Friday, March 29, 2013

student for life

So I'm supposed to be on spring break this week. But only in theory. It feels like I haven't stopped working... and I'm exhausted.

Finally had a quick break and thought I'd stop in here...

I'm often asked what I want to do after I graduate. It's funny because as wonderful as finishing (finally) would be, life outside of school can be scary. Every new degree takes you further into your career, and life after a PhD sounds... intimidating. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll do. I know what I don't want to do, but I'm certainly getting ideas as to what I would enjoy doing given the opportunities I have now to try my hand at certain things, like consulting.

All that said... if I had a choice I would really want to keep on learning. I want to be a student in some way for life. I know that sounds weird, but perhaps it's my desire for kaizen, as in my manifesto here.

I started making a list of all the (other) things I want to learn...

1. How to speak Hindi conversationally. Meaning not just the words for food so I can order a meal in Hindi in India or at an Indian restaurant (which I can do). Apparently I mistakenly impressed my mother-in-law when we first talked on the phone years ago and I rattled off the Hindi words for Indian dishes. Except I couldn't really carry on a real conversation as I may have led her to believe! I'm hoping that being bilingual already (Filipino and English) and having learned other languages somewhat (French and Spanish, in college) offers an advantage - at least in terms of language-learning readiness -  but there are just some Hindi sounds that are difficult for me because I did not grow up hearing or being exposed to those sound combinations. It's so true how they say babies are "citizens of the world" and their brains are ready to learn any language, but all that changes as they get older and especially in adulthood. But never say never!

2. Photography. I still haven't taken any formal classes, and I do want to learn the technical aspect of taking pictures. I did download some tutorials and e-books and such, but I'm embarrassed to say I haven't really dug into them yet. I'm still neck-deep (or maybe over my head is more accurate) in educational research, for my day job(s).

3. Krav Maga or some other self-defense training. I love NCIS and think Ziva David kicks ass with her Krav Maga moves. I even named my car Ziva. :) Just like reverse parking skills (which I'm proud to say I've been doing almost for as long as I've been driving), I think every woman should know how to defend herself in some way. Krav Maga is designed for practical, real-world self-defense, unlike other martial arts. I just can't believe it's taken me this long to gather my guts and do it. There's a training center about a half hour from where I live, and they have classes on Saturday mornings. There goes my lazy Saturday mornings (or crazy-baking mornings), but I think it will be so worth it. 

4.  Total Immersion swimming. I remember putting this on my list years ago, when I still lived in Cincinnati and discovered there was a TI instructor in Cleveland! And now I'm living here, and I still haven't gotten into it. I love swimming - it's like meditation in motion for me, but I'm sad to say it has been on the back burner as well. But this friend has really inspired me to get back into the water.

5. Other random things, like calligraphy. I know -  I sound like I'm all over the place, but really I want to learn this too. As much as I love the digital age, the old-fashioned ways appeal to me as well.

It's funny how I list all these and yet feel so exhausted with my main job(s) that I don't know when I'll get to these "other" stuff. But, a girl can dream. And work. One thing at a time.

dream + work
image via Pinterest

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

i will be your witness

Ok, so before our Catholic wedding ceremony, and before our Hindu ceremony (I promise, we are not really wedding-crazy ;-) )... this happened exactly two years ago. A. and I made a promise - to be a witness to each other's lives.

I realize I haven't shared pictures from that amazing day - March 19th, 2011 - except for a few here. Partly because I wanted to treasure the memory to myself or to just the two of us (and the few people who were there), but partly because it was hard to choose which photos to share here on the blog. Even if I only have a handful of readers, A. had some reservations about posting "people pictures" on cyberspace - especially close-up shots - and I don't blame him. In fact, I also don't post many pictures of myself here either, so this is me going out on a limb. But I also want to look back at this, years later...

