Saturday, December 15, 2007

Preparing for Christmas

So I was in London over my birthday weekend and I was "helping" my parents get ready for a big Christmas party they were putting on. The house is not fully decorated yet but here are some pictures as we start to get it ready. The tree is amazing! it is kind of a cross between a Dr. Seuss tree and the tree in the Nutcracker at the moment it grows crazy big and the nutcracker comes to life. The ceilings are bout 12 feet I think. We had to cut the tree down a bit to fit the star, and the star still touches the ceiling.
Just a quick note about the second picture. Well my dear sister Ashely gave my parents a framed photo of her and Geoff to try to balance out the Meredith pictures. Well what did my mum do? She went to the computer and printed off another picture of Meredith and put it in a frame. Meredith 3, Ashely 1. hehe lets keep up the good work Mer. Sorry Alec, you didn't make the cut at all.
Anyway, my childhood home was made for Christmas and I can't wait to get back there and to continue "helping" and relaxing in everything a Tokyo Christmas is NOT!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

24 (me this time, not Bauer!)

Well today is my birthday.
Last night I was thinking about my birthday and what it means for me to turn 24, I was thinking of how I have survived and thrived for 24 years and now I get to were the that number like a badge. Badges, like when I was in Brownies and every accomplishment and/or completed task was marked by a badge on my sash. Well that little thought lead to other thoughts as so often happens. I started to think of all the badges I have accumulated in this past year. In my version there are badges for failures and disappointments as well as achievements as both equally build and inform who I am as a person.
My biggest and most glitzy badge is the one that says "Completed a full year in Japan". This is a very important badge since there are many other badges that had to be acquired before this one was able to be given. There are badges from before my 23rd birthday to make it possible but I will list only those acquired since turning 23, they read something like:
"Moved to 2nd Apt in Japan, 1st in Tokyo"
"Started new job in Tokyo"
"Survived 1st Christmas Away from Home"
"New Years In Tokyo"
"Totally Rocked Tokyo's Transit System"
"Kyoto 1"
"Koya San"
"Bonded with Sister"
"Kyoto 2"
"Survived Homesickness 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, . . . . . 16."
"Survived the Last Train Home Rush 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, . . . .19
"Bought Bike"
"Bought bed and bookcase"
"Health Insurance"
"Pension Plan"
"Tokyo Disneyland"
"Read Pride and Prejudiced 1,2"
"Tokyo Disney Sea"
"Sushi Addict"
"Found Second Hand English Bookstore"
"Survival Japanese Course"
"Watched all Seasons of House, Scrubs, 24, Gray's Anatomy, Life on Mars, Friends, Fresh Prince, Weeds, Nip Tuck, Heroes"
"Acquired Re-Entry Permit"
"Visit to Japanese Hospital"
"Fell in Love with Tokyo 1"
"Danced all Night 1, 2, 3, 4, 5"
"Needed to get out of this city before I lose it"
"Fell in Love with Tokyo 2"
"Books Read No Longer Fit in Bookcase"
"Too many good byes"
"Internal dialog champ"
"Me, Myself, and I Bonding"
"Author of Lonely in Tokyo for Dummies"
"Started 2nd Job in Tokyo"
"Met Cute Saudi Boy"
"Fell in Love with Tokyo 3"
"3rd Apt in Japan, 2nd in Tokyo"
"Karaoke Addict"
"Made a New Friend"
"Fireworks Magic"
"Made Another New Friend"
"Went On A Vacation With A Boy"
"Made Another New Friend 2, 3, 4, 5,........15"
"Too Many Good Byes 2"
"Handed in Alien Registration Card to Airport Immigration"
"Home with tears"
"Bought Round the World Ticket"
"Moved in with Sister and Family"

There are badges that are still in the works like "Transition back to Toronto" and "Life After Tokyo"

These are my badges, the badges that marked my 24th year. I am sure there are more badges that could go on the list, this past year was no exactly what one would call uneventful or boring....even if I streamed more TV that I thought humanly possible. There was a lot of learning, disappointments, hardships, tears, bubbling excitement, dancing, know, life in Tokyo, my life. A life lived in exclamation marks.

Now onto my 25th year.... oh what fun- LA, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Tibet, Paris, a family reunion, a train trip across Canada (more sister bonding)....and that's just the first 6 months!!! Who knows man! who knows?! Life can be pretty absurd, all the more reason to use exclamation marks!!

Despite whatever personal struggle I might find myself in I am pretty much a very happy camper. I am living a blessed life and I am embracing it.

That's it for me, for now.