Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My time or our time?

I'm reading a book right now called "Teaching the Commons" by Paul Theobald. Among other things, he talks of how the community-oriented worldview has, largely, been replaced by an individualistic worldview. Recommendation letters focus on how successful a person is (individualistic) rather than how virtuous they are (community-centered). This is particularly true when it comes to time. We guard our time fiercely. Did you know that clocks were first invented in the 1200s, and that minute hands weren't used until almost 1700? Imagine how that must have changed people's lifestyles...

So what happens when time intersects with relationships? Time forces us to choose our priorities. Relationships, we like to think, are our highest priority. Sometimes Time illuminates the situation differently though . . . especially during that long stretch in between our early childhood and our golden years (for Harry Chapin's melodic rendering of that point, click here). 

This struggle to allocate time for what I uphold as my highest priority seems more difficult than ever now in grad school (although, ask me in a few months when I'm a father, and I'm sure I'll say this present period was a piece of cake!) I tell myself that I need to put relationships on hold, so that I can secure a desirable job, so that I can have more time for relationships. But that argument sounds flimsy, even to someone whose To Do List is expanding like one of those foam animal capsules that kids put in water. 

So, I made the resolution this year to treasure relationships and visibly prioritize them. Luckily, this resolution is made easy by the beautiful relationships that Joo and I are surrounded with. The last post showed of a weekend in a cabin with family, and next weekend, we'll be doing a similar get-together at a historic bed-and-breakfast mill. The pictures above and below were snapped from a delightful evening with Randy and Marla.

Wes and Jenny came out for a weekend of walks, laughter, chocolate cookies, yoga, and hot drinks.

Drew, Laura, and Roxie stopped over a couple times, and also shared a gorgeous Valentine's Day dinner with us (see the flower-imbued pasta below).

And we even gained a new person to spend time with when Yun-hee had her baby! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And... we're back!

Back to the blog, that is. I think that was the largest gap since I created the blog. An action-packed winter quarter here at OU. I may have mentioned this before, but I am surprised at how much of my time in grad school has been projects, conferences, articles, etc. outside of my coursework. Well, this quarter definitely took that imbalance to a new level. I did work hard at my coursework, but that was only probably about 30% of my overall time expenditure on professional endeavors. And really, even that 30% has been a lot less about isolated courses (like undergrad) and more about exploring how each course can contribute somehow to the big picture of my unfolding career. But this feels like a topic for another post; let me focus the current post on a nice getaway Mom and Dad took us on in January.

Mom found a cute cabin near Hocking Hills State Park, and Heather and Bob made the trip across the state for some quality family time.

The man who had built the cabin came over as we were arriving and started up a crackling fire for us. Of course, we didn't only appreciate the fire for its warmth; we also used its light to delve into our family tradition of playing Rook.

I'm not sure you could exactly term our stay as "roughing it" given the sumptuous spread that Mom brought for us, but it was a beautiful time of communion with family and nature.

The next day, we packed some hot drinks and hiked in to... ummm... what was it? It wasn't Old Man's Cave, but something similar. Whatever it was, it had been a popular hiking destination for awhile because there were plenty of names carved into the walls from the 1800s (yes, I do realize that people from any era COULD have carved those dates, but the old typestyle of the carvings convinced me).

The newlyweds were radiating as always, although...
I think they may have taken their wedding vow too seriously. You know, the saying about, "the two shall become one..."

I guess I haven't really talked about the little one Joo's been carrying in her pouch (aside from posting the link to her new blog). She's about 26 weeks in now and has had a funny pregnancy so far. Literally. Rather than morning sickness, she got a case of laughing sickness starting around week 6. Everything one of us did turned out to be hilarious to her. Unique, to say the least, but very fun :) It's tapered off a bit now, but things are still going well with the pregnancy overall. She's been doing about 30 minutes of yoga a day, which seems to help out with any soreness in her body.
As for me, I'm ready to become a dad. I'm not sure I could have said the same up until a year ago, at least not with confidence. I think a lot of that stems from my perfectionism; raising a child seems like life's ultimate test and, as much as I hear that you just have to jump into it, there's part of me that wants to plan things out to a tee. I know what I value most - love, empathy, and self-discipline - and I want to construct a life for our child that will emphasize those traits. I want our child to laugh often, enjoy communication, and require little discipline (I'm horrible at disciplining others, and I'm scared at how that will play out with a child).

Are these hopes realistic? Reflecting on my own childhood and my twenties, I probably turned out differently than my parents must have envisioned, but at the same time, I think my values have settled into the same ones that they modeled for Heather and me. That gives me hope for my hopes for our future child :)