Saturday, July 16, 2011

S’wonderful

I have just had the loveliest evening I’ve had in quite some time. But, before I get down to the matter at hand, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my little family:

CIMG2979Shoe Hall! This is actually half of a set of identical twins. They arrived around 10:30 this morning. They join half a lettuce plant, a small blue couch, a kindle, and a set of snowshoes as members of the household. I’m actually really excited, because I haven’t had heels I can wear to work in a long time.

OK, so anyway, tonight was the first night of a high school festival. There are two high schools in town, and the other school had their festival last week. I’m trying to be vague in order to protect the innocent. :)

Today’s school started their festival with a parade through town. The English teacher asked if I wanted to join in and walk with the students. Of course, I said sure! So, this afternoon, after a wardrobe crisis, I headed off to school.

By the way, one thing they don’t really prepare you for when you head off to another country are the frequent wardrobe crises. I keep encountering situations I never encountered back home, and I NEVER know what to wear. I have to admit, I really wanted a chance to wear the newest members of the clan, but even I know it’s a bad idea to participate in a parade through town in high heels.

As I headed to school, I passed a house with a lovely garden. So I took a picture and hoped the homeowners weren’t looking out the window. 

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I arrived at school, and got some happy greetings from students hanging out the windows. The students really seem to enjoy their school festivals. It’s one of the major events of the school year, and the students work really hard at decorating the school and preparing performances, shops, and all kinds of things. It really seems like a fun thing to have.

Around 6, everyone started getting ready for the parade. Each class had an andon, kind of a small lighted float they were to pull. There were also 2 alumni groups participating.

The andons were really neat. There were two cakes, a wild animal, a model of the school, a model of Cape Soya, and a big red ogre thing. Guess which group I was assigned to? Yup.

Before we set off, half the police in Wakkanai (or maybe more than half – there were a lot) showed up to provide an escort/safety. Which was probably good, since we were wandering down some busy roads.     CIMG2952Let me just say, following a giant lighted cake while on a diet is weird.  

The students had a great time cheering as they headed around town. I even saw several people I know, which was kind of crazy. It’s strange to realize that I know people here. I don’t know why that’s strange. Anyway, it was fun to recognize people.

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Me, the demon ogre, and several mothers.

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After a while, I was released to run around and take pictures. This is the alumni group. I’m not too worried about posting them, because they are most definitely not my students! It was really fun to run around and take pictures of students and their floats – they were really friendly and excited.

Eventually, we climbed the hill back to school and put away the andons. Then, everyone just hung around until it was time for the fireworks. I had a wonderful time chatting with students. We learned the word endurance.

I just can’t even explain what a pleasure it was to hang around students who were engaged and interested in talking to me. So much more enjoyable than the times I practically have to chase and hogtie people to get a simple hello.

Once it was dark enough, it was time for the fireworks show. The fireworks were gorgeous and far too short. But I understand why 5 hours of fireworks would be a bit impractical! :)

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Afterwards, I headed home, feeling so bubbly and relaxed. It was really a lovely evening.