Thursday, April 22, 2010

My head is spinning...

By the time I finish explaining why, yours will probably be spinning, too.

(I know. I've been missing from blogland. I got sucked into a vortex of work and reorganizing my home life.)

I realized my head was beginning to spin on my way from the airport to the hotel last Friday evening. I was in Taipei when I started this post. I've been looking forward to coming here to practice my Mandarin. My first Mandarin teacher was from Taiwan. I've been learning Mandarin nearly 9 years now. (No...not even conversational yet...got a ways to go.) I can read some Chinese characters now. Mainland China has adopted a simplified system...much easier to read, but when you understand the traditional characters, you have a sense of the history that formed the characters. Anyway...either way you slice it, it's complex and challenging. I'll be learning Chinese for a very long time.

Here is what started the spinning: I now live in Hong Kong where traditional Chinese characters are used and Cantonese is spoken. After 17 months of living here, my head is beginning to wrap itself around that. I can speak a few Cantonese words (10. Maybe. Okay, maybe 15). Then I went to Seoul, South Korea. Can I say...I really liked Korea. I had the opportunity to spend 4 days there and got to see the blooming cherry blossoms on the way back to the airport. The mountains are gorgeous. It's a sprawling city. I loved the mix of traditional and modern. I bought a book (after I returned to Hong Kong...I'm strange that way...go to the country then read about it afterward...) to learn about the influences that created modern Seoul. I learned a few Korean words (anyonghaseyeo...hello...and thank you...kamsamida). I now have five language drawers in my head. English (native language), some Spanish (I can understand more than I can speak), Mandarin (same level as Spanish), Cantonese (I know the first ten numbers, how to order my breakfast in Cantonese and how to get home). The spinning began when I landed in Taiwan and I was reading traditional Chinese characters and having to think in Mandarin instead of Cantonese. My mind was open and slamming shut all the language drawers in my head as I struggled to figure out which language I was supposed to use. The "Overwhelmed" button was blinking in head.

I'm now back in Hong Kong and the world is beginning to return to level for me.

Polymer Clay

On an art note...I am finally picking up in polymer clay where I left off in glass...with swirls. Here is a particularly delicious swirly combo I'm calling Durango in the lariat style with cluster earrings and a simple bead and tube earring. I have to say...I'm swaying to polymer clay for earrings because they are so light. You can make them dramatic with very little weight on your ears. I love the gentle tinkle of glass, but polymer is more comfortable for the long haul on your ears.



Now that I'm where I left off in glass, I can see how clay will take me in a wildly different direction than glass. I still pine for glass. I have my boxes sitting here. Staring at me forlornly...or I'm staring forlornly at them... Either way, glass is now part of my DNA, but circumstances are pushing me to explore clay and I'm having FUN with color and the low overhead involved. I've got some new goodies sitting, waiting to be photographed, described and uploaded. Gobs. But, I have to unravel the twists of my home reorganization...that may take a little bit of time. No guarantees.

Toodles for now...just wanted to say hi and let you know I'm still here...

7 comments:

  1. Did you know I lived in Korea for three years?

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  2. Yes I did! I thought of you and remember you had lived there. I didn't realize it was for three years, though. You loved living there? And you became fluent in Korean? I enjoyed the environment...the embracing of the past and present.

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  3. Yep.. Spinning.. Love the new Jewelry. I bet playing with all those colors combos is fun.. Can't wait to see the "Gobs" of new pieces. Happy to see you back! :) How is sweet Molly doin??

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  4. I don't think I could handle learning foreign languages,especially Mandarin, so kudos to you!

    Your clay beads are so pretty, love the swirls. Are you going to try mimicking glass with the polymer?

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  5. Juli - Molly Dolly is doing well...she's so cute and funny...

    Sharon - foreign languages definitely keeps my mind occupied...a long-term challenge.

    I don't have plans to mimic glass. The glassiness of glass is what makes it really special. I'm learning to experiment with color and will probably run off on a tangent that embraces color... I'd love to learn how to combine glass with polymer at some point.

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  6. wow...Jenn, your penchant for languages and cultures and all of your sense of adventure amazes me!....ox K

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  7. Hi Jenn:D Glad your back...I so admire your willingness and bravery to not only live in a foreign place but also take in all it's culture and language...I think if I couldn't speak a language fluently after 9 years I'd give up, your tenacity is inspiring...keep it up and hope your head pain has ceased. XO Mandy.

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