Friday, March 24, 2006

of going back in time...

So, I'm in America now. Time is all messed up for me but I know I traveled a long time, but I ended up repeating today. It's cool, but I'll loose a whole day going back. I know in the long run it doesn't make a difference, but I don't know, it's still kinda sad.

Anyway, its my 100th post. I'd have a party, but the people who plan the parties for me are in Japan... ;-)

So I left my house somewhere around 8AM. I managed to get to the airport with little trouble, and I even had several helpful people help me manage my bags and the stairs.

I flew business class home from Japan. Wow, that was different. They hung up my coat for me and everything. I can't imagine what first class is like!

And on the way to Midland, I sat next to this Japanese guy who was also going to Midland. How weird is that? He was on the same flight from Tokyo, but we didn't see each other on the bigger plane. Anyway, turns out he and his family is Christian. We had a nice little chat.

Ummm... Lets see... Well, there are already things that I'm finding weird about America. Like how employees act. I mean, they talk to each other right in front of customers etc. It's WAY more relaxed than in Japan. And cell phones in America are so loud! And people who talk on phones are loud. I wonder if I used to be like that too... Plus it's a bit strange to be able to understand all the conversations going on around me. I was kinda used to living in my own little world there for a while. Oh well.

We did some shopping already today. Got new sneakers and a cute pair of shoes that I should be able to walk in.

Also I got to meet the new dog. She's totally tiny and really strange looking. She's a cross between a poodle and a chuiawa. She looks like some sort of wire terrier with a bad hair day. She's a crazy little thing. At first she didn't know what to do with me, but apparently I've been accepted already, because now she's sitting on the back of my neck while I sit at the computer (apparently this is a favorite place when my dad's at the computer).

My dog got so fat! It's crazy! I haven't seen her so much because the big dogs can't be in the same room with the little one.

Starting Sunday, we are going to go visit relatives. It'll probably take about a week.

It was funny, apparently my whole family was really anxious about when I was coming home. My uncle, who helped get my plane ticket, was tracking my every move. When I boarded the flight in Tokyo, he called my parents. When I landed in Dallas, my parents were called. And other relatives were being called too. There was this whole chain going. Made me feel kinda like when they "track Santa" on TV at Christmas time.

Anyway, it's good to be home. I'm gonna need some good sleep soon. But it's cold here! I was hoping to escape from the cold and brought it with me. OH well. It should warm up soon.

100 posts! Horray!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

of nabe and turning tables...

For any who are interested, here's the low down on the nabe party. (that finished like 10 mins ago)

The grand total of people in my house at one time tonight was 17! But I must say, this is one of the strangest parties I have ever thrown. It took a complete 180 on me.

So I invited everyone over to my house, because I am very thankful for their friendship and their kindness. Well, I started by asking, "whats a good day?" and I'm pretty sure from that point on, I was no longer in control of anything. They just took over. They decided what to eat, they brought the nabe pots (I don't have any) and they bought and paid for all the food. (refusing to let me pay).

I don't know if I have ever gone grocery shopping with 7 people before, but that's what we did today. Good thing we went to a larger store, or it would have been crazy. But it's good to know that 1 mon yen can feed 17 people with no trouble.

Then they came in my house, and completely took over. They did most of the cooking (I cooked mashed potatoes and gravy by request because, I don't know, they wanted me to cook something) and then they cleaned after wards too.

It turned into a kinda mini-farewell party for me. I don't know why, but several people seemed a little sad that I would be gone for two weeks. One girl almost cried! (which is funny because I don't even see her every week, because she doesn't always come). The funny thing is that I don't even talk to most of these people, mainly because of the language barrier. But they seem to be getting just as attached to me as I am to them. (or maybe it's Japanese politeness... They could be really good actors).

The evening was kinda overwhelming for me. I'm tired now. (I had to pack and clean my house today first) It was a whole heck of a lot of Japanese all around me, so I really didn't participate much. (of course, I'm not a large group person either. I prefer small groups)

But I guess the point is that I had a really good time. The party wasn't what I intended. I wanted to show them that they were important to me, but it kinda turned out the other way around. I'm really thankful for this Blessing to me that God has provided. I can only pray that He returns the blessings back to them.

I will leave tomorrow for my flight home. I don't know if it's really hit me yet though. These past few weeks have been a blur. It's crazy how these things sneak up on you.

Sorry, I didn't mean to ramble so much, but I guess it's how I process things, I need to tell people about them. Good news is you can not read this and I would never know! ;-)

Post 99

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

of vacation, weekends and procrastination...

Well, things have been crazy lately. I have a home party tonight, I should be finishing packing and cleaning, but I've hit my limit for now, so it's off to procrastination land, aka, blogger.

