Friday, July 31, 2009

Countup - last post from Mississippi and possibly the U.S.

Here we are - the last post from Mississippi and probably from the United States! The bags have been packed, goodbyes have been said, the tears have been shed (I'm ready to be finished with tears), and everyone who needs to be hugged (and can be hugged) has been hugged. One funny thing about hugging lots of people is that after a while, you don't smell like yourself anymore.

Well, I will be leaving for the airport tomorrow morning at 4:30 with the family. More tears will probably be shed, although we may be too tired to cry! I need to get to sleep ASAP so I can be somewhat well rested for the trip tomorrow. At least I can try to take a nap on the plane. Then, Saturday morning, it's off to Tokyo (this is still a bit surreal). I'm not sure when I will next have an internet connection, but when I do, I will try to post something. Until then, sayonara!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Countup - 100 pounds of gravy

Blargh! We are down to the wire here, folks! I head off to pre-departure orientation the day after tomorrow! I'm starting to get nervous about forgetting something essential. Whenever I take a trip, my mind seems to spin until it figures out what I forgot to pack. This time, perhaps I will deliberately forget something so my brain can relax!

My bags switched places - now my big bag meets the weight requirements and my little bag is overweight. Auggh! I'll get it right at some point, I hope. My strategy is that - worst case scenario - if they say my bag is too heavy at the airport, I'll just start putting winter clothes on.

We had a really nice evening tonight with some family friends who are missionaries in France. They were passing through town, so we all went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Restaurant is a word I have always had a difficult time spelling! I don't know why...

Well, I better see what I can go accomplish in the few minutes I have remaining before I need to go to bed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Countup - 3 nights - Waaah

So. We are now three nights out from departure. I know things will get better, but right now they are kind of stinky. I am really missing my family and friends already (and I haven't left yet). Unfortunately, they are missing me, too, which makes me sad that they are sad. I am also worried about forgetting something essential, like paperwork or my laptop (I had a dream that I forgot my laptop).

I am also having luggage issues - last night's brilliant strategy failed. My luggage is filled to the gills, but one bag is 37 pounds and the other is 61 pounds. Somehow, I have to figure out how to move the small and dense objects to the small bag and the puffy objects to the bigger bag. I thought I had basically done this by putting the heavy shoes in one bag, but my plan did not succeed. Ugh. I knew I should have studied physics. Maybe I could try sweet-talking the airlines. "Why, you look so big and strong, I bet mah little bitty ol' luggage weighs nuthin' to you, sugah!"

On a happier note, I went to the dentist today and have no cavities - a miracle! Ohhhhhhhhhhh, yeah! My friend also bought a webcam for me, and we got it up and running! Woohoo! I also bought a pack of gum and some socks. Just thought you might like to know that.

I promise that happier posts are soon to come. A little wallowing, and I'll be good as new!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Countup - 4 nights!

Four nights to go until the big departure! Today was a pretty busy day filled with running errands and taking care of tasks that need to be handled before I leave, like acquiring yen (or at least resuming the process), picking up pictures, getting an eye exam and new glasses, working on blecky paperwork, and making sure that my debit card is activated for use overseas. And, of course, deciding what to wear on the Tokyo flight. After all, one wants to be comfortable, but one does not want to look like a bum. Especially considering that when one deplanes in Tokyo, one will be lucky not to feel like one was run over by said plane.

I was thinking about the flight to Tokyo recently and how weird it would be to be a regular Joe on a flight full of JETs. How long will it take the regular Joes to realize what is going on? Will it be obvious that we are all traveling together, or will the regular Joes just wonder why everyone they ask is going to be an ALT in Japan. It looks like there are a few seats left, if anyone would like to come to Japan! I wonder which seat is mine? With my luck, it will probably be over a wing! Or the seat right smack in the middle of the center group of five seats.

Well, earlier this evening I unloaded my suitcases so I could repack them. I was amazed at the volume of clothes I had jammed in those suitcases! I really didn't think I'd packed that much. Now I have to jam all the stuff back in the suitcases. I'm trying to get it done tonight - the dog is not happy with me packing in the living room. My new strategy is to pack the heavier stuff in the smaller suitcase and the lighter stuff in the bigger suitcase. This way, they will hopefully balance out to 50 pounds each. By the way, it's really hard to weigh a giant suitcase on a bathroom scale.

