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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, July 19, 2009

47° 31' 17" N, 52° 37' 24" W

That is where the easternmost point in North America is located.

I knew before I arrived in Newfoundland that if there was anything I wanted to do, it was to go there since it was no more than a 20-minute drive from our hotel in St. John's. Why travel almost all the way across the continent and then stop a few degrees short of the entire distance? (Okay, I guess I'd have to be coming from the westernmost point in Alaska in order to say that I'd really covered the requisite mileage, but I think you understand what I'm getting at here.)

We had one day for sightseeing, so getting to this destination, formally known as Cape Spear, was at the top of the list for a lot of the family members who attended my cousin's wedding. So we went caravan-style in various rental cars, obligatory cameras at our sides. If the locals hadn't already gotten to see a stereotypical Asian tourist group, we definitely provided the proper visual ...

Actually, we sort of dispersed a bit once we got there, which I appreciated. Reunions with all of the extended family are fun, but it also means resurrecting certain tensions born of complicated family politics, and since this was the day after the wedding, there had been enough time for some of that to surface. That'll keep for another post, though.

Before going to the cape, we stopped at Signal Hill, which was also a lovely place to take pictures. The hiking paths were steep at certain points along the way, but they gave us beautiful views of St. John's. Signal Hill was apparently a defensive stronghold from the 18th century to World War II, and there are cannons still guarding the narrows leading into the city's harbor. Newly Graduated Sis and I had fun climbing around on them to get interesting shots. Here's one of hers:


And here are some different perspectives on the narrows as they open toward the Atlantic. Cannon-view:


NG Sis-view (rather, the narrows with NG Sis):


And Troubadour-view:


Cape Spear offered even more to see, I thought. We happened to be there at the time of year when wild irises are in bloom, so I took several pictures for D (they're his favorite flower).













Clover also covers the grassy slopes leading out to the ocean.


NG Sis and I were so absorbed in our own explorations that we got quite a bit behind the main group, as you can see:


We caught up with them just as one of our uncles ventured off the path (despite several warning signs against it!) to check out the boulders at the ocean's edge.


Apparently a good number of people have been swept off these rocks by the giant waves that can surge up quite suddenly. Fortunately, none appeared while our uncle was poking around.


The obligatory picture of the sign marking our location, latitude and longitude included (click on the photo for a closer look):


And then a leisurely climb to the lighthouse.



It's definitely worth going back -- I'd want to take D as it's the kind of place he would love. When we'll have time for an extended trip together, though, is uncertain. Perhaps when he gets more vacation time (not until he's been with his employer for five years). But by then we'll likely have little Troubadours to take with us ...

Hmm, maybe this'll have to wait till they can handle 15 hours of cross-country travel. Yes.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

*resurrecting certain tensions born of complicated family politics,* - a classic phrase that sums up the feuds and vendettas that all families have in abundance

Glad you got away, and loved the flowers

Contemporary Troubadour said...

And they really are in abundance, FF! It was so much easier when I was a kid, blithely ignorant of all that.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

47° 31' 17" N, 52° 37' 24" W

That is where the easternmost point in North America is located.

I knew before I arrived in Newfoundland that if there was anything I wanted to do, it was to go there since it was no more than a 20-minute drive from our hotel in St. John's. Why travel almost all the way across the continent and then stop a few degrees short of the entire distance? (Okay, I guess I'd have to be coming from the westernmost point in Alaska in order to say that I'd really covered the requisite mileage, but I think you understand what I'm getting at here.)

We had one day for sightseeing, so getting to this destination, formally known as Cape Spear, was at the top of the list for a lot of the family members who attended my cousin's wedding. So we went caravan-style in various rental cars, obligatory cameras at our sides. If the locals hadn't already gotten to see a stereotypical Asian tourist group, we definitely provided the proper visual ...

Actually, we sort of dispersed a bit once we got there, which I appreciated. Reunions with all of the extended family are fun, but it also means resurrecting certain tensions born of complicated family politics, and since this was the day after the wedding, there had been enough time for some of that to surface. That'll keep for another post, though.

Before going to the cape, we stopped at Signal Hill, which was also a lovely place to take pictures. The hiking paths were steep at certain points along the way, but they gave us beautiful views of St. John's. Signal Hill was apparently a defensive stronghold from the 18th century to World War II, and there are cannons still guarding the narrows leading into the city's harbor. Newly Graduated Sis and I had fun climbing around on them to get interesting shots. Here's one of hers:


And here are some different perspectives on the narrows as they open toward the Atlantic. Cannon-view:


NG Sis-view (rather, the narrows with NG Sis):


And Troubadour-view:


Cape Spear offered even more to see, I thought. We happened to be there at the time of year when wild irises are in bloom, so I took several pictures for D (they're his favorite flower).













Clover also covers the grassy slopes leading out to the ocean.


NG Sis and I were so absorbed in our own explorations that we got quite a bit behind the main group, as you can see:


We caught up with them just as one of our uncles ventured off the path (despite several warning signs against it!) to check out the boulders at the ocean's edge.


Apparently a good number of people have been swept off these rocks by the giant waves that can surge up quite suddenly. Fortunately, none appeared while our uncle was poking around.


The obligatory picture of the sign marking our location, latitude and longitude included (click on the photo for a closer look):


And then a leisurely climb to the lighthouse.



It's definitely worth going back -- I'd want to take D as it's the kind of place he would love. When we'll have time for an extended trip together, though, is uncertain. Perhaps when he gets more vacation time (not until he's been with his employer for five years). But by then we'll likely have little Troubadours to take with us ...

Hmm, maybe this'll have to wait till they can handle 15 hours of cross-country travel. Yes.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

*resurrecting certain tensions born of complicated family politics,* - a classic phrase that sums up the feuds and vendettas that all families have in abundance

Glad you got away, and loved the flowers

Contemporary Troubadour said...

And they really are in abundance, FF! It was so much easier when I was a kid, blithely ignorant of all that.