Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010-

Sorry to have kept you in the dark, I've been a little knocked off my feet the past few days. I apparently caught some kind of springtime bug and have spent the past three days with a fever, upset stomach/gut, along with a bunch of aches, pains, and chills. I've been to the doctor and they say it's a common stomach virus. I'm on medication but have slept somewhere around 50+ hours out of the last three days. My one source of comfort (just like my sick days of old, spent on the Estenson family couch) intermittent episodes of "Friends" which never fail to bring a smile to my face. The Kobayashi's have been a fantastic source of comfort, their Grandma even drove me to the clinic yesterday when the rest of the family was attending Masahito's 6th grade, elementary school graduation ceremony. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to attend the Rotary overnight event tomorrow and Monday. I'll have to see how the evening goes.
Back to sleep

PS. On a different note, it has now been seven whole months since I left the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport the afternoon of August 20th, 2009. Hopefully my 8th, 9th, and 10th month anniversaries won't be spent in a sickbed. Crazy that I only have a little over three more months to go.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday, March 12 – Sunday, March 14, 2010-

The past few days have hopefully been the beginning to a much busier spring. I have been into the city with the Kobayashi’s, scheduled plans with Andrew via Skype, and spent a superbly warm and clear-skied Sunday afternoon at a barbeque hosted by the kids’ American English tutor, Simon, and his wife Akiko.

Utsunomiya was a full day of shopping and eating, like it always is, and we laughed practically the whole time. I think I’m finally beginning to understand what other exchange students mean when they say that this second family is just an addition of brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers to their actual fam back home. I am still in denial that in only three weeks from today I will be moving to my next family. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to staying with the Shiozawa’s (that’s my third host family’s name) it’s just that it will be hard to leave the Kobayashi’s.

The plans with Andrew are coming along slowly but surely. I now have all the permission issues out of the way, it’s just a matter of figuring out our itinerary, and that is just as confusing as anything else. Japan is by no means a cheap country to tour, but you only live once, right?

On top of an enjoyable Friday and Saturday, today’s barbeque was a very fun way to spend the afternoon. It felt like a real sign of spring, and even summer, when we could spend the entire day outside grilling, chatting, drinking, playing soccer, sneaking scraps to Simon’s beagle dog named Bingo, exploring their 80+ year old house, touring the nearby temple, and enjoying the company of other guests, both foreign and local. All in all there were about thirty people there today, many of whom I’ve gotten to know through the Kobayashi’s and my ALT friend Grace Lee. They’re a happy-go-lucky crowd who know how to have a good time, and I hope I’ll be able to do more with them in the coming months. I know I’ll be out in the sticks while staying at the Shiozawa’s so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to hang out with friends. Hopefully we’ll be able to find some time.

*Note: The level 5 earthquake that some of you back home are asking about actually was near to where I live, only one or two prefectures to the north of me. It was nothing enough to knock things over here in Nakagawa, but we sure did feel it. My 12-year-old brother, Masahito, said that it was one of the strongest he’s ever lived through. It’s actually kind of coincidental seeing as only this morning we talked for a long time about how there aren’t many big ones here in Tochigi.

Did I say that the weather today was insanely nice or what?
Kris and Megumi playing with Bingo. Kris later made fun of Megumi saying that she and the dog had the same hair! Haha
A sleeping beagle at the gate
Kris and Masahito at the temple
Guarding the graves
Chopsticks from the get-go
Note the noodles stuck on her little Steelers dress =)
Sunset between the plum trees
The eye of the sun
I completed the great "Birds of North America" scramble squre puzzle last week and forgot to post my celebration picture until today =P
A delicious soba dinner on our way home from Utsunomiya
Masahito is OBSESSED with Yugioh cards. This is him at a card shop in the city
The card on the right costs 12000 Yen, or about 132 US dollars...I'm pretty sure it's a picture of an obese, fluffy cat