San Fran #1

Monday, May 29, 2006

(posted on California Time: 12:22pm, Time in Forida: 3:22pm)

We are now half way through our trip and disaster has struck. But more on that later.

First, I’m here with Kim and Erin and we are visiting Judy Yarian, my 6th grade Sunday School teacher, 10th grade Leadership and English teacher. She’s seen me grow up from an immature and spastic 6th grader all the way to a little spaz 22 year old that I am today.

So, we’ve been traveling all over San Fran and the weather has been beautiful. All the Californians have been complaining about the wind but Judy says they’re just spoiled. Personally, it’s too cold for my taste. 50 degrees is winter to me! And the wind is crazy! 25 mph average….I think. I’d probably check that statistic if I weren’t stuck behind a dial up connection which is another reason why I haven’t uploaded my photos.

Now, time for the disaster story. So, yesterday, we drove an hour to get to Tomales Point. This is a beautiful hike along the coast of the pacific with wild flowers, mountains (hills for anyone outside of Florida) and elk herds riding over the fields. Unfortunately, Judy and Neil (husband) forgot to mention to us that it was a 10 mile hike. It wasn’t very strenuous because the terrain didn’t include or decline sharply, but 10 miles is still 10 miles and we are doing this hike with three girls that are lucky if they can walk an entire 1 mile through the course of their day.

On the walk back we were all feeling the pain in our legs and we all started walking a little funny because of it. Unfortunately, about 1/4 of the way back, Erin walked a little funny into a hole and tore a ligament in her ankle. Of the 5 of us, no one had thought to bring a cell phone. Luckily, a nice couple let us theirs and we called 911, a call that would last about 10 minutes with the phrase of “so where exactly are you?” to which Judy would reply, “On the Tomales trail between the end of the trees!” This may sound stupid, but on the entire stretch of land that we covered, there was only one patch of trees and they stood out like a sore thumb. I’ll upload pictures of the spot later.

So now Erin gets to take a truck back up to the start with a nice dose of Morphine while the rest of us had to actually walk back. I still say I could have hung onto the back of that thing, but whatever. She was then sent to the hospital where I fell asleep in the waiting room for an hour until she was done. It actually didn’t take as long as we were expecting.

So Erin is fine and gimping around the place while the rest of us are trying to figure out what plans we can keep and what we have to cancel because of Erin’s retardation. :) We still love her all the same.

Has Her Belly Button Fallen Off Yet?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New mothers can ask the strangest things. I went shopping with Sarajane yesterday and not only did she take forever to do anything, we also got stopped by different people asking questions about Emily. How's her belly button? My she has wavy hair! How cute. Eh, whatever.

I'm off to San Francisco for a week and a half. I'll be taking lots of pictures....probably.

She's sticking out her tongue for spite! I have over 150 pictures so far of the exact same thing: Emily. Only, she's not actually doing anything. She's just moving her eyes and every new position means another pictures. Or she moves her feet or hands. I'm serious, to the untrained eye, they look exactly the same.

What Would I Think If I Saw Me Now?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'd say it's time for a story. This is one that doesn't need a lot of exaggeration or's also not entirely fantastical either. It's just something on my mind.

It was the spring of 2000 and I was just beginning my junior year of high school. So that made me about 16. Over the summer I had gotten into Toonami with my best friends Jacob and Kiley, both of whom I don't speak with anymore, for whatever that's worth. This was the beginning of my anime phase. Toonami had changed its line up from Thunder Cats and Speed Racer to Sailor Moon, DBZ, Tenchi, and Gundam Wing.

So one day I was watching Toonami and it was a commercial break so I decided to get up to do something. As I was walking past the TV I watched a commercial about a new contest that Toonami was hosting where if you submitted your name via the internet, you could win a chance to go to Tokyo and meet a bunch of high ups in the anime business. I didn't care so much about meeting people, I was completely intrigued by the idea of going to Tokyo. The thought had never actually occurred to me before.

I froze where I was, no joke. I just stood there. And to this day I have never felt such a strong feeling of want in my entire life. I wanted that so badly that it made me freeze up and I hurt inside knowing (at the time) that it would never happen. I didn't even go to the website because I knew that the devastation I would feel when I didn't win would crush me more than knowing that I hadn't even tried.

A few days later, less than a week, I was called to the office at my school. For whatever reason, I decided to take a different route to the office. It wasn't anything that was a big deal, I was just bored and I could never really tell which way was the fasted so I always switched it up. This time, I went through the A wing and went past a neglected glass display of all the trinkets and pictures the school had gotten from its sister school in Japan. I stopped to look at it because I had completely forgotten it was even there. There were pictures of our principal dressed in a formal kimono complete with wig and a few masturi clappers and paper cranes.

I had completely forgotten that in my freshman year some Japanese exchange students had come to my school and entertained one of my classes. They put on a tea ceremony and gave us little gifts of stationary. I remember that I totally didn't even care so much that I hadn't paid attention to anything they did or said. I was a freshman at the time so you can't blame me for being stupid. The only think I remembered about them besides that they wore their school uniforms was that there were 11 of them and only one was a boy. I do remember that he wasn't's strange the things I remember.