Lets see... The last week of classes went well. I got lots of good, free food. My Friday night class even bought presents for my parents. They are so nice. The Narnia party also went well. We had 17 people go to see the movie, 10 of them children. It was good, and lots of people said they were "moved." This seems to be a common Japanese expression though, so I'm not sure how "moving" it really was. It's possible Japanese people are just easily moved. Or maybe I'm not.

My Bible Study went really well too. We had a bit of a party and still did the study. We went really late, mainly because they just wanted to hang out and talk. I didn't have anything pressing to do after, so we they stayed until around 5pm. (Bible class starts at 1) It was cool. We had good discussion, and we are now halfway through the 10 Commandments.

But the really exciting stuff for me is still hanging out with the Band. Sunday night I had a really good discussion with everyone. I was able to talk some about my faith in God, and ask them what was the most important thing to them. I also was able to feel out where Sing stands on stuff. There's hope because he believes there is A God, but he doesn't know who He is. Now all that needs to happen is for God to reveal Himself to Sing. I'm really hoping that God moves among these people. I pray for them everynight. They have been such an amazing blessing to me. And the cool thing is seeing how many Christian traits they already have. In fact, I would say these people are "better Christians" than some of the so called Christians in America. I just really want them to see the Truth and become bright lights in Japan to others. Anyway, I got to see them Saturday, Sunday AND Tuesday because it was a holiday. And I'm having a party for them tonight at my house. I'm expecting somewhere between 10 and 15 people to come. It's gonna be crazy.

Speaking of the party, this has to be the craziest party I've ever given. Well, not that I've given so many parties in my life, but still. So I told them like a month ago that I wanted to have another party before I went to America. So I told them the free days and asked them which day was best. Well, after that, they just kinda took over. They told me what day, what time, what kind of food and everything. Well, it's going to be a Japanese food party, and I don't know what to buy or how to cook it or anything, so some of us are going to meet early and go shopping together to get the food. So in essence, they are doing all the work, and I'm just providing the place. It's crazy. But it's going to be fun I think. I can't wait. And Mako should come this time. He says he really likes America and he wants some food that I cooked. So per Mako's request, we will have Japanese food, plus mashed potatoes and gravy. Strange, but whatever makes people happy.

Mako also wants me to take lots of pictures while I'm in America. He told me to take 1000, but I don't think that'll happen. Japanese people are crazy picture takers. They just go nuts when they travel, taking pictures all the time. They take pictures of the food they eat too. They told me I should do the same thing, but somehow, I don't think that would go over well in America. I can imagine the looks now. "Wait, I need a picture of the Mac and Cheese!" LOL. But I will need to take lots of pictures.

Ok, I have three hours left to finish everything before it's time to start the party. I'm thinking I'll be ok. I wanted to have my bedroom cleaned so we would have more space, but I don't think that's going to happen. Oh well. As long as the main room and kitchen are done it'll be fine.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow I'm going to be on a plane home. It still hasn't really hit me yet. Crazy. This will be my first time to fly internationally by myself. I hope everything goes OK. I'm sure I'll be fine, but it's a little intimidating.

Anyway, this is probably good for now. I'll probably write again tonight after the party to say how it went.

This is post 98...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

of footsaru...

So tonight I played footsaru for the first time. It's just like soccer, only with a smaller court and a smaller ball. Each team has 5 players and there is no goalie.

I had tons of fun. Everyone is kind, and they don't care when ppl make mistakes. I was actually the best girl player, I think. I even scored lots of points for my team. It was great. It was a bit nippy tonight, but when you are running around, you don't notice. We played outside, but on the roof of a building downtown. It's really cool. I've never been on the roof of a 6 story building before. It's tons of fun.

I'm really happy to have found such a nice group of people. They are very kind and look out for me. I really appreciate all they do for me. It's great.

Anyway, this week is my last week of classes. This means all my classes are having parties. This means, I get free food all week. :-) It's good.

Saturday we will go watch the Chronicles of Narnia as a group. I hope it goes well.

Ok, I think that's all for tonight. I'm a bit tired.

But I had fun. :-)

Monday, March 13, 2006

of competition...

So, I forgot to mention in the last post, but Marlo has declared she wants to reach 100 posts before I do. Well, I just don't know if I can allow that to happen now can I? Especially since I've had this WAY longer than she has. Well, ok, so she writes WAY more often than me. Oh well. So the whole point of this post is to reply to her, and get one more step to 100. This would be post 96. I'll try to make it to 100 before I go home to visit. :-P

of submission...

God is just really cool. I mean, I just really like Him. So today, like most mornings, I didn't want to get out of bed. I wanted to cancel all the things I had to do today and just spend the day sleeping. But lately, I've been reminded how important it is to put God first and obey and submit to Him, and then He will provide.

