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About Me

When it came time to update my travel blog to something more comprehensive, I hit a wall. People say that you should focus on a single topic, pick a persona and go with it. Do you travel? Be travely. Do you write? Be literary. Like science? Be sciency. You get the idea. You’re encouraged to focus on one angle, highlight the most prominent part of your life and BE THAT. Awesome. Except, I couldn’t do it.

I started making pie charts and bar graphs in order to find out just exactly who I was. I wrote poetry about it (horrible poetry), but I’d heard Michael Rosen say recently that writing poetry can often make it easier to communicate difficult ideas. I hoped my poem would help me clarify the difficult analysis of who exactly I was. My poem about myself bounced around with simplistic words and thoughts:  “I’m a mother and wife watching time morph my life.  I’m a teacher and student, always learning and prudent.” Blah. I ended up with an embarrassingly puerile list of rhyming attributes that did nothing to help in my quest to define a single persona except prove that I shouldn’t have tried to tackle the problem in poetic form.

Making pie charts wasn’t any better. One slice about traveling was nearly equal to the next about kid-related stuff. I decided that I couldn’t limit myself to just one thing, and I continue to question how to deal with that in my blog. Do I make a blog for each interest? Lump them all together into one blog and make a messy attempt to mash all my interests into one single portal? I still don’t have the answer, but this self-examination led me to the idea of a kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope

Within a single cylinder, colors mix, images tumble, angles slide and all of it commingles in a dazzling new creation of color, wonder and surprise. The kaleidoscope, I felt, was a tangible representation of my exact feelings about my life. To separate the glass or paper pieces from the tube makes them dull and lack dimension. Mixed together in just the right way, they become a fascination, a child’s beloved toy, a favorite childhood memory. I suddenly remembered that, as a child, I adored kaleidoscopes. They seemed magical to me. I recalled an old-fashioned-looking kaleidoscope I once had and remembered its colorful outer design and the shaking sound it made. It was, at one point, my favorite possession. I determined that my life was like that kaleidoscope. If I looked at it one way, I clearly saw one particular image, but if I twirled it around, I saw something new. I also identified with that memory on another level. I have maintained a connection to things of my childhood. A baby wall plaque of the cow jumping over the moon, favorite childhood story books, and beloved Fisher-Price toys still decorate the shelves of my bookcase nearly 40 years later.

The memory of my old kaleidoscope touched that childlike part of my mind.  I thought, “My life is like that kaleidoscope.” It’s also sort of kaleidoscopic — a mixture of many bits and also constantly changing. I looked up the word in the dictionary to check its spelling and to make sure it was, in fact, a real word. I came across this beautiful definition.

ka⋅lei⋅do⋅scop⋅ic –adjective changing form, pattern, color, etc., in a manner suggesting a kaleidoscope; continually shifting from one set of relations to another; rapidly changing: the kaleidoscopic events of the past year. SYNONYMS ever-changing, fluid, protean, unpredictable, impermanent,multicolored

This hit home with me in so many ways. I felt it was magnificent. I had found my word. This word would allow me to combine my passions, my strengths and my interests into one persona — a kaleidoscopic form.  I could talk about my kaleidoscopic life, my kaleidoscope of interests.  This word inspired me.

Even so, I still deliberate about how to deliver my thoughts and how best to organize my interests.  But, for now, I’m starting here and we’ll see where this takes me.

Check out the coolest site where you can make your own kaleidoscope images from your photos!

Make Your Own Kaleidoscope!

~

Here’s one I made from boxes of colored incense in Insadong, Korea.

My Short Bio Blurb

I am just another Jenny writing jenonymously about my kaleidoscopic life. Published writer, SCBWI advisor, mother, friend, collaborator, traveler, lifelong learner, student of Asian culture and Japanese language.

~

My Expanded Bio With A Bunch More Stuff About Me

Jenny Desmond Walters is the daughter of a mathematics professor and an early childhood specialist. Teaching and learning were a part of my life from an early age. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood and elementary education, I led the educational services department at PBS television affiliate, WSRE, where I received national recognition for my outstanding implementation of several educational initiatives such as MathLine, a mathematics initiative for middle school math teachers and Sesame Street PEP, a preschool education program for early childhood professionals. Later, I was the Tennessee state educational consultant for Steck-Vaughn Publishing, a Harcourt Brace Company, where I worked with book industry professionals promoting new books, writing curriculum and conducting workshops. Additionally, I worked as an educational consultant and sales representative for The Wright Group, Scholastic, Lakeshore Learning Materials and ABC School Supply.

After having children, I left the world of outside employment and dedicated my time, organizational skills and creativity to raising my children. During this time, I was president of an international support group for mothers with young children, and soon after, became the southeast regional advisor for this organization, overseeing around 30 chapters. Later, I founded and directed a 200-member, Nashville-area network of parents and children who were devoted to seeking educational excellence through community collaborations with local businesses, institutions, agencies and each other.

In 2006 my family moved to Japan after having spent 10 years in Nashville, Tennessee.  In Japan I served on the PTO leadership board, conducted bilingual mother and baby workshops at the local Kodomo (children’s) Center, and, again, started a support and activity group for mothers of preschoolers living in Japan. My third daughter was also born here.

