right Now….

Sometimes I get teary when I realize that I’m almost 26 and the longest relationship I have ever had was six months.

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And that I have had a pretty lousy date/relationship record so far, including an obsessive controller, a liar, and a cheater.

Personally, I think it’s rather hard to find someone to actually be in a relationship with. I live in a very rural area so it’s not like there are many guys around to choose from. When I’m in my university classes, my classmates are always much younger than I am (the downfall of being a 25 year old college student).

All I’m asking for is someone who understands (and if they share it, that’s a bonus) my appreciation of art, writing, and history. Who will actually want to sit and watch the same shows and movies as me (yes, I’m the girl who still likes to go to Disney and other animated movies because they’re cute and I adore them and animation is what I want to do for a career, so it’s cool to see animation in action) and who accepts that reading tons of books is a very fun hobby for me. That I like to watch anime and BBC and that I’m a Whovian through and through (PS. My favorite Doctor to date is Matt Smith as Doctor 11)! That I enjoy Sherlock and think Benedict Cumberbatch is fantastic as the consulting detective (Martin Freeman is an excellent addition and they compliment each other very well, talent-wise). That I want to travel and find inspiration in new places for my art and writing (I truly believe an artist cannot survive creatively stuck in one place)! I mean, I don’t think I’m asking too much.

But sometimes…I’m just lonely and I’m getting awfully tired of waiting for Mr. Right.

Sincerely Yours,

Soleil

 

The History of Downtown Charleston, SC!

I’ve made a liar of myself. I never did make that 9/12 post I promised. For that, I apologize. In case it might happen again:

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So, I wanted to finish up my South Carolina trip recap in this post. Let the fun begin!

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This was my dinner at Jestine’s Kitchen in Downtown Charleseton. It includes some awesome Soul Food: Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens, and cornbread with some real Southern sweet tea.
Trying to get to Jestine’s it started to downpour! Since Ant and I didn’t have an umbrella, we got soaked, of course. It was a cold rain, too.

 

 

 

 

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To the left we have me, soaked, and to the right we have me with my hair dried off and with an awesome flip to it now! Yay!  IMG_7881

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also took a really cool historical tour through a portion of Downtown Charleston in an open-carriage pulled by two mules.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

It leans slightly to the left because of the earthquake that happened in the 1800s. Also, John C. Calhoun is buried here. In case you’re wondering, he’s the man who created the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Also, Edward Rutledge is buried here, too. He was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and eventually became the 39th Governor of South Carolina.

Powder Magazine

Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine sat on the edge of the original Charleston city border, which was surrounded by a 17-ft. wall made of mud and palmetto logs. They built a wall around their city because 13 prior attempts to colonize the South (one of which was Roanoke) had failed. The Powder Magazine dates back to 1713 and has walls that are 2-3 feet thick, made of brick, and the roof was stored with sandbags in the case that if there was an explosion, the sound and impact would hopefully be muted. This same wall was very successful during the Revolutionary War. Charleston was able to hold out against the British for four years (compared to Boston and Philadelphia, which fell in under a year), because the wall was built from palmetto logs, which are very absorbent of water and so are very spongey. This sponge-iness allowed for difficulty to surmount and destory and/or invade the city. Since the British couldn’t break the fort walls, they retreated back North. This victory for the city of Charleston is why South Carolina features the Palemetto as its State Tree and on its State Flag.

Charleston had five major fires in its history, and the fire of 1861 wiped out a good portion of the city.

I also learned that in 1704, the Spanish sent several hundred men from St. Augustine, FL to Charleston o wipe out the southermost English colony, which at time was Charleston, SC. The Spanairds attempt failed but the English sent back a retaliation force and burnt St. Augustine to the ground. This allowed English domination in the South.

Then there is King’s Street. It’s the main shopping street of Downtown Charleston. Our tour guide informed us that King’s Street is the highest point in Charleston, at 11-ft. above sea level. Also, it’s named King’s Street because it was owned by the King of England. In fact, it is still owned by Queen Elizabeth II today, so if you live on or do business on King’s Street, you have to pay taxes to the Crown.

Other Fun Facts: Charleston is known as the Holy City because it has so many different churches and was one of the most religously diverse cities of its time in history (in the American Colonies, anyway). In fact, the oldest Synagogue in the country is here and was established back in 1750.

