D's Daze

Like seconds ticking away on my egg-timer.... these are the daze of my life

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Happy Daze
Why do I feel so happy today??
Perhaps its because I have no classes to teach ?? Can't be- since that happens often.
Perhaps it because Im almost done with a BIG farewell project for my students that are graduating? Possible, its only taken me the better part of the last three months!!

Or perhaps its because my world is lit with bright WARM sunshine. OK, OK maybe its "WARM" isnt exactly the best word to describe it. Its more like "warm-ish" Who cares! It just such a nice change from the weak watery COLD sunshine of the last FIVE months!

Or perhaps its something else?? Perhaps I am DREAMING?? Am I really in a world where everything is perfect (except visas to OZ) , and I am happy?? Or is the alarm going to go off soon and will I have to wake up??

Monday, February 23, 2004

WAKE UP CALL

In the early hours of saturday morning (2.15am to be precise) I was forced outa bed to answer my telephone.
It was my Father, determined to keep me give me popsicle toes in the sub zero tempratures, with his ideas on what I should be doing after my current contract expires.
Hes obviously given it a LOT of thought, and while I have my reservations, his support and encouragement is greatly appreciated (He probably wouldnt have guess at the time- because the conversation was punctuated with my yawns!)

Later as I lay in bed(wide awake until 5am- trying to defrost) I realised that my family has been the ONE constant in my life.
Dont get me wrong. People have come into my life, made an impressions & left. Friends, boyfriends and even a husband. Great impressions. Unforgettable Impressions. But now just impressions, memories in my mind. Each of them has moved on. As I have.

BUT my Mummy, Daddy & my Brother- they are ALWAYS there for me. Supporting and encouraging me. Accepting me and the methods in my madness.
No matter where I am-or what Im doing.
My Mother is my source of inspiration and a pillar of stength.
My Brother has in the last year & a half become my confidante & my BEST FRIEND.
My Father always comes through- even though there are times when this surprises me!

I KNOW I have never fully appreciated this- UNTIL NOW!

Why is it that some wake up calls just take longer to register???

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

PHONE HOME...
Last night I called a friend in SA. The DOOS wasnt waiting next to the telephone like I expected. Instead someone in his office answered.
I asked for him.
"Hold on a sec" she replied "I'll see if I can find him"
10 seconds later I heard his familiar voice and I started telling him off for not picking up the phone in the first place....
The rest of the conversation is not blog material.

The POINT of this blog entry IS:
That brief conversation- as unexpected as it was- with the woman in his office...
that conversation is still in my mind.
WHY???
Because while I was caught off guard, I was able to quickly respond. Ask and be comfortable with the response I got.
THATS a something I FORGOT could happen.

Here, in Japan...every time I make a phone call my heartbeat accelerates.
I get nervous.
I plan in my mind the words Im going to say.
And I panic when the person on the other side responds too fast or in new words Iv never heard and im unprepared for.

Ahhh...reverse culture shock...IS THIS what its going to be like???




Monday, February 16, 2004

Delayed Update
OK. A delayed review of the 5day long trip to the snow festival.

88 ALTS merrily got on a ferry on Friday 6/02, and almost rolled out the next morning. Yes there was lotsa alcohol involved, but also the motion of the ferry had us wobbling for days afterwards.

Sapporro:
Is on Hokkaido-the northern most island in Japan. Its tempratures are usually colder than Miyagi, and it gets LOTS & LOTS of snow. I was in D Heaven!! Snow was piled up & often higher than me!
Cars were covered in it. Bikes were lost in it. It was indeed a WINTER wonderland!!

The hotel:
The trip was really cheap, and when we got to the hotel we knew why!
It was clean and centrally heated(which was a NICE change from Miyagi!)...but...
The problem was the nearest loo was on the third floor(2nd in SA) and it was one of those horrible eastern loos!
The only western loo in the place was on the 1st floor (Ground in SA).
And there were 2 bathrooms. ALSO on the 1st/G floor!! (This was a recipie for late starts to every day and if you know my best friends( Bridget Jones & Twiddledum) you will know EXACTLY why!!! )

Saturday:
Settled into the hotel. We had a huge room on the 4th floor (3rd in SA). 7 girls one great big pyjama party.
An excited first look at the city in a blizzard that had us covered in snow & closely resembling the snow sculptures we were there to examine!
A trip to the Sapporro Beer Hall, for tabehodai(eat as much lamb as u like in 90 minutes) and nomihodai (drink as much beer as u like in 90 minutes).
Since Im not into beer I was as sober as a judge. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the others! It was quite an amusing sight to watch.
THEN as we were leaving...someone started a snowball fight. AS I said before there was loads and loads of soft throwable snow.
REMEMBER: Im a South African. I live in what is probably the most pathetic snow receiving part of Japan. This was my FIRST EVER snowball fight!!!
I was as happy as a pig in "shi*" Or to introduce a new expression: as happy as D in a snowball fight!!