ANYWAY, so I see this display and go on reminiscing. I then continue to the office and talk to my guidance counselor. After she was done, I asked her if the school had ever thought about taking a learning bus to Japan. I know that the previous summer they had toured Europe and that was unusual because they usually stayed in America. She told me that it would be difficult to do (I don't remember why), but we did have a sister school and every so often they would send exchange students over and I might be able to be a host family for one of them. She said that they should be coming in the next year or so and I should tell the principal that I'm interested.

I was so excited! I went over the principals and left a note with her and sat back for the long wait.

Two weeks later (again, no joke) I got a message from the principal asking if I was still interested. She said that they would be coming that October and they needed host families. WOW! Talk about timing!

I housed a girl named Kana, and man did we both make so many mistakes. But it was a lot of fun and I learned so much. After her two week stay, I was told that I could go to Japan myself that summer as an exchange student. There, I met a JET from the UK named George and history was made.

I wonder what I would have thought if the High School Junior Nina, standing in front of the television set would think if she saw me now, on my way to accomplishing my dream(clique much?). I know I would have stood in disbelief and time wouldn't move fast enough for me.

As for time, it's been playing horrible tricks on me. When I think of how far I've come since Junior Year and thinking of preparing for JET, time hasn't moved slower. But then I think about my life and all the things I've done in that time aside from Japan, and the time as gone by so quickly to the point that I'm completely torn! I want to hurry up and leave!!! But I want to stay here and soak up all of my friends as much as possible.

I can't do both. So time continues to move without any regard to what I want.

What Are You Supposed to do With All Those AOL Discs?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

How much money do you think AOL loses on installation discs? I really liked those tins they came in for a while though :)

I finished Kingdom Hearts 2 last night with Christina. I played the last 6 hours straight. I would have spent the next few days trying to finish Jiminy's Journal but after trying again and again in the Coliseum and getting just a few points short on the carpet ride, I gave up for a while and decided to get back to the story.

Christina went online to find an answer to our idiot simple combo question (I wasn't getting any points for my combos so we decided to look up just exactly what constitutes a combo...we realized that the tournament I was fighting wasn't point based on combos to begin with. Duh) and she found this Penny Arcade Comic:

It's no joke. My hand really was turning into a claw. I don't like that crappy triangle system they have going on there. Sometimes it was neat, other times I wanted to throw my controller at the TV Set.

I liked the story of the second one best and the game play of the first one best. I was doing #2 on beginners, I didn't think it made a difference but I was wrong, and I never actually needed to sit down and level up. The older I get, the more I hate leveling up!!!

Perhaps I'll go back and try to finish the journal. I was at 93% after all. And it's not like X-2 if you don't get the % point the first time around you don't get a second chance. I might call up my gamer friends to help me out. Boys always play video games better than me anyway.

Time Moves So Slowly

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So here I am, writing my first post on my laptop (^u^) The keyboard takes a bit of practice to get used to but I'm a fast learner.

I guess I was wrong about taking pictures everyday and updating my gallery. Today was the first time I saw Sarajane since Mother's day and I haven't even uploaded those pictures to my computer. All one or two of them. SJ has been at her house in Tampa and I've been at home in Clearwater. She's been busy enough with Emily and I've been busy enough with my own babies, the computers.

Now that I have my laptop, I have three computers to take care of. My parent's old one, my old one, and my lappy. I got my good ol' friend Elias to help me out with fixing them up and refurbish them enough to have them in running order. My parents are getting my old one and my younger sister will be getting the oldest one. So, I've had to reformat them and update everything without actually spending too much money. Unfortunately, computers never work the way they are supposed to and now I have one computer without sound (can't get the drivers to work), one without a working power supply ($60 replacement, more than the computer is worth), and one with 20 gigs randomly missing without explanation (thank you dell)


But I have faith that I'll have at least two of them in tip top shape by the end of a day or two and the oldest computer can....well....I don't even like looking at it.

I say that I haven't seen SJ since mother's day and I make it sound like such a long time but it really hasn't been. For me, every day feels like at least two. I feel like I've been in Clearwater for more than a month, when in reality, I've only been here for...a week and a half. Not even half a month!!! I miss my friends and I miss Orlando. But not the traffic :)

I'm bored despite having plenty of things to do. For instance, I've turned into a one woman cleaning crew. Everything in it's place, vacuumed and dusted. Once I was done with my parent's place, I went over to SJ's today and started with hers. I picked up and swept and I would have done more if I didn't feel so bad about touching other peoples things. I don't know where they go, otherwise I would put them away.

I haven't been studying Japanese and I haven't even been reading up on all the things I need to know in the JET handbook. In fact, my mom reminded me today that I need to buy luggage soon. I had completely forgotten!!!

