Time in the Kitchen

Ever since returning from Magfest I haven’t had much to write about due to massive quantities of work! I actually love having an excess of work because I know exactly what to do when I get up in the morning, but I’ve made some time for other activities, too.

Last week was the Joint Ventures book club meeting. Everyone read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton which was my suggestion. It was quite long compared to what we normally read, so only about half of the group actually made it to the end. I was pleased that most people enjoyed it thoroughly once they finished it, and the conversation was enthusiastic enough that those who hadn’t read until the end were excited to finish it later. I’m really in love with this author, and I was really eager to have the chance to share her work with other people, and hopefully get her some new fans. I’d been dying to talk about the book.

I’ve also been doing a little bit of cooking, having been inspired by the Michael Pollan Netflix miniseries “Cooked” as well as some other cooking programs. Although I haven’t dazzled Tristan with newly developed cooking abilities, there’s been a huge transformation in our kitchen over the past couple of weeks. These days the freezer is nearly empty and the fridge is jam packed– it’s usually been the other way around! I’m reminded of when we lived in Korea and frozen food was practically non-existent. Except we just didn’t cook then.. but it has been fun to be more involved in the preparation of foods, and it’s had a marked impact on my diet, especially snacking. If you tell yourself you’ll only snack on things you’ve made, the interest in snacking fades away!

English lessons are also going well. My discount period has ended and I no longer offer free trial lessons, so I’ve not got nearly as many lessons booked, but those I do have have become repeat customers. I’m enjoying getting to know a variety of interesting people. One of my students is nine years old, but I’m pretty sure her English (and passion for studying it!) surpasses my other adult students! I thought I’d be teaching more Koreans, but I think there just aren’t many Korean users on that website. It turns out to not be a problem as my students are all intermediate or advanced, so there are no communication problems.

That’s it for now… I’m off to ABQ for a few days, and am excited to see my sister, brother-in-law, and two adorable nephews, as well as a change of scenery!

MAGFest 2016

This past weekend was a great blast at the Gaylord Convention Center in Maryland. This year T was able to come with me, and it was really great getting together with old friends from back home. As you know we dressed up which was a first for me. My first foray into cosplay. And I’m sure you want to see pictures! These are the pictures I took with my cellphone, though a friend took some of T and I together on a DSLR which I’ll get copies of later. 

In case you don’t know, I am dressed as Furiosa and T a warboy from the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Below are my friends Michael and Chiki.2016-02-20-11.52.43

Here they are playing a game with T in the arcade room:2016-02-19-22.21.07

This is how the convention center looks during the day. It’s a really beautiful venue!2016-02-19-17.47.03

Magfest Costumes

2016-02-14-15.51.26This weekend while Tristan was out of town I made a lot of progress on my costume for Magfest! I’m still working on the arm to make it more robotic looking, but the character is at least recognizable. I wanted to go out for supplies yesterday but it snowed like crazy just on the cusp of freezing, which generated a dangerous slush on the roads. I hope that clears up so I have time to do a bit of shopping before we leave town.

Here’s a closeup of the belt buckle. It’s not a work of art, but considering it’s made of a cheap ch2016-02-14-11.48.38ildren’s foam clay I think it came out pretty well! Looking at this picture reminds me that I need more chains to attach as well. Add that to the shopping list.

This is unrelated, but here is a cute picture of sweet potato on the scale. I was worried she was underweight so weighed her. She’s less than an ounce, but that’s normal weight for her breed.

2016-02-16-16.47.56In other news I’ve been teaching a LOT and it’s going well. This week I had all paid lessons, so it’s finally beginning to pay off! I’ve met a lot of interesting people and had some great conversations. I think it will be easy to build up a regular set of students that will hopefully continue for a while. Once busy season starts again with retouching.. we’ll see. I can’t wait to find out where we’ll be living next so I can start planning for things.

Perpetually waiting over here!



Chinese New year

On Saturday we celebrated the Chinese New Year (Koreans call it “Lunar New Year”) on campus. Sadly I was having too much fun to take many pictures! But we ate some good food and got to practice making dumplings, writing calligraphy, watched some dancing, and tried Chinese hackeysack. I met some new people and Tristan wrote the character for “monkey”, because 2016 is the year of the Monkey.




Keeping Myself Busy

This has actually felt like a really busy week. I made a schedule for things I wanted to get done this week (mostly studying), so that when work was slow I’d know what to do and not end up watching “Gordon Ramey’s Kitchen Disasters” on Netflix for hours on end.

Last week I went to woman’s house who is a professional jewelry maker. I met her through the Joint Ventures program, which is a program that plans activities for spouses and partners of the business school students at Cornell. It’s been a great way to meet people quickly and try new things around town.

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Anyway, I visited her home studio she let me watch her make a ring. It’s so much more complicated than I could have imagined! It’s not just bending metal and fusing it together– there is a lot of chemistry involved to get the materials to behave the way you  need them to, and to prevent tarnishing and other problems in the future. I have a much greater appreciation for why even a simple band costs so much.

2016-02-01-17.54.02I also received my first Skoshbox last week! I’ve eaten nearly everything already, but I really did try to space it out. I was impressed by the design of the box and the little pamphlet they put inside. They even have their own custom designed tissue paper and stickers to wrap things in. I’m fascinated by these small businesses and how they advertise to attract more customers. The pamphlet mentioned how to win free prizes by posting a photo on instagram, and other various programs to drum up business and interest.

In terms of my study schedule, it’s been going really well! I actually had a decent amount of retouching work, but there’s a lot of down time early in the morning. The past few days I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my tutor profile for cafetalk.com and creating some basic curriculum. I was approved and officially “started” today, although I’m not teaching this week- just receiving requests from students to book lessons.

I’ve already got five lessons booked for next week, although 4 of them are “consultation sessions” which is just a quick chat I offer for free to try and lure students in. I have no idea how many I can expect to translate into actual paying students, but it should be a good learning experience. It’s kind of exciting planning out my strategy to attract students and try to gain a good reputation as I start out.

We’ll see how I feel about it all next week once I’ve given some lessons. I wasn’t expecting so many people to sign up the first week, so I’m wondering if I should limit my hours of availability more. Then again, I think most of these students are people who go around only taking the free trial lessons and never actually pay for anything. If that keeps happening I’ll have to try a new strategy– those never turn into actual paying, returning students.  It’s all a big learning experience!

From Korea to Ithaca