Gracious Acceptance

Word of advice: Accept gifts graciously.

Whatever you may do afterward with a gift, that is up to you entirely.

But allow the giver to give to you the gift, and the gift to accomplish its task of being given, even if you don’t want the gift or feel you don’t need or deserve the gift – accept both offers graciously, and the world will be a happier, more love-filled place.

It might seem a tad ridiculous, but, if you have given a genuine gift that was not accepted kindly, you can understand what I mean.

Post-a-day 2018

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A silly thought

Okay, let’s accept this little fact before we get into this silly thought I had today: Everyone farts.  I think there’s a book on it, even.  I once bought a dinosaur book for my nephew that illustrates the potential sounds that various dinosaur farts might have had, and how their poop might have looked (because everyone poops, too, you know).  A nurse once talked to a group of us about how something like ten farts a day suggests a healthy body and diet for humans.

Makes you want to start keeping track, doesn’t it?  😛

Now that we have that out of the way, the thought I had today.  Have you ever left someone that sad present in an elevator?  (Dreadful idea, I know!)  The poisonous trap, provided especially for you by a stranger.

I was all alone in the elevator today, just going up one floor (the stairs are inaccessible, unfortunately).  I had actually seen only two other people even in the building so far in the day, and no one was around when I got on the elevator.  No one is usually around on the floor where I was getting off the elevator.  Even still, when a bit of gas presented its desire to escape, I hesitated – I guess it’s just that engrained in me not to let it go in an elevator.  Seeing as no one was around, though, I went ahead and let it slide.  (I guess that’s literal, too.)  It was small, I could tell, and so harmless in almost any setting, anyway.

When the doors opened, and I began to walk out of the elevator, releasing the end of my internal chemistry class experiment, I was presented with a man in the hallway… and he walked directly into the elevator!  I think I couldn’t have opened my eyes any wider as I considered the situation while I walked down the hall.  I barely even saw the man, because we were walking in opposite directions, and I had to turn the corner almost immediately.  But he was there, and he went straight into the elevator.

I just left him a present in the elevator, went through my mind.  And I laughed instantly.  Naturally…

My only solace was that it was definitely a small fart and he was only going a maximum of one floor… so, there was a chance that he might not even notice it.

But there was also totally a chance that he would notice it and would know exactly what had happened: a friendly stranger had left him a present in the elevator.  Face in palms… 😛

So, have you ever done it?  This was definitely my first.  I think so, anyway.

Have a great night, folks!

Post-a-day 2018

A different kind of Christmas gift-giving, I suppose

I’m not sure when or exactly how I stopped the regular giving of Christmas presents, but it feels like it has been a long and slow progression from standard present-giving to no present-giving at all.  This is not to say that I do not give love to my loved ones – I certainly do.  It is just that I give my love in the form of concern, interest, and time.  I plan out things for us to do together, and I get us to go do them together.  I find a way to get myself halfway across the country to be with the family members who have been on their own in recent years, missing the family.  And I make things like this seem like they are only natural, and why would anyone not do such a thing.  Not as a way to show off or anything, of course, but because they are just so easy to me.  Kind of like the ends justifying the effort, and therefore making the effort almost no strain at all.

And so far as giving physical presents are concerned, I do still give those from time to time in life.  However, I give them, because there I something I want to give to someone, there is something I want to do for someone.  It usually is not tied to any particular holiday or day.  It is tied merely to the fact that I care about the person, and there is something I want to give to him/her.  I re-made an acquaintance a few years ago, and, after only two meet-ups and discussions, I left a present at the person’s front door in secret.  It was a book I felt sure this person would love, and that I wanted this person to be able to experience, after our discussions together.  (Turns out that it was a total hit.) I’m not sure we ever saw one another again, due to various circumstances, but that was okay.  That is life sometimes.  The point was that I gave the present freely and genuinely, and expected and wished for nothing in return.  My only hope was that the book be enjoyed, and it was.

For me, that kind of thing is normal.  I give, because I want to give, and there usually is a something specific that I want to give.  At Christmas, I used to feel a need to give to everyone I know.  And I would be almost frustrated at being unable to do such a thing.  I guess this is how that situation has evolved over recent years, with last year, alone in Japan and with very little income, being a rather large factor in how Christmas looks this year for me.  When I accepted that it really wouldn’t work to do most anything physical for people, I suddenly noticed how I didn’t really like the whole situation in the first place.

It’s like how I made strong efforts to figure out what kind of scarf a friend of mine would use, and made one for him for Christmas.  And he gave me some socks from home, that were socks for a type of shoe that I never even wear, and were a color that I definitely don’t even own (and on purpose).  We definitely discussed this all after the fact, and even laughed about it.  We just had totally different attitudes toward the gift-giving.  I had thought about giving him a good scarf a long time before Christmas.  Due to my laziness mostly, I believe, I didn’t end up making it until the week before Christmas, using Christmas as my back-up plan for giving him the scarf (kind of a no later than this date thing for giving him the scarf, because i might never do it otherwise).  But I had found out material and color and style and everything that would be appropriate and most helpful for his scarf.  He, on the other hand, had wanted to give me a Christmas present, and so looked for something that would be suitable for a Christmas present between new friends.  His gift was totally appropriate for such standards.  Quite frankly, though, spending time together would have been much more valuable to and appreciated by me than a pair of socks that have nothing to do with me.  Plus, it’s a better way of life, being less wasteful with our resources.  😛

Anyway, this all just has to do with the fact that I don’t like doing the mandatory or obligatory presents for holidays, and might even dislike it.  Yes, I like that it gives a specific opportunity to consider something special to give to another.  No, I don’t like how often we give/receive things no one seems to want or to find useful in life in our society right now.  And so I have let go of participating in it.  I think my dad’s side of the family will struggle for at least a few more years with the idea, still wondering why they should give to me, if I am not giving to them – hint: I have told them that I do not need anything given to me for Christmas or my birthday, but, if they desperately want to give me something, they can give me a pony.  I think a pony is the only thing for which I have asked for my birthday since I was around 13 or 14.  Not that I expect one, by any means, but it would be spectacular to have a pony given to me for my birthday.  Otherwise, there’s nothing that comes to mind without feeling wasteful in the world.

