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general

A love story

Twenty-five years ago today, my parents were married.

Mom was 29 and Dad was 32 when they exchanged vows at the courthouse, pledging their lives to each other. They’d met seven years before in 1970; Mom and two of her friends had just come to Lexington to start what they hoped would be a “nursing tour” of the United States. The University of Kentucky Hospital was only meant to be their first stop. But their plans were fated to change the very day they moved into Rolling Ridge apartments. Dad and his friends, who also lived there, spotted the girls unpacking and offered to help. They all became fast friends.

The group spent more and more time together, and it wasn’t long before Dad and Mom started dating. Through the years, they lived in various other apartment complexes in Lexington before finally settling down in an expanded trailer on a large lot flanked by a creek in nearby Nicholasville, Kentucky. They gardened together in raised beds built from wood or snuggled into old tractor tires. Dad built a strong plank fence across the front yard. They raised three babies; their first was me, the only girl, followed a year later by AJ and two years after that by Ben. Dad fiddled in the workshop with his inventions and Mom cut up diaper boxes to make word cards to teach us how to read.

Their marriage wasn’t easy. Dad was an electrician, a journeyman wireman, and he often had to travel to get work. He’d spend days, even weeks, away from home. Mom worked three twelve hour shifts on the weekends so that she could be there for us all week. They probably spent more time apart than they did together those first few years.

When money had stabilized enough, they bought their first home–the house we still live in now. The ranch-style home with attic and full, 14-foot basement was quite a nice change from the comparatively small trailer, but the yard was smaller and not as private. The next sixteen years, up until the present day, were spent making improvements to the house and yard. The basement garage was converted into an expansive workshop with built-in shelving and work benches. The upstairs garage was transformed into an office, complete with a half-wall hallway and a fireplace. The bedrooms were painted and recarpeted. The family room received new hardwood flooring. Dad built two rooms, a lounge area with a pool table and a “soundproof” band practice area, in the basement.

An orchard was planted in the side yard, and a line of large pine trees went up across the front of the yard. The above ground swimming pool was torn down, as were the trees in back, and the land was built up to level and held by a retaining wall. Dad built a long fence across the back, and they planted pine trees along it. Dad built a barn to keep the new riding mower and the gardening equipment, and they stacked up railroad ties into seven planters for “square foot gardening”. Mom planted flower beds in various spots around the house.

They not only improved their standard of living, but they improved themselves. Dad kept inventing, until finally he created a tool he thought he could market. They officially started selling in 1987; Mom typed each file on individual notecards and stored them all in a cabinet until we finally got a 486 in the early 90’s. As the business grew, Dad stopped having to leave home for work, and soon even Mom was able to stop working at the hospital and devote herself to the business full-time. Now the two of them spend their days doing what they want: taking care of their home and family.

It’s been a long road for them, though, and there were quite a few bumps along the way. Out of respect for their privacy I won’t go into them in detail here, but suffice it to say that my parents are two of the strongest people I know to have overcome the things they did. In the long run, they came out on top and continue to do so, but it’s not because of luck. It’s because they work so hard on everything they do, including their devotion to one another.

The love between them is obvious. The other day I asked my mother what she and Dad had in common. She spoke at length about things they both liked, and then moved on to deeper things, such as how he made her feel. He supports her, and respects her, and loves her, and she is so impressed by his skills and intelligence. While she was talking about the love of her life, Mom started crying tears of joy. It was so wonderful to see that, because it was exactly how I feel whenever I start talking in depth about Sean.

I asked my dad, too, and his respect and love for Mom were the first things to come out. He admires her for the way she handles everything; she’s the great organizer of the family and gets things done. And he’s impressed by how loving and caring she is, and how she takes care of everyone. At the end of his list, Dad smiled softly and said, “I love her because she’s her, you know?”

And so we threw them a party. I wrote each and every thing they’d told me down onto slips of paper with hearts and flowers on them and put them in a silver box alongside shining confetti and ribbons. I baked a white, heart-shaped cake and several tiny cupcakes, and Faye iced them and arranged them all on a white platter with a silver border. I decorated the cake with long, sparkling candles and the cupcakes with confetti.

I put a box of frozen fish in one bag and a package of bacon in another, since Mom said they both like fish and bacon. I had them open those presents first. I also wrapped up a refrigerator magnet with George W. Bush on it, and I had them open that next.

Then I had them open the box and read all the slips of paper. And finally, they each got to read special notes about what they each liked about each other, all written in silver ink.

We all adjourned to the office after that so Connor could see one of his birthday presents. His birthday is today as well; now he’s three years old. Mom and Dad got him a nice big wooden toy chest. His real party is scheduled for tomorrow, and that’s when his cousins (the kids of Faye’s siblings) will likely come, so today was something of a small celebration. The real focus was on Mom and Dad (or, “Grandma and Pa-Pa”, as I’ve sort of become accustomed to calling them).

It wasn’t a huge party, or an elegant affair, or anything. But it was nice, and Mom and Dad both seemed to really enjoy it. I wish I had done more, but at the same time I think they liked what I did do. I’d wanted to show some pictures of them together when they were younger, or make a scrapbook, but pictures of the two of them are few and far between, and Mom has all the scrapbook she really needs on DVD (I burned all our family photos to one disc for her awhile back). Still, I wish I could have done something more. Perhaps at their 50th, I’ll have enough money to do something really special.

God, I love my parents. I love my family. I love being here with them and spending time with them and doing things for them. Part of me wants to catalog everything about them. I feel like I should write stories about everyone and keep them forever. And I want to do that. Family history is really special and fascinating. My mom is getting interested in the Straub side of her own family history, and she’s finding that all the people who knew about her parents are aging or gone. All of that knowledge is being lost. I want to immortalize my parents, my family. They’re just people…but they’re so very dear to me. I want them to go on forever.

But I’ll be gone when Faye gives birth to their new baby. I’ll be gone when Connor starts going to school. I’ll turn into one of those “visiting relatives”…it just isn’t the same as being there.

I wish there was a way I could fulfill my dream of living all over the place but still stay close to my family. I suppose one solution would be to set up a “home base” here and then work out of that, but I don’t know how that would work, or what job I would have that would send me all over the place anyway. And what about Sean? What would he do?

Someday, we might end up living up here, but for now we need to be in Georgia. And as excited and happy as I am that I am finally going to be with the man I love, I can’t help but feel this deep sense of loss. I almost feel like I only recently started to really understand my brothers as adults, as people…and now I’m leaving before any further growth could happen.

