Monday, December 18, 2006

My true love gave to me... a box of tunaspam caaaans

Boxes of Spam. It had to be brought up at the English Department Christmas Party last night. And now I *sort of* understand. Apparently, these boxes of Spam, tuna, juice boxes, etc. are purchased and given to people who "help" your family. All of this is done as the end of the year approaches. I asked them... "But SPAM?!" and I told them I thought it was overpriced too! They agreed that getting a box of processed meat (as opposed to processed cheese, which is difficult to explain, I found out last night) is a bit lame and one teacher said when she was growing up, they were always excited to get the juice boxes and sweets. The lesson of this? The best way to show appreciation with the least amount of effort is to grab a gift package of vegetable oil and help your neighbor out with their groceries for the week. It's not such a bad idea, but the contents are still perplexing. How about some Godiva chocolate?

The department also had their "First Annual Christmas Gift Exchange." I honestly didn't know what to buy for this diverse crew since I didn't know who would end up with the gift, but eventually decided on some coordinated trendy folders, notebooks, and Sharpies. Practical. To exchange gifts, we opted to sing a Christmas song and pass the presents in a clockwise direction. We decided on "Jingle Bells" to start and started the shuffling. When the song ended, there were a few people with their own gifts, so we decided to try again with a new song. I picked "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and sang in English while another teacher sang in Japanese. (They don't call him Rudolph here...Students are always confused about that...) Anyway, that song is ridiculously long! I never realized it until I was only at "...They never let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games..." and people were flagging in enthusiasm. The song finally ended and I resisted yelling, "Like George Washington!" and there was confusion again. The third and final song in the medley was a cut-time version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and finally everything worked out. And I stepped away from the table with a giant blue yoga ball! Which is actually something I really wanted!

Although what I really need right now is an electric blanket. It has finally cooled off enough for me to call it chilly. It's bad enough walking in the wind and cold drizzle, but when you get in your house, you can't warm up because there is no heat and no insulation. Essentially the temperature outside is the temperature inside, which can be uncomfortable when you're trying to relax in your pajamas and realize that your toes are beginning to lose sensation. I asked the teachers how long this lasts and they said until about the end of February, which means that I am going shopping when I get back and buying an electric blanket or space heater. You can only drink so many hot beverages every evening.


Joyce said...

im ok with home, because i have blankets and i find that my house does indeed remain much warmer than outside. but i cant handle it at school. my feet are frozen, my hands are frozen, they leave all the windows open for some insane reason and everyone is walking around in parkas shivering. why, dear god why. at lunch sometimes i go sit in my car and turn the heat on my feet, just to get the feeling back.

Carly said...

We had our lab Christmas Party on Friday. My name was drawn first - which made the entire exchange interesting because of the constant swapping of presents. I landed up with what I wanted - colorful vodka shot glasses. I'm bringing them to New Year's!

Rachel said...

I thought that kind of gift exchange would be fun and explained the whole thing, but everyone seemed very confused about the stealing of presents. Too bad. But then I would have had to fight for my yoga ball since that was what I really wanted too!

Juhi no Hana said...

hi rachel! i just love ur blog! :)
i guess ur apt is so cold coz its so high up and exposed to the elements from 4 directions! my apt gets frozen in the mornings and thats coz my flimsy curtains dont insulate the warmth inside from the cold winds outside. BUT i hope you enjoy the winter back home and i am sorta feeling that u will come back and start saying its not cold enough again! :)

tothe-t said...

Rachel!! Before you spend your money! 1. your airconditioner probably has a heater setting and 2. Takako sensei gave me a space heater when I first got here that I don't use! seems only fitting to hand it off to you! tothe-t (au)

Luey Fufu said...

My sister was showing me clips on of Pitagora Suicchi and I thought of you.

Hope you had a great Christmas!