Friday, September 23, 2011

In which things get personal

Things have felt...transitional for about two months, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting settled into a routine, settled into the job and the way I'll be living here. As is always the case with a blog or anything public/private, the question is what is too private or personal. I know I haven't been doing this very long, and I'm still not sure if anyone's even reading, but this is where things are and this is why I haven't really been talking on here:

I spent a week at an orientation set up by my employers, to help prepare newcomers to teach and live in South Korea. And everything was fine and I was excited to see my school and was meeting other foreigners and networking some new, albeit probably temporary friends. Then the orientation ended, abruptly as it so often does, and I was at my new school. And depression set in. I went through a fairly bad bout of it in high school, as I know so many teenagers do, but it just hit again, worse than I'd had in a long time, and settled. It's still there, in the background, and I feel like I've been running for the last month trying to stay ahead of it.

Part of it is culture shock, I know. For anyone who doesn't know, the four stages of culture shock are: you love it, you hate it, you live with(in) it, you leave it and return to your home culture. First time I was out here, I got the honeymoon phase and, except for a few bad days, went straight from that to the live with(in) it stage. I hated rice for about a week, but never detested being here. This time around, it's more like I skipped the honeymoon first stage, and went straight into despising everything. And that's rough, when I'm still adjusting to a new school, to not being near my friends and the dear boyfriend (whose birthday it is, stateside, today. It's already the next day here), to not be able to see what's enjoyable about being here. I have great classes, great experiences, that don't feel as great as the bad stuff feels bad.

So I keep trying, knowing that this too shall pass. I knit, because if it doesn't make me feel better, it relaxes me. I've got multiple FOs to show off from the month I've been here, that I've entirely started and finished, and they just keep rolling out. But that'll have to wait for another day, as I'm at my sister's apartment right now, sans camera. Soon though. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm still alive!

Promise. This month has been a whirlwind of spending time with friends before I left, finally leaving for Korea, going through the orientation that the public schools have us go through, and finally getting to see my school and apartment for the next year. I'm still very much getting settled in, and looking forward to when I have a routine instead of a messy apartment. I had a rough couple days when it finally hit me that I won't be seeing DB until December and that I may not see anyone for whom English is their first language more than once a week for awhile, but I'm getting better. My little sister, who will be teaching at a private school (like tutoring) out here will arrive late Monday night, so I'll see her Tuesday. I may also start teaching Tuesday. So things are getting where they're supposed to be fairly quickly, moving towards "normal."

My plan for today is to bum around until 10:00 AM local time, when I will talk to my family. Then I'm going to take my thesis research, some knitting and a "for fun" book to Hoegi (two stops away from mine by subway) and find a coffee shop I can occupy for several hours. I'll try to do pictures of apartment and etc. soon, but I'm still working on unpacking cords.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's not what you think....

I purchased my first Barbara Walker book recently, and it arrived in the mail today. Having been an avid knit-blog reader for years, I'm well-aware of who Barbara Walker is in the knitting world, and have made at least one thing derived from one of her patterns. So imagine my confusion/amusement when I accidentally bought one of her books without noticing it. It took Amazon's handy suggestion feature, as well as a trip to Wikipedia to confirm, before I accepted it.

The book? Feminist Fairy Tales. Nothing (externally anyways) that has the least to do with knitting. This isn't so much a thesis-intended book, as one I came across in my readings that seemed worth checking out as a "for fun" book. 'Cause, you know, nothing to do with my thesis whatsoever, fairy tales and feminism...

I finished a pair of mitts for my grandmother. While she was out here for my little sister's graduation, she noticed I was wearing a pair of garter stitch mitts and suggested something similar would be good for her arthritis. I've been starting and restarting a pair for her for a couple months, and finally just went (impending departure is a good motivator, apparently.) I settled on the Nalu mitts, done with Rowan Tweed DK. I'd like it if they were softer, but haven't washed them yet, so that may help. I wanted to finish them before tomorrow, since I'm going down to my parents' house for the last time before I go. This way, I don't have to be responsible for getting the mitts to my grandmother.

Because I go soon (12 days), I realized that there are various things I wanted to make before I go. The mitts were one, but I also make a pair for DB each year because he's SO hard on them. I know I'll never EVER knit him a sweater or socks, so mitts let me express my knitterly affections without hating him and whatever it is I'd make for him. The first Christmas we were together, I made him a pair of convertible mittens that he never wears because they're "too hot," so no more fingers for him. But his hands are so big that I could fit both of mine into ONE of the mittens I made for him, but he still stretches them out when he wears them.

