Archive for ‘Learn’

25 March 2019

On Not Knowing

by misslampa

What happens when three non-science majors agree on Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as a blog prompt?

Nothing, that’s what. But only for a short time. We resisted and grumbled and agreed it was a bad idea, but in the end, we all chose to put pen to paper and write anyway.

It baffles me, this idea that you can never be simultaneously certain about both the speed and the direction of something at the microscopic level, and that there’s no way to accurately measure one without deliberately messing up the other. It’s like a guarantee from the universe that we can never one-up it.

That way, we’re sure to be a little unsure for as long as we’re here.

Which is actually how I feel these days, truth be told. For years, I’ve held fast to this dream of pursuing a Ph.D. scholarship abroad, but all my recent attempts at re-evaluating my life plan end up in this resolve to channel more of my finite resources (time and energy, especially) towards being there for my family instead once I’m done with JET. And since I’ve never been as clear about any other goal in a long time—except maybe about wanting to get down to my ideal weight, haha—I suddenly find myself not knowing where I am nor where I’m headed.

Pretty positive this is not the groundbreaking uncertainty that shot Heisenberg to fame, but it’s making me lose my footing nonetheless. 

To make myself feel better, I think about how I’m really just a speck in the galaxy and must therefore be governed by this principle, too. But it doesn’t work, and I am forced to acknowledge that it’s tough to be lost when you’ve been clear about certain things most of your life.

Way tougher than having to blog about the quantum world, definitely.

27 January 2019

Waddling in Winter Wonderland

by misslampa

I tried cross-country skiing for the first time last Wednesday. And by that, what I mean is I managed to waddle back and forth on the school playground in my skis without falling…while kids up to thirty years my junior had a terrific time taking on the short and long groomed trails around me.

It was more my overly judicious use of ski poles than my good sense of balance that kept me upright, truth be told. But I was more on my butt than on my feet the one time I tried downhill skiing, so I’m still going to say this is a clear win for me.

Winter play

Prior to “ski-waddling,” this was my idea of winter fun.

We only had a little over two hours and I wanted to let the kids go first so as to stay out of their way, so all I’ve really done is go from walking with the help of ski poles to waddling without. Which isn’t really much, if you think about it. But whatever little progress I made sent me over the moon.

A slight spring in every small, slippery step – quite literally.

And when the bell rang to signal the end of PE class, the doors to the school entrance couldn’t look any less inviting.

I felt my sun-kissed spirit detach from the rest of me so it could do a double take. Am I warming up to winter, finally?

Maybe. Or maybe any day now, the world will go Bazinga! on me.

Until then, I’ll tell myself to just keep waddling.

11 January 2019

Questions the World Asks You

by misslampa

The thing about being a teacher by profession, everyone thinks you have all the answers.

And most days, thankfully, I do do have them.  Because the questions are easy: How old are you? Are you married? Are you Muslim? Can you speak Japanese? What’s your favorite food/animal/drink/whatever? Do you make your bed every morning? Would you rather be a boy or a girl if you were to be born again?


Just between you and me, though, I think it’s really Kyun Chan (the mascot of Hokkaido) who has the answers to all of life’s questions.

Occasionally, I’m caught by surprise, not because the queries leave me dumbfounded but more so because I never imagined I’d be answering them in this lifetime: What’s your favorite police car? Are you rich? What are the dimensions of a patintero court? How many bananas can you eat in one sitting? Do you poop? Do you like killer whales? What’s your favorite insect?

Ah, the perks of teaching! Kids are pre-programmed to come to you for answers to even the strangest of conundrums.

Some inquiries also come with the precarious territory of being straight and single and all of five-and-thirty, foremost of which are 1)if I’ve found the one and 2)when I plan to get married. What’s funny is, even if I answer the former in the negative, people still follow up with the latter. So to cut the interrogation short, I kid them about helping me find a wedding package that’s inclusive of the groom already.

Once, a divorcée asked me what I now think is the kinder question: Do you want to get married? I found it refreshing then and find in refreshing still, how someone who gave marriage a try only to discover it’s really not for her acknowledges that hey, it’s totally up to me if I want to walk down that path, too.

This other time, someone asked if I’ve ever considered adoption. I haven’t, really, so that’s what I said in reply. But I also said his question was making me think about whether I’d marry someone with kids, be they adopted or from a previous relationship.

I was also stunned into silence for a while when a colleague asked me to name one thing I absolutely believe in. We were mindlessly working on last year’s Halloween party when he sprung that on me as if he were only asking me to tell him the time.

For these queries, the answers don’t come easy. But I hope they find their way to me, eventually.


This one’s for non-millenials (!) Dat and Eric, who just won’t let me give up on blogging.❤️