To my family: I love you all so, so much, and I’ll miss you more than I can say. I will always think of you, and I will visit as much as I possibly can. Our lives are intertwined, and I want to keep that with all the fierceness of my heart.

Only love could take me away from you.

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general

Money.

I don’t have enough of it.

I probably need a job that pays more. Or more hours. Or something. I’m working an extra shift on Sunday, but that’s not quite good enough. My next paycheck will pay off my credit card and hopefully leave a little money left over, but a couple hundred dollars isn’t really that much money. I probably won’t be able to save it.

Sean doesn’t particularly like my penchant for buying gifts on holidays. It does involve parting with money, which is bad, but I love giving gifts and making people happy, which is good. He says he’s willing to deal with it. I have to learn to deal with the way he works with money, too. He’s intelligent enough to basically have a balance on his credit card all the time, but know that he will be able to pay it off later. To me, that’s really scary. I don’t like seeing a balance on my own credit card. It makes me uncomfortable to see that I owe someone money for something I already have or have done. Especially if it’s just a group of small things. I inherited this from my parents; they only buy stuff when they have the money right on hand for it. Sean’s way of dealing with money is not dangerous; he doesn’t charge more than he can afford to. But it still feels weird to me.

Finances are a big concern for me right now. I don’t know how we’re going to afford everything. I wanted to have a big fun party for our wedding and invite friends from all over, but I don’t know if we can afford that now that we’re going to Japan for our honeymoon. That’s going to cost a lot of money. I’m definitely not planning on putting everyone up at an estate like I was going to, but even then, the reception will get expensive if there are a lot of guests. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do about it. Hopefully over Thanksgiving, while I’m visiting Sean, I’ll be able to look around and find some options for us. I’ve pretty much exhausted the online resources, with little success.

Money…

I feel like Sean is going to have to bear the weight of everything for awhile. That really isn’t fair. But as I keep saying, I don’t know that I can get a job for just two months. I guess I could get a “holiday season” job after I get back from Thanksgiving…but that would be just one month! Still, I suppose they would hire me, and I guess it would be better than no extra income.

I just want to be productive and useful…

Well, I guess I will definitely look into some sort of holiday job in retail. I’m not bad at retail. I’m no Dotty Brooks (she is so enthusiastic!) but I do care about the customers, and I try to be as helpful as possible. So maybe that would give me enough money to finance my move and maybe a month of job-hunting…maybe.

And speaking of job-hunting, I need to revise my resume again so that it doesn’t give my potential employers eyestrain…Thomas told me that it should all fit on one page, and so I scrunched things down quite a bit. The layout looks nice, but some of the text is pretty small.

I wish I had some idea of what I’m qualified to do, besides teach English as a second language. I guess that’s what I’ll end up doing. It’s not that I mind that, but I would really like to do some language analysis. I’m good at it, damn it.

*sigh*

Well, I guess I’ll stop rambling about this. As Sean always says, “Things will work out.” I should stop stressing :> It messes up other parts of my life.

Time for Saved by the Bell! Wh00t!

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general

For Kevin

それは漢字です: 核兵器 (This is kanji: kakuheiki [nuclear weapon])

それはひらがなです: すし (This is hiragana: sushi)

それはカタカナです: マリワナ (This is katakana: mariwana [marijuana])

No, there is no particular reason I chose those words…why?

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general

Things are better now

:)

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general

Fight

I don’t know what my problem was yesterday. I got home from work and settled in at the computer, all ready to rip some .avis, but first I had to clear off some hard drive space. So I was juggling DVDs, shifting anime onto them, and while I was doing that Sean was talking to me about Macross and Asian politics. And I don’t know what my deal was, but I just couldn’t get interested in anything he was saying. In fact, I found myself getting more and more irritated that he kept plunking out these seemingly random facts. It was obvious that he was surfing around and telling me about what he was seeing, but for some reason that annoyed the hell out of me. I don’t know, we do this to each other a fair amount, so it shouldn’t have been that big a deal. Maybe I was just stressed out because I have a stupid, busy work paper due on Thursday–not that I was working on it. But whatever the reason, I really don’t have an excuse. I ended up just not responding to anything he said. Each comment made me more and more annoyed. Finally he said something like “Well, you’re AFK or something, so I’m going to go get lunch.” I responded, likely after he was already gone, “k. I’m going to take a nap.” And then I logged off.

Guiltily, I must admit that not being signed on was a relief to me. I finished off my backups and did finally fall into bed. I slept soundly until around 7:45 pm, and then I woke up, startled that I’d slept so long, and logged back on.

“Sorry about earlier. I was irritated for no reason,” I said to Sean.

“I’m pretty annoyed. I guess it’s something about today,” he responded.

That was my first clue that I’d hurt his feelings, but it really shouldn’t have been.

I mean, come on. I basically ignored him, and then took my first opportunity to leave while he was AFK, leaving him a terse note. You don’t treat your fiance like that. What was I on?

We had a few things to say to each other after that, nothing big and monumental, and then at around 10:30 I wanted to go back to bed to rest up for my shift this morning. I first asked, “When are you going to bed?” When he didn’t respond, I asked “Are you there?” Upon his affirmation, I said “I’m about ready for bed.”

His response? “Okay. Night.”

See, we have this thing. He calls me every night. Unlimited minutes after 9 on weeknights, and all day on weekends. We go to bed with each other. We’ve done it for months now, maybe longer than that. I find that at night I have a hard time falling asleep without him. His presence is calming to me, and it makes me feel secure and safe to be all sleepy on the phone with him. The fact that he wasn’t going to call, and didn’t express any sadness over that, told me that something was greatly amiss.

“You’re not going to call?” The question had barely left my fingers when I followed up with “Are you still mad?”

“I’m working on a post.”

“Oh.”

“And yes, I’m still pissed.”

“Oh. :(”

I still wanted to talk to him, so I tried to justify what I’d done, or at least let him into my head a little more. I basically said something stupid like “I read what you wrote, I just wasn’t interested in any of it.” Yeah, that was about the gist. Good job, Heather; 10.0 :P

Sean responded, “You’re making it easy for me to stay angry.”

“:/ I don’t want to make you stay angry,” I said. “We’ll talk later, okay? Because you’re busy?”

“Yeah.”

I hate it when he’s so curt and short with me. When he’s closed himself off completely. It shows that at that moment, he doesn’t feel that he can trust me with his feelings. And he had every right to feel that way. I’d treated him so badly.

