Delightful December

Hello everyone! It’s been quite a while but I’ve been dreading writing this next post, just because I’m having too much fun writing other things. Annnnd honestly going through pictures is a pain… it is…. really.  But here I am and here it is!

December was a busy month. Many events happened on Iki and I really need to consult my calendar to remember them all. hehe.  My friend and I had a Koto concert at Tsubasa Hall in Ashibe. All of the students, both koto, and shamisen, of our teacher Maeda san, performed at the concert. We all got to wear traditional Kimono too! We helped to set up the hall for the concert and took everything down, including the flower displays and posters! After we took apart the flowers, we gave everyone a small bouquet, we also got one. lol. The flowers were very beautiful and they lasted a long time! The concert went really well and my friend and I also performed our flute violin duet which my composer friend in Toronto, Theo Howe, arranged for us! It was fantastic! Also, they recorded the entire concert which I now have to DVD, so I can try to upload a video to Youtube, or you can come visit me to watch lol.

 

The following weekend, my commercial high school as a winter concert at the Katsumoto bunka centre. This was a very busy day for me because the day before I booked it off island to Fukuoka for a movie night. Yes, that’s right! I treated myself to a dinner and a movie. It’s expensive to take the ferry off island to see a movie, but this movie was worth it. Can you guess what movie I saw? Well, it was first my favourite manga, then anime and now they’ve made a live action version of FullMetal Alchemist!!  Yes! 8000 yen later! I was sitting in a theatre by myself watching a movie in all Japanese, no subtitles, but that’s ok because I’ve memorized the story. I spent the night with my friend in Fukuoka and early in the morning took the Jetfoil back to Iki! I Picked up an oven from my teacher to use for Thanksgiving dinner the same day, but first! I had to race home, eat breakfast, have a shower and then drop off the oven, then book it to rehearsal all by 12!  Yes… I survived. It was challenging but fun. The concert was great and the students were fantastic!! My friend and I performed our duet again, but the temperature of the concert hall made the tune really awful for us so it wasn’t as good as a performance as we had hoped for.

 

This month was also full of end of the year work parties! I got to go to a Taiko group enkai in Ashibe and a first-year teacher party in Gonoura with my senior high school teachers. Also, I had a Koto concert enkai party at the Iki View hotel too! I prepared presents for my family in Caligraphy class and I also submitted my long shodou script for December before I left for holidays. The goal? To get 3 kyuu!!  And in January I found out I got it!!  I’m 3 Kyuu! Woooo!  This brings me to my surprise present for my family. Not only did I make them their names in Kanji to hang at home, I was going to deliver them in person. That’s right. I went HOME for Christmas!!!!  Canada! I missed you!!

 

I left Iki in the afternoon (at lunch to be precise) from Iki Shogyou on December 19th. I had to drop my car off at the mechanic to run some tests while I was gone, so I had a teacher take me the rest of the way to the Jetfoil with all my bags! We also met one of her friends before I had to leave. She was very nice. Well then, I picked up my ticket and boarded the Jetfoil and began my arduous journey home! Once we landed in Fukuoka I grabbed a taxi to get to the international terminal. I was there an hour before the gate opened, but surprisingly this was only 2 hours before departure. Very odd. But worth it. I finally checked in and checked my bags and boarded my flight! We left Fukuoka Japan, bound for Pudong China at 5:15pm Japan time.

 

I landed in Pudong, but I could not connect to the wifi at the airport. China has a weird wifi system… don’t count on the wifi in the airports working… ever. It took forever to find my bags, but I did, and the airbnb I booked had a picked deal. So the girl’s father picked me up at the airport and took me to the house I was staying in! The bed was sooo comfy and, oh, I forgot to mention, this very morning on Iki, I’d woken up with a cold… not fun. SO the bed was very welcoming and I was happy to sleep in a bed and not on a plane. The next morning I had packed an apple which I ate… hungrily, and the father drove me back to the airport. The funny thing was… I only knew a little Japanese and English, but he only spoke Chinese, so I was trying to talk to him, and he was trying to tell me about the place… but it mainly came out as gestures and laughs and my talking was like a mixed bag of Japanese and English in the same sentence, hahahaha.  I checked in at last and boarded a bigger plane to Toronto! In the waiting area, I met 2 girls from India coming to Toronto to study! We made friends quickly and had fun chatting and sharing stories! I even got to sit close to them on the plane! And because I had done this flight before, only going the other way, I was experienced compared to them so I felt like I was coaching them through the long flight! – which, surprisingly, didn’t feel all that long to me. I got 3 movies in, and I managed to sleep a bit. I think I watched Pirates of the Carribean; Dead Men Don’t Lie, Spiderman; Homecoming and ReLife, a funny drama from Japan!

