Whatever you dream to do, be sure to do it well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adventures in Korea: Nami Island. Part 1

Hello, Folks!

So sorry I’ve been slow with the updates lately. So much happened in the past week and on and it took time to settle myself into a new life: new place, new jobs, new people, but same ole me. :)

Good memories stifle and taunt you the moment you feel the most vulnerable to nostalgia or feelings of good times gone by. My solution? Write it out. I have a memory of a trip I took with a very lovely friend (whom I shall call Rebecca) in Korea, along with a few students. Our purpose was to escape the quick-paced bustle, inch-to-inch people bumping of Seoul. I proposed the idea of going to an island called Nami that I read about online. What better way to escape the city than to go to an island? I patted myself on the back for that one and felt so proud about my idea.

All Right! 

I invited my fellow teacher Rebecca to take the trip with me, and being the reasonable person that she is, she researched it with her students before giving me the A-OKAY. She invited two students and one brought along her boyfriend. We had ourselves a party, folks! I was excited for the trip and longed for the ship that would give me a break from the crowded streets, pollution, and shoves and pushes from grandmas. I felt like the Elves from the Lord of Rings taking that boat into the west in the ridiculously long ending of the third film in the trilogy. However, I digress.

Morning of our trip arrived and we had to be at the train station at 7:00 AM. Now, usually an early morning appointment, class, meeting or whatever is the biggest drag under the sun for me, but not that morning. The anticipation moved my usually moody morning body out of bed, into the shower, and out to put my outfit and make-up on. I arrived first at the station, which would be a shock to anyone who knows me because tardiness is tattooed in invisible ink on my forehead.

Finally! I would be in nature, amidst trees, fresh air, and grass that stretched far and wide and uncountable unlike the few blades sticking out beneath the concrete. And water. I find it healing and after a hard, tiring week of teaching, I longed to appease my soul with a meditative gaze to the point where the water hits the sky. My hopes and expectations for the day flew at stratospheric heights and I smiled worse than that loopy, purple Cheshire cat because this was my idea. I wanted everyone to have fun and enjoy the day.

Oh, but don’t you love life? One thing it teaches you over and over again: expect the unexpected. My trip to Nami Island turned out to be one of life’s precious gifts on that front. The story continues with the next post!

Ever have high hopes and anticipation for something and it turned out to be less, more, or a mixture of less and more than you expected? I’d like to hear about it.

Thanks for reading,

Ahhh, Nami Island 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Bright Side of Underemployment

I must be kidding, right? The bright side of underemployment? Read on.

I don't believe it!  
Life has its moments where it exerts more effort than usual to bury you in a grave and sit on top of it for extra good measure. Unemployment/ Underemployment may or may not fall under that category but to some people it certainly does. Like me. Now I can bore you with the details of how I graduated from college, graduated from grad school with a Master’s Degree, and went abroad to gain international experience, but I won’t because you’re not a potential employer. (If you are please email me. I’m quite the amicable person. ^_^)

My story mirrors many others and, although I cannot speak for every unemployed/underemployed twenty-something in this new brave world of ours, I believe we’re tired of explanations of how the government, the economy, meritocracy, or capitalism failed us. We are ready to change the rules of an old game or maybe we are ready to introduce a new game altogether.

Now, you might say, “Well, you wouldn’t be having problems finding a job if you majored in (insert math, science, or technology specialty here).” True. I swapped a high demand sector for an area that seduced my passions and strong desire to bring happiness to the most people possible. I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made and do not intend to cultivate regrets somewhere along the passage of time. I have my education, my mind, and a vision for the future. I cannot go wrong unless I willfully sabotage myself.   

My status: underemployed. I managed to secure a part time teaching at a community college and an international school located in a small liberal arts college tucked in the middle of a pine forest. The latter offered me free room and board so I leaped on it and moved out of my home to a single dorm room where I would share a bathroom and shower with six other females. I’ve moved three times before so I’m comfortable with the change and although not ideal, the bathroom situation bothers me very little. I’m grateful for the personal space to write, which will be my focus for the next threw months: writing and editing.

