Friday, January 22, 2021

Stitching to hold fast

There was one day the other week when I got only wonderful things in the mail. No circulars, junk, bills, or other people's mail. Books from a past student, a printed cheetah card from an artist friend, and the first square of a collaborative sewing that I'm doing with friends—along with cattail heads from a pond near the Finger Lakes.
I have been on edge forever, for so many reasons, but mostly because of the red tape nightmare that has defined my Fulbright grant. When I sat down to sew over my pieced square, it hurt my arm/shoulder like crazy but was extremely soothing as I waited and waited and waited for the consulate in Chicago to process my paperwork (which felt more like them not processing it, asking me to repeat the work, and then demanding other people in my family repeat the work, and then a lot of calls back and forth to try to get them to put pieces of paper together to complete the puzzle, which is hard when the people on the other side never pick up the phone).
The process has limped along so I am close to flight confirmation, giving me less than two weeks until departure. It's insane to think that I got notice about winning this grant in Feb 2020, but for many unfathomable reasons was not able to know that I could actually go almost Feb 2021. On top of that, there are still many complicated dances to perform because of the panorama, like very specific Covid-19 testing in a very specific window prior to boarding, quarantine of a particular type, and so on. The sewing keeps me from falling apart even if it tears up my muscles. And soon I'll go for a walk in the sun even though the ground is icy because I want to enjoy the outdoors before I no longer have the option to go outside.

But on a cheerier note, this interview with Gaelynn Lea gave me excellent perspective on navigating life and now. Her reminders that each able bodied person can (and will) become a disabled person are so helpful as I have been diving deep into physical therapy to address old issues that I want to pay attention to before I leave. Much of my quarantine will involve PT exercises!

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