I had a wonderful vacation. It really couldn't have been much better, honestly. I didn't intend to take a vacation from writing, but that's what happened since I kept very busy.
So now I'm approximately 15 blog posts behind. No kidding. Here are some of the highlights from the past three weeks that I could easily write one or two posts about:
- The journey Liz and I took to Tokyo -- Wandering around Morioka for a day; being awake the entire night bus ride to Tokyo due to the man snoring behind me; going to the Imperial Palace grounds since it was the Emperor's birthday; getting to see the Emperor make a speech while we waved Japanese flags and shouted "bonzai!!" (which apparently means "Long live the Emperor!") Priceless.
- My trip from Tokyo to Indianapolis -- Being extremely lucky to fly out of Seattle since the airport had been closed the day before; having no problems flying out of Chicago, where there were many delays and cancellations; finally seeing my family -- a fantastic welcome committee -- behind the glass wall at the new, gorgeous airport.
- Christmas Day -- Celebrating with the entire Sease side of my family (pictured below) as well as my very good friend Ariel!
- Spending a week in Florida -- Quality time with my other grandparents, walks on the beach, sunbathing, perfect weather, a nice boat ride, swimming. Ah, paradise. (It's so cold here in Kuji. The ground is covered in snow, and I miss Florida!)
- Hanging out with friends -- Going to Franklin and catching up with great friends, a celebratory dinner where I got whipped cream in my face, lots of laughter (as usual), helping three of my friends book tickets to Japan (they're visiting the entire month of June!), meeting up with the group of students from Kuji.
- Being a "homestay family" -- Hosting Marina and Shiori at my house for a few days; having an ice cream party with them at 3 a.m. on the first night since none of us could sleep!; hanging out with them at Franklin Community Middle School for two days; touching sharks at the zoo as well as a real dinosaur bone at the Children's Museum; watching the girls have a great experience in Indiana.
- Sightseeing in Washington, D.C. -- Playing "tour guide" for the group; going to the monuments and memorials, Arlington Cemetery and a few of the Smithsonian museums; seeing the Capitol building set up for the Inauguration.
- The trip from D.C. to Kuji -- The 15-hour plane ride to Tokyo; watching practically every movie shown on the flight; checking on the students every couple of hours and at one point having a small "party" near the lavatory; finally arriving to the hotel in Tokyo; watching the group dig into bowls full of rice at breakfast, haha; *almost* getting my luggage stuck in the doors of the bullet train (you have to move quickly!); being part of a welcome ceremony for the group yesterday at City Hall.
Wow, no wonder I'm tired! I'm sure it sounds like I did enough for two months. But oddly, now that I'm back at my desk, it doesn't feel like I was gone long at all!
Time flies when you're having fun. True story.