Man, it's amazing how much attention you pay to things when you don't have them anymore.
For example, when the holidays came around, I more or less blocked them out. I told myself I wouldn't think about them because it would end up being painful for me, being unable to see my family on Thanksgiving, or on Christmas. Even though Christmas is my favorite holiday, even though I love the atmosphere and giving and receiving gifts and the food and the socializing and the Christmas tree, I didn't see it this year.
I didn't get to sit around the table with my family and eat ridiculously delicious food, didn't get to drink coffee and eat too much cake afterwards. Didn't get to see my dad put in the "Fireplace" VHS, a joke tape that turns out television into a fireplace and makes us 10% fancier than we were before. I didn't get to sit near the Christmas tree and smell the pine needles (of course, it probably wasn't a real tree this year) or my mom's candles, didn't get to watch A Christmas Story for 48 hours on TBS, didn't get to fall asleep in my bed knowing I'd have to wear some nice clothes tomorrow, maybe a nice sweater or something, didn't have to endure my brother trying to put a Christmas hat or God knows what on our bird's head or cage, didn't get to have drinks with my grandpa or eat tiny appetizers that you only get to eat on the holidays or for special occasions.
Instead, I was in my room, packing my bags to move from one host family to the next. I gathered my things and shoved them into my luggage, wondering how in the world I'd be able to do this again five months later when I would have more things and less room. I played Christmas songs on my computer and sang along with them, and I packed away the small Charlie Brown tree my mom bought at Walgreens and sent to me, knowing how much I love Christmas. I ate dinner with my host mom and when my host dad came home, I presented them a bottle of wine I had bought them to thank them for letting me stay with them.
The next day, I did get to have a Christmas dinner with my new host family and their relatives. I got to play the Wii with the kids and watch as Yukie opened presents from under the tree. I drank wine and ate Christmas cake and an assortment of Japanese food and talked with everyone and did, to some degree, get to have a real Christmas. I'm very thankful I had that opportunity, not to mention the busy and very fun, interesting, and Japanese-esque New Year's that followed in days after.
I guess my point is that I feel jipped. I missed out on Christmas and successively suppressed the desire to go home up until, strangely, February 9th. That is some kind of feat, I think. But now it's all coming back to me and all I can think is, I'm gonna make next Christmas the best Christmas ever.
I think this is a lesson in appreciating things that don't last forever. So study up, kids.
This weekend I'll be going to Tokyo to hang with my cousin and go to something called, "WonderFest," which is apparently a huge explosion of cosplay and anime related things, so the pictures I will have should be very interesting, to say the least.
Perhaps more importantly, I'll be having dinner with Matt and an assortment of translators and interpreters on Saturday night, which is a great business opportunity to make connections and make a good impression so that if someone ever has extra work and needs an extra hand, they will think, "What about that girl Matt brought to dinner in February? What's her name - Halley? Hailey? They're cousins, right? Maybe she'd be interested," and suddenly I have a real job with real pay and, well. Anyway, it's a great opportunity.
So I will make sure to update after Tokyo. As of right now, I'm chilling in the apartment by myself for a few hours. Host mom and Yukie went out and won't be back for four hours yet, and host dad is taking a day trip to Nagano for work. So I'm left in the living room thinking about things I could be doing but opt to stay inside for the day. It's good to have a day to yourself, sometimes.