We're going to shotgun our way through this, kids, so we can get to the good stuff (aka 2012, the year I can mostly remember without reading old e-mails or slogging through Facebook), and I'll slow down a little, maybe do a whole post for this past year. A lot happened in it, after all. But for now, we've got five years of my scintillating life to catch you up on!
February 2006: Went to New York to give a paper at an East Asian Studies conference at Columbia. I felt very grown-up, very professional, even though it was just my undergrad thesis, brushed up and re-tooled a little. I got bad billing: the second-to-last time-slot of the last day, so at least half of my audience consisted of my family. Which was nice in some ways (especially since the paper dealt a little with filial piety and the importance of family in pre-modern Japan) and a little embarrassing in others. But we had a marvelous time at brunch the day after, so I'm glad they were there after all. And the snow! The biggest storm New York had ever had, at least since they began keeping records. Thigh-high drifts everywhere, beautiful, but deadly inconvenient, at least once I had to leave. My flight sat on the tarmac for 5 hours before finally taking off and arriving at 5AM in Oakland. A dear ballroom friend picked me up at this ungodly hour, and I caught a little sleep before getting right back up and heading to class. A scholar's work is never done!
Me, in the snow, in Brooklyn.
|Spring birthdays are the best!|
May 2006: All my friends from my Japanese language class are graduating, so I went to the department ceremony (the big one in the stadium is too scary for me, plus I think you need tickets). I also went to a graduation party a few nights later, even though I was tired and not interested much in going, and met a very intriguing young man...! [FUTURE ME: Naturally, we're not speaking anymore, but we'll have to feign ignorance of the inevitable end--indeed, the inevitable ends of ALL the relationships but one, as I rehash this very old news]. For his privacy, let's call him...Ishmael. Hee.
June 2006: After closing up my apartment for the summer (I'll be back for about five minutes in July, and I don't want it sublet because I don't have anywhere to stash all my stuff), I headed home for 3 weeks and to Woods Hole for one. Woods Hole all by myself. It was interesting. I had no car, and it was pretty early in the season, so there weren't very many people and it was chilly--even rained a few times, and the wind off the Sound was so strong on my way home from the supermarket (and, I admit, from Christmas Tree Shops...), it nearly blew me off my bicycle. I got a lot of work done on my photo album from Japan, saw a few friends, and probably ate my weight in pastry from Pie in the Sky (there you go, Erik, a little free publicity!). It was calm and quiet and I enjoyed it very much. I think I would like to live there when I am old and possibly alone.
July 2006: I went to three parties in Berkeley while I was back there, for about 30 hours in between my return flight from the East Coast and my departure to Japan. Ishmael went to Berkeley and lives in Oakland, so he still has a lot of friends in the area, as well as coworkers. He's a big happy puppy of a guy, so I'm looking forward to joining his social circle as well as bringing him into mine. He's also retooled his vacation so that he can visit me in Japan after his trip to Thailand! I am a happy girl, made even happier by the random upgrade to business class on my JAL flight to Tokyo, which I think is probably like first class on most other airlines. I can't imagine what first class is like. I think it must be like Paradise. For a more detailed description of my flight and my first day in Japan, please read From Tokyo with Love, Part 1.
August 2006: From Tokyo with Love, Part 2 was my sop to my audience, since I got so caught up in the days of classes, homework, excursions, hanging out with my friends and my host family, and the heavy Tokyo humidity that I didn't really post anything about the rest of the trip except an album of Facebook photos (so if you're friends with me, check it out) and a picture of me holding a souvenir katana on this blog. I had some great ideas for posts, too: one about the field trip we took to the local temple in town, which was to be entitled "Zen and the Art of Staying Awake"; another about the field trip we took to a sumo stable, which was to be entitled "Sumo and the Art of Staying Awake" (are we noticing a theme here? I was EXHAUSTED most of the time, which was my own stupid fault; if I had just gone to bed at 10PM like an adult most nights, I would've been fine. But Internet! And chatting! And homework! Add to that the fact that my bladder never adjusted to the time difference and I was getting up and stumbling down a very steep flight of steps to the bathroom at 5AM, and I was lucky I managed to stay awake in class, never mind these extra events that required us to get up early or stay out late); and another about the INCREDIBLE food my host family keeps stuffing into me, despite my protests (oh, who are we kidding? I'd sit up on my hind legs and beg if that would get them to feed me more). See, my host father just quit his job right before I got to Japan [FUTURE ME: and got a new one a few weeks after I left! Go Tatsuya-san!], and my host mother didn't work, so once they figured out that I would eat pretty much anything they put in front of me (I had already told them I didn't like squid, raisins, natto, and puru-puru-mono, which translates roughly to "wobbly things", like Jell-O), they spent a lot of time and energy (and probably money) to make all sorts of amazing deliciousness. And they took me to awesome tasty places too: the kushi-age place where my host father hung out in college, peach and grape picking in the mountains, and a restaurant that served only mushroom dishes, also in the mountains. And then Ishmael came to visit, and it was super-fun and very romantic. And then it was time to go home, and my host mother cried, and I cried a little too, but I was pretty happy to be back in the US when I got there (in my economy-class seat; no upgrades this time!). And that's how I spent my summer vacation.
September 2006: I spent the first semester of my first year getting comfortable in my new home, learning the ropes in the department, and making friends, but I needed money by the end of it (a brief project of Not Buying Anything during the fall of 2005 worked okay, but I should have paid myself a small salary every month and stuck with it instead of just dipping into the principal every time I needed something), so I got a winter-break job working the phones at the Call Calling Center soliciting for donations, and, as described in my January 2006 post, I started as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) the second semester. I got another position as GSI, this one in the East Asian Language and Cultures department, teaching Buddhism 101. It's pretty fun and the other GSI for the class actually likes me and we get along, as opposed to the terrible bitch who, by the end of the last course I taught, wouldn't make eye contact, speak to me directly, or take something from my hand. I like my students and the discussions are interesting--well, I'm interested, anyway. Ballroom has picked up and I have a new partner!
October 2006: So much dancing and teaching, as usual. I don't remember much about this part of the year. I was pretty happy, although I remember feeling kind of crummy on Halloween, so I went shopping at the Ross at Shattuck and Allston, and getting some cute things. A lot of my friends from my program graduated last year, so my social circle has shifted to Ishmael's and ballroom pretty exclusively. Wish I had more than that; even this new-fangled "Facebook" thing isn't yielding a lot of memories.
November 2006: Ishmael and I went to Rock Haven for Thanksgiving, and he met my mom. We had a nice time. I had to do a lot of homework and thesis prep, but Ish took one of the smaller guests out for an epic Nerf battle, which did wonders for everyone's mood. I'll take this month's space to mention the sewing/hangout/nerd circle that I started going to in the spring, at first just to have my ballroom gown altered, but now I'm friends with them all, and it's really, really nice, and I love them very much [still do!].
December 2006: I spent part of Christmas break with Ishmael's family, and went home on Christmas Day. I'd never been to his part of the country before, and it was a lot of fun. When I got to BWI, my mom had my stocking in the car for me to open while we drove home, which was great! Then I spent the break how I usually do, sleeping late, eating a lot of things, reading my new books, seeing my friends and going to movies. Then it was 2007. I'm going to graduate this year! Eeek!