Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jet lag recovery in style

Yup, I'm back from the islands, after three solid days of traveling. It really takes quite a bit of work to get to a Pacific island.

Jet lag affected me almost as soon as I got back home, since for some reason I can never sleep on planes, even if the flight is 12 hours long...but at least I was comfortable, because somehow they seated me in business class, woohoo!! I was able to stretch out and I think that's what kept me from getting a Charlie Horse last night. It seems like every time I do a long-haul flight, the first night back I get a nasty Charlie Horse that wakes me up in the middle of the night. Long legs + teensy coach seats with next to no leg room = ouch!

I feel a little stiff today, but I think that's from a combination of traipsing through three airports and two train stations with an overweight suitcase and three other bags, and then sleeping on an American bed last night after 3 weeks of sleeping on a futon in Japan. Er, that's a Japanese futon, not futon in the American sense of the word. Quite different. Actually I'm thinking of trying to get a platform bed and switch to a futon mattress rather than a traditional mattress because I think the futon reduces back pain. Plus, easier cleaning and airing out! But then, there is the slightly complicated matter of finding such furniture here in South Carolina and then of course affording it. Hm.

Anyhow, I decided to wear something comfortable and stylish today, and it's such a relief to wear something that isn't wrinkled and musty from being in a suitcase. Plus this sweater is super soft and comfy. Plus, the entire outfit, including necklace and shoes, cost me less than $100.00. Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More fun from the island

That last one is my new desktop wallpaper :) I still can't get over how clear the water is. Have you ever seen anything like this?

Friday, December 25, 2009

A belated Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (yesterdat) everyone!

Today in Miyako, the wind is unbelievably strong. And I have a cold :( Yuck. So, I decided I needed a hairstyle that would stay put all day and not get blown around, so I put it into the mass of braids here. It reminds me of how we used to wear our hair for football games during marching band. Ah, memories.

So, even though I'm self-conscious about looking fat, especially in the legs, when I'm in Japan, I am loving wearing leggings here. Super comfortable and convenient for all the sitting on the floor that you are always required to do here. I don't have many pairs right now, but I'm really tempted to buy more to go with some of the new dresses and skirts I have (well, new to me-- some of them are "new" from Goodwill!). The tunic I have on in this picture is actually going on three years old now, wow. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when I bought it, but I guess it was. I would looooove to stock up on cute clothes here, but alas, my suitcase is only so big, and it's already threatening to not close properly with all of my newly accumulated stuff.

Also, I've been living in cardigans like this one. Soooo comfy. Stuff like this actually makes me like winter a little bit.


Miyakojima and South Carolina-style winters, that is. Anything north of the Mason-Dixon latitude would not be nearly as pleasant.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Greetings all from Okinawa! It's not quite as warm as I had expected it to be, but it seems it's far warmer than back home in good ol' SC. Evidently the forecast was calling for flurries in SC. Flurries...SC....those two things just do not seem to go together. Even though it's chilly here, it's still in the mid-60s, and it's supposed to warm up more by next week. Which means, with any luck, I can go snorkeling again!!

Yes, that's right, the first day I arrived here, I went snorkeling at a beautiful beach with crystal clear water. I could see all the way to the bottom when I was in water that was probably 15-20 feet deep. I saw so many types of colorful fish swimming in and out of the coral reef! I think I can only name one of them, and I'm not even sure I'm correct with that one. Luckily I found an island guide that includes pictures and names of all the fish you are likely to see snorkeling, so I'll have to check the ones I've seen and then translate them at some point.

There is so much that I've done and seen so far, it would take a very long time to type it up, which I don't have right now because I'm getting ready to go out to see a local music show! But here are some snippets of my adventure so far:
*I walked about 30 miles in one day, at first because I was exploring and then because I got lost.
*I accidentally hitchhiked.
*I drank apricot-flavored sake. And today, peach-flavored sparkling sake.
*I have no idea what 50% of what I've eaten is. And it's going to stay that way.
*I've made several new friends who are fellow travelers here at the same guesthouse.
*I've watched local songs performed on sanshin. And I'm going to again tonight!
*I found a sesame snack that might be even better than my beloved Chinese restaurant sesame balls- beni imo dango (picture here: It's a type of purple sweet potato mashed and fried with sesame seeds. Yummmm~~