So my current project is making the second and third of Queen City mitts for him. I doubt I'll have any problem getting them done before I go, at the rate I've been doing mitts.Link

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last Minute Knitting

Two weeks, 3 days. I've been avidly working on what I intend to be an 8-foot scarf (really, I want to make mitts to go with it, so I may make those and knit the scarf until I run out of yarn.) I'm forcing myself to put it aside though, so I can make fingerless mittens for my boyfriend and my grandmother before I go. The scarf is on bamboo needles and is easy to compact, so it'll make for good flight knitting when I go anyways. As I said though, I'm also packing and doing various last-minute things, so will be sporadic for the next few weeks, probably until after the week-long orientation I have once I get there. So brief missives for now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3 weeks

In three weeks from today (in a purely technical sense, as I think given the time change it'll be three weeks and a day in that sense) I'll be in Korea. This is really kind of sneaking up on me. And given the way things change in an instant, I'm not just packing up what I'm taking with me like I thought. See, one of my roommates is in the process of a divorce, and given custody and whatnot, is probably going to be moving into the space that DB and I now occupy once I leave. Luckily, given that I have lived here since I first returned from Korea 2.5 years ago, I only really have what I brought back from Korea and what I've accumulated since then. With the exception of the computer and etc. that I'm typing this on, that's really mostly books and yarn. Those are either easy to box up, or coming with me. So this is what it looks like now. My life is being reduced to three distinct piles--packing boxes for the garage, luggage for Korea, and trash bags to either donate or throw away. Also a disturbing level of chaos. If I get the inclination, I'll take a few shots of the yarn I'm bringing with me, with explanations of intended projects. Seoul has amazing public transportation, so I'll have lots of time for sitting and knitting. Now if I can just convince myself to start packing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Pictures (Picture heavy)

The wedding was on Saturday, finally, and went off pretty much perfectly. There are a lot of things I wish I had gotten pictures of, especially my DB and the other best man (yes, two best men) giving their toast. They did a bit of a comedy routine before getting to the nicer emotional stuff, and it went off perfectly and, according to the maid of honor, almost made the groom cry. That's what happens when you ask two writers to be your best men.

So I wanted mostly to put up some of the favorites of the pictures I took. Also, the shawl. Now, to explain, it was about 97 degrees Fahrenheit and humid, which it is never humid in Colorado. (On a side-note, DB had his hair straightened before the ceremony--you cannot tell in these pictures. That humid.) If I had taken any pictures of the audience just before the ceremony, everyone was in the back three rows for the shade. So no shawl came out, until towards the end of the night when I specifically asked for a few pictures. They're mediocre pictures because I really didn't want to bogart the bride for very long. Here goes (Click pictures to go to Flickr):

A certain best man and me (isn't he handsome?)

The beautiful couple towards the beginning of the ceremony

The couple at the end of the ceremony with one of the flower girls

The two best men and maid of honor walking back (This is probably my favorite non-Bride picture. I love how happy the three of them look, especially our friend on the left.)

The bride's rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Sorry for picture quality--I think you can still see how much fun she's having.)

And finally, THE Shawl!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

I've been reading through Juniper Moon Farm's back-blogs for a few weeks now, and one of the things that Susan does is every once in awhile she'll list five things about herself. This shows up in many other blogs as the list of 100 things. So I may occasionally list a few weird things about me. Or I may just do it this once.

1) My knees look like they did when I was eight (except twice as wide, which is not a statement about my size now, but how tiny of a kid I was. Gangly.) I have been bumping into tables more than usual recently, and the fact that I wear shorts all the time makes that fact visible.

2) On a similar note, I have two birthmarks on my left leg--one on my inner thigh and the other on the inner calf. When I was a kid, I thought that they were permanent marks left over from bruises, and that eventually my legs would be this mess of slightly-darker spots.

3) I don't think I've ever tried a peach. While there are extremely common foods that I detest (like corn), I just avoid peaches. I'm not sure why. I also don't eat oranges, but that one at least has a story behind it.

4) Looking at my book/yarn-stash shelf, I think I'll be bringing more yarn than books with me to SK. This includes what I need for my thesis.

5) I haven't touched anything to do with my thesis in a week, and it has been glorious(ly boring). I'm probably going to try to get back to it post-wedding, even though I'll have little to do coming up to the wedding.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Potential Departure Date

Two brief updatey things.

1) Knitting HURTS. I don't know if I've been sleeping strangely or what, but from about the middle of my back, through my left shoulder down to the elbow hurts. It's a dull pain most of the time, but knitting for the last couple days has mostly been just doing a row to see if it still hurts too much. This started the day after DB was talking to me about knitting being a compulsion, to which I said "I can quit anytime I want!" Just because I can doesn't mean I want to.

2) I got an e-mail from the Seoul office about orientation and when I'll be heading out to South Korea. Departure date: August 16th. Maybe 15th. I need to get to Seoul on the 17th, and with the time change and a very long flight, it may mean two days allotted for travel. So that means just barely over a month to pack, get everything paperworky filed and whatnot, and spend time with friends and DB. It suddenly all seems intimidatingly close.

