I will be studying abroad for the next couple of terms. Currently, I am writing from Budapest, Hungary, and will be here for several months. To follow my travels, see my abroad-adventures-designated blog, Travels of Chan.
It’s Sunday, and I can feel the hours of Spring Break dying away… This morning, I awoke at 7:30, hit with an urgency to get things done in preparation for the new quarter: unpacking, cleaning, vacuuming, buying textbooks, writing, emailing, doing all the stuff I was supposed to do last week. So I’ve written up a to-do list in my journal (I’ve switched to an unlined one! It’s really pretty. It has this nice soft leather cover and a sort of humbly earthy design on the front.) and I’ve been on the move for the last few hours. So much to do, so little time, and I think despite the brevity of Spring Break, it worked. That is, it once again feels good to be busy and get things done. Maybe it’s just me being a nerd, but right now, I actually want to do work! Give me books to read, problem sets to do, writing exercises to play with, math to digest, Chinese characters to memorize, music to learn!
Okay. So maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But point is: I’m excited for the new quarter. And also: For the first time since I started university, I actually brought yarn from home! So now I have several projects in working order, most of them started over spring break. So yarn. Yes.
Here’s a hat that I knit for my friend a while ago. It’s a pretty quick knit-up (I think it took me less than 5 hours), with Vanna’s Choice Yarn, US 9 needles. Let me know if you want the cable pattern! It’s a 16-stitch, 14-row (I think?) cable pattern. I just repeated it 8 times around and it turned out alright, I think, but a little on the small size. If you want a bigger hat, you could try using US 10 needles instead.
Last quarter, I went to this talk about hyperbolic space and the speaker showed us these crocheted pieces of negatively curved surfaces! So I made one too:
It’s still in the works because I’m making it for a friend and he wants me to make it as large as possible, so I’m just going to keep going until I run out of yarn. It’s super easy, though. Here’s the pattern:
Row 1: Chain 2. Single crochet (sc) 6 stitches into the first chain. (6)
Row 2: Crochet 2 sc in each stitch. (12)
Row 3: Sc 1, sc 2 in next stitch, and repeat around. (18)
Row 4: Sc 2, sc 2 in next stitch, and repeat around. (24)
Row 5: Repeat row 3.
And then you can keep repeating Row 5 ad nauseum, and then you’ll have yourself a nice work that looks like crocheted coral. Yay!
Okay. On with my Sunday now. Toodles! :)
Something strange is happening to me. I have gotten so little work done since last Thursday, it’s insane. I’m not sure whether it is because I am burnt out, or because I have so much work that I want to pretend like none of it is actually there. I don’t know, but I don’t like it, and pretty soon, I’ll be having to pull all-nighters to get all this work done. Prior to Thursday, my work ethic (this quarter, at least) was incredible: I had all of my days planned out, the expected number of hours it would take me to do each item on my to-do list, never procrastinated. And so it was that my average bedtime was 12:30, that I’d wake up every morning at 8 or 9 refreshed and ready to do it all over again. I did nothing but study, and my productivity was amazing.
But last Thursday, I decided to slack off, and then the next day, I didn’t want to do work either. And then the weekend came along, I wrote an essay and studied Chinese, but for the most part, slacked off again. And then the week started, and I wrote essays for an application, edited some writing, studied Chinese, but still, for the most part, I slacked off. On Tuesday, a friend of mine convinced me to bring my violin back to the dorm, and that evening, I spent three hours having “jam sessions,” or as close to jam sessions as I will ever get, as a classically trained violinist. We played arrangements for piano and violin, and then (!) some friends and I read Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins. It was the most fun I had had all quarter (possibly all year!), and afterwards, I was in too good of a mood to do work. So I went up to my friend’s room and listened to him give me a presentation on biology (which was interrupted frequently by my questions), which was absolutely fascinating and re-sparked my love for biology. It was such a great day (topped off with a wonderful mug of honey citron tea), and I was so happy that the following day (yesterday), I found it very hard to do work. I talked to friends, did some Chinese homework, and, yet again, like I had been doing for the last week, slacked off again.