So finally I wrote “Good night, sweetie. I love you.” Then I logged off without giving him time to respond, because I knew he wouldn’t say “I love you” back. Or at least, I assumed that. I didn’t want to see a simple “Night.” That would have been too much.

I got ready for bed, but found myself restless. I snuck back online, to the AMRN IRC channel (#amrn on irc.freenode.net), and opened a private window to Kevin. “Today sucks,” I said, or something to that nature. “HF’s mad at me.”

I went on to explain the problem and how it was all my fault. “He has a right,” I said. “I just don’t like it :P” Talking to Kevin about it helped a little…but not really. When things aren’t right with someone you really can’t solve it by talking to someone else. I wound up crawling into bed resolved to call Sean and at least tell him that I was sorry again, since I hadn’t reiterated that during my moment of stupidity. I wanted to hear the sound of his voice, at least.

The phone rang three times, and then his voice mail picked up. I hit “1” to avoid hearing his recorded message. I wanted the real Sean. “Hi, sweetie,” I said after the beep. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have treated you like that. I’ll see you tomorrow. I love you. Night.”

It still wasn’t good enough…but I didn’t want to bother him by calling back. I hung up, turned out the light, and lay there flat on my back under the covers, eyes closed, trying to fall asleep. My mind was full, and I couldn’t get comfortable. As I curled into the fetal position, all I could hear in my head was maybe he’ll call back maybe he’ll call back maybe he’ll call back

If he did, I don’t remember.

Being stuck in limbo like this is some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I hate having him mad at me. I hate being the one who’s hurt him. Limbo is a cycle of despair. I need resolution.

I told Kevin that I was confident that things would work out. And they will, I’m sure. There is only a tiny doubt in my mind, and that’s enough to add to my misery, but on the whole I know that I love Sean and he loves me, and we’ll work through this and become stronger together. But the interim! The interim is what kills me.

Hopefully I’ll see him soon.

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general

I hate busy work.

I hate busy work.

I hate busy work, and I hate classes that are full of nothing but busy work.

My Shakespeare survey course feels like something I could have taken in high school. I have a paper due on Thursday that is pretty much a rehash of what we’ve talked about in class, though we are free to “expand” on the ideas. I don’t feel like rehashing what we’ve discussed in class. I wish I felt like reading the material, but that’s another story entirely.

I’m getting very excited about my honeymoon. You may not realize this, but I love Japan. I love Japan! Did I mention I love Japan? Because I do.

We haven’t finalized any details yet, but we’re looking at Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima. I would love to go back to Hakodate, but that’s way up north, so it might not be possible. We’ll only have nine days to do all of our traveling. That seems like such a short amount of time, but then I remember that I covered many, many cities in just two weeks last summer, so maybe it’ll all work out. Then again, I don’t want the honeymoon to be hectic like the school trip was. I’d like it to be comfortable and relaxing, but still allow us to see lots of sights. I hope it all works out.

Today, I’m going to begin the agonizing process of ripping all my VHS tapes (except the copyrighted stuff, of course) to .avi. I will then compress these nicely and burn them to DVD. It will be a joyous occasion, full of trumpets and streamers and other joyous things that joyous people use on joyous occasions. (I don’t know; I don’t go to parades.)

My Japanese textbooks are leering at me from across the room. I really need to get them out and start working with them again. I did a little bit over the summer, but not very much, really. The card table they’re sitting on is currently full of VHS tapes that I need to rip; I’m promising myself that once that’s done, I’ll dig into the Japanese. It’s such a daunting language, though. Three writing systems…oy. And it doesn’t help that the grammar rules are totally different from those of English. Still, if we’re going to be in Japan in March, I really should bone up on my m4d sk1llz, so I can at least order dinner.

すしをお願いします! (switch your encoding to Japanese, if you haven’t already)

I want to watch a DVD, but not any of the ones I own. It’s a sad state of affairs. I should write my Congressman.

Categories
general

Lethargy

It feels like it’s been a long week…but one of my two classes didn’t even meet all week. I guess lethargy is just as tiring and obnoxious as having things to do all the time. Or maybe I just never have enough to do. I’m not sure.

In any event, I don’t know if I’m happy it’s the weekend, or if I’m annoyed at all the work I’m thinking that I have to get done. BLEAH!

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general

Avril Lavigne sucks

Skaterboy: Hey, babe…you’re lucky to have me, right?

Girl: Oh, hell yeah! I mean, you’re on MTV!

Skaterboy: Yeah, that’s what I thought. So help me write this song about how lucky you are. There’s this chick I used to know who dissed me big time back when I hung around the park in baggy clothes doing nothing but skateboarding. I know she really wanted me, but her friends were all snobs so she wouldn’t date me. I bet she regrets it now, ha ha!

Girl: What a loser! I’d love to write a song about that! It’ll prove to everyone how dumb people can be and how great our relationship is!

Skaterboy: Good. Now finish giving me that blowjob.

Girl: Right awa–mphf.

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general

Texas visitors

The other day my aunt Evelyn, Dad’s sister, her husband Walter, and their granddaughter Sarah came over to the house with my grandma. The first three in that list are from Texas, so it’s not too often that they get to visit. Evelyn and Walter are the ones who put Sean, Ben and me up when we drove into Austin for that not-so-productive job lead with PCOrder (are they even still in business? what the hell is this?), when we met George and Suzanne and went out for cheap but quite good sushi. Sarah was only thirteen months old then, and she was so tiny that when she toddled around I wasn’t sure whether to be afraid she was going to fall or afraid she was going to float away. She’s going to be four this April. As has been remarked upon by many an aging aunt, uncle, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, neighbor, or Person You Don’t Even Know, kids sure have a way of making you feel old.

So after Connor overcame his debilitating shyness and became comfortable enough with our guests to run around screaming and yelling, everything went fine. We “visited”, which is what we call sitting around talking about whatever is on our minds at the time, which for Evelyn was this new business venture involving “pure” rain water. “It never touches the ground,” she said. Apparently it at least goes through a filter or something, to clean it. I’m not sure, but doesn’t water collect nutrients as it passes through the soil? Something to think about. But Evelyn says she’s been drinking rain water for over a month, and now she can’t stand regular water. And I thought my dad was weird for refusing to drink anything but imported spring water from Canada.

