A Bit of a Catch Up

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It’s been a while. I haven’t been able to do much traveling and I have struggled with finishing the things I’ve started, but in honor of a new year coming around, I figured I’d do a bit of a catch up to remind myself what’s been going on.

So, number one: since we last talked, I moved. I decided with work from home being in my future for at least the next few months, being in a tiny cramped (expensive) apartment wasn’t something I wanted to continue to do. Fortunately, my parents live close by and were kind enough to let me move back into my old room. Rather than one big moving day, we spread it out over a few weeks. I don’t know whether this erased the stress of one big day of moving or spread it out over multiple months, but yesterday, I finally tucked everything away and can confidently call myself moved in.

Number two: I’ve been reading. A lot. I keep my Goodreads up to date if you’re interested, but since reading 28 books in 28 days in February, I’ve finished 12 more books. I’ve been very into romance books recently, which are fun and easy to read when I’m feeling kinda stressed. I also spent some of the time in my move reorganizing my bookshelf, which was surprisingly fun. I was reminded of childhood favorites and school reads that I despised – always gotta have balance.

Number three: we’ve been watching lots. My parents and I have a bit of a schedule going with the TV: during the week, there’s pretty minimal watching until 9 p.m. when Rachel Maddow comes on. She’s been a regular on the TV for a few years and the habit remains. Sometimes it’s a great show, other times not so much… But the weekends are when it gets interesting. We’ve been working our way through the new Disney Plus shows, including The Mandalorian, WandaVision, and our current show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We’ve also watched a few of the 2021 Oscar nominees and some film adaptations of Fredrik Backman books. (I also convinced my mother to watch Bridgerton with me, which we watch when my dad goes to bed early). We often spend a good half hour after each show or movie explaining to each other what happened and discussing the plots or guessing the next episode.

Number four: I’ve been making quilts. Last year, I started getting into making scrap quilts and have finished two quilts completely, have three quilt tops to be quilted and am currently working on my sixth quilt which will look like a bookcase. I like making quilts as a relaxing hobby and enjoy going away for a day or two before returning with fresh eyes and more energy. Despite trading off the sewing machine with my mom, it’s been nice to make things with little to no pressure and no timeline to rush me. As with most crafting hobbies, I have more ideas than time to complete any of them, so I’ve already got ideas lined up for three or four more quilts once I complete the ones I’m working on.

Lastly, I got older! I turned 26 on the 14th and two days later found my first gray hair. A few years ago, a friend asked me what my goals were for the next year – I promptly forgot them and had to come up with new ones later, but I like to continue that tradition and set some intentions for the year. This year, my goals include going to law school (and the inevitable move that will come with that), visiting old friends and making new friends, continuing to create, stay healthy, save up some money, and, finally, prioritize joy.

So, that’s what you’ve missed. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do some traveling or adventuring of some kind soon and then I can write about those. Or maybe I’ll just start recording the conversations I have with my mother about the different kinds of birds that visit our kitchen bird feeder – the suburbs can change you…

Screen Inspired Travel

Travel

I’ve been making my way through the Oscar Best Picture nominees and they’ve got me thinking about places a lot. For instance, Parasite (which is so good you should go see it right now!) relies on the set and location to tell stories – the rich live above ground, the poor live below with just a slim window to show them what could be. The film is in no way a tourism advertisement for visiting Korea, but the story reflects heavily on Korea (and as an American I made connections between the US and the world portrayed in the film). You find yourself dreaming of the gorgeous house and haunted by the way that image is maintained.

Both Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood show Los Angeles as if they are a snapshot of a memory – familiar and yet deeply personal to whoever is sharing their LA. Marriage Story sees LA and New York as homes to be lived in, while Tarantino’s film idolizes a Hollywood on the verge of change. I have zero interest in packing up my bags to live in these worlds and these films did nothing to encourage me to book a trip, but in the same way La La Land made folks dreamy about LA, these films capture a particular energy that few other cities exude. It made me want to find a place that makes me feel that connection, that energy.

While I’m not immediately influenced to go to LA or Korea by these films, Little Women made me want to throw my hair into braids, put on a hoop skirt, and make my way up to New England to see the leaves change color. Despite the significant time difference between Jo March’s world and the present, there’s a draw to living in a house in the woods and spending one’s day reading.

Little Women isn’t the first time a film has made me want to travel. When I was younger, I watched the Lord of the Rings series on repeat, dreaming of escaping into this gorgeous new land of adventure. The closest I could get to living in those stories was a trip to New Zealand. My bucket list was one bullet point: New Zealand.My parents and I were able to visit Hobbiton while I was studying abroad in Australia. I, and I’m sure many others, could have spent hours exploring each hobbit-hole and imagining myself in the world I watched so intently on the screen. Each hill was an adventure, and each road led to a new story. New Zealand is a magical place that I’m so desperate to go back to, and so much of that connection is due to what I saw on a screen.

(Maybe the Lord of the Rings isn’t for you, but Croatia and Iceland have both received tourism booms thanks to folks wanting to visit the world shown in Game of Thrones. And Hogwarts lives on in a thousand different places throughout the UK, Outlander is bringing folks to Scotland. Downtown Abbey, Star Wars, you name it, you can visit just a glimmer of the world on your screen.)

It’s not always quite the same in real life, but it’ll work. And not every Oscar nominated film will inspire the same sense of wanderlust – I personally don’t fancy reliving the trenches of 1917 or exploring the Nazi Germany of Jojo Rabbit. (you should still watch them too!)

But maybe a trip to France or Germany or a long journey to New Zealand is in my future…