Saturday, November 20, 2010

Well... That was a doozy.

I caught the nastiest cold I've had in awhile (ok... in 3 weeks) last Thursday.  This readjusting to a new country for those of us with impaired immune function is annoying.  Since I started working in a school again, I've caught 3 major bugs.  I'm burning through my sick days at an alarming rate.  What kills me is not the physical symptoms, but the mental ones.  Sleep-deprived Diana cannot cope with 14 year old sass in the way normal Diana can.  As you may notice from my word count calendar for NaNoWriMo, life in all its forms just about stopped for me mid-last-week.

While I'm still hacking up a lung every 30 minutes or so and choking down the Vitamin C like I do chocolate on my period, my basic brain functions returned Tuesday evening, and I was able to complete my work week.  But that's about all I've been able to manage.  Seriously... You should see the pile of laundry awaiting me for tomorrow.

The good news?  (1) I'm returning to hotline volunteering at the same place I worked three years ago (some new folks, some old friends).  (2) I was approved to run my high school's drama club (with plans to get my certification endorsement in theater if I pass the test in January and then teach theater as an elective next year).  (3)  Min Gi obtained his MD driver's license, so we have purchased a second used vehicle through my uncle who will drive it down to us when they visit for the Thanksgiving holiday.

# 3 is a mixed bag.  I don't really want to own one car, let alone two, but America is a country not well designed for pedestrian lifestyle, especially outside a major metropolitan city.  So cheers to the continued destruction of the environment...

On with the show!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Settled?

We unpacked the final box we'd shipped from Korea last week and attended an American Halloween party.  Min Gi got his social security card and his driver's license.  Tuesday, I have a doctor's appointment.

It feels like something's shifting.  Like maybe I can start to relax just a little and move on with life goals--the ones I put on hold to accomplish this nightmare relocation.  This move has been so all-consuming that I'd almost forgot I even had them.  NaNoWriMo is helping a bit.  As is the Couch-to-5K running program I restarted this week.

I marvel at how different life was six months ago--when we didn't yet have our visa or even tickets for the U.S. and I had no idea how I was going to find a job and get everything done I needed to do to wind us up on the other side of the world with our cats and without being completely broke.

Well... we did it.

I'm still not completely happy here in America.  I don't know if that's the adjustment, reverse culture shock, or the shortening days (winter is never easy for me), but I do know that I'm starting to feel settled.  That this house and this job are starting to feel like "mine" instead of just the place I live and the place I teach.  It helps to have found places for everything; it helps that I've been able to plan out the quarter, rather than going day by day/week by week with my lessons.

As I enter the first American "holiday season" I've had in almost four years, I feel unwound.  Like I've been a tight coil for a year and half of short-term, high-pressure goals--all achieved, all stressful, many fun (to name a few:  completing grad school, planning a wedding and honeymoon, getting Min Gi's visa, moving to America and repatriating, dealing with a new chronic illness)--and now I have no bounce.  But maybe I can use this flexibility and rest to my advantage.  Use it to sift through my new identity as wife.  As American-in-America.  As high school English teacher (maybe, in the near future, drama teacher).  Use it to work on my health, my career, and my writing.

Let's hope.  I need some inspiration!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a Taste...

I'm at 3419 words.  Apparently, the word counter doesn't like it when you write ahead, so even though I'm on track for the month, it says I didn't meet today's goal.  Odd.

In case you're curious about what I'm writing for NaNoWriMo, it's a young adult novel, currently titled Calling It In.  Here's the description I posted:
Katie's senior year of high school was supposed to be the best... but then her older sister announces that she's moving to Korea, her boyfriend for the last two years dumps her as he enters college, and talking to people with problems at the youth crisis hotline where she volunteers starts to feel a little too personal.
A short, unedited excerpt from what I wrote today for NaNoWriMo:

Every night for the year after It had happened, Katie had the same nightmare. She was in a strange Asian-looking temple that was like a maze with walls that stretched on forever. Her mother's voice echoed from just around the next corner, "I'm here, Katie. Come find me! Help! I need your help!" But when Katie rounded the corner, there would just be more of the maze and the bright colored scenes of the Buddha and tigers and wise old fat men and dragons with fish in their mouths.
"I'm coming, Mom! Just hold on for a moment. I can't find you." She'd run and run and run until she was out of breath, but still there was more maze.
Right when she was about to give up, her mother's voice would say, "There, there Katie. You could never find me here. I don't belong here."
And then Katie's mocha skin and straight black hair would start to glow and burn.
"It hurts, Mommy," she would cry out.
But her mother was gone. And the pictures seemed to be smiling at her burning skin. Mocking her with some secret zen knowledge that was forever denied to her.
Even when she was awake that year, she stopped looking in mirrors. If she didn't look in the mirrors, she could pretend that she looked like Deena and her mother. She could belong. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Quarter Finished, NaNoWriMo started

I submitted class grades for the first time since 2007, and I must say, I like how this new computerized system keeps me on my toes so that I have to actually finish all of my grades for a numbered percent.  I used to flub it a bit--as in sometimes the last essay/test of the quarter didn't actually make a difference to the kid's letter grade as long as they handed it in; I would save those to grade after submitting grades, thereby perpetually extending my own deadline and my stress.  Now that I'm done, I feel relief.  Even if more of my ninth graders failed this quarter than I would have liked to see.

I also started my NaNoWriMo.  1957 words for the first day (of a minimum 50,000 required).  It took a little less than two hours today.  I'm happy to be writing so freely--no constant self-editing judgement, just get it done.  Check out (if it works) the widget on the side to track my progress.

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