I tried making bath bombs the other day. The adventure is part of my longer exploration in trying new hobbies outside of academia. While these figurines (a penguin, an ice cream cone, a cloud bubble saying yay, a dolphin, and sphere), look pretty, don't let that fool you. After sitting out for two days, they have still not fully dried out (versus the directions which say five hours). Also, the scent of kiwi-strawberry (an ode to my youth) still lingers quite strongly in my home. And the whole process reminds me again, why I'm a terrible baker, chemist, and not-so-great cook.
In Korean, there's a word called 손맛 (pronounced "sohn maht"). 손 translates to hand and 맛 translates to taste. Essentially, the word signifies the ability to measure without measuring— your hand can "taste" the measurements. After decades of honing the craft of cooking, we see elders wield this and be able to whip up dishes with a "pinch of this" and a "dash of that." Well... I have long desired 손맛 but have not invested the time nor acquired the skills to have it. Also, I don't have measuring cups or spoons. As a result, I "eyeballed" and "approximated" every measurement in the bath bomb process. Naturally, the end results are fizzling out. HA! (yes puns, no apologies).
I'm about a month into my faculty job. And with the transition, I've debated quite a bit about how to move with this blog (which in part, explains my absence in posting outside of the Random Roundup). With the new role, a new degree, a new place, and everything else that comes with these things, I feel like a lot of things have changed (and materially, of course they have).
And yet, I also feel remarkably the same. One of my friends and I talked about the Ph.D. a while back and about its anti-climactic nature: one day you are a graduate student, the next day you are a doctor. Nothing has changed fundamentally in who we are, what we believe, what we can do, and yet to the world, everything seems to be different with those three letters. This anti-climactic-ness is similar to how I'm feeling in the present, and where I struggle with the purpose of my blog.
When I was a graduate student, writing about my experience was something I wanted to do as a form of reflection and as a way to normalize the struggles of graduate school. It felt low-stakes because who was actually reading these posts? But now as a faculty member, I think about if I should be writing with the same intentionality, although again, who is actually reading this?
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).