Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Returning to my first loves

So, now that we've started this blog, it has me constantly thinking of things to add or stories to relate. While there are many we need to share from our first year in the Philippines, I thought I'd share what's on my mind today... and the fact that I feel like I'm 12 years old again...

If you didn't know, our school calendar here in the Philippines is quite different from the states, and we are currently on summer vacation. I will take a couple summer classes in May, but our next semester doesn't start until July. I'm realizing that I haven't really had a free summer vacation since high school, so it's a very different feeling. Before classes finished, I made long lists of all the things I wanted to accomplish this summer, and of course, now that we're in our second week of vacation, I haven't even come close to getting any of them completed. But, the thing I'm finding myself spending a lot of time doing and thinking about are the 2 things I couldn't get enough of when I was growing up: reading and playing the piano.

This wouldn't be a surprise to everyone that knew me before 2003, but my life has been void of these two loves significantly in the last few years. Yes, I played the piano for our church in Guam, but it was definitely more out of necessity than desire. My wonderful friend, Melissa, who is a talented artist, is about to start working with some Filipino street kids in teaching them art. She shared with me the other day that she was feeling convicted about starting to teach art when she feels like she hasn't been using her talent very much in the last year. And I realized that is exactly how I feel about my piano. About 2 months ago, I started teaching piano to one of our professor's 2 children, and I immediately felt convicted about my lack of playing and practicing since college graduation. But recently, I have been very inspired to start exercising my fingers again by practicing my scales and arpeggios and digging out my old pieces. And, for the first time in a long time, I'm playing the piano because I want to, not because I'm expected to or someone else needs me to. And I'm having such a blast teaching piano again... here's a pic of a keyboard I made that we're using to play games and help learn theory... it's just a plastic tablecloth and black duct tape, but it's tons of fun! :)

I've also been on a reading binge this last week. A few weeks ago I organized our bookshelf and placed all the books I have but haven't read on one shelf and was overwhelmed yet excited by the number! So many of my memories when I was growing up include getting lost in book after book during the summertime, and it's SOOO wonderful to have the opportunity to do that again. Of course, I should be finishing a curriculum project for a professor, volunteering in the field office, helping Brian prepare for a youth event next week, studying Tagalog, preparing for my teaching next semester, and numerous other things that are on my 'summer to do list'... but what am I doing instead? I bought an additional 3 books from a bargain sale at a bookstore yesterday to add to my collection of books to read! :) So, after I finish writing this, I'm going to start a new book and play the piano for a while... what a change from the last 5 years! Unfortunately, it won't last for long, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can. So let me know if you have any good book recommendations!

12 comments:

janary said...

that reminds me of the books i still need to read... and having the time to o things because it's needed but because i want it... hmmmmmm :-(

Melissa said...

Great entry! You have inspired me to not lose my initial enthusiasm of getting back into art. Great row of books. Let me know which you like the best and pass them on to me.

Shannon said...

This brought me back to memories of you in high school. Sigh....

Jessie said...

I just finished another Elie Wiesel - "The Time of the Uprooted," which was fabulous, of course. I also just read another great one called "On Hitler's Mountain - Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood". It was terrific. So, if you can ever find either of those, get them! (I just got off of Spring Break, which is why I've actually had time to read. I'm so jealous of your time! Only 8 more weeks of school, though!)

Ricardo Walters said...

Jules, your idea of 'light reading', as I recall, is intimidating to the extreme. But I'm with you on getting in as much piano-time as possible. I wish I had more time to play as well. Recommendations for reading? "Mysterious Skin" by Scott Heim; "Christ the Lord" by Anne Rice; "Midgnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie; "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

What are you recommending?

Laura said...

I have forgotten what it's like to do music for fun. Have I ever really played for fun? First it was because my parents told me, then it was to win contests, then it was because I was getting a degree in music. I did buy a uke a few weeks ago and I'm having a blast learning it. Maybe it's because it is now the only instrument I own that doesn't have an obligatory memory attached. I stare at my clarinet thinking "what a waste". I haven't touched it in a year...and not seriously since 2002. And piano...I figure as long as I'm playing for church, I won't remember what it's like to truely enjoy it. Someday...someday....

Brian and Julie Woolery said...

Hey Ricardo and Jess - thanks for the recommendations... I've read 'Kite Runner' - absolutely wonderful... but I'll have to check out the other ones... Unfortunately everything I've read so far this summer has only been so-so, but I'll let you know when I get to something good!

Justin (or golden eagle, if you like) said...

hey you crazy adventurers! my new email is jwoolery@comcast.net, since tomselleckisnumberone@comcast.net was taken. its good to find your blog, i've been trying to catch up with you guys on skype sometime. been thinking about lately, holding it down in the often rainy but unusually sunny as of late Seattle. love ya!

justin again said...

ps- extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer is a good read

Keri said...

"Girl Meets God" by Lauren Winner for non-fiction; "Bridget Jones' Diary" for fiction. (I don't have any recent fiction recommendations — sorry.) What are your recommendations?

Miss you guys!

Brian and Julie Woolery said...

hey everyone! thanks so much for your recommendations... i can't wait to track them down! two great books i just finished were 'blue like jazz' by donald miller and 'when the elephants dance' by tess uriza holthe... i strongly recommend both! i still have more to read, but now i'm reading 'what to expect when you're expecting'! :)

ang said...

Hi ya!! I just found your blog and am loving it! Your comment about reading made me think of us in college and all the Francine Rivers books we read. I think you were the one who got be hooked!! I just wanted to make sure you had read her Mark of the Lion series. I really loved the first two but I could of forgone the third one. Also, I am in love with Pride and Prejudice. It is an oldy but goody and I have to admit that I have read it over several times, own the A&E series and the newest movie. Anyway...happy reading when you get a chance!!