It kind of takes away a bit of the feeling of Christmas, not exchanging presents with everyone.  However, I currently am happy without the presents – all I ever really want is time together with the ones I love.  The presents are almost upsetting to me, considering my background with stuff and feeling incredibly wasteful if I ever get rid of anything.  I usually prefer receiving nothing, so I don’t have to feel bad at either not using it or at wanting to give it away or throw it away, when its time has really come to an end.

Post-a-day 2017

But… those are mine – the things we do for love <3

Girls and bracelets.  Seems like a rather simple topic, right?  Just girls and bracelets.  Nothing special.  Today, however, they were both special.

It was my last day going by the school where I have been based this past year.  A student had been in touch to find out this information, and so knew that I was going to be there today in the morning.  When I arrived at my (well, it’s not my former desk, but I guess it must have still been mine, since the stuff all on it was for me) desk, I was surprised by a small and adorable (because Japan) pile of wrapped gifts.  Each one had a different note and was from someone different, both teachers and students.  They all surprised me, but the one that got me ready for tears was the one on a beautiful piece of Rapunzel Disney (C) paper, with “Love” tape to attach it to the pink bag.  It read:

Dear Hannah
Present for you.

From Nono, Yuna

These were the two main trumpet players in the band at school, the two with whom I had spent bits of time here and there, just listening to them play, chatting with them, having lunch with them, taking photos with and of them, letting them paint me (yes, they painted my arms one day), giving them fun jazz (which they had never heard!) music to play, and also playing trumpet with them.  Of course, I am going to miss these two dearly.

However, I never quite expected a present from them.  Let alone the nice little Japanese mirror, charm, and coin purse (or maybe it’s for makeup, even).  They’re designed to go with the whole yukata/kimono getup, and I had never found ones to go with mine.  So it was essentially a perfect going-away present for me!  And they had no idea.  They were just being sweet and giving me something Japanese.

So, a short time later, they show up to the teachers’ room and ask for me.  I rush over to them and shove them out of the teachers’ room in a hurry – no one else needs to be part of this little celebration-slash-goodbye ordeal that’s about to go down.

With the two are a handful of other girls from the band, too.  I thank them eagerly (Is that right?  Let me check… “eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest. eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint,” says merriam-webster.com, so I accept it as appropriate in this case.), and give hugs all around.  Some embrace the american social norm, and others delight in it hesitantly, but they all hug me with joy and enthusiasm.  I will miss these guys, runs through my head as we’re all chatting and being silly together, and I know my thought is right.  I will miss them desperately, and I know they will miss me, too.  The simple fact that my successor is not even musically inclined shows the unlikelihood of their finding a replacement-ish for me, and the fact that I am leaving Japan almost guarantees that I couldn’t even begin to find a sort of replacement for all of them.

As we are wrapping things up, so that they can go eat before they have to be back at band rehearsal (to which I had been listening earlier on in the morning, secretly), I notice yet again a comment directed at my shins-ankles-feet region.  i couldn’t hear what was said, as it wasn’t said to me.  Each time it happened, the comment was almost whispered to another girl, just quietly enough that I couldn’t quite hear.  But I could see.

I wondered if they were finally noticing how I don’t shave my legs – I kind of gave up shaving… not sure where I’m going with that in life, but it seems to be the current situation.  I am always happy to talk about almost anything with the girls, despite their often being incredibly shy about most things.  So, as I usually do, I encourage the comment to come to the open.

Finally, someone gets the nerve enough to say it aloud, and I am surprised.  It was not, as I thought, anything to do with my hairy legs (it is dirty blonde, after all, so it isn’t all too noticeable in the first place, but I imagine they’re all accustomed to mine already anyway, plus they seem to love the colors in all my various hairs (since they’re not just black, like Japanese people’s)).  What was the comment regarding?  My anklet.

“She… want… it,” was the oh-so-embarrasing phrase.  And oh, what self-searching consideration I had to make all of a sudden – I was amazed at myself at my success in the matter.

And so, as we all hug once more (or twice more) and say our goodbyes, I watch with a huge smile and a chuckle, as three of the girls bounce off wearing my anklet and two bracelets, all of which I had made for myself a couple or few years ago, and all of which I absolutely love wearing.  But, hey, as I told the girls, I made those myself, so I can get some more Mookaite and Jasper stones when I get back to Houston (I might even still have some, actually), and make myself some new versions of those same bracelets and the matching anklet.  Plus, as much as those meant to me, it pales in comparison to how much each now (and likely for the rest of their lives) means to those girls.  As they say in Japanese, one of them told me that it is her “precious treasure”.  I’m not sure they could have been more grateful, even if I had made the bracelets for them specifically.

I still kind of can’t believe those girls got my bracelets and anklet off of me.  But I also love how wonderful it felt to give away a part of myself to those who so greatly longed for a bit of it.  It was more than just giving away something I had with me, because it was 1)something I valued and 2)something I made myself, for myself.  It really was giving away a part of me.  It kind of feels like I’ll be able to take care of them forever, in some small way.  I like that.

Anyway, that was about ten minutes of today.  A really, really good ten minutes.  🙂


 

Post-a-day 2017