Well, today is a great example of that. I got out of bed (I was a bit late and missed Sunday school) and went to church. After church, more people are talking to me. It's hard because I don't think they know what to do with me, and I'm not really a mingler. I get really uncomfortable with small talk and stuff, so it's difficult for me sometimes to reach out to the church members. But they are slowly talking a little more with me, so that's good.

Anyway, the great thing about today was my Bible Study. I mean, it was so amazing. We had really great discussion and students were really open. I just felt God's presence there. It's really amazing how cool God is. I might be optimistic here, but it seems to me that any one of those students could easily become Christian any time now. They are so interested and dedicated about it. More dedicated than some Christians I know. It's really amazing to see and watch them as they learn something new about God each week. Today I gave them the option of having a party for our last class of the school year next week, or having normal class. Their solution? "Lets bring food and eat and have the study too!" I think that's totally awesome. They don't want to miss one week for a party. I'm so happy they chose that.

Then we had Cell meeting tonight. I was really ashamed because my house is a total wreck. We eventually went out and just prayed since we were missing a person tonight. My fault.

After Cell, I went to hang out with the band. I was so late. I got there at around 10 o'clock. Fortunately they were still there. I think they had had a bit of a frustrating night, but they seemed to be in good spirits when I got there. But it was cold tonight. But I was really happy, because I had really good interactions with them.

I guess part of the reason I'm so happy everytime I see them is because I'm a really insecure person. I am always afraid I'm a burden, or people are just tolerating me because they are nice. So it's always really great when people act like they really enjoy my company. I feel more and more included everytime I go. It's great.

I talked with Mako for a long time tonight. It really means a lot to me when Mako wants to talk to me, because he's kinda shy and didn't talk to me much before. So that means he's getting used to me, or something. Lately everytime I go, he makes it a point to have a small conversation with me. Of course, we get stalled a lot because of my limited Japanese vocabulary.

Anyway, the result is that I went there tonight so tired. And after I talk with them, I just feel so relaxed and happy. It's really amazing how that works out.

So anyway, God is good. It's always a good idea to submit to God!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

of the Livehouse...

So Friday night I went to see the band perform live at a "livehouse." I'm not sure if this term is used in America or not. It sounds like Japanese English to me. But that's neither here nor there.

So the band, or rather, Sing and Mako, are actually in two different bands. When Sing and Mako play alone, that's called Trash Box Jam, but when they play with two other people, (the lead singer being female) that is called Annie's Garden. Anyway, so I went to see Annie's Garden play live on Friday.

I was a bit late because I went directly after work, but I think I managed to catch most of the show. It was an interesting experience. I have never been to a live house before, so it was new for me. I got to see some people I hadn't seen in a while though, so that was good.

But what really makes me happy, is that the more often I go, the more people talk to me. Or rather, the more the non-English speakers talk to me in Japanese. It's cool, and I feel very accepted and included in most things. I still can't interact so much, but I just kinda observe from the shadows and occasionally join in when I can understand what's going on. But it's cool because I think my listening skills have improved recently. I find I can understand more and more of what is happening. Well, until they start talking to me. Then some of the conversations they try to have with me are far beyond my vocabulary and grammar abilities.

Anyway, I think I will try again for footsaru this Wed. I'm looking forward to that.

But lately I have been tired. I don't remember if I've written this before, but I'll talk about it again. In school, we were told to always value our day off, and don't ever schedule anything on that day. It's really important to have a day off. Well, for the past 6 months, I have been having Japanese lessons on my day off. I thought this was the best solution, and really, I don't regret it so much, but I'm definitely feeling the stress of it. Because I often have things on Saturday and always on Sunday, I don't really get rest days. So my days of rest have been few and far between lately. So it's about the end of the semester, and I just feel myself running down. I'm ready for a rest. I hope my trip home is restful. It's not because my work is hard or anything, but it's just because I'm always going. I need the down time. So I'm going to make it a priority starting in April to not have anything planned for my days off. Thankfully, I'll be able to change the days of my Japanese lessons. But I'll also be reducing how many lessons I have, for financial reasons.

Anyway, today was another busy day. I met for prayer meeting, but I was late leaving it. Then I went shopping with Tami for new clothes for her. It was good, and she found a lot of good deals. (most of the clothes she bought was equal to 99 cents) We got her almost a whole new wardrobe for under 20 bucks. But then we were a bit late for Music Box (a ministry in a nearby area). Then we went out for dinner (I hadn't really eaten so much today, I left my house at 8:30 or so after oversleeping). And I got home around 11 pm. So it's been along day. Not bad, but long, so I'm still tired.

Anyway, I've noticed I'm really rambling. So since I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say anymore, I'm going to start the going to bed process. Oyasumi nassai (good night)!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

of sleepy thoughts...

