Adulting: slumber party edition

My mom, my oldest brother, and I had a semi-spontaneous sleepover last night, when my brother was visiting Texas for work (but about three hours away from Houston), and we decided to make a miniature event of his being drastically closer than Wisconsin.

After spending the evening together and with a couple other family members, the three of us stayed up talking for another two hours after the lights were out…

It was a really good night. ūüôā

Love family.

Post-a-day 2018

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FaceTime

Today (March 5th) is my brother’s birthday. ¬†He lives in Texas. ¬†My dad called me tonight, as a sort of reminder about my brother’s birthday. ¬†This is one thing I love about my dad’s side of the family – we all remind the family whenever it is someone’s birthday. ¬†There are funny bits to this, of course, because it often means that whoever’s birthday it is gets a load of messages and phone calls all at the same time, followed by the thought of, ‘Hmm… I wonder what message just went out to everyone.’ ¬†For example, when it is my sister’s husband’s birthday, my sister sends a group text to the family, telling us¬†that it is his birthday.¬† Within about five minutes, we have all either called or sent a birthday message to him. ¬†There’s no way we all just happen to think of his birthday at the same time, so our ‘cover’ is just plain nonexistent – we were clearly reminded of the birthday. ¬†But, the point is that we all care enough to wish the family member well on his/her birthday. ¬†My dad, I think, is the one who started this sort of tradition we have.

Another aspect of the birthday tradition that my dad created is the song “Birthday” by the Beatles. ¬†Every year, without fail, he finds some way to play the song for us on each of our birthdays. ¬†One year, my eldest sister had an early-morning flight, and so expected to miss the song, since it was always played at home. ¬†However, my dad surprised her with playing the song in the car on the way to the airport (at 6am). ¬†When I was abroad, he would Skype or telephone me, making sure to play the song at the start of the call.

Today, as he was talking to me to remind me about my brother’s birthday, he checked the sound of the song with me, to make sure I could hear it well enough. ¬†He said that he was planning to call my brother right after he got off the phone with me, and I saw that FaceTime had an option to add a call, so we went ahead and called my brother on FaceTime (I did, anyway), by clicking the “add call” button. ¬†However, it ended up not working the way an “add call” button suggests it might¬†work, so I improvised.

Right now, I’m sitting with my laptop on my lap, my phone on the lap of my laptop. ¬†On my phone, I am FaceTime Video-ing with my brother. ¬†On my laptop, I am FaceTime Audio-ing with my dad. ¬†It is the middle of the night for me and the middle of the morning for my brother and dad. ¬†The three of us are talking as though we’re all just hanging out together. ¬†Right now, of course, the two of them are having a bit of their own chatting time, and I am typing. ¬†This points to what is possibly my favorite part of this: I, in Japan, am joining two people on a phone call, who are barely an hour or two apart from one another in Texas. ¬†I’m not even talking right now, but the whole reason they are able to talk to one another is because of me, over here in Japan. ¬†So, it’s kind of like their conversation is taking the long way around… the Really long way.

Or something like that, anyway. ¬†ūüėõ

 

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Buns and Handkerchiefs

Today, at the train station, my brother and I were looking for a place to sit down and eat our lunch. ¬†We found a single spot on this rounded bench, and went for it. ¬†I originally attempted sitting on my bag, but was uncertain as to its ability to withstand the weight, so ended up sitting on the bench (at my brother’s insistence), with my brother squatting in front of me. ¬†We were chitchatting about the food as he opened up the bags (it was some dumplings and pork buns from this famous local bun shop, 551), and the old lady next to me readjusted her belongings a bit, and scooted to her left enough of army brother to sit down next to me.

He thanked her in a fabulous Japanese fashion (so proud!), and took the seat.  As he had the box of buns in his hands, when he opened it up, he offered one of them to the lady.  After some coercing, she finally accepted a half, and even one of the shrimp dumplings, as well (she seemed to perk up a bit when she saw the dumplings, and had no hesitation in the offer of one of those).

She and my brother continued a bit of chitchat about the fact that the buns were from the famous shop, as well as why each of them was there (This was all in Japanese, of course, so I understood the bulk, but couldn’t quite jump into the conversation due to the Japanese and the fact that we were on a rounded bench, so I couldn’t quite see the lady, unless I leaned way forward.). ¬†Eventually, after she learned that I was his younger sister, I heard the same comment I always seem to get here in Japan: that I am “cute”. ¬†While it is not exactly something we love to be called back in the US, it is actually a quite nice compliment here in Japan.

Then, as my brother explained about my living in Japan, she asked me how I liked it. ¬†I gave a half smile and wobbled my head a bit, but couldn’t bring myself to spit out any words – I truly had no idea how to answer, and I could feel something uncomfortable rising inside me already. ¬†Fortunately, my brother, perhaps sensing my hesitation-slash-unwillingness-to-answer, took over answering the question for me.

His answer, however, surprised me Рhe was quite open and honest with the woman.  I, just in thinking about it all was already starting to tear up, but I felt a small sense of relaxation and relief as I listened to my brother share with the lady how I was not having too easy or good a time (and that that was part of why I had come down to visit him for the weekend).  I had finished eating what I was going to eat, so I excused myself, saying it would be good to jump in the line for the bathroom before I had to go get on my train.

Once I reached the bathroom line, I couldn’t help it, the feeling was so overpowering: tears started pouring down my burning eyes, as I gasped quietly for air. ¬†I couldn’t quite understand what was happening with me. ¬†I had noticed that I was a bit borderline already earlier in the day (borderline tears, that is), but I hadn’t known why, nor had I expected something like this to send me into such a state as I was now.

I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and went back out to my brother, who was standing ready by my bag. ¬†I broke right back into tears when he asked if I was alright, and he just held me in a big brother hug for a bit, soothing me, before gently telling me that I had about 8 minutes before my train, so we’d do well to head toward the gate now.

He was holding a marigold handkerchief in a little clear plastic bag, and he proffered it to me, explaining that it was dyed with actual marigold, and the old lady and her sister (the one whose son is a pianist, and whose concert the old lady was coming to see) had wanted me to have it.  They said that they wanted me to enjoy my time in Japan, and that they hoped things improved for me.  They had wanted to talk to me, too, but had had to leave, so they left the well-wishes and the handkerchief with my brother to pass on to me.

Naturally, there were even more tears at this point, but with a slightly different edge to them.  : )

As we hurried off toward my train, I expressed how my visit to my brother and his girlfriend was so wonderful, that, now that it was at an end, it was difficult for me to think about going back to my life, my town. ¬†I had gotten a taste of so much of what I had been missing these past seven-ish months, and I didn’t want to go back. ¬†Not that I had any intention of not going back – there was just a taste of dislike for what awaited me. ¬†I had finally started to be accustomed with my circumstances, it was hard being reminded of what had been wanting from my life. ¬†I know that I’ll be okay, and that I likely will very much enjoy these next few months – it’s just never so easy to go back to plain white bread when you’ve had all your favorites available to you. ¬†(That sort of idea, anyway)

Yeah… that’s all I have to say about that. ¬†: )

 

Post-a-day 2017