Excitement is Building!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Judy told me that it's probably going to be a lot harder for the people staying than it is for me to leave. I think she's right. I get to leave and start a new life where as everyone that I care about and that cares about me is still here in their respective lives but now there is something missing from it. I won't have anything missing, those people won't be there to begin with. But I'm leaving a hole in some peoples lives. Mostly my family and kinda Christina. Sure, Christina and I have been living happily together (as roommates!) for the past 4 years and having a great time too! But we both knew that it would end after the 4th year so...regardless of my leaving for Japan, I guess that part couldn't be helped.

Regardless of sentimentality, I'm freakin' EXCITED!!! finally

I woke up today and sat in bed for a little while thinking about all the things I needed to do to continue to get ready. I'm half asleep still when I realize that this is the last Saturday morning that I get to sleep in, in this house, in America. sweet.

That got me really excited, I'm totally ready too. I've been ready for years and now my bags are packed and I'm waiting for the time to pass. I can't leave fast enough!

I said goodbye to Jessica last night and Christina today. All that's left is Erin on Tuesday. As I said goodbye to Christina, there were no tears or sadness. It was more of "see ya" because I know that's she's coming to visit, which we are both very excited about, and also because we know that it's not the last time that we are seeing each other. Sure, we don't get to see each other everyday and the phone regardless of how much a webcam helps is still not the same as hanging out (or even living together!) But that's life and I am personally so over it. I'm tired of saying goodbyes, I've already made my peace with it. Now I wanna go!!!

In other news, I finally FINALLY FINALLY!!!! got my tax form in the mail from the IRS. Remember that thing that I waited too long to send in like a dumb ass? Allow me to refresh your memory (It's at the end). Well, I sent it in and never got any confirmation that it had been received, like I had expected, but I was getting a little nervous so I called them the other day, (very nice hold music) and they said that they didn't have any information about me but that only meant that my information hadn't been processed yet, not that they hadn't gotten anything. Crud. So I waited and thought that I might as well forget about it until I get to Japan because it won't show up before that. That would be too convenient and mean that I actually did something right. Welp, who knew? I actually did something right. And it's not even that big of a deal paper! I got a letter from them saying that they reviewed my information and whoopy for me I don't have to pay dual taxes. The end. That's it! Just a piece of a paper on IRS letter head ooooooo. It's actually very pretty ;)

5 days!!!!!

Suddenly Seven

Thursday, July 27, 2006

One week. Where did the time go? I was counting down the days, 12, 11, 10...7? What happened to the last few days?!

I haven't made any progress with packing. I miss a few of the things that I've already packed away but I don't need them so badly that I'll dig through my suitcase to get them. The stuff I have left over, I can't very well pack away because they are all still in use. I probably won't pack them until the day before or even the day of.

More news from Japan before I even get there, I've been commissioned for an Enkaiwa class already. This is an English Conversation Class that a few people in the area would like me to teach. I have no idea what I'm going to do but I've already agreed. I figure that I like talking enough that I can babble on for a few sessions to get my barrings before I come up with some interesting class activities. It's every Wednesday night and they wanted me to start on the 9th. Funny this is, I arrive in Tosayamada on the 9th. I agreed to start the following Wednesday. I assume that I'll be tired from all the doings of my first day in town and getting settled into my apartment that I will probably be too tired to really be of any use as a teacher. On the other hand, I might get really bored and lonely at my apartment all by myself with not a whole lot there besides a few pieces a furniture and no knowledge of the surrounding area...but I doubt that.

Chrissy came to visit from Orlando and we had lot's of fun prancing around Bush Gardens and swimming in my pool. It was very sad to say goodbye and a few tears were shed but nothing compared to the flood gates I expect to open once I begin boarding the plane...or the night before while I'm sitting awake in the hotel bed (in Miami, aka hell)

Finally, I have a few predictions of how I will change as a person when I am in Japan:

1. I think that I will become much more conscious of my appearance for a number of reasons. People will stare at me more because I stand out. Also I think that I'm a hairy beast compared to the average Japanese girl. The girls have a tendency of really taking the time to look nice and have pretty nails and hair and clothes, etc. So, I think I'm going to be quite conscious of what I look like.

2. I know that my body language is going to change completely. I will start bowing way more and covering my mouth when I giggle and looking away when I feel shy (when ever is that?) and getting excited over dumb stuff.

3. Aside from body language, my hand gestures will change as well. I my arm movements won't be as wide because I know that I'll either smack someone in the face or I'll knock something over and break it. In America, I have room enough for boisterous hand movements but in Japan, things are much more cramped.

4. I expect my manners to change greatly. I think I'll become more timid in my verbage and less blunt. Mostly, I think I'm going to lose my sarcastic flare. I'll miss it much but I have faith that I won't lose it very quickly and I'll easily get it back once I return to the states.

I keep thinking that I'm going to do things so differently in Japan that I'll become a different person. But I think the truth of the matter is, is that I'll always be me, I'll just be in Japan. I'll still have the same personality I'll just dress a little differently and I'll move differently and I learn new things, but I'll still be me with the same past and the same good and bad habits. I'll just be in a different location.

I have no doubts, however, that I will adapt to my new surroundings to the point that I will seem completely different to my friends and family when I finally get to see them again :)

Just About 12 Days

Sunday, July 23, 2006

12 days until I leave for Miami. I don't leave for Japan until the morning of the 5th but I have to have everything completely packed and ready to go so I count only 12 days and not 14.

I'm realizing just how much time I don't have left. It's crazy. I can't make time go by fast enough and now I wish I had more...that's not true. I still can't make time go fast enough but I just need to get on the ball and finish what I started so that I don't have any loose ends lying around.

I have to finish up the home movies that I'm making into DVDs which is taking WAAAAAY too long (story of my life...one of them) and I also wanted to copy all my DVDs so that I can just take a CD spool with me instead of all the boxes and then worry about shipping them back home when I'm done and making sure they don't get scratched or broken. If I make copies, I can just leave them in Japan and not worry about them. I've also heard that it's harder to ship things back here from Japan than it is to ship things to Japan. Or so I've been told.

I packed one of my suitcases. You should see them, their huge!!! Will post pictures when packing is complete. Right now it just looks like a mess. I have two suitcases, one aqua and one pink. This way, I'll never had to look very hard to find my luggage among the black bags on the conveyor belt. The aqua one is 28" and the pink one is 26". I can only hold 70lbs each and after packing the larger of the two already, it ended up being 74lbs. Damn. I might be a small person, but it's still difficult to pack my life into 140lbs!!! I'm going to have to ship things via Sea Mail which is going to get pricey really quickly. It's no longer a matter of space but an issue of weight. It didn't even need to sit on my suitcase to get it to close and it's almost too heavy to lift! Besides, I don't trust my scale. I have it down to 67lbs now but I really hope that's the truth! I don't want to get to the airport and have it refused.

I also haven't gotten as many pictures of American things as I would have liked. I never did make it to Old Navy to pick up the July 4th sale stuff and I still haven't gotten my web cam to work, not because it's broken but because I haven't taken the time to figure it all out!!! I'm sure it's not that difficult.

Lastly, as emotions go, I'm not feeling the way that I've been expecting to feel. If I think really hard about it, I'll probably get sad over leaving everyone but it's not the first thing on my mind right now. I'm not excited either. I am to an extent but I'm not losing sleep like I thought I would be. I mean, I've only been waiting for this for...what...4 years?! I've lost sleep over it before and now, nothing. Before important trips, I usually have dreams about leaving suddenly without having packed properly and being completely off guard. They aren't the pleasantest of dreams but their actually normal and I've even dreamt about leaving to go to Japan before because it was such a large focus for me but now, I don't dream about any of it! As if it's suddenly something I'm not worried about. And I'm not! I have no worries about leaving things here that are important and that's crazy! I guarantee you that I'll forget something super important, I always do! Besides, you don't get a more important trip than this one.

Though I'm not reacting the way that I normally do, I'm still expecting this calm to crash down on me in the last week that I'm here (next week...) Right now, I'm just in work mode. I need to get things done. I have projects that need to be finished and loose ends that need to be tied up, like my bank accounts. I have a savings account that needs to be closed and moved to my checking so I have emergency money that is accessible to me in Japan. I don't expect to need it, but you never know. Better to have it than not.

Again, this is just the calm before the storm.

Toilet Shenanigans

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm having a wonderful time in Key West! I am here with Christina, Chrissy and Darcy. Yesterday, Christina and I drove up to Orlando from Tampa and stayed the night with Chrissy. We then left at 7:30am this morning to finally make it to Key West by 4ish this afternoon. It was a pleasant, if uneventful ride. Chrissy, however, did stub her toe while attempting to frighted some birds away while we ate lunch. She was left with a bloody scratch and the birds returned only seconds later.

So we got into the hotel which is quite nice for being free. Hell, it's nice regardless. Chrissy's mother apparently goes on a bunch of business trips and is given vouchers for staying at different hotels which, for whatever reason, she never uses. So she let us have them in celebration of Chrissy's recent birthday. We were put in a very nice Marriott Hotel room that goes for about $200 a night.

On with the point!

So the first thing we do is relax and Christina goes to the bathroom. I then go right after her and I feel that because I have gone so quickly (I've been known to top Olympic pee speeds) I figure that I couldn't flush the toilet yet because it was still reloading from the last round. Whatever, we abruptly left to have a night on the town and flirt with gay men. We didn't get back until around 10:20. The pool closes at 11 so we rushed to get our bathing suits on when we realized that the toilet was still trying to reload (fill the tank).

We then called maintenance and didn't have to wait very long for the house elf/pool boy/Micheal to come and fix the toilet. He walked straight into the bathroom, flushed the toilet once and it worked like magic. Magic!

We then went swimming. We walk back in at about 11:30 and realized that the toilet is again not working correctly. What? It's hot outside! We were drinking lot's of water!!

So we call maintainer again. The girl at the front desk was very nice while I apologized about being such a nuisance. The toilet actually has a note on it saying that it's a very environmentally savy toilet (complete with a comic of a toilet saying all of this) and how it may need to be flushed twice. Whatever.

Again, Michael doesn't take long to come in and take a look at the toilet. This time he spent a little longer to figure it out when he comes out and says that we should jiggle the handle to get it to work properly. At this exact moment, Darcy and I are debating just how cute this guy is. We remember that the first time he came in he seemed thin and tall but nothing special. This time we took a good look and realized that he not only has a gorgeous face but he has some foreign and exotic accent that is untraceable. I have no idea where he's from. Hotland most likely.

So he leaves and we continue with our business.

I'm settling into bed and everyone but Darcy has taken a shower and I'm ready to fall asleep when I heard Darcy from the bathroom calmly yelling that the toilet is going to overflow. "Jiggle the handle Darcy, it's not that hard!" Chrissy and I both say.

I am reminded of all the clogged toilets I have ever come across in my life. I have never actually seen one overflow before. I've seen them come close but it really seems like something that only happens in the movies. Don't they have a catch mechanism like a bathtub and sink to prevent that? They should. Because there is a first for everything.

Darcy keeps yelling and so I finally get up off my ass and go in to see what's wrong. The toilet appears to be about to overflow but I know in my mind that that is completely impossible. So I jiggle the handle. Nothing. I then ask Darcy if she held down the handle before she started jiggling it. She says, no. By this time, I hear Chrissy on the phone with the front desk telling them that our toilet is not working yet again.

The water is now up to the rim of the bowl and it's starting to go down. See, I think, it can't possibly overflow. So I hold down the handle to hopefully fix the problem and suddenly, the water starts rising and I start screaming. The water actually fell over the rim of the bowl and starting splashing to the floor just like in the movies!! I then continue screaming and start running around the room with my arms above my head to help the situation. I completely fly off the handle.

Chrissy is still on the phone with the front desk girl. The girl is in disbelief while she listens to me screaming in the background. She asks Chrissy if we would perhaps like a new room and Chrissy replies that yes, that would be very nice but that won't fix the toilet from continuing to spill pee-pee water on the floor.

The next few minutes were a blur to me. I eventually calmed down and we all began to pack up our things which is when we realize just how much crap we have brought. We had just gotten comfortable and moved things where we needed them most. When Michael and the front desk girl walk in to try and fix the problem.

I am so damn embarrassed for being caught screaming and losing control that I start giggling incessantly and I just can't get over it, my face was completely red, I'm sure. The front desk girl was pretty close to our age and she started joking with us which really made me feel better. She accused us of having done this on purpose and I commented back that I had, in fact, shoved a towel down the toilet just so that Michael would have to keep coming back. (We all have a sneaky suspicion that she likes him. Who wouldn't?!)

We finish packing up our things and she begins escorting us to our new room. As she's telling us that it is a little bigger than the one that we have just left, I hear Micheal in his cool accent saying that someone has left a soaking bikini bathing suit in the bathroom. Thank you Michael, I would have been lost without it. (and I blush some more)

When we walked into our new room we were floored. Sure, it was a little bigger than our last one. It had gone from $200 a night to $1200 a night. Which is still all free to us. It now has a sink, refrigerator, microwave, double beds and a fold out couch, two rooms, balcony, shower and jacuzzi tub. We died laughing and I am now blogging from heaven where we shall all reside until the end of our vacation (Tuesday).

For now, I'm going to finally go to bed.

Potty Training

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No, not for Emily. She's still only 2 months old as of yesterday!

Instead, here is a video that I received via email from my Kochi JET Yahoo! Group

Here is what I have roughly translated: (and please, don't quote me on this. I am getting the basic gist of what they are saying. I'm not translating directly)

Going to the Toilet
Pants Man

Boy: something about my tummy....my toilet!!!!
Mom: somethingsomethingsomething

Toilet: somethingsomething sit on me!

