Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frozen grapes

Yesterday I had the most heavenly visit to Canton to visit Velma and Mark McMurray, the special collections curator and archivist at St. Lawrence University. He also runs Caliban Press and has the most exquisite printshop I have seen in forever. I finally got to see Velma's home and studio and papermill (!!) after doing the brutal 0515 rise so that I could drive Ben to base and then to North Country. She lives and works in this treasure trove of everything an artist could want and it was a total crime that I didn't have fresh batteries so I couldn't shoot anything yesterday. She did give me this piece of shifu she wove from lokta paper that she spun: we had fun at the printshop w/Mark doing proofs on her shifu w/wood type.

She also showed me some of Carol Blinn's books, which are insanely delicious. I finally saw the nest book that they made together in person, which is gorgeous. Carol is a total duck person, so I was particularly happy to see the books, even though it made me late picking up Ben (I have to learn to not have any expectations from the army: he's late when I expect him early, and early when I expect late). I think people could easily spend days in Velma's home and never need to emerge. She showed me her flax patch outside and I got to see her gorgeous red barn and her border collie Wendy was all over us, which was sweet.

Visiting Mark's shop and the library was also very nourishing. We were all nonstop talking about books and paper and printing and I went overboard babbling about my time and research in Korea. He pulled out some things from Paper Nao, a shop in Japan run by Naoaki Sakamoto, who makes amazing paper that he dyes in beautiful ways. There was one book besides the Paper Across Continents book that I had read in Korea at my hanji teacher's mill (they are friends). It was about hanji and I was too fried to do a decent translation job from the Korean, but it was great to see the photos and diagrams of the webal technique.

Mark treated us to a yummy lunch at Blackbird Cafe, where he found an old origami book and where I had to control myself from getting decadent desserts. If I had a car, Ben would be in trouble b/c I would spend all my time up in Canton. I'll definitely do a trip in the fall when I move with an operational camera so everyone can see the goodies.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Resistance to whatever this is

Spending yesterday w/Velma was SO lovely - a perfect antidote to my current situation. She came to pick me up and brought the loveliest gift of a handmade paper box w/a stone inside before driving to Clayton to visit the Thousand Islands Arts Center, which houses the Handweaving Museum that she used to run years ago. She knows the current director, and we got to meet the registrar and get a peek at the process of digitizing of the collection. We stopped in at the beading class since Velma is friends w/the instructor, and got to meet the resident potter who showed us the old papermaking equipment that Velma had helped acquire but has sadly been sitting in an attic, neglected and unused. The plan is hopefully to get her to help w/setting up a papermaking outfit in the new space and getting classes started. No brainer!

She took me to Teaism, which is part of Winged Bull Studio run by Greg and Karen Lago, for the most delicious lunch. Fresh-squeezed lemonade, cilantro soup, salad, and quiche. It was so good to hang out with someone who is good at listening and sharing and understanding. She drove me back to the front of the public library where I was supposed to wait for Ben, and we ended up talking until he pulled into the parking lot. I was especially moved when she talked about how she thinks that making art is a serious and important activity in the world (different from artists taking themselves too seriously!).

After swapping custody, the next stop was the hail and farewell for incoming and outgoing officers at the base; my first military function. It involved a dinner that resembled a turkey day spread, a spoon the size of a medium-sized child, a great many officers (mostly not in uniform), and a drawing where I won a ginormous beer mug. I NEVER win things, and was hoping I could get away w/NOT fetching the prize, but I had to. After the event was over, Ben actually let me drive his new car home (I was the DD), which is the first time I've driven in well over a year.