On Sunday we visited a chocolate factory and MADE chocolate! I discovered a medical term for something I know too well: CHOCOPHILE!
FOR REAL. It is actually a recognised word...which must mean its a recognised state of mind/disease. I should know Iv lived with it all my life!!!
HI...Im Danola and Im a Chocophile....

Then we went to a good friend's (and co-workers) hometown-Otaru. About an hour outside Sapporro. The canal in Otaru was decorated with a million candles- both on the water and in the snow alongside. It was quite magical !!
Got lost in the snow & I loved every cold minute of it. Especially when Lindsey & Kristel lay in waist high snow that covered a car park...and waved their arms in the snow. To make snow angels of course!!!
Crazy girls...I love snow...but Im not NUTS!!! They walked around in wet clothes for hours after that!!!

On Monday we looked at more sculptures. I was blown out the water with the sculpture of the Taj Mahal. It was magnificent, and an identical copy. But it wasnt gleaming white marble. It was gleaming COLD snow!!
Then we went walkies on a mission to find the famous Ramen Alley. We were not disappointed. The best ramen Iv eaten in Japan. FOR SURE!
Then we went to Mt Moiwa. On a cable car type ropeway then up a ski lift( FFFFRRREEEEEZZING Cold) to check the nigt view over the city! Very pretty & romantic!
This was followed by a 4hour long dinner, accompanied by several bottles of wine and a bare your soul session of note!!

On Tuesday we wandered around the shopping area of Sapporro, had a leisurely brunch and fantacised about a life where we didnt have to work!!
Then we got back on the ferry and made our way home.
p.s It can take up to 8 days to recover from motion sickness. I should know. I still feel drunk minus the booze and the hangover!

The visit to Sapporro while filled with the silly events described above, was about so much more.
It was about bonding with people who have come to mean a lot to me.
It was about appreciating them for their wonderful personalities and funny habbits. It was about loving them for the things that annoy me and the things that impress me.
It was about saying goodbye to two wonderful women who I know have changed my life and the way I view the world around me.
In a few months we will scatter to different parts of the world.
Sapporro will always be a tribute to those two amazing women:drum roll drum roll Bridget Jones & Twiddledum.

















Friday, February 13, 2004

February Blues
Anyone who has EVER lived away from home has felt some kind of Culture Shock. If your international experience is in the Northern Hemisphere, you know that it is especially bad in February.
Its cold, and life seems full of doubts & disappointment.
But experience has taught me that this passes with the arrival of the sakura.
SO its not necessary to worry people far far away, with an emotional TEMPORARY mood swing!

Unfortunately not everyone knows or understands February Blues.
And thats a REAL pity!!!

I considered changing the address of this blogspot.
But I decided NOT to.

To know me is to love and accept me.
EVERYTHING about me.
And NOT just my favourable views of your country.

Ijo desu.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Broken Promises
SORRY! I know I promised a post uki-matsuri update.
I will I promise...
Just need some time to deal with the damage done by a public blogspot.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Cusp Decisions
So the results of the interview were not surprising.
Cant say im disappointed though- Iv been surprisingly sick of this place for the last four weeks.
Now that the decision has been made(and the relevant official papers submitted) I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders.
IM FREE
Im FREE to go home. Crime ridden, and as imperfect as it may be- its HOME! A land where I can understand TV commercials, and pizza menues dont take 10 minutes to decipher!
AHHH...the things you take for granted!!!

BUT...under serious threat from the powers that be here (hey I DONT mess with my Bridget Jones!!) I wont be investing in a "Fast Forward" button.
Im NOT stupid enough to miss out on the fantastic memories waiting to happen in the next 6 months.

I have lots to do....and I dont intend to miss a thing.

Starting with a 5 day weekend-with GREAT friends, to the SNOW FESTIVAL in Sapporro.We leave tonight!!!