Two things happened last week that got me thinking.
When I visited my permanent host site for the first time, I was able to meet the K1 volunteer (someone from the first Kosovo Peace Corps group, who is finishing up 2 years of service) I would be replacing. He asked me, “What’s your greatest fear?” And I told him, “Honestly, boredom.” I’m used to living in Chicago, and I worked both a full-time and a part-time job for 18 months before moving to Kosovo. I’m not used to living in a small village and having a lot of free time. The other volunteer told me, “You need to get a hobby.”
Then later I had lunch with a fellow trainee, someone I always suspected I would like, but with whom I hadn’t previously spent time alone. Inevitably the question of hobbies came up, and I kind of froze. I never know what to say in that situation. I’ve dabbled in a lot of things, but am not really passionate about any one thing.
The following is really more of a brain-dump exercise for me, but if you know me and care to weigh in with ideas, feel free. Here is a list of past hobbies I have tried.
- Community theatre: As a kid, I was always interested in films and acting. My tiny private high school didn’t offer drama, so in my senior year of high school, I got involved in community theatre. I had a blast hanging out with people of all ages, and I met one of my closest friends there (HI, LISA! XOXO). I moved to Chicago the next year, but most of the acting opportunities there are for professional actors only. So, no more community theatre. [My Aunt Tracy suggested trying to start a theatre group for the locals while I am in Kosovo. Hmmm … thinking about it.]
- In college, I minored in photography. Darkroom photography is something I really love. I can get lost for hours in the darkroom, trying to create the perfect print. For me, photography is as much of a tactile experience as a visual one. So, digital photography is something I’ve never really connected with. Every idiot with a digital camera is a “photographer” these days. It’s like, oh wow, you can afford an expensive camera and you know how to work the buttons? Why don’t you take a picture of your dinner and post it on Instagram, Ansel Adams? Seriously, I look at someone like my best friend–who actually studied photography and has actually worked on film sets and actually spends time honing her craft–and get pissed off by all these posers. Ugh!
So yeah, darkroom photography isn’t an option for me here in Kosovo (though my dream is to build my own darkroom some day). And I thought I would be into taking digital photos for this blog, but so far, I’m more excited about writing. [Side note: if you’d like to see some pictures I’ve taken, you can click here. Some of my darkroom stuff is on there, in addition to photos I’ve taken while traveling.]
- I spent a year taking guitar lessons at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. I loved the social aspect of it. I met some awesome people there (hi again, Dana!) and loved listening to the teachers and more experienced students play. But, I don’t think making music is my thing. Even if I could play guitar or piano well, would I play for my own enjoyment? Probably not.
- I lived in Boston from 2008-2010, and toward the end of my time living there, I went through a tough romantic breakup. I signed up for an improv class as a way to get out of my own head for an hour a week. There was a huge age range among the students, and everyone was there just to have a laugh. It quickly became the highlight of my week.
I continued doing improv when I eventually moved back to Chicago. I was in graduate school then, and it was a way to incorporate some fun into my life. But, the improv scene in Chicago is much different than the one in Boston. My classes were full of 20-somethings who had moved to Chicago to “make it” as professional actors. While they were nice enough, they weren’t really “my people,” and so I quit. However, I did learn a lot of fun ice breaker games, which I am looking forward to playing with my students in Kosovo.
- I’ve always liked creative writing (and yes, I’ve even written a novel!) But I’m not sure how much writing I’ll do in Kosovo beyond this blog. It seems to be fulfilling a need for me. (And blogging is so much fun, now that I actually have a life interesting enough to write about!)
- Yoga: I’ve been practicing since 2005, though you probably wouldn’t know it to look at me (I still can’t reach my toes when I bend over). While yoga is my favorite form of exercising, I’ve never been serious enough to want to become a certified teacher.
I’m really trying to think of things I can do at home, during the long Kosovar winters. In no particular order, some ideas include:
- Getting better at crocheting (I can make scarves and blankets, but maybe I should try to make something more complicated, like clothing or dolls).
- Reading up on social work theories. I’m a social worker by profession, and I want to be sure I’m staying current with my field.
- Reading more about spirituality. I’ve read a few books by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, and I’d like to learn more about Buddhism (another dream is to attend one of her workshops at her monastery in Nova Scotia.)
- Learning more about interior design. I’m interested not as a profession, but just for my own personal growth. A blogger I read wrote this article about an online design course she is taking. It sounds awesome, but the $1,200 price tag is steeper than I can afford at the moment.
- Continuing to practice yoga, even though I’ve never been very disciplined about practicing alone at home.
- Researching jobs/career paths for when I get out of Peace Corps
- Jewelry making?
- Creating mixed media/found art?
As you can see, I am leaning toward creating things with my hands (though please don’t suggest drawing, as I hate it/stink at it). Hmm … anything else I could add to the list?