Time to get to work!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My life in 140 pounds or less - 5 nights to go

Now that the wedding is over, I suppose that it is time to return to packing and the never-ending to-do list. Bleck. I think that I shall return to procrastinating instead! I am an excellent procrastinator. You know, I used to love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and I'm pretty sure that she managed to go through life with one dress for everyday and one dress for Sunday. So, why do I need 140 pounds of stuff?? Oddly enough, 140 pounds of stuff is not very much at all. I wonder how much all my stuff weighs...

5 nights to go on the countup! Group A is sitting in orientation right now! I'm really glad to be in Group B! I need more time to pack.

OK, I was just searching for the TV show Jericho on iTunes and randomly found this song:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beautiful day!

The wedding today was absolutely, utterly, wonderfully fantastic. It was just full of fun and joy. When I arrived at the church, it was so much fun to get ready in the parlor with Amy and the other bridesmaids. That time was just a sweet time as we all slowly began to transform into a wedding party. Pictures started around 11 - the way they worked out is that Amy took pictures with all her people and Kyle took pictures with his people before the ceremony and then they came together for the rest of the pictures after the ceremony. No one (including Kyle) wanted Kyle to see Amy before she came down the aisle. I think the pictures will be very fun. Amy was just beautiful, and the day was a gorgeous backdrop. The photographer took some pictures in a little playhouse on the playground, which I think will be hilarious. I just can't wait to actually see the pictures - I know they will be great because Amy was so beautiful. Hopefully, I won't look too goofy in any I'm in - I have an inherited characteristic of appearing that I've had one too many in photos. I've been working for years to overcome this, but sometimes it just gets the best of me! Anyway, I digress. it seemed like the time flew by, because before we knew it, the pictures were finished and guests began to arrive. After the mothers left the parlor, it was just the five of us waiting to head over to the sanctuary. We almost went too early - Kyle was in charge of seating his mother, which meant that he was in the foyer. Thankfully, someone realized he was there and we were able to stop outside and hide Amy. Once Kyle was safely gone, we went into the foyer and were ready to go. Amy's dad was waiting for her, and I - of course - had to keep fluffing her until I was sure she was just perfect. Diana, MJ, and Joanna had headed down the aisle when I joined the processional - one hard thing about being in a wedding party is knowing where to look when you are walking down the aisle. If you are the bride, this is an easy decision. If you are not the bride, it is much more difficult. It's a little weird to stare at the groom or the preachers. I tried to strike a balance by changing my gaze every few seconds - the danger in this is that you could look a little goofy if not done properly. that a bridesmaid or a pigeon? The flower girl - who was a doll - was the last one to come down before Amy. Then, the doors were closed and Trumpet Voluntary began. The doors opened, everyone stood, and there she was! The beautiful bride! Kyle was just beaming - I'm actually pretty sure that he kept right on beaming through the entire ceremony! The ceremony itself was just lovely. Amy was radiant throughout the entire thing. I loved being able to stand so close to the two of them through the ceremony and see the joy on their faces. And...good news...I didn't lose the groom's ring, drop the bride's bouquet, or trap her in her train! Before I knew it, the ceremony was over, and we all recessed! Once the rest of the pictures were complete, everyone headed over to the reception. The reception was wonderful - even the dancing! We danced some Scottish dances that I can't spell. Oh, well! Everything at the reception seemed to go off well - the cake was beautiful and the food was lovely. In what seemed like only a few minutes, but was really a few hours, it was time for Kyle and Amy to leave. On her way out, Amy handed me her bouquet and gave me a hug. Then, they were gone! I won't see Amy again before I leave for Japan. I'm really going to miss her! But, before I get too maudlin, let me end this post! This wedding really felt like a celebration rather than a production and it was so wonderful to be a part of it!

Well, I am worn out and have at least three blisters on my feet, including one shaped like Africa! Time for some much needed rest!