Last night, I agreed to move up here in the fall. I then proceeded to not sleep well and couldn't get back to bed after Ben left for work, so I went for a walk in the dreary weather and felt insanely depressed. I went to the tiny "private beach" next to the marina and just watched the water lap at my feet for a while, wondering what I am doing with my life. I realized a few things:

1. I hate commitment to people (I like it to intangibles)
2. I am terrified by my schedule for the next 5 months
3. I have never been this far away from my family in a long time (esp since I lived so close to so many family members in Seoul), which never felt weird in the past, but now makes me feel unmoored and isolated
4. I need a LOT of love, which is why I befriend so many people, so I am wary of a decision that would take me away from all of those people. When I think about sacrificing community for a partner, I think about a conversation that I had with Ben about how, often, beliefs and practice don't line up. My problem is that I hate for those two things to NOT line up, so making sacrifices like this is super out of character for me
5. I wish I was a duck (I wanted to sail out onto the water today).

All of this just exhausted me. Time for a 9am nap!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I found rubber gloves!

I might end up with more duck pictures than I ever expected.

I love sparkly water. I had gone out right after Ben left for work at about 6:15am for a long walk to find town on my own in daylight. I left my camera at home but regretted it b/c the morning light was soooo nice.

So, after coming back and having breakfast and tea, I went back out with my camera b/c I realized that it may start raining today, which means I won't get to take any pictures.

I shot a lot, but by then it was all overcast and the light wasn't pretty at all.

On my first walk, I saw very few people, and these planters were dry. On the second go around, I noticed they were all dripping.

And sure enough, this dude was a few paces ahead of me.

I love this doorway. Also, I saw three magnificent dogs - one black, one brown, and one very furry one.

Yet another sign of abundance: the local cantina.

Battlefield sites are so weird to me. I think generally that warfare is totally weird to me. Duking it out in a field? Makes no sense.

A wooden walkway along the battlefield. The rest of the winding walkway is fine gravel, with spots of gnat swarms.

On my way home the second time, I noticed eerie orderliness in the landscaping here. It made me think about a recent convo w/Ben about systems and how we are both systems people. But maybe everyone just uses the same landscaper.

The real reason I had taken the walk was to look for local places to find rubber gloves (the stay-at-home gf w/a penchant for cleanliness always ends up doing the dishes).

The local market, about 100 paces away from the front door, was open when I got home, and of COURSE they had everything I needed (except for quinoa. Sharing space with a guy who doesn't cook carbs is a serious challenge). I finally got the dishes done and the kitchen area is clean. Now I have to tackle both bathrooms w/the second pair of gloves I got. This would explain why I am posting a million pictures right now: who wants to clean bathrooms on vacation? I have plenty of time since Ben has to go to the shooting range tonight for practice, and I can easily procrastinate by updating my website. Or taking a shower. Or napping. Ah, time off.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just to say I'm home

Korea sent me off w/rainy season downpour. In reaction to my equally-paranoid American friends' advice, I had Julie come to my place in a cab WAY TOO EARLY, which dropped us off in the rain at the shuttle bus stop. We were to the airport in no time, so early that we couldn't actually check in. Julie was like, I told you! And I said next time, you HAVE to insist more forcefully. We ended up eating all of the snacks I had brought for the flight before I even went thru security. Turned out, of course, that they didn't weigh any of my bags. I should have brought another one for excess baggage...but this is all hindsight. In reality, I was so crazed w/finishing up business that getting even MORE things to bring home or spreading out into millions of bags was the last thing I wanted to do.

Once I finally got through to the gates, I looked for places to buy electronic dictionaries, but I couldn't find any. Plus I was bogged down w/way too many heavy carry-ons. I don't know why I did it (I think it was part of my denial), but I had taken out a big wad of cash less than 24 hours before I left. I guess it's all going to my mom for her trip to Korea in the fall. Hindsight: I should have gotten more snacks!

The flight to Tokyo was fine; I of course sat next to a soldier, who of course thought that I was Korean. I decided to go along w/it. I also realized before I left Seoul that b/c I am so bad at reading the 24-hour clock, the layover that I thought was 3 hours was really almost 6. And of course the terminal I had to go through was under construction. I was pressed into service at the American Airlines counter b/c their peeps couldn't speak Korean and had to do my final Korean translation of my trip. The rest of my time at Narita was spent drying my umbrella, typing notes from the book I had finished reading into my computer, napping, and finishing what I had cleaned out of my fridge: roasted anchovies. By the time we boarded, I felt as tired as I would have over halfway into a normal nonstop Asia-to-US flight. But I was only starting!