St. John's Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church was established in 1734 and is well-known for it’s great iron-work gates with date back to 1822. They are so signifigant because these gates are one of the few original iron-works in all of Charleston. That’s because during the Civil War, a lot of iron was taken from around the city to melt down into weapons for the war.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church was made in 1722. (For the record, I took this photo off of Google because my photo wasn’t nearly as good as this). I’ve never heard of Unitarians before this carriage tour. Unitarians believe that everyone goes to Heaven and that there is no Hell. Thomas Jefferson didn’t share their beliefs, so during the Revolutionary War, the Unitarian Church was used as a stable for the soldiers horses.

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These brick homes were built by the US Navy during WWII for soldier housing barracks. After the war, the Navy donated the buildings to the city to be used for whatever they wanted. The city ended up making them public housing.

Extra Fun Fact: All of the bricks used to make these homes, plus all of the old historic buildings in Downtown Charleston were handmade by the slaves on Boone Hall Plantation, which I featured in a previous post.

Old Marine Hospital

Old Marine Hospital

The Old Marine Hospital was designed by Robert Mills. After WWII it became the Jenkins Orphanage. One of the orphans who ended up living here created a dance that caught on and became well-known, even to today. It’s known as the Charleston, and was named after the city it came from.

The Old City Jail

The Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Charleston chose the location of Potter’s Field for the Old City Jail because for the first 150 years of Charleston’s existence, it was the farthest end of the city’s limits. Potter’s Field was settled between Franklin and Archduke Streets and was where the poor and the people of no faith were buried.

Fun Fact: The College of Charleston tried to build a new library not too long ago, about a block away from the prison, and they dug up over 500 bodies. So, the area known as Potter’s Field still had bodies below the homes and streets and old city prison built on top of it.

This being said, I’ve definitely decided that if I EVER moved to Charleston, I would NEVER EVER live in the area known as Potter’s Field.

 

Moving on….

The Memminger Auditorium was once the Charleston high school, but before that it was a middle school. While it was a middle school, cannonballs were dug up on the school grounds, during a renovation project, that dated back to the Civial War! When the cannonballs were found, the bomb squad was called in because during the Civil War, some cannonballs were explosive rounds and they were worried they might still be live.

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The Daughters of Confederacy

The Daughters of Confederacy building hosts many Cival War artifacts, including some of Robert E. Lee’s hair.

Philadelphia Alley

Philadelphia Alley

This is Philadelphia Alley and it is where all of the Gentleman’s Duels took place. John Luke Wilson, a laywer of Charleston, wrote a book of 28 rules for the duels.

Fun Fact: The most common profession for a majority of the duelists were newspaper editors.

Extra Fun Fact: Charleston was once held captive by Blackbeard in the 1800s. His demands were that the townspeople of Charleston give him a chest of medicine in return for him to leave town. They complied. Our tour guide joked that their city is the only one in America who can lay claim to Blackbeard holding their city hostage for healthcare, haha!

Wrapping up, this trip was lots of fun packed into a quick 3-day weekend. If you’re ever heading to Charleston, South Carolina, I highly recommend doing any of the Historic Tours or exhibits. Have fun and look for my words again soon!

Cheers!

-Soleil

A South Carolina Historical Site: Boone Hall Plantation

South Carolina is a nice state, and Charleston is an interesting area, but I’m not sure I’d want to live here. It’s nice as a vacation spot, I think. However, there are a lot of historic sites to visit and experience.

Today, for instance, I visited Boone Hall Plantation, where scenes for “The Notebook“, “The Patriot“, and the miniseries’ “North and South” and “Queen” were filmed. Below, is a photograph I took of the Main House on the plantation grounds. This is where the rich family that owned the plantation would live.

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This next photo is of the cotton gin, which made the lives on the slaves on the plantation much easier, because it separated the cotton from the flower, for easier manufacturing and increased productivity and allowed for faster and more frequent deliveries.

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When the plantation was still using slave labor, a majority of its 4000-5000 acres of land was filled with row upon row of cotton to be harvested. Nowadays, the plantation only keeps 8 rows of cotton for harvest, relying on larger crops for money-making, such as corn, watermelon, squash, peaches, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and so much more. While I did snap of a picture of these 8 cotton plant rows, they’re not in bloom, yet, and not ready to pick, yet. I mean, if you look hard enough, you can see the white flowers from which the cotton will grow.

