Monday, July 24, 2006

You guys don't make things easy...

The second annual "See you guys in a long time" party fulfilled all of our expectations for our last big bash with friends and family. Unfortunately, as the hours went on, Ken and I realized -- again -- how much we are going to miss everyone. We try not to be sappy, but sometimes it just has to be said. For those of you who missed it, the highlights included the second annual keg toss (a now classic event), plenty of that bag toss game, a couple of pitchers of sangria, and some pretty amazing cake (if I do say so myself).

A special thanks to Josh and Laura for their specially made T-shirts and sign-in books for the event. We can't wait for you to visit Japan so we can repay you for all of your dinners and sponsored good times. Ahhh... actual paychecks on the way!

My packing is almost complete. The task was fairly monumental. My suitcase is getting weighed down with pictures of Ken. The good news is that I believe I have an apartment within walking distance of school. It has two rooms and a shower room. A bit of a throwback to the Asia trip with no tubs in bathrooms. Essentially the water just sprays all over the room and the toilet.

Apartments in Japan are quite different from those in the US. First of all, you have to pay an insane amount of deposits that will never be returned to you. One of them is actually called "thank you money" for the real estate agent. And you have to buy all of your own appliances. I was getting pretty nervous about the expenses running up when I started getting emails from people leaving Okinawa and selling their fridges, furniture, everything for cheap(er). So far I have a fridge, gas range, microwave oven, and vacuum cleaner all lined up.

Ken and I have orientation near O'Hare on Friday. Supposedly we get our passports and tickets on that date. Not seeing those crucial documents this entire time is worrying. We fly out on Saturday. Our first flight will be solo, but then we meet up at a layover city for the long haul. We have another couple of days of orientation in Tokyo and then I'll fly away to Okinawa and Ken will head to Hamada. I'm going to try not to be that girl who eats Haagen-Das and watches TV all day pining over her boyfriend. But actually the only thing preventing that from happening is that I don't know where to buy Haagen-Das and so far I haven't purchased a TV.

Anyways, thanks again for a memorable final party! Sayonara! (Japanese lessons have been an utter failure. I'm going to work on my "I don't know" shrug instead.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006


You can only live in denial for so long before reality hits like a ton of bricks. I've been la-di-da-ing my way through the summer. Japanese language CDs have been properly ignored and evenings have been spent in bliss with friends. Once you get asked the question, "So, what day do you leave?" and you can count the number of days to departure on your fingers and toes, it's time to begin the freak out. I've started chucking odds and ends on my sister's bed (sorry, Brooke!) and buying stickers and pom-pom critters to try to buy new friends at school. I've calculated how many more days I have at the gym before I leave and am trying desperately to pawn my car off on someone (for money, of course). I'm finally working on my pictures from the last trip and am annoying my predecessor with question after question... mostly about shoes. Thanks to this feverish pace, the next two weeks are guaranteed to fly by.

The worst part is knowing you most likely won't see family and friends for a year. My mom seems to think that I enjoy jetting off and leaving them behind, but that's the most difficult part of leaving. However, you can't just stay in a place in order to avoid good-byes. What's making this transition even worse is knowing that Ken and I will be parting ways after a couple of days in Tokyo together. I don't know if we've gone more than 2 days without seeing each other since we started dating. At least we will have various forms of electronic communication to rely on. . . Why couldn't JET cooperate with our grand plans? We'll just have to be more creative and work it out. We'll call it Plan B.

It's strange to know that I have an apartment waiting for me in Okinawa (or at least one lined up) and that I'll be commuting to work driving on the left. I'm going to sit in meetings having no clue what is being said with a stupid smile on my face. I'll be forced to drink sake and do karaoke until the wee hours of the morning. I'm going to try to conquer my fear of scubadiving and will probably try karate... The good news is I've already talked to quite a few nice girls (new and old to the program) and feel like there will be a great support system. I'll need someone to grab coffee or go to the beach with. Of course these new friendships are only supplements to everyone back home (email me!!!). I might start a campaign to go old-school and make sure everyone has AOL Instant Messenger like the college days. What do you think? Break out the old screen names?

I'll keep you posted as I try to figure out how to smuggle in contact lenses (can only bring a two month supply) and where exactly my favorite sheets are going to fit in my luggate.

REMINDER: JULY 22. Be there. Bring some food and drinks. We're not rich.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Geography Lesson

Chatan is located between Naha and Okinawa City on the western side (near Ginowan)...

Kelli's married!

This last weekend, Ken and I traveled up to Milwaukee for a wedding reception for Kelli and Kannan. It was probably the last time I'll see my college friends for over a year, which is sad. But they know they can always visit me! Congrats to the newlyweds-- Kannan, you better be ready for Kelli's operastyle Oscar Mayer Weiner song at all hours!