The flight back home was dreadful only b/c I kept comparing it to Korean airlines and service. I honestly want to know why US airlines bother to run international flights, b/c they are SO BAD at it. Why can't they just leave it to the pros? I used to think it was dreadful the way that Korean airlines only select the prettiest, skinniest flight attendants. But once I got on the AA flight, I realized that it's b/c it totally makes the flying experience so much more pleasant. In general, I knew I was going to have a rough re-entry in terms of customer service, but I would have preferred to deal w/that on US soil. It was a half-empty flight, but everyone else had spread out by the time I realized so I wasn't able to sprawl out. The worst part was that something was wrong w/the TVs, so we couldn't watch movies until the very end of the flight! That was serious torture. And the food was dreadful. It was like every stereotype of American food that I had heard in Korea: too sweet, too much bread, too much meat. I wasn't able to sleep much, as usual, even w/my dose of melatonin. Or even read b/c my eyes were so fried.

But I made it! Only to have to wait until the very last dump to get my baggage (this is the curse of checking in too early). Then I tried to wait for a manned cart b/c I didn't think I could actually pile all of my bags onto a tiny $5 cart. But once I saw the very last person load more bags than I had onto one cart, I just did it and was the last one to go thru customs to meet my parents, who were the only ones left at the gate.

It was completely strange leaving Korea. I had been there, and nowhere else at all, for over a year. Just going to a Japanese airport was incredibly jarring. Being on the AA flight, I realized that the whole hierarchical system in Korea, once you get used to it (and if you are not at the bottom of it), is actually very comforting b/c it is so orderly. But hearing all the English on the plane freaked me out since there is no high form - everything sounded incredibly rude to me. So that, I miss. It was also disturbing to see so much cleavage. Hahaa! Related to how Koreans are so much more concerned with the whole than the individual, which makes some parts of life quite pleasant and easy. I miss how most people are groomed and well-dressed and presentable. And that used to be something I hated^^

I'm in a complete mess of unpacking and sorting out what has piled up for me at home, and haven't been able to contact anyone in Korea yet to say I've made it back. I leave in an hour an a half to meet an old friend/teacher and then we'll see how the jet lag hits.

I can't believe it's over! I got an email from Kelsey that made me really sad since it's always hard to leave good friends. I wish there was an in-between time where life could just stop on this end so I could have some time to decompress, but it never works that way. And I woke up not to Korean food, but bacon. Ha! This truly is America.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One last thing

I just remembered: I had this ginormous, irrational fear before I left for Korea that I would be forgotten b/c I was out of sight. Now I feel more loved than ever. For that alone, this has been entirely worth everything.

The final everything

Somehow I managed to do everything on today's to do list except for getting a gift for my dad. I hope that he doesn't take it personally.

I got up early, determined to hit the bath house, and made it there, naked and ready to go at 9:30am. What I didn't know was that the scrubbers don't start working until 10am! So I had to pace myself; I can't do hot tubs and saunas for too long w/o losing all energy entirely. I did the warm hot tub (as opposed to the hot hot one) for a while, then stayed for a while in the cold tub (and went back about 3x while alternating w/two saunas and two hot tubs). I did a lot of kicking exercises so my legs are exhausted.

Then I got a trim and blow dry by my mom's hairdresser in the salon connected to the bath house, where she fed me cherry tomatoes and a potato and then gave me cranberry ricola and hair essence as a gift along w/the essence and wax I was buying for my sister. I took a bus and two trains to the National Museum to visit this hanging scroll, used in Buddhist outdoor ceremonies when there are tons of people so they have something to look at and to mark the space as sacred. This is the one that a friend in Andong told me to view to get inspiration for my installation work, painted in 1693 for Cheoneunsa temple, almost 9 meters high.

