It's so nice to get home early on Wednesdays. I've been a little moody and stressed at work lately and it's probably better if I spend less time there. I do love my job, but in the summer it's easy to get overly wrapped up in everything.

I thought I might quilt on the deck tonight but it's a little chilly and I've been really good about working on the Winding Ways quilt (which I've decided to name "Alethia" btw) for the last two nights and I didn't really want to drag it outside. It's too big to pretend it's a lap quilt..
I've had fun all day helping Simmy plan (or, giving her more suggestions than she probably knows what to do with) the second leg of her trip to the USA.

Speaking of traveling, it amazes me that we'll be hitting the road ourselves again soon.. less than 2 weeks til we arrive in Athens.

I'm trying to be positive but I've still got really mixed feelings about this trip. I lose control whenever we go to Greece. I don't have my own schedule, have to be ready to go out and look perfect at a moment's notice. I feel I'm being judged by everyone.. I know some of them are my own personal hang ups, but I guess I still have a lot of issues with the "cultural differences." I have yet to go to Greece and be able to stay completely comfortably "me" while I'm there. I suppose the closest I came was the first trip in '01 when Costas brought me to meet his family for the first time, and I think it's because I didn't know any better. I was really into beading and I scoured the bead shops and made a bunch of bracelets. I was making a bracelet as we stood in line to get the ferry back from Mykonos. And I didn't think a thing of it.
I always craft when I'm in Greece, but after that first time I somehow found out that it wasn't perceived the same as it was in the States. Here if you see someone knitting in public it's really not a big deal. There, well, even in the comfort of my in-laws' home I feel I constantly have to explain what I'm doing (I'm quilting. It's going to be a blanket.) and why I choose to do that instead of some other typical, age-appropriate activity such as flaunting my body on the beach, shopping for over-priced designer goods, or socializing with other young people (i.e. arguing about politics or anything else, or more realistically- sitting there bored out of my mind while C and his friends discuss politics/soccer/gossip/etc. in Greek). Hmm. Wouldn't you rather be quilting?
I know part of the problem is that I don't know any crafty people in Athens. If I had my own crafty friends there, then of course I could feel more comfortable. As it is, we have tons of friends there, and I love them all. I do enjoy typical social activities for people my age, we go to the movies, out for dinners, hang out at friends' homes.. but you know me. I'd rather be crafting no matter what. During our honeymoon I tried to work on a small piece of hawaiian applique at the beach. Costas wasn't mortified, he knows who he married, but his mother would have been. We'll see how it goes this time. I think I'll bring the bright diamond stars and maybe some sashiko. I could also work on some small things to sell at the quilt show too. We'll see.

When I was in grade school I used to make friendship bracelets. I had a neon green floss box that I brought with me everywhere and no matter what everyone else was doing, I'd be making bracelets. I guess I've always been good at entertaining myself...
In 7th grade, we moved to a house across the street from my grandparents. It was August and I was about to start at a new school (I switched from Catholic to public school). My cousin lived on the same block and I remember the day that I went to go meet all the neighborhood kids. As I was leaving my grandparents' house, my grandpa put his hand on my floss box and told me to leave it at home.
I think about this memory a lot and maybe he was right. At the time I didn't know how to float between different social circles. That's something I didn't learn until college and afterwards. Now I can do it, but we all still have our comfort zones. If I know I'm going to be alone for any period of time or not engaged in some activity, I still always bring something with me. People who can't entertain themselves tend to get bored and whiny. Making things keeps me calm and relaxed. Of course I love sharing crafty thoughts with other crafters, and spending time crafting in a group is one of the best activities I can imagine, but I haven't yet found those experiences in Greece. I have a feeling my whole attitude towards Greece will change if I do.

*photos are of New Chitose Airport outside of Sapporo.


Simmy said...

Hi Jessica,

Your post reminds me how I felt when I went to India for the fist time with my parents three years ago. I was really nervous as I thought everyone would be judging me - you know westernized Indian woman, short hair (Dad wears a turban), I now speak my mother tomgue with an English accents. I had loads of hang ups. In the end it was fine - I just had to be myself and coudln't not be. I took my knitting and knit socks the whole time I was there. I'm sure everyone thought I was eccentric and it didn't reflect badly on my parents which was my biggest concern (we were in the sticks, off the tourist track in the Punjab).

Anyway, what am I trying to say. I guess you just have to be yourself really and craft as much as you want to. Afterall, they must have done it in their lifetime and one day someone will show a real interest and it'll start a connection.

BTW I've linked to you too in my blog.....

Sarah Jayne said...

I think for those of us who craft we totally understand what a significant element of ourselves it is - and to not craft feels very alien. When I'm away with work I generally take something with me for the evening otherwise I go a bit mad - it helps me to relax. Being comfortable crafting in front of others is about you all getting to know each other. I think most people are interested - even if they don't 'get it'. So I say - take it along and chill out with it - I'm sure you'll have such a great trip. Have you done all the cultural stuff already? Such a lot to inspire you - such great colours too.

Liz said...

I always have a project in my bag - even if I don't work on it I like the feeling it's there - almost like a safety blanket. That's why I ended up taking up crochet, so I didn't risk dropping pins everywhere I go! Have a good trip, Asia, Europe - what continent next?!

HerbalTonya said...

I am virtually your neighbor, I live in the Western part of Mass (Shelburne Falls). Your post speaks to me as my parents are Greek. I grew up in London. I head to Greece at least once a year to see family and it has ALWAYS been a challenge. We (my daughter and I) usually go in December but we will be heading there in August this year. I know exactly what you mean about how hard it is to stay centered and yourself. Would love to chat more about this sometime. Feel free to visit me over at my blog

catsmum said...

In 1974 I married a first generation Italian Australian [ came here at age three ] His parents literally arrived with one suitcase so it became very important to show one could afford "new". Then he went and married the weird non-Catholic aussie who [ choke gasp ] gave hand made presents. Ma in law was sure that meant we were penniless.
My SIL and nephews and nieces still hold that view. My own kids know better.

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