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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One week down, fifteen to go

It seems that the end of vacation is always hectic -- in the few days before I had to return to campus again, D and I crammed in eye appointments, our will signing, and rumba lessons(!). Fortunately, all had good outcomes.

The eye appointment for me was important as we don't know how long I've been prediabetic, so getting my retinas looked at was something we didn't want to put off until spring break. (That's when I get to meet my new endocrinologist; for now, my regular doctor is going to keep tabs on me.) As for the will signing, that was something we'd had planned -- we finally got the draft process underway during my Thanksgiving break, after much delay -- so it was good to cross that one off our to-do list as well. And the rumba lessons? Impromptu and entirely for fun. We haven't done any ballroom dancing since our wedding, and the inexpensive group lessons we found at a club downtown looked like an easy way to get started again (they do cha-cha, salsa, foxtrot, waltz, and several other types of dance too). We may do it again next time I'm in town.

The one thing that was truly unplanned during vacation happened the night before I had to leave. For some reason, the fire alarm in our apartment building went off in the middle of the evening and had to be shut off by the fire department. No explanation as to what set it off -- normally, someone's smoke detector within a single unit has to be tripped before the building-wide system goes into effect.

D and I had no idea whether there was actually a fire or not, so we grabbed the most important things we had -- largely, irreplaceable data stored on our laptops and backup CDs! Oh, the embarrassing value on (and faith in) technology we have. Here we are, waiting for the all-clear signal from the firemen in the parking lot. You can see D's shadow next to mine, which is the one holding the camera up.


The trip back was uneventful. The sky was clear as we headed for the airport -- unusual for this time of year -- which gave me a glimpse of the moon before sunrise over the foothills we live in. They mark the gateway to the larger mountain ranges east of us.


I also got a full shot of Mount Rainier from the airport at dawn -- also unusual for this time of year since its peak is usually wreathed in mist.


And once we were in the air, just before I fell asleep for the rest of the flight, I took a picture of the Cascades below us. I can't wait to be heading in the opposite direction over them again (less than two weeks until the next trip!).


Speaking of countdowns, I am now officially through my first week of the spring semester, which means there are fifteen left until the much-anticipated end (for the foreseeable future) of long-distancing. Oh yes, we're definitely marking off the days. Not because I don't like teaching -- I was actually way more excited about what I was going to do with my students on the first day of the semester than I was about my own classes. I'm just very much ready to be moved out of here, for obvious reasons, and also to be done with regular coursework. I haven't been able to focus on the bigger picture of the thesis because of all the nitty-gritty hoops I've had to jump through in these last three semesters. I think getting away from all the distractions will help a lot. If I can just nail down that prospectus ...

3 comments:

Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

Only one semester left to go? Oh you're almost there! Sounds like you two had a fabulous time together. Yeah.
Katie

French Fancy said...

I'm so happy that the end is approaching for your long-distance relationship. Of course during the first row of your new togetherness you might wish you were apart :).

Lovely pics.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi again, Katie! Yes, we're very excited to be nearly done. In some ways, we can't believe it's been almost two years of this already, and in others, we can't believe the wait's still not over yet. Time is funny that way. Perhaps it would be a little different if we didn't have the whole long-distance thing before marriage for more than half a decade to add to the experience ...

FF -- In some ways, that would seem a luxury, no? To be able to wish that.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

One week down, fifteen to go

It seems that the end of vacation is always hectic -- in the few days before I had to return to campus again, D and I crammed in eye appointments, our will signing, and rumba lessons(!). Fortunately, all had good outcomes.

The eye appointment for me was important as we don't know how long I've been prediabetic, so getting my retinas looked at was something we didn't want to put off until spring break. (That's when I get to meet my new endocrinologist; for now, my regular doctor is going to keep tabs on me.) As for the will signing, that was something we'd had planned -- we finally got the draft process underway during my Thanksgiving break, after much delay -- so it was good to cross that one off our to-do list as well. And the rumba lessons? Impromptu and entirely for fun. We haven't done any ballroom dancing since our wedding, and the inexpensive group lessons we found at a club downtown looked like an easy way to get started again (they do cha-cha, salsa, foxtrot, waltz, and several other types of dance too). We may do it again next time I'm in town.

The one thing that was truly unplanned during vacation happened the night before I had to leave. For some reason, the fire alarm in our apartment building went off in the middle of the evening and had to be shut off by the fire department. No explanation as to what set it off -- normally, someone's smoke detector within a single unit has to be tripped before the building-wide system goes into effect.

D and I had no idea whether there was actually a fire or not, so we grabbed the most important things we had -- largely, irreplaceable data stored on our laptops and backup CDs! Oh, the embarrassing value on (and faith in) technology we have. Here we are, waiting for the all-clear signal from the firemen in the parking lot. You can see D's shadow next to mine, which is the one holding the camera up.


The trip back was uneventful. The sky was clear as we headed for the airport -- unusual for this time of year -- which gave me a glimpse of the moon before sunrise over the foothills we live in. They mark the gateway to the larger mountain ranges east of us.


I also got a full shot of Mount Rainier from the airport at dawn -- also unusual for this time of year since its peak is usually wreathed in mist.


And once we were in the air, just before I fell asleep for the rest of the flight, I took a picture of the Cascades below us. I can't wait to be heading in the opposite direction over them again (less than two weeks until the next trip!).


Speaking of countdowns, I am now officially through my first week of the spring semester, which means there are fifteen left until the much-anticipated end (for the foreseeable future) of long-distancing. Oh yes, we're definitely marking off the days. Not because I don't like teaching -- I was actually way more excited about what I was going to do with my students on the first day of the semester than I was about my own classes. I'm just very much ready to be moved out of here, for obvious reasons, and also to be done with regular coursework. I haven't been able to focus on the bigger picture of the thesis because of all the nitty-gritty hoops I've had to jump through in these last three semesters. I think getting away from all the distractions will help a lot. If I can just nail down that prospectus ...

3 comments:

Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

Only one semester left to go? Oh you're almost there! Sounds like you two had a fabulous time together. Yeah.
Katie

French Fancy said...

I'm so happy that the end is approaching for your long-distance relationship. Of course during the first row of your new togetherness you might wish you were apart :).

Lovely pics.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi again, Katie! Yes, we're very excited to be nearly done. In some ways, we can't believe it's been almost two years of this already, and in others, we can't believe the wait's still not over yet. Time is funny that way. Perhaps it would be a little different if we didn't have the whole long-distance thing before marriage for more than half a decade to add to the experience ...

FF -- In some ways, that would seem a luxury, no? To be able to wish that.