It was nice to go to the museum to see ONE thing. Museums can be such lovely spaces, but people (including me) hardly ever visit. Today was particularly empty, which was both sad and wonderful for me. I was walking to it, thinking about all the things I've learned and in particular about how much had been taken away from Koreans and destroyed in terms of cultural property. Though I don't think it's a good way to continue, I can see why some Koreans still vehemently hate the Japanese. But on the ramp up to the museum, and through the entrance, I thought, "it's kind of a miracle that this much of Korea and its culture HAS survived." I'm so used to the scarcity mentality that I easily pooh-pooh the national treasures by thinking they aren't grand or big or impressive enough. But given the circumstances of Korean history, it's amazing that this much still survives.

I recommend a visit, even if for nothing but free admission to a lovely space where you can have a panini and iced green tea in a cafe with a view and internet. I sat there for a while and cooled off while journaling, and knowing that it was the last snippet of peace and alone time I'd get in Korea. I thought about what Michael had advised me to do, to take the time I needed at the end. Honestly, there is almost NO WAY to do that, but this was my little gift to myself. It was hilarious seeing the grandmother who was more into using the wired computer than watching her granddaughter eat strawberry gelato, and sweet to see the boy speaking good English in a VERY SHORT necktie (he was turned away from me most of the time since he had to explain that he wanted the chocolate gelato in the case behind him).

I also treated myself to a cab ride (though the driver was as bad as the herky-jerky bus driver earlier in the day) to calligraphy class. I got and made farewell calls before and during class, and was doing awful brush work b/c I was so stressed out. Calligraphy, like papermaking, always reveals your true mind in the moment you are making things. I couldn't do anything right b/c I was stressy, and tired from another nap-less day. This final practice piece says "traditional culture: our hanji."

Jeong-In convinced me to stay w/the group a little longer and have dinner at an AMAZING buckwheat restaurant. We had these rolls as well as buckwheat pancakes (w/veggies and such; savory) and super yummy noodles in water kimchee broth. Everything was soooo good. Plus the sweet liquor. It was an unexpected treat, but I'm glad I got to have amaza-Korean food before leaving. That neighborhood is particularly good; lots of small places that specialize in one dish and do it well.

I loved the wet naps the most: they come in a little dish looking like tablets, and then you pour a little water into them and they expand up and then you unroll them.

Then, in classic Aimee style, I proceeded to get on the wrong bus and go WAY out of the way to get to my farewell dinner. The restaurant was actually super close to the one I was going to, but I was my usual "road idiot" self and ended up taking three buses to go in a huge circle and get to dinner late. Thank goodness Esther and Kelsey weren't too annoyed with me. Nikki and Stephanie came w/five pieces of cake, and Julie came after class. I totally made the work's life hell by asking first to put tables together indoors (she said no), then outdoors, and then back indoors when other customers left. Plus, I tried to close the door (to avoid mosquitoes) when she wanted it open, etc. But everyone was very patient with me, even when I was taking phone calls and making them. Endless farewells to family, ALL of my teachers, and other friends today. It was sweet to get a text at 8am from someone, and another call while I was bathing (I missed that call obviously), and an "I love you!" from my mom's friend. I got calls from my hanji and weaving teachers, called my dyeing teacher, and said goodbye in person to my calligraphy teacher.

If I get a chance, I will make final calls tomorrow before Julie takes my phone and charger from me (which will be after I take the trinkets off of it) to mail back to my cousin, who lent it to me for the whole year. He came by with his wife to pick up final stuff that they let me use while in my apt. I loved saying goodbye to them b/c it was so drama-free and easy and fun. She gave me a book and he was like, "you must be so happy!" and advised me to drink Japanese beer and eat ramen at Narita during my layover so that I can sleep well on the 13-hour trip from Tokyo to NYC. I'm taking a crapload of melatonin in hopes that it will help me sleep as well, since I'm notoriously bad at doing that on planes.

