Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Review: Americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie is an excellent writer. Her use of language is superb, and she is so insightful. This is the story of a woman who grows up in Nigeria, then moves to USA, then back to Nigeria. She meets various people, tries to make a life while being very cash-poor, works her way up, all the while observing relationships, USA culture, and marveling that she never "felt black" until she moved to America. Race was a much bigger thing in USA than she was ever used to experiencing in Nigeria. Her observations were astute and eye-opening. Upon her return to Nigeria, she once again makes brilliant observations of the changes and the culture that she had left many years before.

I wanted to love this book, and I sort of did upon finishing it. However, I struggled to get through it because it's long, and there were times when I found it difficult to put up with what was happening. I love the great writing, the main character at times, and the thoughtful insights that helped me see things more clearly. The sloggy parts make me give it a 4 rather than a 5 (out of a possible 5). Two other books by this author were awesome; this one a little less so.

[My favorite by this author is Half of a Yellow Sun.]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Retreat in the Dead of Winter

I went to another quilt retreat. My cousin and a friend were in charge, so when they still had room, I signed up last minute. It was in northern Minnesota at a conservation center. This was the beautiful room in which we sewed:

I know it looks lonely here, but it was full of action for several days. This is at the end of the retreat when everyone but three of us had left; we were cramming in our last minute cutting and sewing.

It was very cold during our whole time there (at one point as low as -25 deg. F), so we spent very little time outside. My table was at this window, right by the bird feeder, so I had fun watching the birds.

You have probably seen this quilt before. It is very big (ten feet long!), so I had put off attaching the binding. I finally got that done, then I slept under the quilt the rest of the nights. It's a toasty warm quilt.

Jill worked on this; I love the pattern and wrote down the name... now if I can only remember where I wrote it down.

Kathy worked on this:

My sister made this quilt; I added some borders.

Several of us made drawstring gift bags. I'm in the front middle.

I enjoyed this retreat and the snow-covered, colder-than-heck north woods. I did not go crazy taking photos this time.

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Year Begins in Korea...

This year for Christmas my husband and I decided to buy one airline ticket to South Korea. Our daughter jetted off to spend some time with her brother who lives in Korea. They both thought it was a good idea and a good gift. It was for both of them, really. Other than that, they each got a book and a tiny bit of spending money.

Turned out to be an excellent gift which they both enjoyed immensely. They spent a few days in Korea, Daughter seeing Son's neighborhood and where he works and meeting his friends. Then they flew to Naha, Okinawa (Japan) for Christmas. They wanted to go somewhere warm, so they agreed to do this trip within a trip.

Daughter's caption on this photo read: I flew to Korea to see my brother! He looks pleased to see me.

Here's an Okinawa Christmas.

also appreciating the attractive manhole covers:

and the warmth and beauty of the beach:

On Christmas Day they saw Star Wars. It was in English with Japanese subtitles.

Back in Korea, here is a picture of Seoul. You probably know by now that I love to take pictures, and I take a LOT of them. My kids are not like me at all in this regard. This is about all I got to see. But this particular picture is monumental because of its circumstances. Daughter said: Went into Seoul solo while my brother worked. Took a bus, train and the subway all by myself!

They brought in the New Year in the city where Son works. All too soon it was time for Daughter to come back home. Husband and I felt so happy at the great reports we'd heard from them, and this final Facebook post from Daughter:
I can't explain how much this trip has meant to me. How much seeing my brother has meant. All you need to know is that he's amazing, and I'm going to miss him.

We think they're both amazing, and we are very pleased that they had such a magical time together. It was worth every penny.

The treats Daughter brought back for us -- cookies from Okinawa. The purplish ones on the right are sweet potato!