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Of the (about) 21 original brick (for the record, at one point, the plantation also had a working brickyard, where the slaves made bricks. ALL of the bricks on the plantation and a lot in Charleston’s downtown, were made at Boone Hall) slave homes, there are only 9 remaining. In each slave house, there is a different exhibit where you can “Learn the way slaves grew food and used herbal remedies in their everyday lives. Discuss the task vs. gang systems used by overseers of the plantations. Learn what Gullah meant and the language and culture behind it at the Gullah Theatre [and] Do hands on activities that will show a slaves life and the role of slavery in the success of a plantation.” —Boone Plantation Website

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Below is the Gullah Theater house. A wonderful Gullah woman, Jackie, performed for us today. I learned about the Gullah Geechie dialect, how Geechie was once a derogitive term for black slaves who came from Angola, Africa. The word Gullah derives from Angola — they were originally called Angola (for the country they came from), then it was shortened to Gola, and eventually became Gullah. I even learned that you can buy bibles written in the Gullah dialect where the dialect is still thriving, such as in and around the Charleston area.

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I also took the House Tour, where you tour “The mansion that exists on Boone Hall Plantation today, [which] was built in 1936 by Canadian ambassador Thomas Stone as part of the Second Wave of Reconstruction. Guided tours of the first floor allow guests to see how this Georgian-designed home blends recovered materials and antique furnishings to recreate an atmosphere that would have surrounded a Coastal Carolina planter’s family and his guests. This 30 minute tour begins on the front porch and is given by a well informed guide in historical dress. The tour will also introduce you to the history of Boone Hall Plantation and its evolution through several owners since 1681.” —Boone Plantation Website

After the House Tour, I went on the Plantation Coach Tour. It’s given in a really cool open-air motor coach, which starts in front of the Butterfly Café and goes around the entire 738 acres (for the record, I am aware that I wrote 4000-5000 acres earlier, but the plantation owners had to sell off land and there were a few divorces where they had to give land to their spouses as part of the separation. Now, the current owners (the sister and brother whose parents bought the plantation in 1955) own only 738 acres) and covers both ends of the plantation, both geographically and historically. Visitors are shown how the still-working plantation continues to grow crops (for over 3 centuries).

If you’re ever in the Charleston, South Carolina area, I highly recommend that you check this plantation out. It’s one of the three most famous plantations in South Carolina and it’s only $20 for admission and eerything on the grounds is free to participate in. That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Movie Review: Belle (2014)

I figured I should post a review, since I haven’t done that in a while, I don’t think. (Ahem, Disclaimer: Spoilers Ahead!) Anyway…, yesterday I watched the movie “Belle”:

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Because I’m a Disney dunderhead, I thought this was supposed to be a sort of retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. I was wrong. I don’t know why they even titled it Belle, because, yes the title girl’s full name is Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, but they call her Dido throughout the entire film. Were the makers of the movie worried that people would mispronounce the movie title if they had called it “Dido”? I don’t know. I just think they could have picked a better title. Seriously, the title “Belle” is really confusing. At least, I think so.

Regardless, I found the film captivating. It covered issues that were present at the time, such as slavery of blacks in Britain, the difficulties of Dido growing up as a mulato English heiress (due to her white father, a Royal Navy officer, leaving her his pension after his death), and the struggles of aristocracy for a black woman in English society.

For example, Dido was seen as enough of an equal to dine with her white family in private (she lives with her great-uncle (the Lord Chief Justice and the 1st Earl of Mansfield, William Murray and aunt Elizabeth, and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth (Bet) Murray. (Quick backstory as to how Dido came to live with them: Dido’s father had to go off on a naval excursion to the Indies and left her in the care of his uncle and aunt. Bet is the daughter of William and Elizabeth’s nephew, who later in life becomes the 2nd Earl of Mansfield (although that is not covered in the movie) and sent to live with her uncle and aunt. She is already living there with them when Dido is brought in.)), however, when there are guests attending meals at the house, she must eat separately from her family, but could not dine with the servants, due to social protocol, so says her uncle. There is a quote in the movie where Dido asks (more or less like so): “How can I be ranked low enough that I cannot eat meals with my family and our guests, but ranked too high to dine with the servants?”.