So while Connor and Sarah flirted and teased one another–purely platonic, I assure you, as they are cousins, though technically there is nothing genetically wrong with mating with your cousin, but I digress–us old folk sat around talking about kids, and little toy cats made out of real rabbit fur (“I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d known,” said Evelyn), and Connor and Sarah’s other cousin, Joshua. Connor picked various pieces of potpourri from a glass dish on the low, hexagonal table in the living room and brought them around for people to smell. Grandma snuck back to my room and slipped a check for $2000 under a marker on my desk, face down. My inheritance from Grandpa–I promptly spent it the next day on plane tickets to Japan. Sean and I will be going next March, for our honeymoon. I’m hoping that the cherry blossoms will come early.

We took lots of pictures of everyone, and then I ran back to my room to burn them to CD, only to emerge triumphant and discover that they had taken even more pictures while I was gone. Alas. Using a whole CD for a mere 40 megs is one thing. Using a whole CD for a mere 40 megs and then discovering that you could have put another mere 40 megs on it is quite another. I suppose I’ll be burning a second CD to mail to them. It’s a good thing CDs are cheap.

As the visitors slowly shifted from the living room to the kitchen and then to the office, it was apparent that it was about time for them to go. Evelyn, Walter and Sarah were leaving the next day for the drive back to Texas. As we all stood out in the office finishing up our conversations, Mom leaned across the half-wall and said, almost casually, “Want to look at my garden, Grandma?”

The look on Grandma’s face was one of light-hearted dismissal. “Oh…gardens. I’ve let mine go to the wayside…”

“I’d like you to see it,” Mom continued. “I even have some tomatoes that might be ripe, and you can have them.”

“Well…”

“Oh, you have to see my garden!”

It was like Mom didn’t hear a word Grandma said, and I didn’t understand it until I remembered that Grandma is Mom’s mother-in-law. I guess 30 years of knowing a person doesn’t change the initial form of the relationship. I don’t have that awkwardness around Grandma; I get her love unconditionally. But Mom is an outsider…and it seems she still feels that she has to prove herself, no matter if Grandma sees her that way or not. It was an odd realization.

And so they went out to the garden. I didn’t follow. I’m not sure what they saw there, but I was done watching.

I want Cheryl’s approval, but more than that I want to have a relationship with her. Maybe that’s what Mom wants with Grandma, too, and maybe the only link she sees is gardening. I don’t know that I have any link at all with Cheryl; when we have conversations she mostly talks and I mostly listen. I tend not to tell her when I disagree, unless I think I can get away with it. I’m an agreeable person anyway, so I don’t think I’m hurting anything. I’m certainly not promising her the moon and not planning on delivering, or anything of that nature. I’m not really promising much of anything, and she’s not asking me to, and I think that’s a good start for our relationship. But I wouldn’t call us friends, and really I don’t want to be friends so much as family…because you tend to see friends a lot, while family is in the special “always there, often taken for granted” zone which means you can avoid them like the plague if necessary and they’ll still love you.

But of course, as family, I really need to start buying her–and Reid, and Grandma Flo–Christmas presents. Oh, lordy. Compounding this is the fact that I barely manage to do this for my own immediate family members. Ack, and Connor’s birthday is in just a few days! The same day as my parents’ silver anniversary! My job doesn’t pay enough…

And yet, I can’t seem to wait for Christmas. I just love that time of year, whether it snows or not (though I would prefer snow, it just adds the right flavor to things). I love the lights, and the trees, and the stockings, and the baking. I love shopping for and giving gifts. I used to have a much easier time doing that, back in the Days Before Bills. I’d run around the mall looking at everything, and if something reminded me of a person I loved I’d buy it. I bought things for each and every one of my friends back then, and either took them to be wrapped free in the mall, or spent time making the package look perfect myself. Then I’d go home and bake Christmas cookies and pass those out too.

I love the traditions; I love all the handicrafts, like scented oranges, or strings of popcorn or cranberries, or baked ornaments; I love gingerbread; I love decorating the house so that a touch of Christmas is everywhere, ready to greet you with happy thoughts. Christmas has always been a happy time for me. I don’t know why it affects some people so badly; I suppose it might be resentment (“how dare this be a happy time of year, I’m trying to be depressed here!”), but that seems so lame. I think it’s much easier (and more fun!) to just go with it, to enjoy yourself. But of course, it took awhile for me to be naturally happy, so I should probably cut other people some slack.

Sean is coming here for Christmas, but I’m going there first for Thanksgiving, so I think it balances out. I’m not sure how we’ll do it in the future. It might be nice to just switch off each year. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I love getting together with family and sharing food and conversation. And I love entertaining! I can’t wait for the day when I have my own house and my own things and I can invite people in and serve them food that I’ve made and let them enjoy my house and my company.

It won’t be too long until I can do that. Come January, I’ll be moving to Georgia to live with the love of my life. I’m so excited! My life just keeps growing and changing in new and fantastic ways.

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general

Testing. Attention please.

Testing. Attention please.

Feel the tension soon as someone mentions me.

Here’s my 10 cents; my 2 cents is free.

A nuisance, who sent, you sent for me?

So like…yeah.

Categories
Diary Rant

Originally posted on GP4. Woo…

I was stoked. I was in the zone. I was ready. My mind was working overtime, I was geared up, I was totally going to crank out some serious postage to lay on all yer asses.

Then my mom says, “Change the business website.”

I figure, oh, that’ll take me an hour or so, no biggie.

It took all freaking morning.

By the time I was done, I wanted to hurl my computer out the window. I puttered around online a little, ate something for the first time today, listened to Cowboy Bebop Blue three times over, chatted with Foreman and Reaper, and got absolutely nothing done.

So I decided I needed a break. I went to go watch Friends. It was funny! Yes! Maybe I felt good enough to post! Sat down again, but the TV was still on, so I watched a little of that Adam Sandler movie with the kid. It started to depress me, because the kid was so miserable and alone, and it sort of reminded me of those five minutes I caught of Law & Order, where the seven year old is telling how he killed his baby sister, in graphic detail.

So after that I was pretty depressed, not to mention disturbed. Cut off the movie, put in the Attack of the Clones soundtrack. Just sat and listened to it for awhile. Love theme good! Went out to ask my mom when she was going to make smoothies (I’d wanted one all day) and she and Dad were discussing (make that arguing about) a new business venture. I agreed with Mom, and tried to convince Dad, didn’t work. Gave up, came back here, complained to Shade about it.

Finally got a smoothie a few minutes ago…and it’s good. Listened to the love theme again. Now I’m just sort of staring at my monitor thinking “I am supposed to have a post up by now.”