Picture is from my previous orientation with the same office. I'll probably (almost definitely) be in the same building. These were for a different orientation or....something after ours ended though, so only showed up the day we left. I like how pixelated they are.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July? When did that happen?

Well, it took me about two weeks to get my camera back. And now I'm just....apathetic about taking pictures of things. Maybe tomorrow. I need to block the shrug I made (but probably didn't mention on here) before the wedding in a week. So this is just a quick apology and explanation on the off-chance someone's out there.

It's summer. It's summer when all I'm doing is waiting for fall. I have to struggle to get thesis work done because my schedule is so unstructured that I can't convince myself to get started working. And I'm broke, so I can't just go to ye olde local coffee shoppe to get work done there. I've been knitting, but much of that has been messing up, restarting, and re-restarting, so it's not very exciting. So here's the deal: I'll update very sporadically for the next month. I'm sure I'll post some about the wedding (especially pictures of THE Shawl in action), and what's going on with that. If nothing else, I will get pictures of DB in a tuxedo. But other than that, there's just not much going on. But when it's closer to the move, and of course after the move itself, then hopefully I'll have more to say.

Oh, just fyi, I did send off my lit. review and proposal. So until my advisor gets back to me about everything, I get to actually act like it's summer and I don't have schoolwork. For a few days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Modern Feminist Fables

I just woke up and was thinking about this, so if this is incoherent, blame the general lack of coffee.

I've been reading through Bill Willingham's Fables in preparation for writing my thesis (which I'll start working on, really, once I finish the lit. review. One day.) Marking places that I want to go back to, to discuss, or just noting important characters whose fairy tales I don't know. But one page threw me off. In the 4th trade book, "March of the Wooden Soldiers," Snow White is pregnant. She goes in to talk to Dr. Swineheart (anyone know what he's from? Grimm's "Three Surgeons," maybe?) to make sure the pregnancy is progressing smoothly and whatnot. It is.

Fine. But here's what threw me off. She has made extremely clear to both the doctor and everyone else she's talked to that she is unhappy about it. She doesn't like the father (at least, not consistently). She is insanely busy running a town. The pregnancy is arguably a product of rape: both her and the father were drugged, unwillingly had sex, and he later lied to her about the sex until she found out she was pregnant. Dr. Swineheart's response is something along the lines of "We live in the 21st century now. There are things that you can do if you don't want this pregnancy."

They're in New York City. They've been there through major political and social movements. In almost every other way they've kept up with what's been going on in the world around them--using computers, changing laws about slavery and child-selling, etc. So why is Snow White's response to Swineheart's comment threatening to fire him? She hates that she's pregnant. She watched the women's movements, if not participated in them (not specifically indicated in the books, but they were at least aware of what was happening around them.) But won't even hear the suggestion of abortion.

Now, for a fairly progressive comic book series, this seems like a weird choice by other author. Because that's what's at issue. Her choice. She doesn't think about it, she doesn't choose not to have an abortion. She spouts off something about "duty and responsibilities" and more-or-less willfully buys into the female roles she's otherwise wholly shirked. I mean, she divorced Prince Charming many many centuries before No-Fault Divorce existed. She works in the most powerful position in Fabletown (which, at the point this page occurs, it's been twice implied that she won't for long, in part due to the pregnancy.) These are not religious Fables. Is her reaction to the suggestion indicative that she hasn't really changed, at least in this one way, or that the author has some personal message he's spouting through Snow White's mouth? Something to figure out before I start writing.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Well, it only took about three years, but I finally finally finished Camden. Or almost. I finished the sleeves the second go-round, and they're drying from blocking right now. So I need to cut off their ends once they're dry, sew on buttons, and then I'm done. Done done done done done. But I still don't have my camera back, so pictures will be forthcoming.

In other news, my mother's birthday is tomorrow. She's having a palindrome birthday. I won't tell you which one. So if I had my camera, I could get action shots of the shawl I made for her. I'll probably ask one of the various other family members to send me a picture. So Sunday or Monday, you'll get FOs in action. Really.

Not really a lot to say, and I'm still lacking my camera, so I'm going to throw in a few pictures from my North Korea trip. Yes, North Korea. I spent...possibly about 24 hours there, at Gamgangsan. If you're ever in a book store and you see this book, you can look up the area I visited. Pretty well everything in that book they suggest doing in that area (except the Dr. Fish), I went and did--hiking, watching the performers. I like to tell people I was probably the only American in the country at the time which, for all I know, is true. I was one of two non-Asians in the area. Anyways, I took a lot of pictures of the water while we hiked, because I grew up in Colorado and I still hadn't seen water that clean before.

I can't remember if I mentioned this trip before. Those are the rock carvings you can see pretty frequently when you hike around the allowed areas in NK. Most are propaganda.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Second Kit Picture

Because I went to all the trouble of scanning it: