Out of nowhere

…I taught dance this weekend.  It was utterly ridiculous in circumstance – 11 girls at noon on a Saturday, in the middle of their celebrating a bachelorette party weekend, and in an airbnb house that kind of looks like a drug house from the outside.  I had met two of them at the rodeo, and I had offered to show them for free how to two-step (since they’re interns, and interns typically have minimal money), when they had asked where to learn it.  I genuinely began the lesson by asking with what level of intoxication I was dealing, and they loved it.  (Surprisingly, it was rather low, but they had just had a lazy start to the day, I guess, because mimosas were definitely happening.)  By the end of it all, I was clear that it wasn’t about how well they all danced, but that they loved what they were now doing, thanks to me.  And, to be fair, a good handful of them could actually two-step (and some even polka) decently as lead and follow by the end.  And they could identify the difference between a two-step and a polka.  Not bad for the middle of a bachelorette party weekend.  🙂

I really enjoyed it.

Post-a-day 2018

Get a handle

I broke my new (to me) car today.  Okay, well, a part of it.  The car was parked on a street whose sides really sloped downward – and I mean a lot.  When I went to open the driver door, after unlocking it, the door opened just slightly, before my hand flew towards me, and the door slammed back shut.  The handle had broken.

And so, at least until I find a bonding agent – aka glue – that will hold well enough to stick the broken underside of the driver handle into place – hey, I wonder if that’s the issue with the other door – , I’ll have to do what I did this afternoon and tonight, and enter my vehicle from the passenger front door, because now both doors on the driver side won’t open from the outside (but the back seat door came that way when I received the car, so that wasn’t my doing).

Add that to the duct tape, and I am an image in blue 2002.

I mean, talk about ghetto – I’m getting there faster than ever anticipated (which was never!).  Haha.

Post-a-day 2018

La Traviata and the World Series

Tonight, I celebrated the Astros’ World Series win with a small group of people that included, but was not limited to, doctors, homosexuals, teachers, Romanians, and a temporary Houstonian, who is a godsend in the opera.  I didn’t really know any of them – we all just love music, and opera specifically.  At each intermission at the opera tonight, the screen typically reserved for the supertitles and announcements about Houston Grand Opera, displayed the score of the Astros-Dodgers game.  During the curtain call, one of the leads showed the latest score on his hands, to relieve us all the worry.  And, when a small group of us gathered for a ‘behind the music’ miniature interview with one of the performers, the game was discussed.  The performer has only been in Houston a couple months, but he was as excited about the game as anyone else.  And, when the official interview had ended, and we were all chatting, and the game ended, we all celebrated together like friends.  And, in Houston, that is normal enough.  And, I found the company to be so truly a representation of our town, that it made the win that much better.  In Houston, just about anyone can talk to just about anyone.  You look at groups of kids, and even people my age and up, and they’re often from all over the world, either directly so or by heritage.  In Houston, we are diverse and we are loving.  (This is person-to-person, not car-to-car, you see – people tend to forget that a car contains a person, so cars get treated way differently than people who are face-to-face.)

Anyway, I began to wonder if any of the players on the Astros team were actually from Houston.  I’m not so sure any of them are from Houston. And, while that is a bit odd, seeing as Houston is celebrating their victory, it also is rather fitting.  Houston is packed with people who are originally from it.  People regularly come to Texas, and find themselves never wanting to leave (though, I know that this is my always the case).  We are the most diverse city in the USA, and that can be observed not just walking the streets, but in looking at our baseball team.  Those guys are from all over, just like the population of our city.  I find it kind of cool, really.

Anyway, yay, Astros, and yay, for the fabulous operatic baritone that is George Petean!

Post-a-day 2017

A hug of love

Tonight, at an event, I came across a student whom I taught for a grand total of eight days, and whom I haven’t seen since those couple months ago.  When she saw me, her delight was noticeable instantly, and her desire to hug me was almost palpable – she was almost shaking with the anticipation and desire, similar to a puppy wagging its tail as it waits desperately to be pet and loved on by its human.  When she saw that I was okay with her hugging me, we hugged.  It was a real hug, and not the common ‘meh’ version that feels like a required pleasantry instead of a genuine gesture of care for someone.  She cared, and it was for me.

I almost began to tear up, but for the intense joy and ease that filled me and flowed out of me afterward.  In that teaching job, I was incredibly myself with the students, and this was the kind of impact I left after only a single week.  This impact, where a student can hardly wait to hug me upon sighting me, and declares fervently, “We miss you,” despite our having not seen one another in months, was clearly a powerful one.  And I am grateful for the grace and strength I had to provide it in being myself.  I was truly honored tonight.

Post-a-day 2017

More days-of-the-week underwear fun

Tonight, I put on my TUESDAY underwear after my shower.  While I actually did believe today to be Tuesday at one point earlier on in the day, that was not my reason for doing this.  I considered them for a few moments as I stood over my suitcase, and then reached down and grabbed them with intention.  I’m not certain how to put it, really.  It was, in part, a representation of my distaste for today’s events (and therefore today) and my rejection of today (in a sense), and, in part, my rejection of the standards of days-of-the-week underwear as a means of rebelling against something that feels to be beyond my control with my current experience of time and the specific days of this week.  Also, things were much more hopeful on Tuesday.  Tuesday was a good day this week and last.

Today was the bad one.  Although, to be fair, a lot of good has come out of the ending section of today – lots of love, especially.  When Snapchat (which I don’t even use) and the concern of looking good (someone else’s concern) knock you in the face, it’s really nice to have love show up and remind you that you are great, and that those ideas have no bearing on the situation.

 

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

Heart-ing Accents

I love accents.

Tonight, walking home from an incredible sprint to the train station, which was through the ridiculously cold weather (causing my throat, all the way down into my chest, to burn most of the way back home), in order for a friend to catch the last train home for the night, I called up a different friend of mine, just to check in and say a ten-minute “Hello.”

Now, I don’t have many acquaintances who are Australian, and I see and speak with them rather rarely.  So, whenever I talk with this particular friend, who, naturally, is Australian, I am delighted with the mini surprises the accent provides me in conversation.  I am accustomed to the British and Canadian and US English accents, and even the New Zealander accent.  But that Australian one just drives me so goofy (Yes, I realize that is not a standard phrase, but let’s roll with it, shall we?  Yes, let’s.), I get a rush of joy and giggles when it pops out, differentiating itself from the other accents to which I am accustomed.

I’m not sure how this love for accents developed, but I have a hunch it was in our societal view of foreign accents.  For some reason, it is always the foreigner who is exotic and desirable above all others in a TV show or movie, or even book.  Sure, they are different from our everyday, but they are just like loads of other people in their own home countries.  (You know, this really doesn’t make much sense, where I have this heading…)  So, yes, they are different and thereby exotic when they are here, and not when they are back in their home countries.  But why must they be so portrayed as desirable, sexy?  How did that get decided, I wonder?  Just a wondering, I have…

Anyway, the point of all of this was that my friend has an Australian accent, which is a new thing for me (my first full-time Australian friend, you see), and it always surprises me when things end up being pronounced a different way than I had subconsciously expected, and it makes me smile and giggle with delight every time.  So, thank you, God, for the cuteness and wonderfulness of various accents in our world.  🙂

 

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