But! It’s almost bedtime, and I want to be nice and energetic tomorrow because I’m driving an hour and a half into Louisville to look at wedding dresses. This could take hours, and I want it to be fun

And I’ve been thinking about writing, about how I really need to work on certain aspects, and how I really don’t feel like it. I’m so…lethargic. I could probably just go to bed right now. I’m still not really sure where my day went, other than the web design thing…

So anyway…

I’m not sure when the GP4 GenDis became my blog, but basically this is why there are no posts. I feel like a heel, but I have no inspiration. I know what I need to get done, and now it’s just a matter of churning it out.

My head hurts.

Categories
Diary

Time to ramble

This is my last week of school. Finals week is next week, but I have no finals, only papers. I should be able to get everything done fairly easily. What’s on my mind right now is the short story revision due tomorrow; I haven’t quite started on that yet ;> I had a group presentation today, and that seemed to go pretty well. Other than that, I don’t have anything pressing until next week. I think.

I do need to do some observations of a non-academic teaching English as a second language class…I’m not sure how I’m going to get that done. I went last week with Katie from TESL class, and that sort of went badly. She got really offended about the way the group proctors kept making derogatory jokes. They invoked stereotypes and things like that to get the foreign students to open up. I personally didn’t really see a problem with it; humor is usually the best way to break the ice in a situation. I thought it could have been pretty fun, but Katie was so adamant that it was stupid and degrading that I would have felt like a traitor to stay longer. Well, that, and they were going to a bar, and I’m not really a bar person.

So much of what we believe is based on perception. Katie believed that the students were offended by the proctors’ remarks, whereas I thought they either found them amusing, or didn’t quite understand yet. I definitely felt that an introduction to humor and slang was appropriate and useful for the students…they probably learn quite a bit about conversation from that group. I will have to talk a little about the experience tomorrow–we only stayed for about half an hour, so I hope I’m able to speak authoritatively on the subject somehow. I do think I’ll have at least a few things to say.

My short story, which doesn’t really have a title right now, is pretty good. I actually like it quite a bit, but it does need tweaking. I think I’ll hold off and put the “final version” (or at least, the final class version) on the website. People don’t really need to see the drafts. I may as well take “Mikey” down completely…I’m thoroughly disgusted with that story. It’s a load of crap :>

I seem to write the best stuff about Japan. At least lately. I suppose that’s what’s been on my mind, both subconsciously and consciously. I didn’t do a whole lot of writing about the experience while I was there, or even when I first got back. Things seem to come out better after a little time has gone by. The bad thing about that is that I can forget things…and my notes aren’t all that great :( I do know one thing, though: I love Japan and I want to live there someday.

I sometimes wish I had accomplished more in college. There are people who have done independent research projects, been active in clubs or Greek life, been activists, received scholarships and fellowships, and other things like that. Me, I just plug away at classes, then go home and do my own thing. There is a distinct lack of community there. Part of it is because I don’t live on campus, but even the year I did live on campus, back in Huntsville, I wasn’t extremely active. I was in one club, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, mainly because I liked the people in the club and had fun hanging out with them. I helped organize stuff, and I even became the Treasurer for the club, but I wasn’t intensely active like other people. I had my own hobbies, and there were times where I would just withdraw into myself.

I’ve always been like that, I suppose. I’m not necessarily a loner, because I love talking to people…but I do like having my own time, too. I don’t mind going to restaurants and movies by myself. I would prefer to have some people to go to the ballet and opera with, but right now everybody’s so broke that I can’t go anyway. Sometimes I feel like I distance myself from people who are near me, developing close bonds only to people online. I guess the online people will always (in general) be around, but the people I know in person won’t. I’ll be moving to Georgia next year, and it seems useless to get attached.

But that is pretty cynical and depressing, too.

And it’s not like I don’t have friends here. I’ve actually gotten pretty close to a woman in my TESL and Semantics classes, Mary. She has a husband named Phillip, two daughters (Lisa and Rebecca) and a son named Don. The girls are out of the house, but Don is 13 and still in school. Mary, Phillip and Don moved to Lexington from Nashville; Mary’s a natural musician and writer. She’s fantastic, really. I went to her house today and had lunch (a taco salad without the shell); it was really good. She also hosted a party last week, which was a blast. I knew most of the people there, and I skunked them at pool :D

So I can’t really say that I’m totally out of the social arena. But there is a feeling of detachment. Often I’m more comfortable on my computer than I am in a group of people.

My most comfortable place, hands down, is with Sean. Whether it be online together, on the phone together, or in person, there is no place I’d rather be. I don’t know, it is just so strange to me sometimes, to have my heart swell up and fill my chest, and this silly smile come on my face. It’s like a definite knowledge, something that no one can take away. He is the man I love. I’m going to marry him and live with him and grow old with him. And this certainty doesn’t make me feel trapped…it’s exciting. Together, we can do anything.

And really, he is the most fantastic man I have ever met. Our relationship is amazing to me sometimes. We are so comfortable with each other that we tease each other mercilessly, but we also comprehend each other on such a deep level that we know when to stop. We support each other, but we respect each other. We know each other. And damned if I’ll ever find someone as uniquely intelligent and intuitive as him. I can tell him everything, even silly things, and he’ll only love me more. I just can’t believe it sometimes. I can’t believe what I’ve found. I, to be cliché, must be the luckiest girl in the world.

I hope everyone feels this way when they find true love :)