Anyway, it’s a great period-piece in my opinion and you should watch it. If anything at all but for to watch it as a purely historical standpoint. Also, need I mention that Tom Felton is in it? He plays James Ashford. That’s right, Draco Malfoy plays the son of an English Lord in this movie:

largeAnd, for any “Doctor Who” fans out there, Penelope Wilton plays Lady Mary Murray, the spinster sister of William Murray, I believe:

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Well, there you have it. My review is that you should watch this movie. It’s fantastic, dramatic, lovely, and all-around interesting. Watch it!

Look for my words again soon!

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Up The River: A Kayak Story

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Ah, thanks to the Doctor for chiming in there….

We signed up for the three hour duration, started an hour late due to a shortage of staff (but that was alright by us), took a break for lunch about an hour and a half in, and then got lost when the river started to split ways. I suppose Winding River is a very correct name for it.

Kayaking for the first time was a really cool experience. It’s not too much different from paddling in a canoe, except paddling is easier because you have one paddle with two fins, instead of one paddle with one fin. Also, the kayak sits higher on the water than a canoe, so fallen trees in the water that held up canoers like my parents and my brother and his girlfriend, well, I easily glided over them. It took me a little under an hour to figure out all of my steering, like how to angle myself differently, or tilt, or turn…basically what was the most effecient way to do what.

When we took a break for lunch, we all beached ashore on a gravely sand beach that was obviously an old bank that had been eroded from so many people coming ashore in that particular spot. There was also a rope tied to a tree overhanging the water, so while we ate, we watched people swing off of it and into the water. I wanted to try, but never got the chance. Maybe next trip.

Ah, and then people decided to start jumping out of the tree that grew on the other side of the bank and stretched over the water. Well, I’m not sure how great of an idea that was because the water was only shoulder-deep and only in a narrow section of the river. That being said, one poor kid who leapt out of the tree to jump straight into his tube as it floated by (we had to share the river with tubers, too) ended up jamming his leg against a tree stump jutting out of the water by the bank or something. Poor kid’s leg, ankle, and foot swelled up and by the time we all reached the end of the river, he had to be carried out of his tube by his brother and back to the campground. While we were checking out, he was given ice and I wished him well-being and a speedy recovery.

Well, after lunch, we paddled back out into the water and after the next bend, the river began to turn off and split and we didn’t know which way to go. So, we picked the best course of action and stuck with it. At one point I got stuck in a current going the wrong way, so my youngest brother, Jae rowed over to try and save me, but he nearly capsized me. After taking on water and having it sloshing about my feet, we learned that I had gone the right way and everyone else was now coming towards Jae and I. Needless to say, I had to turn around and return to paddling the way I’d been going before trying to escape the current, and I had water rolling around in the bottom of my kayak and seat for the rest of my trip. When I finally went back ashore, my shorts and shoes were drenched. I was glad when I was finally able to get home, eat, shower, and change.

Oh, while I ate my dinner, my Dad and I decided to watch “The Iron Lady” (a sort of biography about Margaret Thatcher’s life), as it’s been on my Netflix List for some time now.

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It was terrific! I was a bit confused at first when it started, but then I realized that they were playing into her dementia by having her dead husband be a recurring hallucination character as she recalled things from her life. It was definitely interesting. Plus, I learned some new things, which I always enjoy.

Well, I’m going to sit back and do some writing, or watch something else on Netflix.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

This Needs a Better Title….

Today I feel a bit lazy. Although, I did make myself go out and buy a hulahoop and jump rope and a frisbee disk to play with. They’re all good ways to keep active!

Since I have no plans to go out tonight, I think I’ll work one a new illustration for my Deviant Art account. It’s been about a week since I’ve upload a new piece there.

Last night, I went to the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia:

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It’s located in the Philly Downtown, right by Independence Hall. It’s a cute little neighborhood, Old City, I mean. If I had the money, that might be the only part in Philadelphia I would ever feel comfortable living in.

I went to the hotel to meet my boss (yes, I have a job finally! I am now an Interior Design Assistant) at the rooftop lounge and bar, Stratus:

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It was so pretty! She asked me to meet her there because there was an NEWH networking event going on and she wanted to introduce me to vendors that she works with and allow me to get a feel of some of the things we’ll be doing. We start two jobs very soon, so we’re prepping to get ready, yay!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil