Thursday, November 20, 2008

In a passing gap

I've lost my internet connection again at home so this is just quickly to say (before I lose whatever wireless I'm surfing on now) I'm still plugging away. Just barely hanging on, but feeling a little better after getting home and getting a shower. Yesterday was an AMAZING and fun New Zealand VIP dinner at the Hyatt, where Whirimako and Lance just melted me into a puddle. It made me remember why musicians were my first love (and second, and third, and and and), and why I wanted to be one, and why they are so vital to life and humanity. Funny, too, b/c I had just told Richard about how I felt like I had hardened permanently in certain ways that dealt with my relationships with other people, but then I just felt my bottom fall out while Whirimako sang it all away. She is such an amazing gift; I feel really lucky to have met her, shared stories, and witness her performances.

Of course, these dinners lead to going out afterwards, so we landed at a famous jazz club, and then I got home way too late. I really did NOT want to do my field research today but somehow got myself up and out three hours southeast to Andong, where the biggest factory of handmade hanji resides. I felt SO GOOD once I was on the bus and it was moving and the heat came on (did I mention that it's hella cold here??? I did, but I'll say it again: HELLA COLD). It made me realize that traveling for me is like crack, which is why I feel so crazy when I stay in Seoul. But then, after hearing very interesting things from the son of the head of the factory, and then trying to find the bus back to the "city" - the bus stop was just a covered table and you flag the bus down, when it actually shows up - I realized that going back home is ALSO like crack for me.

On my long walk back home from the bus terminal, I wondered if it's b/c I'm undeniably a suburban girl in a world that hates suburban girls, so I try my hardest to not live in the suburbs. But I do that by going to the extremes: city and country. And they both have aspects that I adore. But then the aspects that don't suit me start to make me crazy and I bounce from one to the other.

I met a friend of Mary's and Fran's (people who have been really helpful from pre-Fulbright app days, both in the US and in Korea) who lives in Andong. We had tea at her place and then dinner out before she drove me to the bus terminal. She gave me some really good advice and insight, reminding me not to let the blindness of my youth / inexperience make me pass up experiences that might be really important. She ALSO reminded me of something that Ellie had said all along about not worrying about people using me - she said that comes from being too narrowminded and smallhearted. She said, go out into the world and tell people, "I am going to use YOU." The most profound thing she said was that to get anything important, you must give up your whole body to it. Talking and thinking in the end really get you nowhere. You just have to do the work, and if that means giving up your time and energy and comfort to learning skills with your whole body, that's the price. I think I've been so overprotective of myself (while ALSO the total opposite, very careless and very parceling myself out to other people) that it's shut me down in many ways.

So now I have a lot of work to do and major prep for giving myself over to someone else in hopes that it will be just what my work needs from me.

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