Categories
Ponderings Rant

ebonics

I had a lot of fun with this conversation, so I thought I’d share…

[21:05:00] <DarthWakka> How can california proclaim a dialect to be a language?
[21:05:07] <COSLeia> Kevin- did they?
[21:05:12] <DarthWakka> Oh yes
[21:05:19] <DarthWakka> Ebonics is a language in california
[21:05:27] <DarthWakka> Or was
[21:05:30] <COSLeia> can you show me an article?
[21:05:31] <DarthWakka> It could have been repealed
[21:06:15] <COSLeia> all I know is that teachers were lobbying to have instruction for teachers in what they called ‘ebonics’, or the dialect of local african-americans…and then the press caught wind of it and hyped it as they were trying to teach STUDENTS to speak it
[21:06:32] <COSLeia> when really it was just about getting the teachers to understand what the students were saying
[21:06:48] <COSLeia> Rush Limbaugh is especially good at twisting things his own way
[21:07:07] <DarthWakka> Errr so far I’m only seeing it as a bill
[21:07:14] <DarthWakka> Maybe it never made it to law in schools
[21:08:19] * COSLeia is listening to [hoobastank – crawling in the dark.mp3] [6.82 MB]
[21:08:35] <DarthWakka> http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/congress/january97/ebonics_1-23.html
[21:08:37] * DarthWakka is listening to [Blink-182 – New Hope.mp3] [3.44 MB]
[21:08:49] <DarthWakka> Okay so there was a referendum to teachers in oakland to recognize it
[21:08:55] <DarthWakka> And it made to senate
[21:09:05] <DarthWakka> But I guess it never went farther
[21:09:10] <COSLeia> to recognize it as a language?
[21:09:11] * COSLeia goes to read
[21:09:24] <DarthWakka> Recognize it as a lexicon and to understand it
[21:09:37] <COSLeia> “The controversy arose last month after schools in Oakland, California, began instructing teachers to recognize black language patterns, called Ebonics by some, as a way of teaching standard English more effectively.”
[21:09:40] <COSLeia> I see no problem with that
[21:09:44] <COSLeia> the dialect does exist
[21:10:26] <COSLeia> the only argument you could have against it is “well I don’t want to give them any help in learning ‘standard’ English…they should just pick it up naturally, or work on it themselves”
[21:10:44] <COSLeia> which is ridiculous, because ‘standard’ obviously isn’t being spoken at home or in their groups of friends
[21:10:45] <DarthWakka> ROBERT WILLIAMS: The results were striking. The children scored significantly higher on the Ebonics version than on the standard English versions. The following two examples are given here to show the method of code switching or translations. Standard English: Mark the toy that is behind the sofa. Ebonics version: Mark the toy that is in back of the couch. Two: Standard English version: Point to the squirrel that is beginning to climb the tree.
[21:10:47] <COSLeia> so where are they going to learn it?
[21:11:00] <COSLeia> code switching :D
[21:11:37] <Maniac1> interesting concept
[21:11:40] * COSLeia thinks that non-linguists should be careful before passing judgment on things like this
[21:11:43] <DarthWakka> Well I know most schools don’t use spanish teachers to teach spanish speaking students english
[21:12:21] <COSLeia> which is bad
[21:12:22] * DarthWakka is listening to [DJ Tiesto – 12 – Major League-Wonder-.mp3] [10.76 MB]
[21:12:25] <COSLeia> they should do that
[21:12:30] <COSLeia> or at least, have a Spanish speaker available
[21:12:34] <COSLeia> but that’s where budget comes in
[21:12:49] <COSLeia> there is a learning curve against people who don’t speak ‘standard’ (whatever that is)
[21:13:01] <DarthWakka> And I can base that claim by living in 2 and knowing first hand a third school system all heavily populated by spanish speaking individuals
[21:13:14] <COSLeia> I know they don’t.
[21:13:22] <COSLeia> I’m in a Teaching English as a Second Language class, for heaven’s sake ;)
[21:13:39] <COSLeia> there is actually a big debate about whether or not you should use someone’s original language to teach a new one
[21:14:13] <COSLeia> but regardless, the money for such an operation really isn’t there.
[21:14:32] <COSLeia> that’s why they like teachers who can speak Spanish
[21:14:46] <DarthWakka> Hmm… well as I see it, speaking and understanding are 2 different things
[21:14:46] <COSLeia> other than Arabic, Spanish is probably the biggest language being pimped to students these days
[21:15:07] <COSLeia> what do you mean?
[21:17:14] <COSLeia> …
[21:17:40] <COSLeia> am I still here?
[21:19:04] <Maniac1> i’m floating around
[21:19:06] * DarthWakka is listening to [Bangers and Mashed.mp3] [6.64 MB]
[21:19:21] <Maniac1> sorry wrong message
[21:19:31] <COSLeia> L1 can either interfere or bolster L2 acquisition!
[21:19:36] <DarthWakka> Yes’m
[21:19:38] <COSLeia> and that’s about all I have to say about that ;>
[21:19:44] <DarthWakka> I had a phone call
[21:19:49] <COSLeia> ahh
[21:20:19] <COSLeia> this chicken is awesome
[21:20:22] <DarthWakka> speaking and understanding
[21:20:41] <DarthWakka> Okay that interview cites a man who speaks perfect “standard english” in this interview
[21:20:49] <DarthWakka> ROBERT WILLIAMS: Yes. They know that there’s home talk and there’s school talk. And they learn standard English. I still speak Ebonics. Every day I play golf. We get down.
[21:21:48] <COSLeia> Kevin, do you feel that you learn anything at school?
[21:22:03] <DarthWakka> lol not really unless it’s science related
[21:22:11] <COSLeia> So there are different learning styles, yes?
[21:22:13] <DarthWakka> I learn all kinds of stuff in chemistry
[21:22:26] <COSLeia> Current methods don’t work for everyone.
[21:22:44] <DarthWakka> okay I want someone to teach me in l337
[21:22:46] <COSLeia> So yes, there are some people who do well in the system.
[21:22:54] <COSLeia> But there are some who do not.
[21:22:56] <DarthWakka> I speak l337 at home on the computer
[21:22:59] <COSLeia> That’s just a fact of education.
[21:23:11] <COSLeia> The point is not to teach in ebonics.
[21:23:19] <COSLeia> The point is giving the teachers the tools they need in case they need them.
[21:23:32] <COSLeia> If a student just isn’t getting it, wouldn’t it be good if the teacher could rephrase it?
[21:23:51] <COSLeia> Just like in SLA, you wouldn’t teach a Spanish student English while speaking all Spanish
[21:23:59] <COSLeia> but wouldn’t it be good to explain certain things in Spanish?
[21:24:07] <COSLeia> ESPECIALLY at the early levels.
[21:24:12] <COSLeia> Tapering off as students get more advanced.
[21:24:46] <DarthWakka> Alright, that involves a foreign language though. Are you saying a dialect is the same?|
[21:24:53] * DarthWakka is listening to [ATB – My Dream.mp3] [8.11 MB]
[21:24:56] <COSLeia> It is if it is getting in the way of comprehension.
[21:25:01] <COSLeia> And you cited an example to me that proves that it is.
[21:25:11] <COSLeia> the students scored higher on tests that were in ebonics.
[21:25:27] <COSLeia> so apparently they didn’t understand the other test as well.
[21:25:46] <COSLeia> Just like teachers in Appalachia…they learn the local dialect there, and it isn’t such a big deal.
[21:25:47] <DarthWakka> That sounds like teaching down to me
[21:26:02] <COSLeia> The difference here is that it’s harder for white people to learn ebonics.
[21:26:13] <COSLeia> because for one thing not a whole lot of them have access to the community.
[21:26:25] <COSLeia> it becomes a sociopolitical thing instead of people communicating.
[21:26:35] <COSLeia> ebonics isn’t talking down, because ebonics isn’t bad.
[21:26:39] <COSLeia> ebonics is simply different.
[21:26:57] <COSLeia> a teacher using ebonics is not ‘simplifying’ the language, just using a different style of language.
[21:27:14] <DarthWakka> Well that’s idealism
[21:27:17] <COSLeia> not really.
[21:27:21] <DarthWakka> Cockney is looked down upon
[21:27:34] <COSLeia> yes, but it’s still a real, meaningful form of language.
[21:27:37] <COSLeia> and so is ebonics.
[21:27:43] <COSLeia> ANYTHING people use to communicate is language.
[21:27:52] <COSLeia> and it is capable of having all sorts of depth.
[21:28:19] <COSLeia> all language is is the expression of meaning and the facilitation of conversation.
[21:28:26] <COSLeia> you can do it in any number of ways.
[21:28:34] <COSLeia> why is one way considered ‘more intelligent’ than another?
[21:28:42] <COSLeia> mostly because that’s the form spoken by people in power.
[21:28:50] <COSLeia> people in power typically don’t have to adapt their lifestyles to anything.
[21:28:57] <COSLeia> instead, everyone else has to adapt their lifestyle to those people.
[21:29:01] <COSLeia> it isn’t fair, but it’s a fact of life.
[21:29:10] <COSLeia> so the least we can do is help them to adjust more easily.
[21:29:10] <DarthWakka> Well it’s also the form taught in other countried
[21:29:12] <DarthWakka> Well it’s also the form taught in other countries
[21:29:23] <COSLeia> hmm?
[21:29:44] <DarthWakka> I’d be curious to see a person who speaks fluent ebonics go to one of your language discussion groups and see how well they fare
[21:30:02] <COSLeia> are you missing the point?
[21:30:09] <COSLeia> the point is to teach them ‘standard’, academic English
[21:30:14] <COSLeia> by using ebonics
[21:30:29] <COSLeia> the point is not to encourage the use of ebonics and ignore teaching standard
[21:31:13] <Foreman> do you perhaps run the risk of doing more damage than good trying to teach academic english with ebonics? won’t you just wind up with ebonics taking over/
[21:31:14] <Foreman> ?
[21:31:25] <DarthWakka> That was my theory foreman
[21:31:42] * Foreman has no linguistics experience whatsoever
[21:32:00] * DarthWakka is listening to [Paul Oakenfold – 01 – Brancaccio & Aisher – Darker (Reset the Breaks Mix).mp3] [10.89 MB]
[21:32:11] <COSLeia> when you learn a foreign language in school, does your teacher teach it completely in that language from day one?
[21:32:13] <DarthWakka> This isn’t a foreign language you’re trying to teach, correct? Ebonics and english have the same basis
[21:32:17] <COSLeia> or does she explain things in English first?
[21:32:20] <COSLeia> not really
[21:32:31] <COSLeia> ebonics has been shown to be a pidgnization of English and several African languages
[21:32:35] <COSLeia> although that is still being researched
[21:32:51] <COSLeia> and actually, there are more than one ‘ebonic’ dialect
[21:32:58] <COSLeia> though there is one ‘standard’ that you see in entertainment
[21:33:06] <COSLeia> and the others tend to follow it via TV and such
[21:33:19] <COSLeia> so while many of the lexical items are the same
[21:33:23] <COSLeia> the GRAMMAR is significantly different
[21:33:27] <DarthWakka> there are dialects of a dialect? I find that interesting
[21:33:31] <COSLeia> double negatives being just one prominent example
[21:33:39] <COSLeia> every person speaks a dialect
[21:33:42] <COSLeia> there is no pure language
[21:33:52] <COSLeia> we just refer to pure language to make things simpler on our poor brains
[21:34:06] <Foreman> yes its explained in english first, though that is when they are very dissimilar… I have always found that language is really picked up when you have no other means to communicate… *total immersion*
[21:34:07] <DarthWakka> okay then a dialect of a dialect of a dialect
[21:34:08] <COSLeia> in fact, every person’s speech is different from the speech of others…we call that an ‘idiolect’
[21:34:16] * Foreman is a slow typist
[21:34:35] <COSLeia> but certain groups have similar enough idiolects to be considered a dialect.
[21:34:56] <COSLeia> ‘ebonics’ or Black American English or whatever you want to call it developed back in the 1700-1800s
[21:35:09] <COSLeia> you can see historical documents with that kind of language being used
[21:35:23] <COSLeia> in some ways it has developed on its own, and in other ways it has followed Standard American English
[21:35:32] <COSLeia> it is just close enough for comprehensibility for certain people
[21:35:45] <COSLeia> but not everyone has the language skills to completely understand it on both sides
[21:36:05] <COSLeia> for me, it’s just figuring out a new lexical item (word); I can typically understand ebonics otherwise
[21:36:10] <COSLeia> but it’s not that easy for other people
[21:37:18] <COSLeia> most linguists believe that BE developed because of the slave traders’ putting people who spoke different languages together on the same boat, so they couldn’t discuss mutiny
[21:37:33] <COSLeia> as they stayed together, they developed a pidgin of their African languages, for communication
[21:37:44] <COSLeia> when they got to America, they had to learn English as well, to understand their owners
[21:37:48] <COSLeia> so that got put into the mix too
[21:38:10] <COSLeia> some researchers say that BE more closely resembles British English than American English, but I’m not sure if that’s documented
[21:38:26] <DarthWakka> so the theory is they created an entire language out of nearly nothing in the months it took to travel in the holds?
[21:38:31] <COSLeia> no
[21:38:35] <COSLeia> a pidgin is not a language
[21:38:48] * DarthWakka is listening to [Ayumix – From Your Letter (DJ Hasebe remix).mp3] [4.27 MB]
[21:38:49] <COSLeia> a pidgin is a collection of things, usually words
[21:38:56] <COSLeia> that people all learn and use with each other
[21:39:05] <COSLeia> there tends to be little grammatical information
[21:39:06] <DarthWakka> err?
[21:39:10] <COSLeia> such as
[21:39:14] <COSLeia> you don’t inflect verbs in a pidgin
[21:39:19] <COSLeia> you would say stuff like ‘he go’
[21:39:28] <COSLeia> or whatever the plain forms are in the language you took the words from
[21:39:39] <COSLeia> a pidgin does eventually develop into a creole
[21:39:45] <COSLeia> and from there it is usually considered a language
[21:39:47] <COSLeia> but THAT takes a long time
[21:39:55] <COSLeia> it wasn’t done on those weeks in the boats
[21:40:01] <COSLeia> it was done in those years on the plantations
[21:40:05] <COSLeia> and consider this
[21:40:09] <COSLeia> slave children grew up learning the pidgin
[21:40:13] <COSLeia> it was their first language
[21:40:16] <COSLeia> so they added nuance to it
[21:41:31] <COSLeia> there are studies that show that the grammatical forms in ebonics more closely resemble the grammar of African languages than they do English.
[21:41:37] <COSLeia> that is why it’s hard for some people to understand.
[21:41:40] <COSLeia> the words are mostly English
[21:41:46] <COSLeia> but the way they’re used is different.
[21:42:43] <COSLeia> if you can’t tell, I’ve done a lot of research…
[21:43:21] <DarthWakka> perhaps i don’t know liguistics well enough, but the way I learned what little spanish I know was total immersion in the language at my job in san antonio. I’d think it much easier to go from ebonics to standard in total immersion
[21:43:26] * DarthWakka is listening to [Paul Oakenfold – Flood.mp3] [7.07 MB]
[21:43:33] <COSLeia> yes, it would
[21:43:38] <COSLeia> but the immersion isn’t total at all.
[21:43:45] <COSLeia> the ONLY place they get SAE is in school.
[21:43:58] <COSLeia> in their homes and communities they don’t usually need it.
[21:44:31] <COSLeia> so it’s kind of like how Japanese students take English for 6 years and still can’t speak it.
[21:44:45] <COSLeia> they can sit through the classes, pass, and not learn a damn thing.
[21:44:50] <COSLeia> because they don’t use it outside of class.

As you can see, I was really into this ;> I’m so glad I found linguistics.

Categories
Diary Ponderings

Weather

Just a little over two weeks ago, we had a freak hailstorm here in Kentucky…and now it’s eighty degrees (Fahrenheit) and all the trees and Remix flowers are in bloom. It’s amazing.

Sometimes I just have to marvel at weather. It’s cheap nfl jerseys incredible. Somehow, a multitude of varied forces all culminate–either working together or clashing–to bring us the environment that we take for granted. Not only that, but for the most part things are stable, at least here. Sure, you’ll get some wind…but other than that, the air is generally the same temperature as you walk along, and you can’t typically just step into a rainy area. That’s why, when you’re strolling through a moist spot and you hit one of those pockets of either hot or cold air, it’s so surprising. We’re accustomed 6.20.01 to a delicate balance that would be completely thrown off if, say, Luna were wholesale mlb jerseys closer, or our axis of rotation was just a few degrees off, or if we were a little closer to or further away from Sol. But no, asunto our exact positioning at this exact time has allowed life to with emerge.

It’s fantastic.

When I’m not thinking about meteorology :>, I’m typically thinking about…something else. It’s the end of the semester, and I have a stack of papers due as usual. I also have quite a bit of work to do for the good ol’ AMRN, which is nothing new. I need to post, and I need to edit some content. It’ll get done, just not as quickly as I’d like.

I find myself actually looking forward to Episode II, even if its name leaves cheap nfl jerseys the entire universe and then some to be desired. The trailers look good, and the Ain’t It Cool article managed to get me very, very psyched. I’ve tried to tone Ryokou it down, though, Episode I being the Large) massive disappointment that it was. Nothing will cheap mlb jerseys ever equal the original Holy Trilogy, not by a long shot. As long as I keep that in cheap nfl jerseys mind, I’m sure I can enjoy *cringe* Attack of the Clones as what it is likely to be: just another action/scifi vélemények movie.

I wish Ewan would have kept his hair short, though. The mullet he’s sporting as Obi-Wan is just wrong.

Categories
Travel

Watashi no Nihon Ryokou – My Japan Trip

It seemed like every morning we were throwing belongings into bags and charging off to the train station, wrestling too-big suitcases into the passenger cars and barely finding room for them in the overhead racks.

The first two weeks of my trip to Japan consisted of a tour of the country by rail that took us from the medium-sized port city of Sapporo, located in the cool northern island of Hokkaido, down to the pleasant backwater town of Yatsushiro in Kyushu. Along the way we stopped in Otaru and Hakodate in Hokkaido; and Aomori, Akita, Yamagata, Nikko, Tokyo, Nagoya, Takayama, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, and Hiroshima in Honshu.

The last three weeks were spent in Yatsushiro and the surrounding areas, including Minamata, Mt. Aso National Park, and Kumamoto City. We spent a night in Fukuoka before returning to the states.

It felt like we jumped out of the plane running and never stopped till we hit the plane back home. It was exhausting, grueling, torturous.

It was the best time of my life.

Every day there was something new to see and explore, to learn about. I saw the thriving city of Hiroshima, which for some reason I’d expected to be nothing more than a wasteland. I saw the ancient burial mound of Prince Kanenaga, one of the most influential figures in fourteenth century Japan. I saw Tokyo’s tsukiji, the largest fish market in Japan. I climbed up and peered into an active volcano whose lava was a funky green color. I explored Nikko, home of the most authentic old-style buildings in all of Japan-and wholesale NBA jerseys coincidentally, a famous tourist site. I wandered through dozens of shrines and temples, including the Todaiji near Nara, home of the Daibutsu, a fifty-three foot bronze buddha which is housed in the largest existing wooden structure in the world.

I fed tame deer and took cable cars up to mountaintops. I explored a seven-story electronics shop in Tokyo that was only one of many such retailers in behandelen the Akihabara electronics district. I learned to write Japanese calligraphy with a brush. I shopped at several arcades, cheap jerseys “shopping streets” that consist of partially enclosed alleys that can extend for miles.

I ate soba, sukiyaki, ramen, sushi, jokes: sashimi, tempura, and curry, and discovered that unagidon, barbequed freshwater eel on rice, is my favorite dish in the world.

I immersed myself in Japanese pop music. I went bowling. I played video games. I watched NHK and wholesale jerseys the news and anime and dramas and comedies.

I rode a bicycle through a maze of machis, down the narrow ??????? passageways 6.20.01 between houses and out onto streets clogged with tiny cars.

It Here! was breathtaking. The whole country was breathtaking.

This essay was originally written in thanks to the Institute wholesale NFL jerseys of International Education, without whom this trip would not have been possible. This post, made for archival purposes in January of 2015, has been backdated to August 1, 2001, but I’m not sure about the actual date of writing.