My friend said that it’s easier to do work when you’re mopey. Then doing work is a way to avoid being mopey. Maybe I’ve been too happy recently to do work. But I love doing work! I really do! I really love learning and I really love feeling like my brain is growing! It makes me really happy when I do problem sets because I learn so much from them! So why is it that I’m procrastinating? Why would I ever want to deprive myself of something that I know will make me happy? I’m homesick. I want to go home. I don’t want to take finals. I just miss home.
My celebrity look-alikes: Koda Kumi (78%), Takeuchi Yuko (78%), Stephen Chow (73%), Andy Lau (68%), Ueta Aya (67%). Gosh golly. Celebrity doppelganger fail.
["there was never much grass where i grew up, but there is plenty here." film. june 2009]
["if i wave my arms around, will the satellite still be okay?" film. june 2009]
["in these clouds are the stories of our lives." film. june 2009]
["breezy, yes, and hair that wisps and whips." film. june 2009]
["the hills are never the same." film. june 2009]
For some reason, with every break from school, it gets harder and harder to leave home. Freshman year, on the eve before my departure, I was overcome with excitement, masking the inevitable pang of homesickness. But now, in my sophomore year, after half a dozen trips home between academic terms, I feel a heaviness that extends past the walls of my heart. In every organ, I ache with homesickness, where home is where my family is. And I haven’t even left my room.
I just spent the last two hours scanning photos from the 11 rolls of film I got developed a few days ago. I watched Lie To Me, a television show, to keep me company in the late hours of the night. But my mind wandered. As photo after photo went through the scanner, I was taken down memory lane. A recent memory. A continuous one of these last few weeks. A wonderful one full of the warmth of family and home.
As I grow older, even though I have not even seen two decades of life, I am increasingly aware of the transient nature of things. Perhaps it is because of the new year, the opening of a new decade, that I feel so pressured by the way time never waits for anyone or anything. Things that are will not be forever. Nothing seems to stay the same. And the strings of todays are not the strings of yesterdays or the strings of tomorrows. Why is it that we are trapped in this world? It is like we are stuck on a train that never stops moving. Is it possible to smell the flowers as they pass by?
Most of the time, I try not to think about the future. I find the prospect of the future frightening, impenetrably mysterious. But tonight, one of the first evenings of 2010, I cannot but think about what this year will bring, what this decade will bring. What will become of my life and of me? What will become of my family? When hundreds of thousands of people countdown to 2020 in ten years, where will we all be?
I have my hopes and my dreams. But as time passes and I keep striving to make them a reality, the thought of dark things presses in on me. I have never been scared of death much. Mostly, it’s the dying part I’m scared of. Will there be pain when I close my eyes for the last time? But sometimes I am scared. Not for me, but for those close to me. I cannot imagine a world without them, and perhaps this is why it is becoming harder and harder to leave home, even if it is only for a few months in college. So much can happen in three months. Why can’t I be in two places at once?
These are dreary thoughts for the start of a new year, so perhaps to cheer myself up and let my tears dry cold on my skin, I will write a list of resolutions for 2010. Perhaps they will not be resolutions in the traditional sense (e.g. “Lose x pounds.”), but hopes. Things to look forward to. Things to love.
- Family. They’re always there for me, and I love them more than I can consciously imagine.
- Friends. Who are wonderful, always.
- Math. Which I love, deeply and simply.
- Books. Which work wonders for the heart and the imagination.
- Words. No one can live without them. I want to learn to use them better.
- Walks. Because they make you slow down and smell the air.
- Music. People like Sufjan Stevens and Priscilla Ahn have creative geniuses that should be recognized.
- Photographs. Memories on film. Must I say more?
- Clocks. So that we can make the most of our time.
- Planners. For the same reason as above.
- Moleskines. Because they’re wonderful for journalling and anger-release. And for thinking “out loud” on paper.
- School. Learning in concentrated form.
- Men. Dating’s fun. Stuff you can’t learn from books. Thankfully. I think.
- Yarn. I should put more yarn stuff on here. Like hat patterns I’ve made up and such.
- Movies. Because even a nerd like me likes to give her brain a rest every once in a while. Romantic comedies? Yes, yes yes!
The list could go on for ages, but it is the early AM, and I must get up early in the morning. I like getting up in the morning. Sometimes, you get to see gorgeous sunrises. The type that makes the world seem heavenly and unreal.
[Ashland, OR. October 2009. Disposable Camera.]