I'm sleepy this morning. I'm used to begin lazy, so sometimes, doing all these things everyday begins to wear me out. But soon... Soon, I'll be sure to make my day off my day off. No more Japanese class on my day off, or meetings or things like that. Well, that's my hope anyway. We'll see what happens...

So anyway, I have a week and two day of classes left for this school year. I can't believe that I have been teaching for a whole year now. It doesn't feel like it at all. I'm amazed I'm still doing it and I still like my job. I'm definitely ready for a vacation. It's probably because I don't use my day's off for rest.

Anyway, this week is almost over, again. Next week will be nice, because it's the last week of classes, so we get to have parties. It will be fun. Mostly it involves going out to lunch/dinner with adult classes and playing games with kids. I'm excited.

But I also have to find time somewhere to clean my house. I'll have people staying over on Monday night, so I really need to get some cleaning done. Then I'll also be having some parties here. But I really want to stop letting my house get so crazy. This might possibly be a life long goal. I don't know.

Anyway, I'm super tired today. I've been doing a lot lately, at least it seems that way, and I think it's beginning to hit me. I just have a little more to go.

I have a lot of little nit-picky-detail things I need to get done. I need to e-mail people and stuff. I don't really like doing details, but I find I'm getting a little better at them than I used to. Oh well. I'm thankful for opportunities to improve. :-)

Ok, time to get my day going. I'll go take care of some of those e-mails now. Sorry for the random post. I'll be home in two weeks!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

of sun...

Today, I woke up to sunlight. What a wonderful thing. I often don't appreciate the sunlight until I've spent a week without it. I was expecting rain again today, so it was a nice surprise to have sun this morning. It just makes everything feel warmer.

Today I got a good surprise. The catechisms I ordered like two months ago, finally came. My students will be so happy. I'm really excited about this. And they are even really cool. They have every other page as a blank page for writing notes on. This is so perfect for non-native speakers and non-Christians. I didn't even realize I had ordered this version. How cool is that?

But today I also got a bit of sad news. My favorite ramen shop is about to be no more. I don't know why, (the lady only speaks Japanese, so I was lucky to figure out the ramen was going to stop) but from what I understand, it will become an udon shop (a type of Japanese noodle, ramen would be a Chinese noodle.) This is sad, but I think the woman will still work there. But it looks like Monday will be the last day I can get ramen there. I'll be sad, because I really like that ramen. But I managed to do my Japanese homework tonight.

This weekend will be busy. Tomorrow (today?) I will go to a party in Tokyo. This nice couple from America who are working here for 10 weeks, wants to throw a party for all the V'ers (V'er is what we call the people who work in VYM) in Tokyo. This is cool. I'm looking forward to it.
And maybe if it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'll get to hang out with the band. But if not, I'll get to hang out with them on Sunday, and I'm really looking forward to that. Then Monday is Japanese class, and then I'll go out to dinner with my language partner, Hiroki. Before I meet Hiroki, I should probably go shopping for gifts for people back home at the Christian Bookstore in Tokyo. It's always good to go to places like that while I'm in the area instead of making another trip just for that. It saves money on transportation. Then it's back to work. The weeks just go by so fast! And it seems like my calendar is always booked. But I can't complain. Being busy is better than being lazy. Now if I could only find time to clean my house before I start inviting people over. LOL.

Anyway, this is post number 92. I'm gonna count them down until I get to post number 100. So 8 more to go!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

of rain...

Well, this is my 91st post. Nine more and I'll reach the big 100! Who hoo! I guess I should have a party or something.

Anyway, it's been raining a lot recently. I don't like rain, probably because I come from the desert. And it's cold too, so cold rain is even less fun. :-( Also, my dryer broke. I shouldn't complain because I'm the only one in the program with a dryer, but it does make things way more inconvenient. Esp when I have to dry the clothes in the house.

It rained yesterday, so I couldn't meet my friends. I was kinda bummed about that, but I was able to go to bed early, so that was good. Lately, my back and arms are really tense. I don't know why. I have always been tense, esp in my shoulders and back, but it seems to be getting worse lately. I should research solutions I guess. But I'm too lazy. LOL

But for all the complaining, things are going well. I'm trying to grow as an adult and do things like keep my house clean and cook at home more often. I don't know how working moms do it. It's crazy. I can't work and take care of myself. I'm beginning to understand why being a housewife is a good idea.

But there is so much going on lately, that I've had to really start looking at how I take care of my money. I tend to just spend money whenever I feel like it, and then by the end of the month, I'm super close to broke. I need to stop that cycle. I should budget and stuff, so I have money to do the things I want with friends and stuff, instead of spending money on useless things by myself. I hope to start improving that.

Anyway, today it's not raining, so I'm happy, but it's still a bit cold. I can't wait for spring to get here. But I should go and get ready for work now. I just wish I wasn't so sleepy in the mornings...