Endings and beginnings


IMG_0217So I quit 3 weeks ago, and can I just say that quitting is like, the best thing ever? I swear, if I weren’t Asian and quitting wasn’t seen as this huge slap in the face to my entire lineage (except ballet. pretty sure some ancestor out there is glad his great great great great grandson didn’t pursue ballet.), I’d do it all the time. It’s seriously the greatest feeling in the world (next to getting hired, because that’s a good thing too). Every single responsibility drops out instantly and you can just start mass-deleting incoming work emails indiscriminately. Unfortunately, I wasn’t actually able to say “I quit” to my boss and walk out holding a cardboard box with all my belongings as I originally intended, so I settled for taking an over-saturated Instagram of my last time leaving my work building and collecting its well-deserved 4 likes (thank you judy, greg, vivian, and nicoleriverox3 for your optimism).

But I couldn’t just leave without a proper goodbye. I mean, I was there for almost 2 years. This was the job that allowed me to talk to patients while they were in the middle of brain surgery and gave me an excuse to wear my ugly (but incredibly comfortable) shoes. And while most would turn to hand-written notes or Cheesecake Factory gift cards in order to express gratitude toward their employers, I decided to give my boss something a bit more, well, me:

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Okay I know you all expected that because this is a knitting blog, but believe me, my boss was very much surprised. Some backstory: so my boss is a young doctor with an even younger son who I was able to meet at a work party (as someone who has farted during yoga, i can verify that work parties are awkward). And since knitting for grown men is often a difficult and intimate process, I decided to spare both of us the awkward silence that would inevitably occur had I knit him a muffler or wool cap and instead knit a simple striped blanket for his 2-year old. However, halfway through I had the sudden realization that spending hours knitting a blanket for my boss’s little boy son who I had met (more like “seen,” since he didn’t seem all too interested in me) just once before might come off as a tiny bit creepy, so I bought a couple of extra skeins and made it long enough to also pass as a light throw or lapghan.

Before I go on, I must admit that this blanket is not new to my blog, and that I actually used and wrote about this pattern before. But, given that this is now a baby blanket/light throw/lapghan, I did make some minor adjustments. First, I decided to use Berroco Weekend (as opposed to my all time fav Malabrigo Worsted), which is an acrylic/cotton blend and perfect for babies or anytime you expect large volumes of saliva. Not only is it completely machine washable and non-irritating to the skin, but it has a shiny quality that you can’t get with most wools. Also, it’s much cheaper, making large projects like this much more feasible and easy-going on my wallet. Second, I added the stripes, which babies love, I think. Unwilling to ask my boss for his son’s favorite colors and relying on my own unimaginative color palette, I defaulted to the standard blue and gold (go bears) you usually see in expecting nurseries. A safe choice, but, I am happy to report, it was well received by my boss, who responded to the blanket as one might expect one would when one realizes that one’s employee is an obsessive-compulsive knitter (i.e. with an awkward side hug).

Since quitting my job, I have joined the ranks of my fellow funemployees, with almost 2 weeks of uninterrupted free time. And while most would turn to sleeping in late and binge watching Netflix in order to pass away the days, I decided to spend my time doing something a bit more, well, me:

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Oh, come on, you have to admit you were at least a little surprised. It’s 2 projects in 1 post! This never happens!

As many of you might already know, I have an unhealthy relationships with the Herringbone stitch, so I took my first free week of funemployment to finagle it into a beanie. And after several botched attempts (and like, 8 episodes of The Voice), I finally came out with my very own Herringbone beanie pattern!

IMG_2955This is the second pattern I’ve officially published, and you can purchase it for just $1 through Ravelry or my etsy. As you can tell from my prices, my business model could use a little bit of work, but if just 2 people buy my pattern, I can ride the bus back to the yarn shop and do this thing all over again, which is all I really want (#simpleliving). Oh yeah, and a big thank you to my upstairs neighbor, Vicky, for the use of her shapely head. Betcha didn’t see this coming when you signed the lease.

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If you’re adding up the dates in your head, you may be wondering what I’ve been doing recently if I finished my beanie pattern my first week after quitting 3 weeks ago. And if you aren’t adding up the dates, then I have no transitional statement for you. This past weekend, I was revisiting my future medical school, meeting my future teachers and classmates and, more importantly, scoping the place for any deal breakers (e.g. institutional ban on knitting needles, widespread use of Red Heart Super Saver, book burning etc.). Fortunately, I found none. On the contrary, my time there was perfect, filled with passionate people telling me of the incredible opportunities I’d have over the next 4 years and the close-knit (HA!) community that would challenge and support me through what I am sure will be the most transformative period of my life (besides puberty. that really did a number on me.). Even the other potential students were amazing. Funny and intelligent, all of them, with a range of backgrounds so diverse and interesting that it made a knitting male like myself seem almost run of the mill.

But for some reason, after it was all over, I wasn’t feeling completely satisfied.

I was tired. Unbelievably tired. Of everyone I had just met, despite how amazing they all were. And this weariness was worrisome (wuh woh). In those two days, I was right there with my peers, forming relationships and memories and experiences that will (hopefully) lay the foundation for the intimacy everyone ensures will happen naturally. But that was as long as I could handle, and for the next 4 hours afterwards, I found myself at a cafe, alone, reading in silence and (regrettably) having the absolute time of my life. And then I started to think. What was everyone else doing right now? Were they still talking? Laughing? Building up those crucially bonding experiences that I didn’t have the energy to take part in? If you know me well (or not well, because it’s pretty obvious), you’ll know that I’m about as introverted as you can get (I’ve been cafeing since the 7th grade if that gives you a hint). Heck, you might have even known this was going to happen before I did. And while I accept my inner I as an integral part of who I am, as I sat there in that cafe eating my 3rd scone (don’t judge. i don’t drink coffee, so what else am i supposed to do?), I wondered if it was actually hurting me, tying me down and holding me back from being fully present in a social circle that seemed so accessible to everyone else.

And then I remembered the 5 hours I spent with Michael failing at breaking into a house (read more about it here) and that one time I tried all night to teach Joseph how to say the word “girl” (read more about it here). I remembered the Sundays and Wednesdays with these nerds memorizing the 90’s dance from Sister Act 2 and, oh yeah, who could forget the 8 days in Vietnam with my rabble-rousing high school friends (read more about it here). Anyway, the list went on as I brought to mind the people I (and don’t you dare tell them this) simply couldn’t get enough of, and when I thought back to the strangers I had just encountered, the names I had just learned and forgotten and learned again (though not really, but it’d be just plain insulting to ask a third time), the jokes I had perfected after telling it the same way 10 times, I realized that it will happen again, with time. Regardless of how many study groups or parties I attend or how many Sunday afternoons I spend holed up in a random coffee shop, it will all happen again. Acquaintances will be made, followed by friends. Awkward introductions will turn into hilarious anecdotes and deep, meaningful discussions will drag into the late night hours. I will be who I am, and it will all come together as it has before.

Whether it takes days or months (i really hope it doesn’t take months), I will find my place in this community that is as wonderfully different and unique as everyone else’s and embrace my new home away from home. And while most would turn to writing caps locked Facebook statuses or excited update emails to friends and family in order to celebrate this new medically-centered stage of life, I decided to go with something a bit more, well, me:

IMG_3010***”Crescat scientia; vita excolatur” is the motto of the University of Chicago and, in English, translates to “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.”

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