Wednesday, August 6, 2008

babysitting blues & the intro to MOPO

So my jam-packed summer is almost over-only 2 weeks until I officially become a Judson Jalapeno Pepper(yatta!-that would be a japanese YAY!!!) on move-in day. I should probably be spending my limited time left in GA hanging out with my best friend, relaxing at the lake, catching up on some much needed summer reading, BUT against my will I have already become a flat out broke college student. Most kids would get a job, but I don't stay in one city long enough to hold one soooo I babysit. This time it's 3 sports obsessed boys who, despite my efforts, will simply NOT sit down for 5 seconds. Basketball, jumping on the trampoline, swimming, card tournaments, 3 straight games of pool...even after 7 hrs of this draining funfest they dont want to watch cartoons or even play a video game. What happened to the new generation of technology obsessed children who can't pry themselves away from Xbox live or Wii?!

When I took this job I was banking on lounging around & watching Hannah Montana (ok..maybe that's a stretch considering these 3 are manly men machines in the making). I certainly did not see cleaning up new puppy poop off the carpet in my job description but money is money & unfortunately it's necessary in a world with $4 a gallon gas.

After these long days, all I want to do is unwind with some quality MOPO time! That would be time with my best friend Peyton, aka: PO---the MOPO started back in our tween days when nicknames for best friends were supercool, as was shopping at Limited Too & awkward group dates at the roller rink. Oh the good ol' days! Since then, Peyton and I have matured TREMENDOUSLY and now participate in extremely sophisticated activities. Our favorite is driving around with the windows down, jamming to CASCADA-the cream of the crop when it comes to technopop(trust me on this one)-or visiting the brand new "crazyspinnything" as we like to call it at a neighborhood playground. Only recently we've had to refrain from using it after Peyton spun one time too many, only to emerge cross eyed & bow legged, with a glob of drool on her chin. Calling my name, she reached for me frantically but unfortunately was too dizzy to find me.In her confusion she threw herself on top of a now traumatized 8 year old. It was possibly one of the funniest moments of my life :)

Well, tomorrow's another 7 hour 'experience' (the nicer word for it) so I better get some rest and mentally prepare myself for battle. Make sure to check out my first includes pictures of some of my 'summer adventures' since being back in the states!!!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

It's good to be back in the US of A

Good ol' country watermelon with the family

Kayaking on Lake chatuge
"Purikura" {POODEEKUDAH}-fancy name for photobooth in Japanese- with my friends in Tokyo

My last trip to Narita Intl' Airport (Tokyo)
Mountain Biking on Long Island
This Japanese beef-bowl chain was smack-dab in the middle of Times Square!

This being my first blog entry & all, I figured I would write about my experiences this summer. Unfortunately, my summer has been kind of mundane compared to the usual chaos that June through August entails. As a kid growing up in America, my summers were pretty basic. I swam, played soccer in the blistering Georgia heat, did the dreaded BACK TO SCHOOL shopping, & read & wrote (the nerd in me couldn't just sleep for over 2 months!). This summer, I have one goal in mind-adjusting.
After moving to Tokyo, Japan about 3 years (or lifetimes) ago, it's safe to say that my life has changed considerably. Every summer during the 2.5 months away from our "home" in the Far East, I live out of 2 significantly sized suitcases (roughly the height of my 9 year old brother) & a few more miscellaneous bags, hopping from spot to spot. I usually take a chaotic tour up & down the East Coast...spending time with my grandparents in Atlanta, my friends in NC, my grandparents in SC & my boyfriend in NY. If I'm lucky (and brave), I sometimes get to add a short trip abroad into the mix. We are blessed to have the opportunity to experience such a unique lifestyle, but the packing, re-packing (x 25), & traveling with stuffed suitcases bursting at the seams can be sliiightly draining. At the end of the madness, my mom, sister and I take a 3 hour long trip to Target with one thing in! Japanese characters look like funny stick figures to the untrained eye, & it can be all too easy to confuse anti-fungus foot cream with extra-moisturizing shampoo when buying toiletries without english labels. We learned early on that running out of your favorite Herbal Essences shampoo in November when you wouldnt return home until December simply will NOT we store up like it's the apocalypse. Of course we add a few items for good measure since half of our "supplies" end up bursting in our suitcases at some point during the long voyage. The downside: your favorite clothes can end up with some funky looking stains. The upside: your suitcase smells fresh & fruity for months at a time!
And the driving. It is all too cruel that the Japanese drive their cars on the left side of the road, with their steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle. Two times too many I have found myself pulling out of the Target (usually slightly delerious from the toiletry frenzy) straight into the entrance lane. Fortunately, panicked witnesses of my oblivion blast their horns to save me from potential disaster. Unfortunately, I confuse my windshield whiper switch with that of my blinker & all I can do is curse whoever decided against globalizing the rules of the road.
This summer I've simply been adjusting back to life in America. Yes, I am still technically a nomad until move-in day in August. I've been to NY to see my boyfriend, spent time at the beach with my family, & relaxed on the lake with my best friend but I have yet to stay in one place for over a week at a time. I still find myself scanning the soap aisles, hoarding coupons for items in bulk & on sale, however I can say with pride that I have yet to drive on the wrong side of the road(!!!!), to the relief of many, I'm sure.