I even have a big plan to change into nice clothes before landing so that my parents will feel good about me having been gone for so long in the country that they left so long ago. Though I doubt that my hair will look as good after 20+ hours of travel. Let's just hope customs lets me through. It will be hard to explain all the paper and other weirdness I'll be lugging around. Kelsey is sprawled out on my floor writing out my entire phonebook from my phone so that I have that info once I leave. Thank goodness for my friends!! I feel super lucky, always, but particularly in moments of need (and particularly when I don't realize I need them but they just step it up and show up and help me out).

I'm bad w/goodbyes and prefer to avoid any pretense of them, so I won't go on and on about how life changing and faboo this year was for me. All along people were saying that I had good fortune and luck on my side. I am utterly grateful. All I can ask for is that the heavy rain and thunderstorms forecasted for tomorrow will NOT destroy my itinerary.

In some ways, being in this packed-up room w/Kelsey on the floor feels just like home, like how home feels back home. I'm leaving it to return to it; who knows what comes next?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


SO TIRED I can't be bothered to change the time stamp to make it look like Tues night. I am non-functional w/o enough sleep, and two days in a row w/o naps have been killing me. I got up early to shower and be ready for a meeting to be pushed up, but it never happened. I did manage to run all my morning errands before heading to the ministry of culture for a lunch meeting w/their staff and Professor Kim. Excellent Korean food. I got a ride home and dumped my computer and tried to nap, but my landlord rang to take care of final deposit return and utility payments. So I headed out to do more errands, which included buying a bag to stow my paper on the plane. I'm going w/excess baggage instead of more shipping (though I made TWO trips to the post office today for small shipments).

Last night I overestimated how long it would take to finish my piece; it was 3 hours tops and Esther came by and we got to hang out so that was fun (despite the mosquito we never killed). I am very pleased w/how it turned out. After bumping into Stephanie at the market, I trekked back to meet Pablo and Sol to deliver my art and have tea and dinner. It was lovely to hang out w/people who are invested in Korean culture and super professional about how they handle and represent my work.

Then I came home for the hard part, which is usually easy for me: packing. It took WAY longer than I expected and there were constant cries of "more art supplies?!" and disappointment at how much crap I own. But it's just how it is and at least Esther and Kelsey stopped by to advise. I've had to sacrifice a few things like a museum visit and massage, but if I get to the bank, buy a gift for dad, get to the sauna, calligraphy class, and a final dinner w/friends (AND if my cousin comes to pick up his stuff from my place), then I'll be satisfied.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sheer denial

Uhoh. I'm only a few days away from the flight and not prepared at all. If I had a completely free schedule (as I had planned weeks ago, but that turned out to be a total fantasy), I'd have plenty of time to decide if I need to ship my paper or get another suitcase or what, but instead I am eyeball deep in people to meet and things to do. Today's lunch w/Beau was good but I could just feel the time suck and it just made me antsy. I DID managed to complete my last subscription piece, which I will mail tomorrow. However, I have not yet touched the piece I had intended to work on all day today. And it's almost 9pm. I have instead managed to do everything possible to keep myself from doing it. It's kind of amazing to see myself in action, how I booby trap myself.

Tomorrow I have what was supposed to be a casual lunch meeting, which has now turned into a full-blown affair at the ministry of culture. There goes my plans for the sauna, hairdresser, and national museum. I think it might be time for a nap; there's no other way to tackle this workload.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Too much all at once

My cousin's wife is sewing lovely organic cotton toys for her son to arrive next month. This is a rattle. Today is officially the last day of my grant (and last day of being insured. Sigh. It was good while it lasted!). I got up super early to see Narae at her studio where she had a class so I could deliver a book to her and explain it to her and her students. Then I rushed to meet my cousin and his wife (and got a super nice cab driver on the way) to go to church. It was a longer service b/c of the baptisms and also since it was the first Sunday of the month, so wafers and grape juice for all (I didn't know my family was Methodist, nor that communion happened outside of Catholic mass, which is what I had grown up attending). Plus my uncle was in charge of donations for the day, and my other cousin and his wife did the candles at the end.

