Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...........

Here I am in the wedding gazebo in the New Otani hotel, waiting for our bus to take us to the airport. I'm smiling here but I'll be honest, I didn't want to leave. Sure, I wanted to see Scooter and E and be with my family/friends again but it's hard to give up the rock-star lifestyle I had become accustomed to!!!

I think they took us on the scenic route to the airport. I saw the harbor, Tokyo Disney, and a gigantic incinerating plant. The flight from Tokyo was 9 hours and then I had a 4 hour lay over in Los Angeles. Of course, the rudeness I has loved missing in Japan reared its ugly head when we were in customs. 3 international flights deplaned at the same time and people were so rude in lines, cutting and cussing out airport personnel. The flight from LA to Dallas was on a 66-seat airplane and took 3 hours. So in total, I'd been travelling 20 hours when I laid eyes on Scooter at the airport. I threw myself into a big hug. It was good to be home! Another hour in the car and I hit the door.

I am so grateful that this came my way. I am honored to have been chosen. I will forever be grateful that the Japanese government foot the bill; I was their guest and I was treated royally! I am grateful that Scooter totally supported this trip and took care of things while I was gone and thanks to those who kept an eye on him and E. (TK--you know who you are)
To all of you who have read this blog and left comments, thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading about Japan. I often find it difficult to use the right words to describe what I got to see and do. It was a life-changing/affirming experience and I will never be the same--and I think that's pretty cool. I took deep breaths and reminded myself to "be" in the moment and soak it all up and I did!! I may post little things here now and then, but the trip is over. Now, it's on to living in the present here.......

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008--Goodbyes

We all gave our group presentations to each other today, summarizing our experiences in our cities. We went first and I like that. I was surprised at how varied our city experiences were yet our school ones were very similar. I guess it it due to the fact that curriculum, instruction, etc., are all set by the national government. The kids everywhere learn basically the same things at around the same time through the same methods and materials.

We had our Sayonara Buffet tonight and it was bittersweet. I have come to like so many people I've met and I can't believe how much has happened in the days I spent in Japan. We were led by one of the staff members in a closing ceremony. You clap a certain way to end something. It was a sweet, solemn moment.

So of course, we went out after the party!!! I wasn't about to spend most of the night in the hotel!! We played virtual golf, I tried a "Tsunami" beer (a reddish lager), and ended the night by singing at a karoke bar. I like how it's done here--you rent your own room for karaoke so you sing in front of a friendly crowd. I didn't sing out loud but the guys did a great job with Barry White, Snoop Dogg, and Guns and Roses.

My heart ached all through the night when I thought about leaving. I was treated so well everywhere I went and had such an incredible experience. I wanted very much to see Scooter and E and be with all my family/friends again, but I have to be honest; I didn't want this to end. Thursday morning came way too quickly.