But nevertheless, goodbyes are part of life. I've had to say quite a few in the past couple of weeks, and this is just the beginning.
Two weekends ago, there was a farewell party for nearly 50 ALTs (foreigner invasion!!) and English-speaking Japanese friends in Iwate prefecture who will soon be leaving Japan. We spent the weekend in cabins near the beach, had an awesome cookout, and it was tons o' fun. I have beautiful beach photos to share next time. :)
It was great to make several new friends, but the bummer is that many of my new friends are leaving the country! Shuko, for instance...
Shuko is going to India soon to be an English proofreader! Perhaps I can visit one day?? She lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a while, and we bonded immediately. She told me I'm the only foreigner she's met who knows all about Lancaster! Hello!? Good N' Plenty is one of my very favorite restaurants EVER! "Lancaster is #1, haha."
Here's another shot from the cookout at the sayonara party in Yamada (about 2.5 hours south of Kuji):
All new friends, who I met for the first time at the party. Ellie is holding up a unique kind of potato chip -- umeboshi chips!! Gross. As a reminder, umbeshois are those nasty, dried sour plum things.
On Tuesday, I said farewell to Mayla, who should be back home in Minnesota by now. I attended two sayonara parties for Mayla -- one with the office and one that was just for friends.
City Hall gave Mayla a yukatta (the summer kimono that she's wearing) with accessories as her going away present. Random fact: Sato-san is in the background emceeing, and it's his birthday today!
Two of my office friends--Sachi and Yuka--and me with Mayla, who looks so cute in that yukatta!
Taken at "Sayonara Party for Mayla #2." Mayla, you'll be missed!!
Our eikawa (English conversation class) at a goodbye party for Jemma last Friday. Her friends from New Zealand are the couple who are third from the left.
Jemma and Sean both leave on August 5th, so there's still a couple of weeks left with them. :) The ALT who's coming to replace Jemma arrives next Friday(!), and my friend Nate from Franklin--who will take Mayla's job--is coming on August 8th. I don't know anything about Sean's replacement yet.
With Mayla and Sean leaving, I'm going to be a bit busier since I'll lead a couple of eikawas that they used to lead. Also, I'm going to start taking guitar lessons! Tonight is my first lesson, actually. It's something I've been thinking about for a while, and I'm pretty excited about beginning this new hobby, with Kenji as my teacher. Kenji used to give weekly guitar lessons to Mayla, and she became quite good. :)
Then after my guitar lesson tonight, Kenji is going to help Oliver, Julian, Liz and I use a Japanese Web site to book plane tickets to Thailand!!! The four of us are going the first week of November, and I'm pumped!! We have a lot of talking and planning to do for the trip.
So with all of the goodbye shindigs and changes happening around here, there's a lot to look forward to, too!