Monday, December 7, 2009

Color on a grey day

Another fashion post!
Since it was grey and gloomy outside today, I decided to play around with photos inside. My apartment is tiny, so I'm looking for creative places to take photos. I'd like to have a fancy-schmancy camera, but I kind of like how this one turned out.
I went thrifting on Sunday and found this awesome skirt for only $4. Love it! I got two other skirts as well, which were also $4. I love this one because it has a cute pseudo-kimono print, which I think suits this week perfectly.
Also, you probably can't see it very well, but I'm wearing this amazing purple nail polish. I love purple nails! It cheers me up when the weather is less than stellar...and when I'm working on another paper >_<

My last paper is due on Wednesday at 3:00. I guess that means it's time to get cracking, huh?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where does she do her shopping...?

Yes, her bag says "JENNY THONG."

I was emptying the memory card for my camera (which I'm really bad about doing btw) and found this picture from my last trip to Japan. I'm dying to know where she got such a bag!

Lace & denim

Today I feel kind of blah. I don't know if I'm sick, stressed, or my body is just adjusting to my new diet + exercise plan, but I don't feel like doing anything today. So I tried to make myself feel a bit better by wearing something pretty. And what's prettier than lace? I got this cream lace dress on clearance, and not only is it comfty, but it's not a one-season dress. Here's my winter version with brown leggings, fuzzy clogs, and a denim jacket. I think the jacket gives it more of an edge and makes it casual. I'll have to try creative ways to dress it up in the future when the situation calls for it.

I also went thrifting today and found some great steals, although I found the best steal of all for K-- near-new Merrell shoes for $4.50!! Why couldn't they have had some for women, or at least some very small men's ones?! They look so comfty. Here's a link to a pic of them: Nice, huh?

By the way, see how the trees still have all their leaves in the second picture? That's South Carolina's version of winter. And no, I didn't wear a coat today. I love it here :D

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lighter days

Too much stress has been going on in my life lately, so it's time to lighten up a little. I decided to go shopping with K today to update my wardrobe a little. Allow me to model a new find paired with some older pieces. Dress is new, the rest is not:

Also featured here is my lovely backyard.

Here are some other pictures from my life here in South Carolina~

Fabulous shrimp cockail at @116

Sightseeing at local plantations

Dexter at 6 months. I want him to be tiny again!

Boscoe loves that South Carolina is almost always sunny!

This is a fellow resident of our neighborhood. He guards the little plant nursery near us after hours, even if his version of "guarding" consists of walking up to the fence and wagging when anyone walks by. Isn't he gorgeous?

I haven't been taking very many pictures in the past several months, which is inexcusable in this age of digital cameras. So I'm going to make an effort to take more pictures. I'm sure I'll take tons starting next weekend anyway :D

Friday, December 4, 2009



This time next week, I will be sitting on a plane, about 30 minutes from landing in Tokyo. I feel like it's coming up so quickly, even though I've been planning it for several months. There are so many things to be nervous about... but instead, I'm trying to focus on the things to be excited about!

So, I didn't ditch my professor. My director decided to have me proceed with my defense, which I did. And at the meeting, the two of them asked me if I would like to pursue a concurrent M.A./Ph.D. instead of only the M.A., which is my current plan of study. They said to really go in-depth with what I want to do, it would be best to extend my thesis and do two field trips instead of one short one, then take a semester and try to get published.

Which is great.


My director neglected to tell me all semester that I have to get board approval to work with human subjects, and now since there are four business days left until I leave, there is not enough time to get the certification pushed through. Which means, I cannot conduct any official research on this trip. So a lot of questions are going through my mind, like, should I try to do a Ph.D. even though I don't feel ready for it? What happens if I can't get funding to do a second research trip next summer? There is no way I can fund it myself *again* and if I only go to part-time status next fall, I will lose my assistantship. Also, I can't take out any more student loans. I was so excited about the prospect of going to Korea, and I'm just not feeling excited about this. It wasn't part of the plan. I'm not good at my theoretical classes, and I have to be able to ace those to even keep my head above water in the Ph.D. program. And if I can't even do a second trip next year, what will happen to my plan for my thesis? Is there even a point in going over winter break? I'm missing Christmas and New Year with my husband and family because I thought I was going to be doing some valuable research for my thesis. But now it looks like I will just be sitting on a tiny island in the Pacific.

The silver lining is that I get to mull all of this over while strolling some of the most amazing beaches in the world. And that seems like a pretty decent silver lining to me.