Monday, October 31, 2011

Style Crush: Annie Clark of St. Vincent

It happens every time.  There's always one or two albums I purchase every season that get almost non-stop play on my iPod.  In the summer it was Little Dragon, and for the fall, it's St. Vincent.

St. Vincent is the musical moniker of Annie Clark, who in the past has sung for the Polyphonic Spree (anybody remember them?) and Sufjan Stevens.  The girl can wail on the guitar, and her personal style is just as good as her musical abilities.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Love her mix of vintage and modern, not to mention that wild, curly hair.  If my hair was just a little more curly, I'd totally rock that.  And there's something very retro looking about her, especially in the second photo, which I like as well.  And you can never go wrong with red lipstick!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I was accepted to teach in Japan over a year ago, Nathan and I had planned to stay here for only a year, maybe two, if things went really well.  And now, I'm halfway through my second year in Sapporo, and it's time to start thinking about whether we'll stay for a third year.

To tell the truth, we probably will.  I just can't imagine leaving here yet; Ethan's excelling at school (and actually enjoying math, can you believe it?), Nate has a great job, and I love teaching at Keihoku.  While I've been here, I've rediscovered my love of singing, met some amazing friends, and made some wonderful memories.  I'm just not ready to go.   I'm comfortable here, and we've all created niches for ourselves.  Ethan has guitar classes, and I go to dance class.  Nathan runs everyday.  We have our regular hang-out spots, and restaurants in the neighborhood know our names and what food we're going to order. What was once so foreign and unfamiliar, is now just a regular part of our lives.  

And  yet, I know that one day this will all end, and we'll have to go back to America.  Not that that's a bad thing - my family is there, and I miss them terribly.  But after one and a half years, this place has become our home.  We've grown roots here, however shallow.  It'll be hard to leave Sapporo - to say goodbye to all our friends which have really become like a second family.  The hardest thing is realizing that some of them I'll never see again once I step back on that airplane.

What will it be like when we go back to America?  Have I changed?  Will we gain all the weight back we've lost since moving here? (Thanks to bike riding and healthy Japanese eating!)  Will I be able to find a job?

It's just hard to think that this is all temporary.  That I'm just a transient, passing through for a brief moment.

All good things must come to an end at some point, I suppose.  And what a good thing this has been!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Forever Student

I've always enjoy learning, and being taught.  If it were possible, I could've been a student forever.  I really love sitting in a classroom, taking notes and listening to a lecture, I guess it's no surprise that I became a teacher.  But there's quite a difference between being a student and being a teacher, and in my  7 (!) years of teaching, I've really missed studying something new (although, I suppose teachers should always be learning and growing, shouldn't we?).

So I was excited to start Japanese classes when I first arrived in Japan.  I was determined to learn Japanese, from the moment I got here.  I wanted to communicate and read - oh, you don't know how frustrating it is not to be able to read!  I had pretty much no prior experience with Japanese before I moved here, so my teacher started from the beginning - learning two of the Japanese alphabets, hiragana and katakana.  It took me what felt like forever to learn these, and then one day - poof - it just made sense.  That's how most of my Japanese language study has been.  I'll studying something for weeks and weeks, feeling like I'm just not getting it, and then all of a sudden, I've got it, and it seems so easy.  

I guess I've come quite far in my studies, even though I frequently tell myself that I'm not where I should be.  I definitely think I should study more, and now I have the perfect catalyst to do so.  I'm taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in December, so if ever I needed to cram, it's now.  I need to learn about 100 kanji, and I really need to brush up on my grammar (darn those Japanese particles!), but I think I'm well on my way.  

But what's really funny, is that since I've been learning Japanese, all my French vocabulary from so long ago keeps coming to mind.  Haha, I guess learning Japanese brings out the French in me.

So everyone, wish me "Bonne Chance".....oops, I mean, "Ganbatte"!