Friday, June 30, 2017

"You are in my prayers"

R's relative's mother has passed away yesterday.
The email from her included the phrase "Keep us in your prayers" which is very common in the U.S. Her email was very short and I have met her only once, but when I saw the phrase I felt what I did not feel before due to lack of my understanding of American culture.

6 years of college education (actually 7 years including an ESL year before being able to take credit classes. I took my first PSY class (101) in 2012 January) taught me a lot about the U.S. A lot of negative things, but people are the same everywhere. Culture, including religions accordingly, gives us a different mind set that derived from ways of survival based on what and how much resources we have. It's not something to fight about pursuing righteousness, we are just humans that can adapt environment.

I shrunk a lot by realizing how much I don't know and R knows much, much more than whole of my life, but my quality of life increased very much. He is my man, and we plan to marry after my graduation. He can put up with everything of me and gives me whatever I want, and we appreciate each other. I do not know what he is getting from me, but he says he won't leave me, so that's ok.

I did not know how "community" works in this country since it's a lot different from Japan. I think I made a huge mistake in Fairfax community, where I used live before moving here, when I left there. I did not make an official announcement to the group about I was leaving. I thought I would come back and nothing would be changed, but things do not go that way. Also, I misunderstood what individualism is as people do whatever they want when they want to do without restrictions or social obligations. I had some distance between them and me with confusions. My culture does not suggest to discuss private matters in public, but I felt people know everything about me from the events (which only people who know my history in Northern Virginia understand what I mean). I now realize that I was fully accepted there, but I, without knowing, rejected them. I kept myself quiet, but I think I should have opened my mouth more to explain who I am, but I did not know what to say since I thought I can't please them and I do not want to bother people.

I am hoping I can relate myself to people around me better with the new understanding of American culture in future. It would be difficult because I need to make myself comfortable as well by establishing me as an individual.

This summer, I am mentally too tired to go out to see people. I am so far skipping all of university's events and social gatherings that I was not supposed to miss, although I wanted to see a few people I like. My garden is my whole world right now hoping myself to charge energy for the next semester.

Every morning, I look forward to seeing the growth of R's birthday gift for this year.

I have almost a month. Hope they survive until then.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gardening Days

A month has passed since my summer break began. I have been enjoying working in my garden every day, which can be actually physical exercise by digging or tilling the ground to make new beds, transferring compost to the beds, and carrying bricks to frame the beds, etc. I got tanned this year as well as last year.

I am trying to do organic garden which rely on the ecosystem in my backyard to grow vegetables. I see there are many earthworms under the soil this year. Once a nice ecosystem is established, I do not have to worry about taking care of pests, sickness of plants, and fertilize the soil because all would be taken care of by the nature. I still need to protect leafs from butterflies trying to ray their eggs on by covering them with nets or something, though, I do not need pesticides and fertilizer also no tilling after the first year, which is the whole point of an organic garden.

I am realizing that I am taking more time to make compost than working with soil and taking care of the plants in my garden. Once the plants are planted, they grow without much of my hands. Also, I have not had a serious pest problem for far.

For example, I was wondering why ladybugs were staying on parsnip flowers even before many aphids appeared. They were even mating so often, and I understood they knew their food will appear soon.

Now the flowers are occupied by aphids,

and I started to see many ladybug's babies walking around the flowers that average 10 on the parsnip plant,

and I found they turned to be pupas today.

The parsnip flowers would be an excellent environment for the ladybugs with plenty of food. I hope they populate more and eat all the aphids up!

My garden speaks a lot to me every day. Since I wanted to record more details of my garden, I started a new twitter account only about my garden.

I can do the same on Facebook though, I do not want to overwhelm my Facebook friends by pictures of my garden every hour. Twitter is a convenient tool as it works the best on my iPad mini, but Facebook app works so slow, and crashes and freeze so often, which makes me use it less. Also, I do not have time to sit with my computer to make a new post on this blog every day either.

About Que.

She is officially an outdoor cat now. She has managed her first adventure beyond our backyard, and safely came back to home. She now knows where her home is. This is my first time to have an outdoor cat, so I am learning a lot about the part of cats that I did not know about.

I thought she was successfully became a friend with Vella (a female cat that belongs to the people who live in a house across the street),

but she rather stay around home or in our backyard very often lately.
I think she may be feeling that outside of her territory (home and the backyard) is a dangerous world. She has run into home immediately after she saw 4 dogs coming toward her in the next door's backyard, and she has been chased by a big orange cat on the street. I am happy she did not get panicked and eventually lost. So I enjoy her staying around me while I am working in my garden.

Sometimes, she looks so hot outside, but she does not go inside unless I go in. She may be a 50% dog and 50% cat.

We are soon in July. I cannot wait my plants grow faster.