Thursday, April 29
Today, I saw this article with this picture of a seven square foot space a single working girl rents in Beijing. Unbelievable! It looks kinda cozy, but mostly sad with its one tiny window and no space for anything but a narrow bed. The saddest parts though would be no kitchen (I think they have a shared one in the hall though) and that they have to use the public bathrooms on the street. I have seen and smelled such bathrooms while walking the streets of China, and they are nasty.
I wonder if she has any closet space. One of my Chinese students once told me that he wore one set of clothes all week and then went home on the weekends to change. His mother would wash his clothes for him and he'd switch out clothes again the next weekend. Our Chinese students were sometimes baffled that their foreign teachers had so many clothes.
This girl who lives in the seven square foot pod has moved there from an apartment she shared with a roommate so that she can send more money home to her parents in the country. Would that even cross the mind of a recent college grad in America? Maybe it would for some. It makes me think about an update I got from a friend who's still teaching where I did in China. She says the freshman class this year has the most discipline problems she's ever seen and she's at a loss to know how to motivate them. That was the thing about teaching in China - I could count on most of my students to be super diligent. They made the most of their time in university. But the new students have a new reputation. They haven't known economic hardship and they don't seem to care about learning much. As Colin said when I relayed that story to him, "Maybe China won't take over the world after all if those are the students that are in university now."
Tuesday, April 27
Almost everything in our apartment was given to us. We're really thankful!
Colin's keyboard, our shoe cabinet, and the Goodwill chair and ottoman.
My underused desk/sewing machine table that I hope to either refinish or paint. (I'm thinking about a bright green from the paint samples under the magnet.) I got a bunch of these trays at Goodwill for the wedding, and hung a few above the desk as a magnet idea board.
Mimi's old suitcases came with us in a car load from Texas.
Pillow covers made from IKEA fabric and recycled wool sweaters.
Thursday, April 22
I bought cup hooks to give us some more storage space in the cabinets, but then Colin decided a better approach would be to build more shelves for the cabinets and use the hooks to hang our pots and pans on the opposite side of the cabinet. It works well and is fun because we have some brightly colored cookware.
I hung up wire from eye hooks to hang pictures, fun magazine pages, and quotes from. (You see an overflowing fruit bowl here because I occasionally buy extra large bags of grapefruit and eat one a day for weeks. Yum!)
And I recovered the seats to these dining chairs that were given to us with some fabric from a local upholstery/resale store (that I might start working full time for!).
Wednesday, April 14
I made hot cross buns on Sunday - I'd wanted to make them all week long since I saw a few posts on Good Friday with recipes for them. I had to make them with mostly whole wheat flour, which made them a little heavy, because I ran out of regular flour. (Colin is campaigning for a complete switch to all whole wheat flour, and I'm for using half and half in recipes.)
So, we had breakfast together (a rare thing) on Sunday, with a homemade latte for me and a glass of milk for him. After church, we went to a new Korean sauna Colin got free tickets to. They had the hottest steam rooms ever and a room to lie down on heated red clay balls. Fanciest sauna I've ever been to! After that, Korean soft tofu stew. Yummy. A wonderful Sunday indeed.
Friday, April 9
The owl with chalkboard was Colin's idea to put in the bathroom. Weird, but fun.
This is also in our bathroom. It was the first thing we put up when we moved in, with green and white glass I collected for wedding centerpieces from Goodwill.
How fun is this idea to write and illustrate family recipes on the inside of cabinets? I'm not going to do it since we're renting, but I can dream. More pics to come soon of the rest of the little place.
Thursday, April 8
Since I started nanny-ing, Colin and I have been sort of taking turns on the cooking front. We should have figured out some sort of division of chores from the beginning, but it felt sort of artificial to me, and I was the one who didn't have a job, so I felt like I needed to contribute the most to laundry, cooking, and cleaning. But, because I'm stubborn and want to make sure things aren't unfair, I got grouchy a lot, feeling that Colin should contribute more. Then, even when I was okay with what I was doing, I would sometimes think ahead to the future and get upset about what might happen when I got a job and was still expected to do all the house stuff. Colin is really patient, though, and good about getting me to talk about why I'm being a grouch, even when I don't want to.
Anyway, one morning last week as I left the apartment, I asked Colin to put the chicken in the crockpot and I came home to a fancy cooked chicken with lemon, vegetable chowder, and Colin's famous cottage cheese dill bread. He's great.
I usually glance through the weekly PennySaver and then get rid of it, but last weekend, I saw an estate sale that caught my eye. I went and got a bunch of stuff for $20! All this vintage fabric,
stacks and stacks of Time magazines from the 60s and 70s to either use to make cards or give away, (Colin has already created two birthday presents from the weeks people were born.)
two old suitcases, plus some sweaters that I'll use for making throw pillows, an electric sander, adjustable crescent wrenches, firestarters, a planter, a wool blanket, and a few other things. Amazing! Colin told me the next time he brings home a pile of stuff, though, that I can't complain. I guess he's right. We probably need to have a one-in-one-out policy from now on.
Two weekends ago, we took a few hours off from our usual weekend agenda of working on projects at home to go to a park. Mile Square Park is less than 30 minutes by bike from our apartment and I'd been wanting to see what was there, so I made a Korean picnic lunch and we rode out there. Colin strapped the lawn chairs to his bike and we used the new Google maps bike directions to find the best way. We ate our lunch, sat and read, and threw the frisbee until it got lost in the lake (despite my heroic dive to save it before it rolled in) and Colin had to creatively retrieve it.
Yay for bikes, a huge nearby park, and a sunny weekend!
Friday, April 2
There is an aspect about the passage of Jesus making breakfast for his disciples that might be like very close friends coming together after a long night out, hangovers and all, to share in the previous night’s antics and activities: confessing indiscretions and stupid things said or done, but walking away from it with stronger love for one another, and a whole lot more grace. Such a gathering would acknowledge humility and human frailty, but it would all be okay.
This Easter, then, I approach Sunday with an awareness that I can’t really say to my Christ, I love you so much! I say, perhaps, I love you with a human love. Or, I love you more than some things, but some other things I still love more.
Really, I look forward to breakfast: To food, real food, to the bread of God’s word, and to thankfulness for daily provision; For having a full net one minute, and an empty one the next. And that is about all that I can muster.
“Keep this proverb in mind: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Therefore, withdraw your heart from the love of things visible and turn yourself to things invisible.”
I'm guessing most of my readers aren't planning a wedding right now, but I love this post about friends of the bride and groom contributing to the planning process. I love how they approach the process by asking their friends for input and talking about the goals for their wedding.
More often than not, I tend to approach things on my own, either thinking that it's too difficult or too imposing to ask others to contribute, but I think it makes for a wonderful community process when people can come together to plan and pull something like a wedding (or even just a dinner) off.
Thursday, April 1
(We're having dinner and then the girls are going to watch New Moon in the bedroom and the boys are going to play Risk 2010 in the living room. Colin's calling it vampires vs. robots.)