Friday, July 30, 2010

Really should be going to sleep

The title of this post speaks the truth. I really should be going to sleep right now. So I'll keep this one short. Well, sorta.

But anyway, I'm here in Washington, D.C., at a good friend's place. It's technically the morning of Friday, but let's just pretend it's still Thursday night, 'cause it's only 1 AM-ish. So anyway, I stayed up incredibly late last night finishing up packing. Well, almost finishing up packing, 'cause really, I finished it up this morning. I got all of my last shopping finished. But I can't help but think that a small token from the U.S. in the form of my favorite candy bar will serve as a sufficient form of omiyage (gift). Let's hope so. Maybe I'll be able to find a few keychains or something for the VIPs.

Yesterday was quite hectic. I recycled three old computers, a CRT monitor, two keyboards, and two mice. Or is it mouses ('cause it's referring to the computer peripheral rather than the animal)? In any case, it was quite tiresome. And the dude in the store, an older-than-middle-aged man didn't seem very happy with his job. If I owned a store and was surrounded with computer eye candy all day, I don't think I'd be as apathetic as he was. But then again, maybe he's got a lot of stuff to deal with at the moment of which I'm simply not aware.

Afterward, I wanted to stop by Barnes & Noble to pick up a book called Essential Kanji. It's quite useful. Many learners of Japanese have this book, including my girlfriend; and she's not the only one who has recommended it to me. That said, GO BUY A COPY! There's an alternative book I found at the store as well called Japanese Kanji & Kana. Both of these books contain the 2000 kanji (1945 actually) that Japanese high school graduates are expected to know, as well as another couple hundred of kanji found in names. Both introduce kanji in a similar manner, teaching compound words using only kanji previously introduced in the book. Very clever. And it includes the stroke order so that you can learn to properly write the word as well. Nice! The biggest difference was that they were arranged in a different order, and the second book seems to have more of a history about where the characters came from; not 100% sure on this 'cause I only spent a few minutes in the store looking at it. And even less time on the book that I actually bought (the first one). I only meant to spend a few minutes there...I ended up spending two hours there! It's so fun to just go around to each section that you like and peruse the books there.

Today was...actually kind of sad. It was filled with a lot of lifting and reweighing of the bags to insure that they upheld the 50 lb restriction. And with my lack of sleep (only about 4 hours), I was incredibly tired. Pair the physical exhaustion with stress, and my emotions were heightened. I got kind of emotional as the time approached for me to leave. It started when my brother, his wife, and I were having lunch with my grandparents at a local country buffet. Because it was the last time we would eat a meal together for a long time. When we got home, I quickly grabbed the last bit of my stuff, and my brother and I proceeded to load the vehicle. Saying goodbye to my grandparents was the hardest part. My grandmother was telling me good luck and God bless and some really emotional words. I'll leave them out of this post; it's too sad to type. I gave them hugs and then entered the car with my brother and his wife. When we pulled away, I had to hold back the emotion as I waved goodbye.

Tomorrow is my last full day in the U.S. until I go to Japan. Pre-Departure Orientation. Am I excited? I think anxiety is a better word to describe it. But tomorrow is the easy part. It's time to look ahead.

Word of the day: 祖父母 「そふぼ」 "sofubo," which means "grandparents." Literally, the characters mean "ancestor father mother".

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