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Yako and Krystal

Yako and Krystal

Yako: Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

The Cow Whisperer

Have you ever seen a cow in real life? Apparently not everyone. The other day I had a conversation with a Bed-Stuy resident and we were talking about farm life. I shared that I was raised on a farm and...

The Secret of Smoking

Yes, I am addicted to smoking. I’m talking about cigarettes, not the other kind. It's an awful affliction and so hard to get rid of! I've tried a couple of things: gradually decreasing my cigarette intake - didn't work. Quitting...

Am I Cultural Hybrid?

This past week, I had three friends from The Netherlands visiting me. Charlotte, Ilona, and Naomi. It was such a treat for me and it felt great to hang out with people from my home country in the flesh. It...

hospital(ity)

Hospital(ity) in America

hospital(ity)   hospital(ity) You probably heard about the looming closures of ailing hospitals such as Interfaith Medical Center and Long Island College Hospital as well as efforts of community and elected officials...

Poor as F*ck

I read something shocking in a Dutch newspaper this week: the 85 richest people in the world possess just as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people combined (De Volkskrant January 20, 2014). I mean we already knew that...

Happy Mentoring 2014!

I found out something new this past weekend. I was attending the Inaugural Ceremony of Council Member Robert E. Cornegy and during his address he mentioned that January is National Mentoring Month. I didn’t know that we had a National...

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