I’m thankful, thankful, thankful for what I have now because many more have it worse than I do. Of course, I had moments of panic about how to pay pending and impending bills, but I repeated my mantra for worry detox: Stop worrying. It does not help the situation. Worrying won’t make God have more pity on you and throw a golden bone on your lap this instant. So stop. Just stop it. I repeat it several times and I feel better. I feel grateful. In the midst of my gratitude, I thought about all the gems that unemployment/ underemployment offers.  Here’s what I came up with in my own personal journey:

You have more time to think about your life, where you want to go, and who you want to be. (Reflections, reflections!)

You can work on and improve your spiritual life.

You have more time to work on projects that usually would be left undone or neglected. (I revitalized this blog and my writing during my unemployment period.)

You can spend more quality time with your family and friends (if you’re smart about it).

Went down memory lane: awesome friends and family

from highschool, college, grad school, and Korea

You appreciate your family and friends more.

You can appreciate the necessities you’ve taken for granted.

You can take a break from the rat race to refocus and re-envision your life.

You appreciate five dollars a lot more than before.  (OMG, I’m rich! *tears* T_T << My reaction when finding five dollars in my wallet. Shows you how much I look in there.)

You budget more intelligently because you’re forced to do so.  (Bye bye wasteful, meaningless purchases. You do not NEED that. This is still a toughie for me but I have come a long waaaaaay. Trust me.)

You have more hope and anticipation of what’s to come because you believe it will be better than right now.

"Oh, the places you will go." ~Dr. Seuss

How about you? If you’ve ever endured unemployment/underemployment, what would you add to the list?

Thanks for reading,

Sammy :)

Blog Update Soon

I've been slow with the updates this week because I had to move to a new place for a new job I have. The process was quite time consuming. An update will be up soon and I hope you find it interesting! 

Soon....very soon. :)


Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Specials! Tasty!

Happy Friday!

It’s everyone favorite day again! (And if you prefer another day that's okay too.) I hope you all had a great week. Had an awful week? Here are some kittens to make you feel a little better. 

Too adorable. I'm dying.
Aww, friends...or enemies? O_o
Last one. I promise. 

(Well. Must...resist...posting more.)

Oh, and I have snacks too. Munch Munch.

Where do you know gives you kittens and cookies?
No need to keep you waiting any longer. I’ve been about the blogosphere and found these great gems. Today’s Friday Specials:
1.) Are you a writer? Have problems being social? Check  
this out. Seven Traits of the Social Writer. http://bit.ly/Wbbpst
2.) Calling all artists! Here’s a challenge. Get 1000 true fans. The Technium: 1,000 True Fans http://bit.ly/10EvL4L

3.) Are you doing revisions on your draft? (I am!) Here’s a 
great checklist: A Writer's Journey: Revision Checklist - Part 1 of 2   http://bit.ly/Xk94uY

4.) Here’s a great list to create characters that screw up.  Good for conflict. Better Plotting: 7 Ways Your Characters Can Screw up Their Decisions http://bit.ly/13LZyqQ

5.) The better way to travel the world: Slow travel is the only way to travel - Eye & Pen: Travel   http://bit.ly/VOGe9Y

6.) For those still searching for purpose, here’s a list  packed with meaningful advice: How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love | Brain Pickings http://bit.ly/VwtGmx

7.) I intend to do more book reviews this year. A couple of reviews listed here tell you what it means to be specific when you review. Review Etiquette: Be Specific | JeriWB: What do I know? http://bit.ly/UB0B8n

8.) Kurt Vonnegut offer his words of wisdom on writing. How to Write with Style: Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Keys to the Power of the Written Word | Brain Pickings http://bit.ly/13MF7JH