So, all that to say that this is the reason the pictures here don't show us directly looking at the camera, or were taken from a little more discreet, not so in-your-face close-up angles. I had to be selective :)

Auburn Twin Oaks Winery, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. A. and I had been to this family-owned winery a few times before and met the owners, who are just lovely people. They are not actually open to the public every day, but on some weekends they have food and wine tasting events. We talked to the owners to reserve this location, and had the whole place to ourselves! It felt like we were in Northeast Ohio's best kept secret.

It was a beautiful, clear day, on the cusp between winter and spring. So fitting.

I think "walking with a purpose" would be a fitting caption for this photo, don't you think?

The interior of the winery was drenched in sunlight. I had to squeeze in a few minutes to take photos of my own. :)
My bouquet of happy yellow flowers. My sister-in-law took care of this, aghast after hearing me say I would just pick up flowers myself from the store (I was trying to keep things as simple as possible). She had it executed perfectly. When asked what kind of flowers I would like, all I said was, "yellow and spring-like". I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful arrangement. Thanks so much, G.!

Photo-op of photo-op. I can take pictures at my own wedding, can't I?

We stood in a room on the top floor, with large windows that give you an almost 360-degree view of the grounds. The room was bathed in afternoon sunlight. We took turns reading verses of Oriah's The Invitation, which is one of my favorites. No matter how many times I've read the poem, reading it aloud on this important day got me all choked up and teary-eyed. We said our vows and exchanged rings, then we were married in front of 8 witnesses (8 including the marriage officiant, that is).

After we exchanged vows, we took a walk outside. My brothers asked A. to carry me for some goofy pictures.

It was a beautiful day - the sun was out, but do not be deceived... it was actually quite cold!
We went back inside to enjoy wine (for them) and cake (for me! Ok... for them too). I had no idea my friends were baking a chocolate cake in my kitchen while I was out that morning getting a haircut - which, in my world, is my version of getting my hair "styled" (I know... clueless.). It didn't occur to me when I got back home, why they were both standing in the kitchen, leaning strategically on the oven door so I couldn't see what was baking inside.
So happy.

(Photos taken by my brother, a dear friend, and me.)

As I look back, I think one of the reasons this day was so special was that the whole ceremony was stripped down to the bare essentials - without any extraneous details that could potentially take away from the essence of what was happening. And yes, this is coming from a detail-oriented person such as myself. Even my mom was amused that I didn't buy anything new to wear. We only bought very simple wedding bands. The place was already beautiful and needed no additional decorations. And everything else (flowers & food) was taken care of by family and friends. 

It wasn't about the details this time.


I'll end with one of my favorite quotable movie lines - from the movie Shall We Dance.

Susan Sarandon: "Why is it, do you think, that people get married?"
Richard Jenkins: "Passion."
Susan Sarandon: "No."
Richard Jenkins: "It's interesing, because I would have taken you for a romantic. Why, then?"

Susan Sarandon: "Because we need a witness to our lives...there are a billion people on the planet, I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything...the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things...all of it, all the time, everyday. You're saying, 'Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.'"


Happy anniversary, A... here's to being each other's witness.

All my love.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

little milestones

So happy that the sun is out today!!! Even if it snowed here all weekend, I am so happy with the thought that spring is just around the corner... hope the sun is shining there too, wherever you are...

The past few weeks have felt like a marathon of sorts, work-wise. Surprisingly, things seem to have settled down by the end of last week. Last Saturday, I did have one work-related conference call on my schedule in the morning. After it ended, I actually said to A., (but really, more to myself), "I'm not going to work anymore today."

This may not sound earth-shattering to you, but it felt like a breakthrough to me. A little milestone. To actually say it out loud: "I am done working today" and then turn off my laptop, and not obsess about work-related emails the rest of the day. And more importantly, to not feel guilty about it. Because feeling guilty about not working keeps me from fully enjoying periods of rest.

This time, it felt really, really good. 

Do you have trouble "turning off" or letting go of work on weekends? Or are you able to set boundaries between work and rest? I'd love to know.

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