Beading as Learning

September 23, 2022 – It’s Friday. So much for writing my mid-week blog mid-week. That’s ok. What I am learning is, “it’s ok.” Maybe the framework now is a blog post about teaching and learning during the week and a weekly #pandemicreflection blog post on the weekend. Now at the end of my second full week of teaching, my week is very compact and Wednesdays are a 12-hour+ day. From Monday to Thursday is very busy for me and my kid is going to school full time and continues to work a couple of days a week. We share my care. it turns out that finding balance during the week can be challenging.

Focus on the givens and figure out your space and time in between. Now, it’s Friday. Of course I stayed up late because I could only get some work done during the day and there is always work to do afterwards. I have to grab, take, and choose time that is just for me. This act of self-activism for self-care is critical to my health and sustainability in this profession. I am really enjoying my work as teaching and I am learning how to find time to delve into the writing part of my work. Service is always on the go. I have no problems with service except for my time and I need to consider how to best monitor my time for service.

Last night, I took the bus downtown from the university (while listening to a webcast on my phone en route) to go to a beading class at Two Rivers Art Gallery. Although the bus did not stop at my desired stop (or the next one and the next one) until I asked the driver to stop, I love the space and place of the art gallery and the opportunity to bead (and gift my beading) in community. I meet new people and I’m in my happy place creating patterns and art via beading. It might be the math person in me or maybe I was always artistic but repressed this love for beading (and hopefully weaving soon) for years and never knew it.

I find joy in beading (and weaving) and learning from Indigenous artists and knowledge holders makes the learning experience more meaningful and purposeful. I think it’S because I was assimilated to the Canadian culture and identity as a second-generation Chinese woman, I find solace learning some of the culture of local Indigenous Peoples as if I am learning some of my culture. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I am enamoured and humbled by Indigenous Peoples in Canada seeking Truth and Reconciliation, and reconnecting to their culture, language, and ways of being. A part of me wants some of this too.

I am learning more about the Chinese experience in Canada which helps me to understand the kind of racism and stereotypes Chinese people are subject to in Canada. Not all people of colour are treated in the same way and the history of each ethnic group and immigration into Canada does inform how people can be treated or perceived. I am not a historian by any means, but I am more curious about my identity and how this identity was formed as a second-generation Canadian. I know that I am a person of privilege regardless of any obstacles I have faced. My parents made that happen for me and I’m grateful. What I am wanting to learn more about is what it means to be Cantonese.

Hmm… I am left thinking. I was intending to write about what I learned from my beading experience last night, but the writing process took me into a different direction. Writing is thinking. I really appreciate that and I look forward to do more of this and remain curious as to where it takes me. I never thought I would be a writer, but I am learning that maybe it was always in my destiny and what makes it difficult is what I resist or deny. I will say that what I did learn from beading last night was the following: (1) nothing is perfect; (2) no one is going to notice; (3) do you best; (4) you’ll find your rhythm; (5) surrender; (6) be open to what you need to learn; (7) ask for help; and, (8) be kind to yourself.