I got all confused by who I was going to lunch with afterwards, but I did get my trimmers back. I ended up going yet another cousin and his parents and daughter to lunch (Chinese again!) and shopping. She was the one that I thought hated me and ended up being all over me today. It always happens that way - people come around just when you're about to part. Then I met Julie for our 3rd round of glasses shopping, and a massive tick tick tick of the odds and ends to do list (like aprons - for papermaking, printmaking, and cooking). I had intended to get an electronic dictionary for my dad but instead ended up getting red shoes.

After dumplings and cold noodles, I got home and then went out w/Kelsey for air, and saw Esther on the way back. I got a very unpleasant email from my August residency: they say b/c of the economic downturn, they won't be giving any stipends anymore. AGH. Besides it being a major breach of contract, it's super late notice AND they have already jerked me around a lot for the past two years scheduling and reneging. But I can't deal with it right now; tomorrow I have to do serious production b/c I have to deliver art the next day. I have only one appt, which is a miracle, and will do my best to keep it short and close to home. I really hope the piece turns out...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

"You have the tenacity of a Jamaican"

Andrew saw me carrying my corn chip bag full of pee on the bus, took one look at it, and then me, and then said, "you did not!" He's from Kingston, Jamaica, and funny enough, I found a museum pic of Port Royal, the Jamaican city devastated by a huge 1692 earthquake, at the maritime museum in Mokpo. Here he is working on his cup at the celadon museum in Gangjin, one of the famous kiln areas in Korea.

This was my cup from the celadon museum. But I likely will never see it again since I'm leaving next week and it won't get shipped to me in NY (plus I incised my Korean name, which almost no one knows, in Chinese characters on the bottom, lightly, even though we were told NOT to use the bottom of the cup). It was fun, regardless, and a nice break from being on the bus, stuffing our faces w/amazing food, and going from place to place on about 3.5 hours of sleep.

The day before, we had visited a center in Namwon for traditional music and pansori (Korean "opera" - a vocal form with percussion accompaniment that is a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity). The grounds were gorgeous, even though they stank of manure since they were smack in the middle of farmland. These containers for fermenting were on the path towards the museum and indoor concert area.

Our last stop yesterday was at the maritime museum in Mokpo, a port city. It was fascinating to learn about all these artifacts that had been found in sea excavations - tons of boats sank along the western coast of Korea b/c the current is super strong and the shore is rocky. There was lots of ceramic wares found since they were transported from the famous southern kiln sites north to Seoul.

After all the difficult travel and peeing on the bus drama, we arrived in Seoul at about 8:30 and I then had to trek to my weaving teacher's place to meet him, his wife, my hanji teacher, and his wife and children for our final party - we went out to dinner at a local place and then I took my lacquered and dyed pieces and caught a cab home.

Today I made two trips to say goodbye to my dyeing teacher and his family, bought calligraphy supplies (which are crazy heavy b/c of the inkstone for grinding ink), sat for a while in the bird cafe to recover, took a tiny nap at my dyeing teacher's studio, met the woman from a publishing house and her colleagues who are working on creating souvenirs for tourists using traditional Korean craft forms, saw an exhibit of some intangible property holders, and saw half of my cousins that live in Seoul and their families for a yummy Chinese dinner. I've cleaned up some of the mess on my desk and did laundry. Hopefully I will get enough sleep to tackle the four major appts slated for tomorrow.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Even fun is nonstop

That was a whirlwind trip, and I have so many crazy stories. But I am SO TIRED that I can't fully recap, esp now that I have SO few days left and they are completely and utterly packed. No way around it. It was nice to get away, but it was too much sitting on the bus. I loved getting to spend so much time w/Esther, though (isn't she the cutest??), and our adventures started from the moment we left for the trip to the very end.

The best story is from today's 4-hour ride home from the southwest: I peed into an empty bag of corn chips on the bus. I was driven to the heights of desperation and not interested in a bladder infection, so when the bus kept passing rest stops, and "we'll be there in 20 minutes" turned out to be empty promises, I was super sad I didn't have my chamber pot but made the best of whatever I could find around me.