We finally landed in Torono. I caught the sunrise over Alberta and took tons of cool sunrise and lake pictures. I was soo excited to arrive in Canada but one thing was weird… my ticket said I was going to arrive around 1pm… But it was 11am… I was 3 hours early… some how… and my ride wouldn’t be there and I didn’t have cell reception with my Japanese Sim and I had such a hard time getting on the wifi! Turns out my phone wouldn’t connect but my Ipad did so I was able to Line my mom. The thing was, Only her and my boyfriend knew I was coming, so we had to keep it secret. She had to oddly tell my sister; who had arrived from New Brunswick the day before, that she had to go to lunch early with her friends from work. Luckily, they didn’t have a clue LOL! Well ,I took forever to get my bags again, first out of customs and last out of the baggage room, took the train to terminal 1 and IMG! I SAW MOM! I was soo excited! It was soo cool! I almost felt like I’d never been gone. Almost.

Well, I made her stop at Tims, I needed to see if I remembered the taste of coffee lol. And my stupid cold was meh. We arrived and I hid in the car so Grandpa didn’t see me. I snuck in behind mom so they didn’t see or hear me… Then I announced myself and they we soo excited! It was great! And I got to see my cute little nephew for the first time! He’s so great! Then I snuck upstairs and surprised my grandpa! Who, was like “Why are you here?” OMG, I’m like, “to see you, silly.” He was very happy! I hung out with him for a while and then I brought my bags in and hung out with my family downstairs. Ohhh so Amazing! I couldn’t post to social media yet cuz I had others to surprise! The next day my aunt would be surprised.This night though, I had to visit my boyfriend and surprise his parents! Mom dropped me off, sadly, and I snuck in the door and surprised them soo much! It was great! My boyfriend was just super excited to see me in person. And so was his dog, lol. We all went downtown to the Christmas Market in the Distillery District. It was Super cold, considering I was still wearing my fall coat form Nagasaki! I should have switched to the winter coat. My mistake, lol. Everything was so fun! I got home late, super tired but I slept well and was able to wake up at a normal time. I had some appointments the next morning and We went to get the Christmas tree from the farm and surprise my aunt! I hid in the trees and when they arrived I walked out asking if the tree back there was any good. Hehe, My cousins were like “How’d you get here?” I said I walked, lol. My aunt said she was in shock, didn’t know what to say! She was already surprised to see Cassie! It was Awesome!!

Well, The next day I got my hair done, after a year! We had Fish and Chip dinner with my boyfriend and his parents, all catching up. The next day, we all met up to go to Black Creek Pioneer Village for the Christmas event! I took tons of pictures for my students Christmas cards and I had a blast! My nephew handled the cold so well! I even found some great Omiyage and postcards for my teachers. I started collecting Canadian goods early, lol. Christmas was great! I had so much fun with the snow and the cold. We spent the day at my Aunts and ate a wonderful dinner and had a wonderful time catching up with my cousins and it was all good! My cold was getting better until the day after Christmas. I woke up and lost my voice and it was awful! But I had a 3-day cabin camping trip planned with my boyfriend, who booked and planned the whole thing! By himself! Right on!  I was super excited so we packed movies and games and water and food and He picked me up and we drove together 3 hours north to Silent Lake in Bancroft Ontario!

