Monday, October 20, 2008

I missed my window

Sleep is a lost cause. I'm never going to sleep past 8:30am and never going to fall asleep before 1am. Plus, the birds at my window are REALLY loud. For the first time since I arrived (four months am I already 1/3 done with my time here???), I sat in meditation after marveling at the fact that dinosaur descendants were quarreling at my window. It wasn't for long, but it was remarkable: all the things I've been freaking out about came up, but then passed. I remembered that everything comes and goes. Nothing seemed important anymore, and just sitting was a welcome change. Then I did some yoga. Last night was my last night of pure procrastination. It was my way of accepting that I am resisting my purpose here in a hardcore way, of saying that it's okay to be freaked out. So I let myself surf for random things like the myth about lactic acid!! I only just figured that out.

I would have started to make the hard calls (cold calls to professors and papermakers in Korean) but I had left all my notes in the studio. I made a tofu and veggie lunch, picked up more mail at the Y, and sent some mail art. HOW excited am I about what I got today?? It's a cigar box that I get to fill with 7 books, and I have a week to do it and mail it back to Canada. I'm definitely in a place where I have to be "assigned" work to make it. I made my first book tonight, and that felt good. The next two should be easy, and then it might get hard. I also need to accept that I get sleepy around 4pm, and that it's okay to doze off before tackling Korean homework. I'm getting better, though. I can now send emails to my cousins! That's exciting, especially since it was unthinkable four months ago.

My tutor gave me a big lecture today about how I HAVE TO do my research (she's not the only one), and went into detail about how it is so much bigger than just me, and that I am in a position to do a big service for Korean culture and its relationship with the outside world. She had a lot of really good ideas about how I can contribute in real, concrete ways to the academic and papermaking worlds. She keeps telling me that my Korean is fine and to stop being scared of using it. She actually believes that I can translate Korean into English. If I could do that, I'd be way closer to dying happy than I am now.

If I called people and said "I'm an American," rather than "I'm a Korean American," they'd think I was the second coming. I've let myself get totally discouraged by the fact that I live in a foreign country where my grasp of the language would be celebrated if I didn't look so much like the locals. It's bad for my already low self-esteem when it comes to language skills. On top of my already outrageous sensitivity around language mastery, it basically has shut me down. But it's time to just get over it and call everyone, b/c it's now or never: the forecast says rain for Wednesday, and then it's all over. The summer will be over, temperatures will drop, and traveling will only get more uncomfortable. So I am planning to hit the road this weekend, and then again next week. I got a geography lesson today so I finally have a better grasp of this peninsula and why things are called what they are (each province is named after two of its major cities, and split into north and south xxx province).

Tonight was my first hot shower in about five days, and I was thinking that if I weigh the pros and cons of being who I am vs. pushing myself out of my comfort zone, it's pretty clear what I have to do. Yes, being shy and fearful lost me the best window of time in which to travel, but it's not like the roads are iced over yet. My new goal is to bust my ass and get around to as many places as possible before Ellie and David land in November. The pity party is over!


Anonymous said...


what's the myth about lactic acid... the most recent thing i've learned is the meditation and rest can help reduce it after exercises??? true??

aimee said...

i was taught in 7th grade health class that lactic acid is a waste product that builds up in your muscles after exercise and it's what makes you sore, and that you have to exercise more to flush it out and make the soreness go away.

but apparently, it's NOT a waste product! and not a bad thing. this is an old article, but here...