The rest comes after I get some sleep.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Trying to be conscientious

My contribution to the Portable Library Project will be on display in Vancouver from July 4 - 31 at the Regional Assembly of Text.

More more more

[Patterns on the Sejong Center for Performing Arts.] I realize that there are so many things that I am taking in and trying to keep track of that all I do is forget the important things and spit back the silly, cranky, and trivial things. This is what happens when I don't have enough time in between things to properly process. No wonder this year in Korea will take 20 years to process, since I've crammed so much in, with no down time. I was riding the bus for the fifth time today, thinking about how I am looking forward to not riding a bus for weeks, not being in traffic, not being blasted by construction noise and debris, not being in the urban hustle. Ben made a joke today about me not being 29 anymore, but it's not even that: I've never been built for super intense urban life. I can hack it, but it takes a serious toll.

This was the spoon cover from last night's dinner, which I loved, b/c it has those little patterns that I had just been looking at in the Korean art history book. One of the women I take calligraphy just had her book published and we saw it today - it's about Korean design. Very exciting, esp since I've been meeting all these people interested in it but not aware of the research that has already been done on it. The general misconception is that you have to leave Korea and study abroad to learn about Korean design history.

I practiced lots of circles today in calligraphy class, which was hard but I like doing this kind of thing much better than practicing characters. Maybe it's b/c I'm paying so much attention to patterns lately. In general, I've been leaning more and more towards visual art that eschews text (very unlike me). This started two weeks before I left for Korea last year, so I wonder how it will end up showing up in my work. It was good to talk to Phoebe yesterday about how for her, her research and her artwork are two very different activities. I am really itching to get back to the studio side of things. It's kind of heartbreaking to have all these tiny things half started on my desk, knowing I can't really delve into anything for a little while. But I have to at least get a few pieces done before I leave to deliver for the show I'll be in at the end of the month.

I rushed from calligraphy class to Gallery Jinsun for Ohm Jung Ho's exhibit, called The Joys and Sorrows of Life. He's been working on really tiny pieces and is quite content to work small lately. He had a buffet catered at the cafe next door, and it was lovely to sit outside and do my final goodbyes to Professor Yim, Jung Ho, Young Jin, and Hyejin. I only stayed for a tiny bit b/c I was itching to get home and take care of loose ends before Kelsey and I go to exercise.

[They make the loveliest cakes in Korea.] I have been trying to keep next week, the three days I have of it, clear for myself, but it's already being invaded. There's no way around it! Goals: finish last weaving piece by Friday night, finish art pieces for show by the end of the weekend, deliver an art piece next week, meet w/Professor Kim next week, meet Beau next week and pick up more hanji, buy calligraphy supplies on Saturday, do a quick "drive-by" goodbye to my dyeing teacher and his family, shop for final practical things w/Julie at the market, shop for unpractical things at the dept store...uhoh. Now I'm worried. Writing out that list makes me realize it's TOO MUCH! Since I also want to visit the bathhouse, hairdresser, massage therapist, and national museum! Oh, and pack/ship. AND have a farewell dinner.

I guess I just need to chip away at it and try to enjoy myself for the next two days: I'll be out of town visiting southwestern areas. Let's see how much I can get done tonight!

Overload or gluttony?

Agh! So many people to meet, to see, to talk to...I'm forgetting so much b/c I'm cramming so much into the little bitty bit of time I have left here.

1. The hanji dept at Jeonju University is being shut down after being around for only four years. Lots of reasons for its failure; sad but inevitable to some.

2. I met w/a friend of Michael's who is about to leave a publishing house to start her own project; I'll get to see one of the meetings this weekend (meaning I have to ditch my family for a bit).

3. Some part of my back went into spasm this morning for no apparent reason. NOT FUN.

4. Having my time chopped up into tiny pieces makes me insane. I need bigger chunks than 1.5-2 hours to get anything done! But shabu shabu today for lunch was lovely. I'm going to attempt a 5-min power nap before calligraphy class.