Monday, August 30, 2010


This was the week of fail on so many levels.
Check this out- in the course of one week I
1. learned a former student of mine was up on murder charges.
2. Tried to investigate a house in a new city only to learn
 a. it was a dump (that I couldn't really afford anyway)
 b. the city was a dump too, and
 c. have a tire blow out on the highway on the way home from said dump...with my mother in the car.
(Thanks to my excellent driving skills, [direct quote from the momma] however, no one was harmed during the filming of this maudlin scene... I mean, no one was harmed, thank God.)
To continue, I then
3. failed to win the Georgia lotto while in Georgia (not so bad, I know, but still not a great feeling) and
4. was hit on by a young mack daddy,who also looked like a former student, [ewww] while at my local bookstore.(Not so much a fail on my part as his, but since I was an unwilling participant, there goes one more tally on my score).
I also failed to land a job, failed to live up to my own expectations, failed to tell others to lay off me with their expectations and may have gained back the few pounds I lost while in Japan. (Damn that red rice and fish!)
At any rate, all of this together led to an, (let's say it all together, folks)-Epic Fail.
      Really, it's not that bad, I guess. I mean I'm fully aware that I do not follow the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People ( and anyway, don't we all really, deep inside- hell, not even so deep inside, kinda despise those Highly Effective People anyway?) But I'm doing my best.  I mean, that forced break on the side of an interstate highway did give me a chance to bond a little more with my mom.  And, not getting any rejection letters from the multitude of employers I've been soliciting isn't bad news- and may give me more time to discover if any of those jobs are what I really want to do and if I'm ready for them. ( I won't even discuss whether they're ready for me.)  And if I failed to win the lotto, I also failed to "win" the taxes that come with them.  And as for my former student- again, I reiterate with a "sigh "- I did the best I could.
Appropriately enough, an article in today's paper cemented my feelings about my recent failures- saying that failure is an invaluable teacher. I know that that's right, if not always great consolation.  Failure teaches us the price of success. We will do it over and over again, before we get it right, but each time hardens our determination, and inspires new learning, in essence making success inevitable if we don't give up. At any rate, it makes me feel a little bit better and it should make you feel better too.  We all make mistakes and we're all in this mixed up world together, but every failure will take us a littler further, if we learn before it's too late.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God 
as my successes and my talents
 and I lay them both at his feet.”
 Mahatma Gandhi

* No need to go this far, folks. After all, we're all losers sometimes right?  ..... Is it just me, then? :>

 ( I only hope Fail Blog will forgive my mistake- Please note; this is my official notice that Fail Blog is a trademarked website distinct from my own and in no way is my content their responsibility.  P.S. -go over to their site and give them some hits, just in case!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plus Ca Change...? The Heck With That! or :If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another...and That's Okay

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."  What a crock. Since returning home, it's true that I've come across a lot of things on my nostalgia tour.   Same town, same streets, same students,( yeeeeah, saw a couple of them at the local grocery store. Talk about awwwkward!)  Everywhere I go is the same... except for me.  It's weird.  People  are so happy to see me when we meet by chance on the street, but when they ask how I'm doing or what I'm doing ( which at present is nothing, but don't fret, dear readers- I mean after all, it does allow me to spend more time with you. Aren't you happy?), I find myself at a loss for words. How do I explain what I've been through, and how it's changed me to people who are still perfectly content right where I left them? I My experience doesn't show on my face (except for a few less stress lines than I used to show.  And apparently, a little weight loss from a year long diet of fish and rice. Anyone interested in financing a great new diet idea?)  For a year and a day (poetically speaking) I've been separated from the life I had always known...and to be honest, haven't missed it a bit. In fact, I'm more eager than ever to go again-not necessarily abroad but away... away from the people who thought they knew what I was capable of, and who still can't believe I've accomplished what I have, or that I want more. Away from a town that always seemed charming, but too big and  is now only one of the millions of charming places I could be seeing and in comparison to some I have seen- not so big afterall. Away from my own expectations. I thought I would be able to fit back in smoothly, that coming home would be as easy as shucking off a kimono and slipping back on my southern accent.  But it's not. It's  rather more like ( gross metaphor to follow- you have been warned!!) like a snake shedding it's skin, or an insect shedding it's exoskeleton....or maybe just a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. I spent a year away from the real world and for awhile I've felt like I was struggling to get back into my cocoon, and suddenly it occurred to me that I don't really want to go back there and I don't have to. Whew, what a load off! did it really just occur to me that I don't have to be what I was before, just because I am where I was before? Sadly, in the turmoil of moving back home, and starting to settle in, yes.  Happily, it didn't take too long before I remembered that settling is the last thing I want to do in life. I've been back in the home of the free, and land of the brave for about two and a half weeks.  Last time, I was here for thirty two years. Guess I'm a slow learner, but eventually I get there. I don't have to stress about where I'm going to be or what I'm going to do, next.  Everything I've ever needed has always been provided for me (including a swift kick to the butt, when needed). Change is growth and chaos is the fertilizer that feeds it. (Yeah, I  bet you like that spider metaphor a whole lot better than this fertilizer one, huh?)  But it's good to remember that  an old dog can still learn some new tricks or at least  new attitudes.  See? Sometimes things really do change for the better.

