Saturday, November 28, 2009

40,000+

Well, I broke 40,000 words today! Will I make it to 50,000 before Tuesday? Stay tuned and see...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

I'm writing part of this blog in the San Pachi ramen shop at the end of what has been my most unorthodox Thanksgiving ever. Thanksgiving is not an international holiday like Christmas, so I've spent quite a bit of time explaining just what it is that we do. There were a few points during the day where I thought about what I would be doing if I were at home. All in all - at this point my ramen arrived.

So, anyhoo, I'm home now. My Thanksgiving ramen was, I have to say, pretty good. My Thanksgiving lunch was a school lunch of rice (duh), soup, cabbage, meat, some sort of noodle/salad/slaw, milk, and persimmons. I was very proud that I picked up my honkin' slippery slices of persimmon with my chopsticks...and I did not have to impale them. Anyway, one interesting thing about having a non-normal Thanksgiving is that I've actually had more time today to reflect on things I'm grateful for. I'll probably forget a few of them, but here goes!

1. I am thankful for my friends and family. There is an unwritten rule that says that all list of things one is grateful for must start with this item. No, seriously, I am so thankful for my family and friends - both near and far. I'm thankful for my old relationships, and the new ones I've been making here in Japan. It makes me think of the old Girl Scout song,
Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other's gold.
OK, now a round. You start, and I'll follow. :-)
2. I am thankful that my family and I are all employed. Economically, it has been a really rough year for the world. For me personally, not only do I have a job, but it is a job that I love. I am amazed that I have an opportunity to follow my dreams. Yea! I am also so grateful for my coworkers. I work and teach with an awesome group of people - I am so lucky to know them. I love the variety of students that I get to work with. I may not know their names, but I am starting to recognize faces (and so grateful that many students choose to wear their uniforms even when they aren't in school :)
3. I am thankful for Hokkaido. Yes, I know this sounds kind of hilarious coming from the girl who is constantly complaining about being cold, but there are so many good things about being here. The scenery is beautiful and they definitely know how to do winter right here! There are super blankets, hot water bottles, handwarmers that go in adorable handwarmer cases, epic heaters with timer functions, warm boots for about $20, lots of tights and warm layers, heated carpets, and warmers to slip into shoes and gloves. I used to think about how wonderful it would be to come home to a toasty warm house without having to leave the heat running all day, and now I can do that!
4. I am thankful for the snow! I may not have a white Christmas, but I've had a white Thanksgiving! The snow is such a beautiful thing. It makes winter more enjoyable. Please note: I am in NO way thankful for ice!! Bah! I got marooned on an ice patch on my way to school last week. I was determined not to fall down, but I had a really hard time going forward. It was kind of embarrassing. I would take a few steps forward, and slide back to start. And I was at the top of a hill (and didn't want to go down the hill).
5. I am thankful for opportunites. I am really thankful to have this opportunity to live and work in another country. I've also had many opportunities while here - from professional things just to ways for me to grow as a person. Living in another country is definitely an adventure in many ways. I am honing new skills that will be transferable to wherever I go, like waltzing into a restaurant and sitting at a table for 1. I never would have done that back home.
6. I am thankful for spell check. How else would I know that opportunities above was misspelled! I'm also thankful for the freedom to leave it misspelled.
7. I am thankful for the internet. Through the internet, I can stay connected with my family and friends (see number 1). I can't imagine being so far away from my loved ones without the amazing advances in communication that have taken place recently.
8. I am thankful for airplanes that fly me back and forth across the world! Yea! Now, about those prices...
9. I am thankful for the number 9...ok, not really, but I did some editing of my list, and it was easier to just put something goofy here than go fix my whole numbering system.
10. I am thankful that I am learning to appreciate the between times - both long and short. The JET application process is one long exercise in patience. That was no so much fun. But, I am learning to appreciate quiet moments and appreciate what is around me. Or, I was at one point...sometimes I forget the things I've learned.
11. I am grateful for Seicomart and COD payments (again with numbering issues).
12. I am grateful for you! Thanks for reading my blog! Studies show that you are most likely a person who also falls under number 1, so enjoy being counted twice on this list. Love you! (unless you happen to be one of the crazy Russian guys from Sunday night...in which case, I don't love you, and you really need to get a life)