Wednesday, March 31, 2010

winding up and winding down

I am cramming for my comprehensive tests this week. I wish I could say that I'm cramming for my comprehensive tests this month or this quarter, but like most things in my life, I am doing it at the very last minute. This entails going over dozens and dozens of my typed notes and papers, and thinking to myself "wow, this stuff's pretty good. Fascinating, really. I wish I had the FAINTEST IDEA WHAT ANY OF IT MEANS." This is the inherent dilemma with being a student for 20-some odd years. For self-preservation's sake, you master the art of cramming all the info onto a temporary cerebrum loading bay, spilling it all onto a few bluebooks, then purging it immediately upon exiting the classroom that evening. A shot or two of sake always helps clean up the remnants. There's just no other way to do it. The typical brain simply cannot hold that much information - especially when other things, like the lyrics to 'Parent's Just Don't Understand" or every line in the Sound of Music simple REFUSE to dislodge themselves from the grey matter. I'm starting to wonder how useful this method of education really is, and if it has qualified me to do anything but, well, pass a test. I can always retake if I fail. And retake again. Cringe.

John and I are planning what will be the second to last of our Asian-persuasion-vacations. This one to Vietnam and Cambodia. Let's just sit here an reflect on my current situation. I live on the beach in Okinawa where my grandfather fought about 60 years ago, and I'm planning a vacation to a place that only 4 decades ago saw one of the longest wars in American history. I'm not sure what this says about American history or American foreign policy. (Although I probably should...NEED TO STUDY.) It's just amazing how the world can change in a few generations. Can any of you imagine in 25 years planning a spa vacation in Iraq? Or learning to mountain climb in Afghanistan? I said to my mom when telling her about my trip to Vietnam, "I'm so lucky to be able to travel there!" She remarked that she didn't really call that "lucky." No doubt for her generation, Vietnam was a place you tried to stay away from. And the world turns. One of my favorite places in Korea was the demilitarized zone, where you could actually take a tram down into the tunnels dug by the North Koreans. I do like history in my vacations. Even it if it is tragic and relatively recent. I like to walk on the bleeding edge of how the world is changing. Beyond all that, I hear that the Vietnamese people are wonderful and that they really do like Americans.

We are working largely off the itinerary of our friends Lu and Tracey (who just got engaged, yay!). They went to Vietnam a couple years ago and raved about it. Who would have thought our lives would have taken us from a tiny apartment in West LA to traipsing around Asia in only two years?

Our friends the Bowmans introduced us to a man who brews his own beer here on the island. It was scrumptious, and it inspired John to attempt a batch of his own. We purchased all the equipment and now there is a giant vat of honey-cream ale brewing in our dark and temperate bedroom closet. Washington state is apparently the birthplace of Microbrewery, and so we figured we should get a head start learning the process. Will also be a good way to entice new friends once we get there. I'm looking forward to renditions of pumpkin beer in the fall and cranberry ale come the holiday season.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

You're going to love it! Btw, I talked to my mom and she had some more good tips to share. Kind of long to put in an email. But next time we talk we'll pass them on.