Hi there everyone! I was going to title this post "Sorry I haven't posted in so long," but given how many times I will probably have to say that during our stint in Japan, I decided I didn't want to get to "Sorry I haven't posted in so long MCMXIII," so yeah.
This is a pic of, from left, Kaki, Erica, and Aubrey during our sumptuous New Year's Eve feast of sukiyaki and sparkling grape juice, which I've already mentioned. It's a good pic, so I put it in. Not that I've ever been shy about inserting NOT good pics...
OK, so it's been a longish week and weekend of trying to get back into a 'normal routine' and trying to improve thereon - New Year's Resolooshuns and all that. In point of fact, I haven't made a NYR per se in years, but often I tend to rethink things right around the New Year, so in practice it's the same thing. I suspect it's that I'm too crazy and counter-cultural to admit that I actually make NYRs.
Kaki took off on Thursday night on the ferry. It was a rainy night after a nice day and the ferry was fortunately not required to go to the faraway port, and we watched and waved and watched and waved for like 30 minutes from when she got on until the ship actually left. I think we both felt profoundly lonely, at the same time. It felt kind of final, really... Kaki moving back to Asia pretty soon and all that, but we knew that God is w/ us and these kinds of feelings fade eventually. And now, writing on Monday, I'd say it has faded, for which I'm thankful to the Lord Jesus, since I was feeling really alone for like a week. Reminds me of two other friends who are missionary-ing elsewhere in Asia and who, despite a recent refreshing trip to the Middle East (you know you're a weird mission-nerd when you consider a trip to the Middle East to be refreshing, but some family was there too. Get off me) are feeling a bit empty like they need a change. I can relate, brothers. Perhaps the change I need is to learn to speak Kikai-speak a little better. I must say that Erica, who is the middle young lady in the above pic, was quite inspiring to Aubrey and me for the 4 days she was here. Her Japanese was at a decent level when she came over here at the same time Aubrey did 5 months ago, but it has already taken great leaps and bounds, which is really cool. If we had had the same level, I think we'd be the same place, but we didn't so we aren't. But we thank her for the encouragement - I've been studying quite a bit more and intend to do much better w/ time mgmt so as to study better every day. The funny thing is, when you live immersed in the language and you learn some new words, you can usually use at least a few of them w/in a day or two's time. That's cool you can't buy.
My English classes are steadily increasing in popularity, so that I have a class of 4-year-olds, about 5 classes of 6-7-year-olds, a class of 7-8-year-olds, a class of 10-year-olds, and an adult class. I'm about to take a 6th 6-year-old class... I'm getting a bit cramped, actually. I am struggling w/ my enthusiasm about these classes, I must admit. Taking on another 6-7-year-old class doesn't bother me since I already have ready-made curriculum for them, given the other ones are months ahead, but taking on a different age group is a pain in the rear. That is definitely a subject of prayer these days.As is my constant fatigue. I've felt tired most every day I can remember for the last 8-9 years at least, and I thought that it was worse while I was working the night shift. When I got to Kikai, I was sleeping 8.5-9 hours every night for about 40-50 days. That was when I realised that I still felt about the same after 9 hours of sleep as I did after about 7. So I just decided to forget it and have been sleeping around 7-7.5 most days since then, but I'm sick of being tired all the time. I'm on the 4th day of a no-caffeine-no-coffee-almost-no-sugar diet, though I don't think I was all that bad on any of those counts beforehand. I'm kind of hoping that it helps the problem and kinda hoping it won't (b/c I miss eating sweet snacks)...
Today Aubrey taught at the high school and I ate lunch w/ her. The weather today was clear skies, about 75 degrees, light breeze.
I wore shorts.
I think that's a fitting follow-up to my recent mention that we swam in the ocean on New Year's Day.
Speaking of New Year's, a monstrous hat tip to my little bro Steve for hooking me up w/ a website from which I can download college football bowl games. Y0u r4\/\/><0rz! And congrats on getting so many perks from your new company that it's like you're at double salary or something. You gotta tell me how to do that sometime.
Anyway, I've already watched about 3/5 of the Rose Bowl and am struggling to allow myself time to watch the rest. In time, all in good time. Next up is the Holiday Bowl and then the Shoogah Bowl. It's a little taste o' home. Yes, I do plan to consume some Chee-tos some time while watching - it'll be just like home actually.
Not speaking of New Year's, I'm happy to report that I learned Friday how to not stand in the middle of the court looking like an idiot while playing badminton. So now I may be an advantage, however slight, to my teammate during weekly badminton playtime. The guys around here take badminton serious, y'all. I've been hit in the face by one of those birdies a coupla times (actually, one time it was thrice in a 3-minute stretch by the same high-school girl. Maybe Aubrey embarrassed her in class or something) and it STUNG. So this ain't backyard badminton. But the upside is that I'll dominate when I come back to the States. At badminton. Fear the --thwing!-- of my racquet!
OK, my wrists hurt so I'm gonna call it quits. Love to all.