|This is, obviously, not MsCaroline|
1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) the act of gathering together livestock, esp cattle, so that they may be branded, counted, or sold
2. a collection of suspects or criminals by the police, esp in a raid
3. any similar act of collecting or bringing together a roundup of today's news
(For those of you who were wondering, we're going with definition #3)
The last time MsCaroline used the 'roundup' device to gather in all of her recent thoughts and experiences that were - while blogworthy - not actually deserving of their very own posts, she entitled her post, "MsCaroline's Thursday Roundup." The implication was that MsCaroline had been quite busy for the last week or so and was now taking some time on her busy Thursday to provide an overview of what had been going on in her life.
Astute readers will note that this post encompasses not just the last week, but pretty much the entire summer.
MsCaroline is not going to dissemble: it has been so long since she blogged (almost a month to the day) that she began wondering whether she was still even a legitimate blogger (she has decided that she is, sort of.) MsCaroline reasons that lots of bloggers slow down and get busy during the summer. She also reflects on some perspicacious advice given to her by one of her bloggy favorites, Stacy., suggesting that she not even mention it when a significant amount of time has elapsed between postings. (MsCaroline is aware that it's too late for her to actually follow this advice, but she still feels that it is excellent and totally plans to heed it in future.)
But MsCaroline feels that just popping up blithely after a months' silence and going along with business as usual is Not Her Style, so she is just going to come out and say she's been Really Busy, and blogging has had to take a backseat to Life in General.
Once MsCaroline finished up her school year (at the end of June) she turned her attention to sorting out her new apartment (which she had
stupidly moved into just a week before the end of school,) enjoying time with Son#1 (home for the summer doing an internship at a Korean company,) and, naturally, heading off to the US for some greatly-anticipated Home Leave.
In no particular order, these are the thoughts and activities that have been consuming all of MsCaroline's blogging attention lately:
- Freezing in America: Many readers from other countries may be aware that Americans have a real love affair with air-conditioning (lovingly referred to by most of us as 'AC.') Conversely, most of the rest of the world does not. What passes most of the time for AC in Europe or Asia would be cause for frantic phone calls to a repairman in the US. MsCaroline, having spent the last 11 years in the American Southwest where summertime temperatures easily run between 100-115 F or higher (about 37-47 Celsuis,) had become well-acclimated to the subarctic temperatures found in most public buildings in the US. Needless to say, she experienced a rude shock her first summer in Korea, where AC is used sparingly and public buildings are never cooled below 78F/26C - if at all. MsCaroline is here to tell you that, after 2 years of sweaty acclimation to Korea's
slightly masochisticcooling standards, she found herself freezing in virtually every public building she entered during her entire stay in the US. The fact that the Midwest was experiencing an unusual cool spell just made things worse, since, apparently, once the AC goes on for the summer, it stays on for the duration, record low temperatures notwithstanding. Naturally, within hours of returning to Seoul, she was complaining bitterly about the heat and humidity. She is looking forward to Fall.
- Trying to fit Texas-sized furniture into a Korean apartment. The Asia Vus were fortunate enough (or so they thought) to have the option of moving some of their furniture to Korea with them. This was nice from the point of view that they did not have to go out and buy or rent furniture upon their arrival, especially because they have very American tastes when it comes to mattresses (Asian mattresses are notoriously hard to Westerners.) However, MsCaroline found in her last apartment that the generously-sized furniture that fit so perfectly in her high-ceilinged, open-plan homes in the Southwest does not work anywhere nearly as well in small Korean apartments. The new apartment is no exception, and MsCaroline has found herself moving her furniture on a weekly basis, trying desperately to come up with a configuration that she can live with. The fact that her furniture is terribly heavy makes life rather unpleasant for Son#2, who is constantly being pressed into service as an ad hoc moving man. She is sad to report that she is no closer to a satisfying arrangement now than she was when she first moved here and has nothing to show for it but a lot of back pain.