This is the good part! So Mike made this amazing playlist of all his and my favourite classic rock songs because radio signal can be patchy, and we listened to it on the way up. We got coffee and checked in at the cabin! The cabins were awesome! All decorated individually and they and bunkbeds and regular beds. It was really cold up in Bancroft, but we’d packed a lot of things to stay warm. We unloaded the car and got started on dinner. We played some games and watched a movie too! I was feeling meh with my cold so we went to bed. The next day, we had to switch cabins, but it was ok. We didn’t have a lot of stuff. We decided to drive into town to see the doctor cuz my cold was really bad and I was worried. Turns out, taking some Advil really helped with the cough and sore throat and helped me get some of my voice back. When we got back, we rented snowshoes and went on a trail in the campground that isn’t plowed. The sun was setting through the trees and we were alone and it was cold and yeaaa. SO nice. We climbed this hill and I fell to my knees, so tired! I turned around and saw our tracks in the snow and it was so cool and I showed Mike. Then he said he found something in the snow. He pulled his hand out and there was a white box… he opened it up and asked me to marry him! OMG!! And I was like, This is it! I have to decide! I… I can only say one thing! I’ve been waiting for him to ask for soo long and I love talking to him and going places with him and I really only want to be with him forever and always! SO I said YES! Of course, I’d say yes! No matter how much I joked that I would make him wait like he’s made me wait all this time, I can only say yes! It was always only a joke! Cuz I like to laugh! We froze out fingers taking pictures, haha. And then continued back to the car. We went back to the Cabin and started on our BBQ dinner. Yes, guys, it was -38 degrees out, and like all good, celebratory Canadians, we BBQ in this cold!! Hahahaha. It was really cold! Mike started a campfire, and I started the BBQ… almost blew it up not knowing how to get the gas on, lol. But I fixed that. Then I got on the Yakiniku style BBQ!!  We busted out the wine for our celebration and have a great night! (now that I had Advil for my cold. ;p) Well, the Last day of the trip was great too. We took the Bonnie Pond trail on snowshoes. Met another couple doing the same thing which was really cute! I packed snacks, like a smart person, and it was soo tiring! But we both arrived back at the same time and enjoyed our time. We left Bancroft after this! Making our 3-hour journey home. It was great and I got Mike to stay the evening and celebrate again with my family. We had champagne and played Settlers of Catan and ate cake.

We visited more friends and I planned Mini putt and Dinner with my Uni friends too! It was soo great to catch up with them after a couple years! We all had fun and I got to share the great news with them too!! On New Year’s Eve, My Aunt and Cousins came to the city and we all celebrated together again. We ate homemade stew and had more fun playing stratego and catan and watching movies. I got to see Logan and the next day they went back to New Brunswick. I spent the day with mom shopping and getting better from my cold. Most stores were closed, so we actually shopped the next day. Oh! Nearly forget, before my sister left we had sisters day at the pedicure place and my sister and I got our feet done and chatted and my mom and aunt got their hands done! It was so fun!!  Sadly, the end of my trip came too and I had to pack. I somehow packed all the omiyage and Christmas gifts and winter clothes (which I’m soo happy I squeezed in cuz man winter was cold here on Iki this year and I wore those clothes every day for a month!) into my suitcase and a duffle bag. I brought a couple extra things back, included Mikes Wii (lol) and mom dropped me off at the airport. I was so sad to leave but I didn’t cry. I was also excited to get back to Iki and give all my gifts to my friends and teachers. I did the same trip in reverse, thankful for the night in Pudong again and made it all the way to Fukuoka. I never knew how much I missed speaking Japanese! I shared my news with the cab driver! Only for the reason to speak and share my happy news. He was so excited for me lol. I got on the Jetfoil, and an old couple helped me with my bags lol. They thought I was crazy to carry so much on my own. Little did they know I had been lugging them around from Toronto. Haha. I was thankful for their help though. I picked up my Car and got my key. I grabbed food from the store and made it home. At last. I was so relieved. I left Toronto on the 3rd and arrived on Iki on the 5th at 5pm. It was a long trip but soo worth it. On the plane, I was able to watch Jurrasic World, and Lord of the rings 3, and One other but I can’t recall what it is for the life of me.

Well folks!! This is already the New Year so I’ll cover January in the next post! Thanks for waiting for me!! Hope you’re enjoying the Olympics!!!

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