In other JET news: I got my placement today. I'm going to be in Kochi-prefecture. That is the same prefecture that Tosayamada High School is located in and I have a sneaky suspicion that my main school will be just that. Whoo for sister schools! I still believe that one of the only reasons why I was accepted by JET was because someone in Tosayamada was pulling for me. That and I look really good on paper, but I know I bombed that interview. I mean really badly. But apparently, not so badly that I didn't get the job :)

They Call me Aunt Nina

Friday, May 12, 2006

Emily Taylor Windon

Bah! I didn't know how important this blog was until absolutely everyone I know (well....a lot of people) started asking me for the website so they can see baaaaaaaby pictures and so they can read stories about the baaaaaaby. Well, I'm updating so I can go back to helping SJ with the baaaaaby.

Originally, the child was going to be named Adrian. No one liked this name. I'm not going to even lie. But Issac, Brian's son, picked the name and so SJ and Brian felt compelled to keep it. They felt it was a little androgynous but this was ok because they didn't know that it was a girl until after the birth. Cut little kid kept her legs closed every time SJ got an ultrasound ;)

Well, after some major hemming and hawing over the name, they decided to change it to Emily Taylor. Incidentally, Emily was the name of SJ's first baby doll and since I was a little kid I always liked the name. I thought that I might name my daughter that, but I really don't want to have kids any time soon (or ever) so SJ gets it. Everyone loves the name and now everyone is happy :) Big hooray!

Emily sleeps pretty much always. Doesn't she eat? Yes, while sleeping. Her eyes are almost always closed. I'm sure she'll grow out of it in a day or two. Every hour she looks cuter than the last. She's growing out of the old man look and starting to resemble a child...with a cute button nose!

Her disposition is perfect too. She's quiet and even when she cries she really just sounds like a kitten meowing. Everyone agrees that she got this disposition from her father because there was nothing calm about the three Maran sisters ever.

Enjoy the pictures. Depending on what's going on I might update everyday (the pictures that is) I know that we'll be at least taking them every day. I've actually gotten annoyed with everyone asking me to whip out my camera and take yet another picture! Can you believe it?!?!? Nina, getting tired of taking pictures!!!! Surely, the sky must be falling :)

It's a Girl

Thursday, May 11, 2006

At 4:48 this morning, Sarajane and Brian gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. The procedure was done at a birthing center and not a hospital and the idea was to have a water birth. The first thing Sarajane found out was that children don't care about rules or plans, I suppose. I'd write more but frankly I'm completely useless because I'm running on three hours of sleep but I can't actually sleep because it's 1 in the afternoon!!! I'll post more when I can think more coherently.

For now, here's the final result. The picture is dark because it's 5:30am and no one wants to be disturbed by a flash.

Stay a Moment

Monday, May 8, 2006

I’m back home in Clearwater now. I’ve commandeered the guest bedroom and am in the process of turning it into a usable living space made specially for me :)

I am getting over it, but two days before I left Orlando until now, I have been very depressed because I’ve left half of my friends. I’m really going to miss everyone and I can only hope that everyone’s schedule works out so that I can have another great party. I had so much fun at the picnic that I wish I could just freeze time and stay there. I wish that I could go back and work at the lab and go back and take some more classes and hang out with my friends. I’m going to miss everything!

But then, I look to the future and I know that I’m going to enjoy myself in Japan. It won’t be the same though.

And that gets me thinking, if I’m so upset over leaving half my friends in Orlando, I’ll be a complete wreck in three months when I leave all my friend and my family! What was I thinking?! How could I make such a huge decision so easily? I knew I would be leaving everyone and everything here in America to go pursue my dreams but god, I don’t think I really understood what it meant to leave everything.

Speaking of JET, my JET Handbook was waiting in the mail for me when I came home. It has everything I need to know about JET, everything except who my contracting organization is and all the details that go along with that. Let’s just put it this way, my contracting organization decides everything about my life and that means my JET Handbook is pretty much worthless without that info. Damn.

I also got a language book from JET to teach me some basic Japanese. I like it. It makes me feel good about myself because I already know most of everything it is going over :) I just need to work on my vocabulary and hopefully I won’t be so lost when I get there. And don’t be mistaken, I can’t speak Japanese, and I am going to be lost most of the time. It’s inevitable. I just like to be less lost.

Sarajane is due any day now. I’ll post pics when the baby comes (*^_^*) Also, I updated my gallery, check out my graduation pictures!!!

Goodbye UCF

Saturday, May 6, 2006

End of Orlando

Friday, May 5, 2006

I graduate tomorrow at 2pm. Anyone can view it via live internet stream

I've been saying my goodbyes and I'm really sad to leave everyone. But I have another three months before I ship off to Japan so I hope to be back at least once before I go. Maybe for a party or two ;)

I set up a farewell party on Tuesday for everyone that I work with and any friends they wanted to bring. I was really impressed with the turn out. Pretty much everyone came and we all had such a good time!!!

When it was all said and done, I have a butt load of pictures to remind myself of the great friends that I've made here in Orlando at UCF. I'll miss everyone dearly (ToT)

Check out my photo album, I've updated!

I Cleaned Out My Desk

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

and after cleaning out my desk I found this....dirty dirty

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