- Remembering what it is like to drive in the US: While it is true that Americans generally follow the rules when it comes to driving (eg, they stay in their lanes, generally drive in the proscribed direction, and rarely park on the sidewalk,) MsCaroline was somewhat disappointed when it came to actually driving in the US again. As it turns out, the fact that her fellow citizens are so law-abiding means that they are also extraordinarily intolerant of even the slightest departure from accepted convention. Since MsCaroline spent most of her time during this leave driving in cities where she had either a)never lived or b) not lived in a long time, she was usually that driver; needing to get over at the last minute, driving slowly looking for street names and exits, and generally being unsure of what she was doing. What she learned is that Americans, while generally law-abiding, are actually very aggressive drivers. Even if she was, for example, in the slow lane (where it is, after all, legitimate to drive slowly while, say, watching for an exit) it was not unusual for the driver behind her to either a) tailgate or b) accelerate aggressively past her with a roaring engine and then cut in front of her violently, just to make sure that she was aware of his displeasure with her chosen speed. Much to her extreme surprise, she found herself missing the streets of Seoul, where drivers are actually quite patient with the quirks of others (siege mentality, one supposes) and accept the shenanigans of their fellow drivers with a stolid impassivity, and calm acceptance, regardless of how blatantly illegal the maneuver in question may be. Merging across 4 lanes of traffic on the Capitol Beltway in short order? Certain death. Merging across 4 lanes of traffic on the Olympic Expressway? Doable. (MsCaroline should also add that, in the year that she has been out of the US, the popularity of texting-while-driving has skyrocketed, and she was alarmed to see so many distracted drivers, especially on major roadways. Bad news.)
- Shopping for the new apartment: MsCaroline is - unlike her highly talented interior designer sister-in-law - not particularly gifted in the home decorating department. Her decorating style can best be described as 'eclectic' ( the kind of 'eclectic' that means 'weird,' not the kind of 'eclectic' that means 'charming.') Oh, she makes an effort, but she realizes that the best she can probably ever hope for is 'neat and clean.' Nonetheless, she really does try to create a warm and pleasant atmosphere in her home, which has been a bit of a challenge in the new apartment. In the first place, the apartment is entirely wallpapered in white wallpaper(why white? why not off-white?), and the blinds on all the windows are also white. In theory, this would lend itself to a 'fresh and airy' palette. In reality, though, since MsCaroline's furniture is all Dark and Gloomy Leather and Wood (well, it looked good in our last house), the effect is somewhat stark, sort of like a bad black-and-white photograph. MsCaroline - who repeats that she is no design expert - dimly realizes that she needs something to soften the sharp contrasts of the room and warm them up, and had been (vainly) searching for curtains and cushions in in Seoul that matched both her taste and her budget. Unfortunately, the items available in her price range all tended to be made of fabrics shot through with glittery gold and/or silver threads, which are not MsCaroline's thing at all. As a result, when she stumbled upon these curtains and these cushions on sale in a Pier One store in the US, she immediately bought them. (As she later reflected on FaceBook, the irony of buying Asian imports in a store in the US to ship back to her apartment in Asia was not lost on her. But she did it anyway.)
|Curtains=elephants.Cushions=stripes. Because that's how MsCaroline rolls.|
Naturally, MsCaroline has a fascinating (cough) story to share about packing and shipping the curtains and the cushions (6 of them, down-filled - did you know you can suck all the air out of them using vacuum bags?) but will have to leave it for another post. In the meantime, she has run into a challenging situation as far as actually hanging the curtains goes, involving soffits and wiring and drills and other nitpicky things that make MrLogical all cautious and grumpy, but she feels that she has taken a step in the right direction and is optimistically expecting MrL will come up with a magical fix for the whole thing. It is doubtful that MrLogical feels quite as optimistic about this.
- Home Leave: Those of you who were reading last year during MsCaroline's Summer 2012 Whistlestop Tour will be relieved to know that she opted for a less ambitious summer travel plan this year. The Asia Vus limited their travels to a mere 4 states (plus the District of Columbia) this summer, which made things less hectic. However, since she also had less time this year, she was not able to catch up with nearly as many people as she had hoped to (B, N, and K, I'm talking to you: I'll have to schedule extra time in Ohio next year!) She did, however, get to celebrate several significant birthdays with people she loved, hug a few old friends very close, and see people whose faces she had missed terribly. Long enough? Never. But it will have to do til next year.