Mom and Dad: We'll do our best together!

Some song about peeing

Boy: YAH!!! I peed!!! Bye bye pee-boy!

Boy: There's something wrong in my butt! I need to use the toilet!

Toilet: Do your best!

Some song about pooing

Boy: I pooed!

Mom and Dad: Yeah, you did it!
Dad: probably talking about wiping.

Boy: Bye bye poo-boy!
Yeah I did it. Dad, I pooed in the toilet!

The pants feel so good!!!!

I can't translate what the kid is saying beyond "I'm pushing the button" and "Poo! Poo!"

After this, I have learned that Unchi means poo... \(^u^)/

And please don't make fun of my poor translations. It's been a while since I've studied and I never learned how to understand Japanese singing in conversational speech, and Poo and Pee were conveniently left off my vocabulary list ;)

I Hear Strange Noises When No One Is Home

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well things are going down hill from where I see it. Again, I'm starting to get more lethargic everyday. It's gotten to the point that my body isn't bothered by not getting any exercise, just as long as I get 10 hours of sleep I'm satisfied. That's total crap!!! But I just don't have the motivation to get out and ride my bike. It's too damn HOT!

I'll be going to Key West next weekend, so I'm looking forward to the change in pace. That should hold me over until I leave. 26 days until I'm in Miami. 28 until I'm in Japan.

As for my doings, I've recently picked up the hobby of converting all the home movies on VHS tapes into DVD's. You would think this is an easy process but you'd be wrong. For whatever reason, if I want to get decent quality on these crappy VHS tapes, 2 hours turns into 23gigs. 23GIGS!!!!! That's outrageous!!! And I can't put them on my external hard drive because that only holds a max of 4gig files. It's FAT32 and not NTFS but if I remember correctly, FAT32 is way better than NTFS. I've never heard of this 4 gig crap. Whatever, I'm just cutting up the video files and then pasting them back together in Nero. I'll post some of the funnier moments of me ;) later when I get them. At the rate I'm going, I won't be done by the weekend. We have about 15 or so videos. (and they're probably all 2 hours!!!)

I also went out shopping (some more) and got a decent "little black dress" for all my semi-formal needs. As my mom suggested, a little black dress can be changed by it's accessories and you don't have to buy a whole new dress for every occasion. The dress was more than $100 and that's WAY more than I like to spend on clothing. I still need shoes for it too (T0T) But now, I at least have something to wear for the orientation and banquet in Miami the day before we ship out.

That's all for now. Sorry for the boring post. Welcome to my life.

Nina Got A Web Cam

Thursday, July 6, 2006

For all her cross continent communication needs

Just keep in mind that I can video chat with these things moving right along with me ;) That is, if I can figure out how to connect to a video chat in the first place *sigh*

The contest is coming along nicely...meaning that I've gotten a few good pictures. I've had a few people tell me that they are interested and are planning to participate but the clock is ticking and I don't see anything!!!

But ya know what, I would really be happy to have anyone's pictures, even late ones. Anyone can send them via Internet whether I'm in Florida or Japan. And I'm sure my students would love to see all of them :) (but that doesn't mean that I don't want them before I go! I want them so that I'll have something to show them on the first day)

I'm going to keep adding photos as I get them. If it doesn't say that I got them from anyone else, then they've been taken by me. As of right now, that's all of them.

Yo Ho A Pirates Life For ME

Monday, July 3, 2006

I went to Orlando yesterday for a Pirate Party at Matt's place in celebration for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out. It was great to be back in Orlando and see all my friends. It feels like I've been gone for a much longer time than I really have. I keep in touch with everyone through aim and email but it's really not the same as seeing everyone. When 1:30am rolled around, I was having such a good time that I didn't want to go but all good things must come to an end I suppose.

I didn't bring my camera because I forgot it at Chrissy's house where I stayed the night. I'll be requesting everyone else's pictures and post them as I get them. I was too busy working on my outfit to remember it! Everyone looked fantastic too. Adam's shirt (right) was home made! Woo hoo for talented Adam! (don't miss the bird in my hat either. He doesn't stand out too much but was he cute!)

In the end, it was a huge reminder of how much I'll miss everyone. I know, I know, I'm going to have a great time in Japan. But common, you can not downplay the loss of loved ones. Nothing and no one can ever replace a single one of my friends. Yes, I may see some (but not all) of them again and I will keep in touch and I'll even make new friends and love them just as dearly but I will miss everyone and it gives me a horrible pain in my chest just thinking about it.


Just wait until about 2 days before I actually leave. Then the floodgates of loss will really break wide open. Be prepared. You have been warned.

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