During this time, I began writing about the many new experiences our family was having. I published several children’s magazine articles (AppleSeeds, Odyssey, SCBWI Bulletin) and became an avid writer and observer of life. I currently live in Seoul, Republic of Korea, with my husband and three beautiful daughters, and now, rarely run out of interesting stories to write.  I’m living and enjoying my kaleidoscopic life.

This kaleidoscope was made from a photo of many colorful fans on display in Insadong.
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13 Comments
  1. Dawn West permalink

    Jenny:

    I love your blog!! I have been to Seoul several times and love it. All three of my children were born in Seoul, so I kinda feel like Korea is my second home. Now if I could only master the language, I would be all set – HA!

    Thanks for the links and suggestions to visit. I know my 10 year old daughter will love the Hello Kitty Town.

    Dawn

    • jenonymously permalink

      Hey Dawn! Thanks for reading. I know just what you mean about that special connection that comes when your babies are born in a city. I feel that way about Japan, where my youngest was born. I think you leave a piece of your heart in the special place where your kids are born.

      I’m so glad to hear that you like the blog and the posts on things to do in Korea. I hope you get back to this wonderful country soon to enjoy Hello Kitty Town with your daughter!

  2. Hi Jenny!
    I am so glad to read this blog! I have emailed your scbwi email a couple of times. My family will be moving to Korea the beginning of Sept. I am also a former elementary teacher and currently a freelance writer in the educational market etc… I would love to meet you and learn how to write from Korea. Plz email me a tinamariecho@yahoo.com, and I can learn more from you! BTW, Lency Nascimento told me about your blog. I’ll also be homeschooling, which I’ve never done.
    Thanks,
    Tina Cho

    • jenonymously permalink

      Ah, Tina! Bless you! Thanks for sticking with me. I’ve been traveling for a month and wasn’t able to respond. I just sent you an email. Let’s connect here in Seoul. I’d love to help you out in any way I can!

  3. Hi Jenny,
    I love your blog! We are leaving for Korea in three days to bring home our third adopted child! I love your blogs about the Hello Kitty cafe and Dalki cafe:). Thank you so very much! We are staying in the Hongkik area near the Hongkik University Station. Do you remember about how far (how many minutes) theHello Kitty Cafe is from that station? Thanks so much for a great blog!

  4. Oh, Jenny,
    If you have time and you know the answer to my above question, could you email me at: ahoselton@sbcglobal.net? Thanks again:)

  5. THIS. IS. FABULOUS. I am enjoying your blog, and now currently living in Seoul as well. I hit the ground running with my blog back in California, and have since been trying to define mine as well. I love to travel. Great. I am a military spouse. Okay. And I love to cook, exercise, I enjoy healthy living blogs…but how to mesh this all into one? Now my posts are sporadic and ever colorful like the kaleidoscope~ and after reading your take, I realize that it is okay! Perfect definition, and can’t wait to indulge in more of your posts, finding new journeys for this impressive city! Thank you for the inspiration:)

    • Lindsay, hi there! Well, thank you so much for your great comment, and thanks for reading my blog. You sound just like me in trying to figure out how to make all the aspects of your life mesh together in some kind of cohesive way. I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet (I’ve started another blog just for my writing and have too much on my plate, now, trying to do both) but the goal, I think, is to just get started somewhere and let things evolve as they inevitably will. You’re totally right, it’s 100% okay to allow your blog to be multi-colored just like a kaleidoscope of life — in fact, the colorful surprise we find when we look in the kaleidoscope is what makes it so appealing. You’ve inspired me again to get back to my kaleidoscopic posts about life, Korea and new experiences. Thank you, thank you!

  6. cravevsworld permalink

    You are a true creator and natural-born imaginator.
    Your endeavors and success are inspirational!

  7. Swilkks permalink

    Jenny. Still loving the blog. Going to try out hello kitty town. Any suggestions abt driving, food, etc? By the way, i would love to meet with you and several of the other moms to go about experiencing some of these fantastic places. Thing dont seem so daunting when you do them with others! Thanks so much for keeping this going.
    Ll

    • Argh! So sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Hopefully, you’ve already ventured out in search of Hello Kitty Town and had a memorable time. If you haven’t, let me take a minute to answer your questions. First, you should definitely go! It’s worth seeing and the kids will have a blast. I found driving there to be quite easy, and I did it before iPhone’s Google Maps existed, so I think anyone can find it. I always find it worthwhile to go out and explore, even when I’m terrified to go. I’m always glad that I’ve had new experiences when the outing is over. Some of my best discoveries of great places to take the kids came about from me trying to find one place, getting totally lost, and stumbling onto something wonderful. Getting lost can be one of the best things to happen!
      I love the idea of getting together and exploring with friends. Sadly, I no longer live in Korea. My family moved to Japan a few months ago (hence my long silence on the blog,) and I am on the hunt for new, fun things to do in Tokyo.
      Here’s wishing you lots of happy adventures in Korea!
      Jenny

  8. Ethan permalink

    Hello. This is Ethan. I am Korean.
    I am dad who have baby boy is 7 month.
    I hope to find out Foreign familly which was lived in Ilsan/Goyang. and They had little baby.

    I hope to make communities for my baby boy. I you knows someone who have little baby live in Iisan or Goyang. Please, introduce me to them.

    Thank you. My e mail is qoxoddl@gmail.com

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