Garuda from Andres Salaff on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Never Can Say Goodbye or DIY: I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Sorry for the hiatus, folks. In the confusion of moving home, the original  blackgirlatlarge became, well, more  at large than usual, if only because I had too little time to begin moving home in, and found myself in a sea of packing tape and odds and ends that had be shipped back to America. It was an unsettling feeling to pack up a life in little boxes and send them away. Without a clear goal to return to, I did indeed feel lost and at large. And since I've arrived home, I have found that I have  way too much time on my hands. In my typically bi-polar manner, I  find myself at loose ends, except when I'm trying to keep myself busy. Unfortunately, I am curently sans job. In trying to correct that oversight,  I have been wavering between frenetic, anxious resume mailings, and online research, and staying up late and sleeping later, getting over the inevitable and unenviable jet lag, all of which results in me feeling constantly hungover and blue, hoping someone will bring me a waffle in bed so I don't have to face the day. (Which, hallelujah, someone did. Well, okay, I did have to get up, but there were waffles to be considered. Anyway,thanks, mom!)
I'm trying to jump back into the American work  pool, but unfortunately, the entire pool now seems to be only the shallow end. And while I'm in the middle of being frustrated about the job market, ( I know, like seventy umpty million other people)  Fate seems to think I'd appreciate the joke of reviewing my not so distant past in Japan.  Like flotsam on a beach, pieces and memories of Japan have been showing up at my home every few days- pictures of my students, omiyage( that's Japanese for gifts, folks), and mementos from vacations with friends, all of it begging the question, "Why did you leave Japan, exactly?"  Suitcases,boxes, duffel bags, every day a little more,  all of which has to be tucked into whatever space can be found in my childhood home- talk about your emotional baggage. All of it  reminding me that I left a stable job and a fairly fulfilling life in another come back home to uncertainty. While I appreciate the memories, I realize that  the big impact of my overseas journey  still hasn't really hit me. But I have a suspicion,  I'll appreciate it more, once I have achieved  the "normal" life I'm now trying to resume- when it's resumed, that is. Right now, I feel like I am trying to squeeze myself myself back into a life, that  while extremely familiar, is not so exciting. It's like trying on your favorite pajamas- they fit, but they're a little nappy, and soiled and don't do much for your image. And didn't I leave to get away from that? But everyone needs a starting point, and it only makes sense to come back to mine and build from there. My dream was to experience Japan, and boy, did I! From island life with too much fish, typhoons, winter cold like you can't imagine, (you with your central heating!) to tea ceremonies, dragon boat races, and the fabulous ancient beauty of Kyoto, I lived Japan. My new dream is-to live whatever comes next. What that will be,  I don't know, but I'm fairly confident it will come to me. On the one hand, a girl's gotta eat. Practical matters are a concern right now. On the other hand, man does not live by bread alone.  In a third hand, (don't ask where that mutant hand came from, btw) lies my future. For right now, I want to survive. But I don't want what I learned about myself to die. I learned that striving for a dream, even if you don't always achieve it, can lend a power to your life that makes even the most mundane things seem purposeful. I want to keep that in mind. Somehow, I'll manage to say goodbye to Japan and that surrealistic dream of a life without forgetting how it felt to hang over a precipice and feel alive.  I'll take that feeling into the rest of my life-  and hopefully, not regress  into letting my job become my life, when my life should be my life. (Does that make sense?)  So, it may be sayonara to Japan, but it's hello to a new life, wherever it leads me. I know I won't ever forget what I've experienced-- and because of it,  I'm  more than  ready to  keep moving on.

      "When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home"
 Thornton Wilder 

I say, make it all an adventure, in every way you can. 


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