Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tour book day...

On Saturday Adrienne and I did some house cleaning and a little shopping...nothing to buy so our small salaries are safe! Rachel called and said there was something going on down at the beach...so we all decided to troop down there, 10 years later we find a parking spot. We go over to where all the tents are set up and discover we can pay 500 yen (about $5.00) to get into whatever it is that's going on...which doesn't look like anything. We decide to walk around until whatever starts so we can decide if we want to go...it seems that it's some sort of music thing so we go and get food from Jusco (an EVERYTHING store, with groceries and prepared food...think super target with restaurants too) Anyway, we got these little BBQ meats on a stick things when I saw the squid on a stick and couldn't resist the picture. Rachel says she needs to try it at least once, I like squid, but the whole thing on a stick is a little more then I can handle!

After getting our food and paying our entrance fee we sit down on the grass to eat and listen to the music group - kind of Reggae in Japanese...after that there were all kinds of groups - dancing, plays, drums, a dancing dog - we think it was a dog - 2 people in costume (might have been a dragon) There's a video at the end of the blog of it - couldn't get it to move up here so I just left it at the bottom! After a couple of hours we decided that not speaking Japanese wasn't working in this situation - we couldn't tell what was going on in the REALLY long play...so we decided to go to Big Dip for double dip day...2 scoops for the single price :) After that we headed home.

All these kids had these very realistic toy guns - they seemed to be practicing for future hold ups...a little unnerving.
2 things - EVERYONE had these pink panther blow ups...who knows why...and second, that kid is eating his blue cotton candy with chop sticks - pick it up with your hands kid, it's fun!

The girls - we had to take this one several times (not for my hair thank goodness it's staying a normal size lately) Adrienne was having trouble centering us so we were all in it!


After church we had decided to have lunch at the Rose Garden - our favorite place, they serve breakfast till 5 and Adrienne and I have sharing a breakfast down to a science that involves left over ham for scrambled eggs at home...we had actual lunch today - my clam chowder was yummy and the first time I've seen it with bacon - I make it with bacon...but I thought it was just me :) Anyway, after lunch we headed home to change. We were going to go to this lighthouse and explore the beaches out that way too. On the way I realized that one of the castle ruins was on the way so we decided to take a detour. The tour book actually said, in the middle of town (can't tell what's the middle) you will see a gas station on the right, turn right there. UMMMM really? those are the directions??? Ok then...we turned at the gas station...


Ok, how cool is it that they pull down from the ceiling? I was excited...so we drive down the road and see what might be the parking lot, not sure so we turn around and check the sign - yes, still think we're in the right place - right name, and it has a castle wall in the name...so we begin a short walk up while I'm reading the tour book description out loud. This was our first view once we got up the little hill. I have to say it's absolutely breathtaking here!!



We continued on until we reached the castle - Adrienne thought it was kind of small...but everything is smaller in Japan (except the bugs, they're bigger!) But pictured below is the entrance of Zakimi castle. It was built by a warrior supposedly he made a crew move it from one site to this one, one rock at a time in a chain...crazy! So this whole place is made of these massive rocks and the walls are SO thick - I'd be curious to know how long it took them to build it.



I was trying to get a picture of the view from the castle floor...Adrienne stuck her fingers in so I'd be sure to know the picture was taken in Japan :)
These are their tombs - they're all over the place, we could see them from on top of the castle wall - it's crazy how big they are!
The three of us sitting on the castle steps
After we left we went back on our journey to the lighthouse. When we arrived we paid our 200 yen...the book had said 150...inflation! We climbed 90 of the biggest stairs I've EVER seen up to the top of the lighthouse and this was the view...the clouds had come again and the water was so dark - spectacular! And so quiet and peaceful - such a change from living in LA! On a side note, I'm a little bitter that I STILL can't see stars here - we get a couple, but I figured away from all the lights there would be stars - apparently not.
This was the view from the other side of the Cape Zanapa lighthouse (it's one of 2 on the island)
I was the first up the stairs and started laughing because this was the door to get out onto the lighthouse - I made Adrienne take a picture - that door is SO small!!

It was a good tour book day - I've picked out a couple of other places to explore - gotta finish reading the book and mark my pages - we have lots of weekends to fill! Below is the dancing something video - hope all is well at home - miss you guys!
video

Meet my class

...or at least the ones I've met (still missing two) I have individual pictures, but it would take forever to upload and who really wants that?! I took these the second day of school...much more relaxed :)


I was trying to have them take a picture that didn't involve them all doing the peace sign...this was what I got...Mai, Shuan, Mana, and Dennis


Lauren, Banri, and Alyssa


Kiana, Kyle (who's twins with Lauren) Milena (she had just finished hysterically crying, I didn't push for a smile), and Kristopher


Serina, Ayaka, Ryuki, Nathan, and Risa

Friday, August 29, 2008

Take two was so much better!

So my 2nd day of school was much smoother then the first so hopefully the trend continues! One of my 3 absentee children arrived in HYSTERICAL tears and all I could think was...not again...please! It took her a bit to calm down, but it could have been worse and the rest of the day went smoothly - writing was painful, they have no discussion skills so that will take some training. Overall though - feeling optimistic (or at least I've stopped contemplating the flight home!) We went for dinner with Mr. Elofson, Chicako, 2 other teachers - yummy food and then Adrienne and I went home for a bit - got my first package...love that flat rate envelope - Aimee filled it with happy little things and mail in general is just good stuff (HINT HINT) Then we decided some dessert was needed for our first week celebration :) Dessert was good - service was horrid, as Adrienne said, at least we don't tip here! Woke up this morning after almost 9 hours of sleep and just enjoying the quiet - we're going to just hang out and rest this weekend - maybe pick something out of the tour book to go do :) Much love!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Visitor control, first day of school, and strawberry ice cream kind of days...

So we all went to Laura's for dinner on base on Tuesday night - can we say the military is a little overwhelming? So the 3 of us arrive and go into the visitor control building where we had to turn over our passports, vehicle registration and insurance. The guy wrote down everything, I felt the need to tell them name rank and serial number, but I refrained myself :) Dinner was yummy and the company was excellent. The evening was filled with girly giggles and lots of chatter. Laura has the world's BIGGEST dog, super cute, very friendly - but knows how to fill a room!

He devoured that bone while we were there I think!

He got all excited and wouldn't pose for the picture :)

Laura was making him sit - he's very well behaved!

Ok, so this amused me a little to much - so Laura's husband is a fighter pilot and is part of the bat squad - which apparently makes her a bat babe...so they each have social diva jobs and she is in charge of delivering the birthday sign to the other bat babes (there's also one for babies!)
Today was the first day of school and yes, it is my own personal national holiday! I made Adrienne take first day of school pictures - I managed to have normal sized hair, 3 hair products, a blow dryer, and a straightener later!




I have to say the day wasn't what I had expected or like any other first day I've ever experienced. The kids all start arriving at 8 (the teachers get there about 8 because of devotions being on the other campus, it's kind of stressful to not have time to be in the room without the kids) Anyway - they trickle in for the next half hour, so I get them settled with their welcome note and putting back packs away, finding seats, all that good stuff. Finally when the late bell rings (not a school bell, like an actual small bell they ring) I close my door and tell the kids how to play the name game. Well, the first child refuses - I give her a choice to take her turn last or she can sit in the office until we're done - neither option appeals - my stubborness wins out and she decides to go last - we continue the game with out to much of a hitch. Then begins the unpacking of supplies - can I just say I have no clue what to do with some of these things? I have binders, but no paper, the folders aren't really practical and some of them aren't actually folders, not sure what they are...and I can't send it back, I'm supposed to use it so um, I guess I just figure it out?! I teach them how to do their DLR (grammar page for the non teacher crowd) and we do a couple word family poems and some highlighting (they enjoyed the highlighter). I finally decided we had gotten something done - recess would be a good break - OH WAIT, I have to take them all to the bathroom - which EVERYONE commented on their good behavior (did I mention that my class has been through 10 teachers in the last 4 years and are apparently known has little terrors?) So far I had a little talking out, a little confusion but nothing to bad - perhaps this would be ok :) We went down for recess - no balls, no jmp ropes, no playground, just a parkng lot and me....hmmm...we played cartoon tag - going to need to figure out some games or supplies or something - course my kids only get recess a couple days a week because of out music/pe time. Sigh. After recess, we did our summer writing. I got a little frustrated because most of them just looked blankly at me while we brainstormed and I haven't looked at the product so hopefully we did all right. We eat our lunch together in the classroom - so I had 2 minutes to heat my food and get back to my kids. Lunch was about a half hour and then I started reading Encyclopedia Brown. I had one child fall asleep - hoping that isn't a reflection of my reading ability...seriously, there was drool involved she was that asleep! After story time we did math - they have no clue what to do with manipulatives, so that was kind of a problem...a lot of stopping and starting, and correction - but we got through the lesson and the one side of the paper had coloring so I got 10 minutes of quiet :) I also got to go use the bathroom while another teacher watched them for 2 minutes (that was a whole 4 minutes of non kid time today!....NO COMMENT) At the end of the day we did Bible (painful when only 3 kids participate, but it was better then the beginning of the day). Pack up time was painful - how hard is it to get your papers in your strange little folder thing? Overall we have some defiant issues to work on, several attention problems - oh and no one can read fluently, not even my English speakers....sooooo, yea, my goals have been defined, my work is cut out - for such a time as this right? I'm tired and a little cranky, tomorrow will be better and eventually they will understand that my boundaries don't bend or move, that my expectations are high but I will help them get there, that I will be here all year (although I did ask Adrienne if we left today if we could start school in CA on Tuesday). I'm going to have high hopes for this year and that some consistancy will go far...I came a long way for it :) I'll post kid pics soon - they're a funny little bunch! Adrienne and I crashed after school before I started making dinner and then went to get ice cream after we ate - a treat was MUCH needed - Adrienne's day was rough too...I had to have strawberry ice cream (such a happy flavor) but I was a little dissappointed by it - might need a new happy ice cream in Japan :( Off to bed soon so I can be well rested tomorrow - I need all the game I can get! Specialty classes start next week so that gives me some peace during the day - just gotta hold on till then!

Monday, August 25, 2008

and the rollercoaster continues...

This morning Adrienne and I had a lovely chat with our former LD ladies...missing being there with them - but it was an excellent way to start my day! I FINALLY got my parent hand out translated at run off around 8:30 this morning (meeting started at 9...slightly frustrating, but at least it got done!) The meeting began with grades 1-5 all together and the principal introduced the staff and went over some new policy things. After that they dismissed by grade level (but my translator was translating for the principal so I was last...yes I got my translator, more on that in a minute) So 5th grade leaves, then 4th, then 3rd, and then 1st. Well, half the room has gone with the other teachers and half the room is still sitting there...and just me left...huh...ok. So my translator dismisses me and my parents and follows me into my room. Apparently she thought Rachel was me so that's why she had gone over what to translate with her yesterday...administration realized I would be without a translator and fixed the whole thing up - thank goodness, my charades just aren't that good! So I then proceed to have 17 parents, 6 kids, several babies, and my translator try and settle into my room. I have the biggest class in the school and apparently the best attendance for the day - only one family not there! I went around and met each of the parents and asked if they wanted their hand-out in English or Japanese before finally making my way to the front of the room to start my presentation. Can I just say that having a translator is rather disconcerting? I had this big fear that something wasn't coming out right - but no one rioted or left, so I took that as a good sign :) I went over some other school policies that hadn't been covered in the big meeting and then went over my own policies. I had to stop every couple of sentences to let the translation happen - I lost track a couple of times because of the start and stop - but we all seemed to survive. No one really asked questions which made me nervous, I don't think I could ever be THAT thorough :) I had the parents write first day of school notes to leave on the desk for their child and got a chance to chat with a few parents afterwards. Everyone seemed very nice and not a peep out of the 6 kids I had in their so I'll take that as a good sign for behavior this year :) They happily whispered and read while I talked! All in all, much more successful then yesterday - oh and my fridge situation got all fixed up (thanks Mom!) SOOOO yea, the roller coaster continues - today being a good day - going to dinner at Laura's tonight so that should end up with a good finish - more tomorrow about our military base adventure!! Thank you so much for all your emails, skype calls, mail (got my first letter today!), thoughts, and prayers. I just keep reminding myself that this is a growing and learning experience for me and the kids this year! Much love to all of you! PS my hair stayed a normal size today thanks to multiple straightenings and some hair product - no chia pet teacher! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Frustrated...

So today I'm trying to relocate my fridge in America to a place it can stay for the year - unsuccessful, finishing my classroom, successful - getting my parent hand out translated, unsuccessful - having my translator stolen/reassigned???, successful (not sure how I'm talking to the parents tomorrow...) - getting a bank account, unsuccessful which also means no go on getting a cell phone. All in all, not the best day for getting anything done, so Adrienne and I came home early - it's nice to be in the air conditioning, it's extra hot and sticky today so cooling off is making this day better :) If anyone wants my fridge or can come translate for me tomorrow, that would make this whole day so much better! That's all for now...no more complaining - putting a smile on my face and reminding myself this is what God has for me for this year and I need to not rely on my own strength at this point. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flight Fair

Well, I officially survived the first week of reporting! In-service makes me laugh in Japan as much as it does in the States :) and I have just as much to say, it seems that my sarcastic comments came with me. My copies are made, my room is ready, I think I'm mentally prepared....well, yea, you know, for the most part :) I have my outfit, isn't that the most important part? My parent letter is being translated - I need to make an outline of what I'm talking about for Meet the Parent meeting (AKA Open House here) for my translator - that will be different to have to say a couple of sentences and wait for translation before continuing...hopefully there aren't to many questions!!! Last night Adrienne, Rachel, and I tried to go Eissa festival - apparently it didn't really start on the 22nd like the sign said so we ended up going to American Village (again!) we people watched after getting root beer floats - yum! - and telling another American, no we do not know where to use our ATM cards...or where any ATM is even...SO a cash society!! I think Adrienne and I are going to need envelopes for budgeting purposes - although I'm not sure how we pay bills here...hmmm...yet another question to ask about! After American Village (not much going on) we came home to watch a movie before Rachel went home and we went to bed. Today was a quiet day around the house - a good pj morning! It was nice to just relax and be quiet for awhile - much needed down time, I feel a little more sane after some peace. Then there was a flurry of house cleaning, got ready for the day...or afternoon I guess! We tried to go to a travel agency to look into our travel choices, but it was no longer there and had no new address - so much for being independent. I got to talk on Skype to Edith and Cheryl - SO good to hear from them! Rachel came over after that and we were off to the Friendship Futenema Flightline Festival....nice name huh? It apparently celebrates the friendship between the marines and the japanese...who knows?? We went into some of the planes - pictures below! Saw some of the other staff members, random! We watched the weight lifting competition - don't know that I've ever seen people with such huge arms in my life. SOOOOOO didn't fit with the rest of their body, but whatever floats their boat, who am I to talk about someone that can lift 300lbs?? I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of one of those guys (or girls...they only lifted around 130, not that I can do that either!) We saw the same guy that needed an ATM - he had found one he was happy to report! We ate dinner there, sitting on the ground - yummy grilled corn on the cob and BBQ chicken - nice to have something I recognized. It was also nice to be surrounded by so many English speaking people at one time. It felt like a normal day - I'm thinking Air Show in Miramar - coming up in October, somebody needs to go in my honor, such fun! Church tomorrow and maybe dinner with Laura and her husband on Kadeena Air Base (fun to see all these bases, fences don't make friends though!) All in all, a good day, felt more familiar, perhaps this is the beginning of settling in...we'll see, I'm just proud that the random bouts of crying are subsiding slowly, but at least they are subsiding ;) I don't think I expected it to be like this - I had no idea what it would be like but I do know it has been a big adjustment and a challenge to face - I appreciate the the thoughts, prayers, emails, and blog comments more then you may ever know. This little adventure is a reminder of my need to have faith, courage, and not to depend on my own understanding....and a big dose of go with the flow! Enjoy the pictures below - missing everyone - love you!

I promise I wasn't taking a picture of his butt - he had a camouflaged camera...can you find it? HA HA HA

Rachel, Adrienne, and I on the flight deck, we could so be the crew!I decided I conquered driving on the wrong side of the road so next I'll learn to drive a plane :)
Rachel and I in the middle of a plane - it was really hot and the seats are NOT comfortable

The cockpit
The outside of my new plane :)
This is not a parachuter - he had a motor on it - not sure when this come in handy but it was funny to me


SERIOUSLY, the military have their own bounce house things. I have NEVER seen a military man in a tank that was made for small children to go inside and jump up and down - so weird!

Monday, August 18, 2008

First official day!

We reported officially to school today! We had our first in-service…I might have been making sarcastic remarks in my head and apparently on my face as well – but I tried REALLY hard to be a good sport through it all! We started off with an introduction to all the staff and what they were teaching (a lot of changes…there’s a lot of turnover and rearranging we’ve found). Then Mr. Elofson reminded us of the school vision etc etc. We then had our first devotion – I guess we have to do them about once a month (REALLY missing a big staff to hide in at SGCS….once a year!) After that was a short break and any of the specialty teachers and aides could leave and then we had writing training in the 6+1 program. I used it in student teaching so I was familiar – but we have more training all week. I like the idea of it – very process oriented, good help for grading, etc etc. Anyway, half the teachers didn’t seem to get the idea and were asking these way off base questions – apparently we’re supposed to be instant authors after one class – how about a whole school seminar and then they’ll be ready to write? Hmmmm…yea, we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto….it’s just very different philosophy wise here as far as education goes. I of course was making my own comments along the way, I just felt like someone had to be on track when speaking besides the teacher (Laura who teaches 4th grade). Anyway – in-service was informative, good if I ignored random thoughts or comments…after that we were dismissed for lunch and to work in our classrooms. I had forgotten my keys – absent minded this morning…there was a lot going on to get ready, make breakfast, pack a lunch, pick up Rachel, and get to school on time! Went by the apartment, got the keys, got to school….again…thankfully being on 2 campuses gives me the freedom to do that without looking like a dork. No Rosanne or Alex or Osmine to call when I’m locked out anymore! Got to school, did some work for a couple of hours before I got hungry. I took my lunch to warm it up in the microwave and Laura starts chatting with me so I stood in the hall eating and talking while she put up her bulletin board paper and border (we share hallway bulletin boards…random) Mekeio spelling? (6-12 grade English teacher…yes….the school is that small) and Laura and I talked for about an hour about all kinds of stuff and they offered to show us around and answered lots of my school culture questions – VERY good chat…might have even begun a new friendship or two :) I was telling Adrienne I may have missed home the most today. It was the first in-service where there was no one to save me a seat or to giggle with in the back, there's no back with 20 people on staff! Adrienne and I didn’t even get to sit by each other – everyone was paired off with only single seats left – strange to go from Social Diva to Social Outcast – ok exaggerating for effect, but you get the point. It was nice to talk to someone that gets the boat I’m in, so that helped…but it was making me miss all my LD pals (who I haven’t heard a word from…bitter if you’re reading this!) Tomorrow is more training, more classroom time and more Mad Dog Math copying…did I mention that if you make to many copies the machine gets hot and the copies aren’t as dark? Or that I can’t read anything on the copier except the numbers???? Maybe Trace can come fix it for me J I’m missing Ellie’s 1st birthday tomorrow – sad – happy birthday baby girl – love and miss you much…lots of hugs and kisses!!! We’re supposed to be getting our own internet tomorrow – yes, we’ve heard that before, but maybe really this time! After that I promise to upload classroom and other random pictures – it just takes to long for my patience on stolen internet!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Classroom pictures and random videos

I took a picture from each corner of my room so you could get the general idea - no frogs this year, sorry Ruth...no Lakeshore, no teacher supply store...I'm having to learn the hard way of how to make do with what I have - I think the queen of budgets may be put to the test this year. We just got internet at home and just getting it installed cost an arm and a leg and our monthly bill will need to be added to the list of expenses along with the cell phone Adrienne and I will share - we're nervous about getting lost and having no way to call anyone so we figure it would be wise to have a phone that goes with the car - not that Adrienne and I have been separate at anytime in the last 2 weeks :) So today I taught part of the in-service - yes, random, anyone surprised? Laura who's teaching us about 6+1 Writing had a little breakdown today - SO understand those, lots of stress (she's a military wife and her Grandma passed away 2 days ago and she's missing the funeral) I'm the only other teacher that's worked with the program so I introduced part of the lesson for the day...have to jump in sometime right? Adrienne, Rachel, and I went to lunch with Laura and Meikeio (really need to check on that spelling!) which was really fun - good girl time and I think we've made our first friends. They are SO our kind of people - equally crazy as us and really funny! We got our internet at home today - broke it and then they had to come back - not really broken - but they still had to come back to help us. All is well with our internet now!! Hmmm, not much else going on for now - missing home still - or at least the freedom of friends, understanding the language, not having to improvise EVERYTHING, an oven, my car, yea, just missing home.


Notice the STUPID cursive letters - I painted the lovely welcome sign with my Adrienne crafty girl
All 18 desks and 18 cubbies
I have a desk for the first time there in the corner - Sarah seems to think I'll have a pile of stuff on it soon - I don't have enough stuff to have a pile!
Blackboard, blackboard, can't believe I have one!
These poor plants were here when I arrived - maybe I can revive them, maybe I'll kill them, poor things!


This is the view from my desk - probably won't see that one often!

Drumming

video
The funniest band EVER - this guy has my
current hair though - poor hair!
video


This was the juggler I was watching when I met my former new best friend - ha ha!

video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Random evening...

I've decided Japanese people are VERY funny - I can't understand what they're saying, but they seem to be funny! Adrienne, Rachel, and I went to the beach today - my hair was 8 times it's normal size - if you haven't seen the Friend's episode where Monica's hair expands exponentially, see it, and think of me and my poor hair! We took 8 pictures of ourselves so that my hair could be in the picture and not flying out of it - never did get that shot!! Anyway, beach exploring - just walked and walked to another beach, checked out the water and the area, figured out where to park next time :) Came home, took a shower after sweating ALL afternoon, it was much needed. The humidity is unreal! We then drove around to find something for dinner - decided we were hungry and just went to the American Village and had Mexican food - it was no Santanas or even Chevy's but it was good :) We then went to the middle of the square that Adrienne and I saw the other band and listened to this HILARIOUS group - this big guy was jumping all around singing - he would enjoy dance class, he'd compete with my gazelle like skills in the Flying 8 AKA the leaping song! If you want to see a video I think Adrienne is putting one on her blog or I'll try and get mine one sometime...have to download all my pictures still! We watched and laughed for quite awhile before heading to sit in front of Starbucks and people watch - can't afford to drink anything from there :( People watching is hilarious here. After awhile we realized that there was a crowd gathering across the street...it was a juggler - fun! He had music to go with his act and little dance moves and all kinds of fun things! He juggled with fire which was super exciting! Near the end I apparently met my first friend here, he made some small talk - it was a little awkward, I didn't know what to say so Adrienne had to break up with him for me...yes, I am very jr high currently! So all in all, the evening was rather funny and it's way past my bedtime, but we were so excited to actually have stolen internet that I had to put up a blog! Missing everyone
- some of you are SO going to be hunted down if I don't get an email or a comment soon :) Love you much!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A little emotional...

Yesterday I spent the day at school...I know surprise surprise! By the end of the day I was a little frustrated, tired, and very HOT. I had spent an hour hanging cursive letters - I don't want to talk about the fact that I have to teach cursive, if you know my handwriting you know why! Anyway, these letter cards are SO old and damaged and I couldn't hang them with tape (doesn't stick) and I had the world's smallest stapler so....yea, I basically had to be happy they stayed on the wall (I missed having Lindy there to tell me if they were crooked or not...course I couldn't do anything about it if it were at that point!) Anyways, what felt like years later they were up along with my welcome sign and I had put away all the stuff I had shipped over for school. So I guess I got a lot done, it just didn't feel like it and it sure doesn't look like it! I have to keep reminding myself this is a new place and figuring stuff out is half the battle...the rest will come eventually. I am missing all the supplies from SGCS...butcher paper is a luxury here and they've never heard of a die cut machine or a book binding cutter and I'm REALLY missing my paper cutter! Anyway, after school we came back to the apartment and in the midst of cooking dinner, who knows why, but the tears just started - Adrienne gave me a big hug and promised ice cream later and we both had to laugh at the fact that we feel like we've fallen down the rabbit hole in Wonderland here. After some food, laundry, and Gilmore girls I was feeling much better. We headed down to American Village (it's like Chinatown...but not very American) we went and got Baskin Robbins (I had Popping Shower...it tasted like Mint sort of...and it had pop rocks in it - that was HILARIOUS). We wandered around shops and listened to these live band (they were singing a song that said Japanese to America, China to Phillippine...they were very passionate about their song it was very funny!) When we got home we heard drumming (Like from the beach - the Obon festival is next week we found out - ancestors are arriving today) So we heard the Eisa drummers and decided to go try and find them because we saw they're little truck down the road from us. So we went down the alley (not a scary kind but an alley) and several blocks later we finally found the group and enjoyed the little routine for awhile - random! We went to the 100 yen store (again!) and then home for more Gilmore girls and bed. Today we decided to get a crock pot ready - Adrienne had wanted ham and scalloped potatoes - we had gotten the little bit of cheese, what we thought was ham, the potatoes and all that good stuff. So the ham appears to be a big hunk of bacon...so I sliced it up anyway, the cheese seems to be Velveeta instead of cheddar, the potatoes were normal :) We'll see how dinner is tonight! :) So we're talking to the Kindy teacher - it's nice to have someone that knows the boat we're in - her husband is military, been here 2 years, will be here 2 more. Trying to imagine that is a little hard!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tired

I applied for my alien card today so between all the papers I had to have I am now an eligible alien with my passport, visa, health card and international drivers license. We had to take ANOTHER set of pictures, but they have these neat photo booths that give you 6 passport pictures - fun! Adrienne and I sat for 2 hours getting our health cards and alien ids YUCK! Then we went to McDonalds with Mr. Elofson and Chikako - mostly the same - might need to try the shrimp sandwich sometime :) The last few hours Adrienne and I have painted room signs and have been working in our rooms. I finished going through all of what I have in the room and organizing it. Now I need to organize the stuff I shipped here...then do my walls and book and clean and who knows what else - I'm tired now and my head hurts a bit...just realized I forgot to take meat out of the freezer for dinner - hmmm eggs maybe we have leftover ham to put in scrambled eggs - oops, no bread, grocery store tomorrow after we pick up Rachel! Anyway, all is well on this side of the world - starting to find my place at least :) I took pictures of my classroom in progress...it has a blackboard, we'll discuss that later :(

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time flies...

Well, I left the States almost a week ago...I feel like I've been here for longer then 5 days though - I think because EVERYTHING is new and unfamiliar it's been overwhelming and tiring. I think I expected it to be more out of my comfort zone, but driving on the wrong side isn't so bad, there's more things from home then I expected, the people are VERY nice, and Adrienne and I have been getting along well (at least I'm getting along with her...we'll see if she wants to kill me or not!) We did say that we weren't going to let it fester like Lester (we're making up stories about all the military bases here to help us remember landmarks and one of the Marine bases is Lester and the hospital is there and Lester is an unfortunate little boy that is very accident prone) so that should be a good rule to have when we've been here awhile. We spent the last couple of days on our own for the most part - Saturday we accomplished errands on our own and went to the beach in the evening...it rained during the day (again) The sunset was beautiful and I know I promised pictures of the other side of the Pacific, but I only have the East China Sea so far...
I made her take a picture and ended up almost running someone down...it was kind of strange because all the women in the water were fully clothed...wondering how our bathing suits are going to go over!
Ok, this is like where's Waldo...anyone see the creature? I was excited :)


At the beach we saw this drumming group?? Not sure what it was for - but fun to watch all the same!
video

Super amused by this sign, who rents an ashtray??