9.) Plot or story? Story or plot? Is one more important 
than the other? Find out: Plot vs. Story by Anna Elliott. http://bit.ly/WMGPVd
10.) I woud like to end today's Friday Specials with an article on inspiration. Here's the great story of Mary Gottschalk and how she and her husband left behind lucrative careers in finance to live fivers on a sailboat. Their mission: circumnavigate the globe. Be inspired. 
Learning to love Living out of Control: Mary Gottschalk | Write On The Water http://bit.ly/11Exu9x

Thanks for reading and have an awesome weekend!
Sammy :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hair, Love, and Beauty Myths

I’ve had days where I wish I had the gall of my English advisor from college to shave my head bald. I remember her naked caramel head so easy to spot, beautiful and free from those dead strings that caused me so much trouble time after time. She confided that she was tired of her hair and what it took to figure it out. I nodded then because I understood completely of course. Only two points in my brief history on this earth found me happy about my hair and both were when I had a hairdresser cut it super short.

However, sometime ago I resisted the short crop and desired my hair to grow long, but I did not want to do so with my chemically straightened hair (I’m Black so I’ve had relaxers put in my hair since I was five-years-old to make my hair straight). I wanted my hair to grow long in its natural state. And that folks was where all the trouble, pain, and unforeseen beliefs emerged to shock and terrify me. 

I always like to believe I’m an open, intellectual, forward thinking person. My natural hair possessed a character of its own and proved that there were some areas I needed to work on: love and beauty myths. To spoil the ending, I used a relaxer and killed my natural hair, barely one year old.   

The story begins in the spring of my stay in Korea. I had a rockin’ Mohawk thanks to a hip Korean hairdresser, but my hairstyle grew out in a very awkward state. I thought about a return to that hairstylist but decided against it for a reason I can’t remember. 

My mohawk and I. And coffee!

Several weeks later I found myself very irritable with my hair and took a pair of scissors to it and chopped everything. Had I lost my mind? Maybe. I accumulated much stress from the school I worked for and that might have spilled over to the impatience with my hair. Did I love the cut? Totally. Did I come to regret it? Sadly, yes.

snip, snip, SNIP!
I let the hair grow naturally, determined to stop the conditioned urge to chemically straighten it. In the meantime, I bought and wore a wig to my classes or when I went out and about because it was already enough to attract stares in Korea due to my skin tone without garnering more curious attention for my boyish crop. When I grew tired of the wig, I put on a beanie and that remained my default hairstyle—a gray or black beanie over my head. I had yet to see anyone in the city with hair cut as short as mine and I should not have cared so much but I did. Things grew easier when I returned to the States, home of individuality and self-expression. Tell me why I still felt uncomfortable with my emerging afro. By December, I had my mother relax my hair. Good-bye, natural hair.

My mini-afro and I. Adieu! Until tomorrow.
It’s January and I’m not proud of what I did to my hair because my reasons arose from a negative mindset and deep rejection of a part of myself. I underestimated the mental journey that accompanied the choice of natural hair. To become a new person, the person I desired myself to be, I had to let go of all the misconceptions of beauty that I grew up with since childhood. It involved the erasure of all the images that I once believed made up a beautiful woman because most of those images were what others desired to see in women and not what I wanted to see in myself. I was old enough to know what I wanted, but not courageous enough to let the world know I was at peace and confident with my decision. And that’s part of what makes a woman a woman, someone who is comfortable in her own skin.   

Thus, why I love beginnings. I will try again. I am trying again. I’ve uncovered my ugly truths and inhibitions, laying them bare so I can attack them. With that, I can move through the years with new confidence and love. I must love my body and all the components that make it up. True. I am not my hair but my hair is part of my body and I own my body. I don’t want to make decisions about my body based on what the world persuades or conditions me to do with it, but rather what I desire because that leads to true happiness. And if I love and accept my body, I love and accept the bodies of others. And if we love and accept each others' bodies, their idiocracies, quirks and specialness, then maybe we would all have something less to worry about.

How about you? Ever felt self-conscious or insecure about a part of yourself? What did you do to overcome it? Would love to hear your responses!

Thanks for reading,
Sammy :)