These are EVERYWHERE! You can buy just about anything in a vending machine!
So the beach was fun - we got Starbucks afterwards - my tall chai was more then a venti at home...and I can't figure out what was wrong with it...might need to become a coffee drinker for my Starbucks treat! We got up on Sunday and went to church - the service was nice, we're going to try the 10:30 service next week. We went to lunch and I had macaroni and cheese...it was more of a cream sauce with a little cheese...it also had shrimp and squid in it...kinda random, but it was yummy! Mr. Elofson then gave us a tour of another part of the island...we weren't retaining much of it by that time so it was time to go home...we were in need of a touch of home so we decided to hunt down some internet...we tried 2 Starucks, a McDonalds, an A & W, and drove around for this mystery internet cafe...can't find ANYTHING when you can't speak the language...by the end of it we were both hot, tired, and CRANKY...so we came to the school and sat in our car...sweated while we talked to some of you from home and returned emails :) Today we got up yet again at 6:30am...the sleep thing hasn't been happening enough... :) We're at school doing emails, blogs, and trying to get our slingplayer to work properly and then we're off to set up my classroom - tomorrow is Adrienne's and then on Wednesday we go to pick up Rachael at the airport - it's good to be busy! I think the thing I'm missing most is being able to go do stuff with my friends if I actually have down time...plenty of that and only one friend - that might be our biggest prayer request right now - a place and opportunity to meet some people!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Oh my...

So today was hilarious and long and tiring and so many other things....We went to bed before 9 last night...love jet lag. This also meant we woke up around 5:45am...oops! Anyway, Adrienne and I both began looking through curriculum and doing some planning and making lists of questions to ask...we had lots of course...flash back to coming to SGCS, going into Edith and Lindy's room daily (hourly really) and saying I have a question - I think everyone must have heard that one a million times that year ha ha! Anyway, then we got ready to go to school for some computer time before lunch (they wanted to go to Shakeys, yes we are living in Japan, yes we have eaten Japanese food!) Anyway, the whole group - Mr. Elofson, Chikako (his wife), 4 other teachers, and our secretary all got in a van with us and we all trooped over to lunch. I'm amused that we can fit that many people in one Japanese vehicle...anyway, lunch included spaghetti with edamame in it, or seaweed pasta...pizza with squid and wasabi, pineapple and chocolate...curry...and some things I actually recognized to eat! The group was very good natured about the teasing being thrown back and forth - the guys seemed to be having an eating competition :) After lunch we went back to school where they left Adrienne and I to go look at an apartment for Rachael (incoming 1st grade teacher, she arrives next week) She and I puttered about school, talking on Skype and emailing until we were told to go check out the storage closet if we wanted anything. TREASURES!!!!!!! Oh my, we were a little worried what we would do without our beloved manipulatives and we discovered all these things the other teachers don't know what to do with. We happily scavenged a box each of stuff - I think I found the basics for anything I might want. Half way through our scavenger hunt we were called upstairs for a meeting...apparently we were all needed to decide on the apartment - we've joined the democracy :) Later on it was time for more questions, supply lists, more questions, I think we've overwhelmed Mr Elofson with our enthusiasm and ideas, he may want to send us back to the states before to long! Then we went grocery shopping again. Chikako was going to help us with rice (did anyone else know that it comes either washed or unwashed???) and some of the labels...I'm impressed with the selection - dairy products are EXTREMELY expensive - a block of cheese was about $17...so lots of my recipes are going to be modified or unused for the year (special treats maybe...) Anyway, we survived, got everything on the list (Adrienne is going to attempt eating shrimp for dinner tomorrow - so proud...putting my new sous chef to work too!), we also got our rewards card and then it was off for a LATE dinner. We had tacorice (think tostadas with rice instead of tortilla) it was pretty good - the rice had a bit of a fishy
flavor, but once you mixed in the salsa it was fine - I wanted to share, but Adrienne refused to share with me - so we both had left overs...I'm always right :) After dinner we had dessert??? It was called zenzai, which is sweet beans (like baked beans) underneath shaved ice...we liked the sauce with the ice, but the beans were a little to much for both of us, although it wasn't as bad as the mochi (unsure of spelling) which is pounded cooked rice so it forms this gummy ball - NOT a fan! The texture put me over the top, things should not be that sticky in your mouth! After dinner we came back home to look over some more curriculum and now typing up my funny day :) Love you all!


This picture is NOT a reflection of my driving, Adrienne is trying to demonstrate how close we sit by taking a picture from the dashboard, while I turn....
Lunch at Shakey's. That's Eunice (2-3 year old teacher/music) and her husband Edgar who also works at the school
The whole bunch - Junko the secretary is sitting next Adrienne, Steve one of the high school teachers across the table, our principal not facing the camera, and his wife Chikako (our shopping buddy!
Us eating our zenzai - not bad...
Our mochi - not as tasty...

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