Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cloud 13

This year is proving to be an amazing year! My brother is finally moving out after 6 years (he finally graduated and was offered a job on the day of his graduation). This means he won't eat all the food anymore and I'll actually be able to find something to eat!

We're getting another foreign exchange student come August; Kana Takeuchi from Japan. She gets Adam's old room which means we share the basement together :] It's going to be a good time.

Smaller things that are making me year:
-My sister is having another baby in August, so I'll have a 4th niece or nephew
-I get to go to Colorado to hike for a week :D
-I'M A SENIOR!! In a year I'll be graduating and will finally be able to pursue subjects that I am actually interested in (literature, English education, Japanese)
-I might study abroad in China next summer

I have so many things to do before Japan... And there are only 16 days left! The pressure isn't hitting me yet, but it'll come soon! My main objective is getting my host family presents. But, you know, it would help A LOT if I actually knew who my host family was...

Either way, (quoted from my brother after finding out about his job offer) "I'm way past cloud 9, I'm on cloud 13".

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Long Synopsis of the Past 6+ Months

May 3rd: the busiest day of my year after the busiest weekend of the year-

• Two projects due at midnight (a novel synopsis and soundtrack for Their Eyes Were Watching God)
• National Honors Society inductions
• Two tests to study for
• Piano lessons

Bored from hours of staring at a computer screen, I went upstairs to put my dishes away (a lame excuse for a break). While I ascended the stairs, the kitchen counter came into view. On top of the Formica-laminate countertop sat a massive package. One look and I knew I had gotten it.

Ever since I can remember I have loved Asian cultures, especially Japan. Recently I came across my first journal where the beginning pages talked about how I loved Japan. I had no idea that at that age I knew what Japan was, much less what an Asian was.

In 6th grade I discovered foreign exchange and made up my mind that in high school I would study abroad in Japan for a year. Once I started looking seriously into this (last summer), I discovered that it would be almost impossible. It was around $10,000 to study abroad for a year and there was only one scholarship that covered it. Being the stubborn person that I am, I decided that if I couldn’t go for a year, then I wouldn’t go at all. A few weeks later I realized how dumb this was when I found out that there were many scholarships to study abroad for the summer in Japan. I made up my mind that going for 6 weeks was better than not going at all.

In August I finished writing my scholarship essays. September I had my English teacher edit them. By the start of October I had my entire application submitted. In February I had an interview with Betsy, the Area Rep.

I’ve known Betsy for about a year and a half (I had a foreign exchange student and we interacted because of her), so I wasn't nervous about the interview. The interview went smoothly with the exception of two answers. After saying that I had a great relationship with my parents, I proceeded to tell Betsy the completely wrong ages for them when she asked (I said; Mom: 39 Dad: 40, Actuality; Mom 47 Dad: 50). In my defense, I am terrible with ages and birthdays. Of course, I told her the correct ages of my siblings (26 and 24), so it made my mom sound as if she had a baby when she was 13. The second question was, “Whenever you are away from home for long periods of time, what do you miss?” My honest answer, which I said: my cats. I didn’t even think to say my family, which was what they were probably looking for. Becca and I decided that these two answers were what caused me to not get a full-ride scholarship.

I don’t know if I was excited in the months that were between knowing and not knowing. I thought about it constantly, imaging my host family and the fun things we would do. And sure, whenever I saw a package my heart would beat as if I had just ran a 28 mile marathon, but I don’t know if I’d call it excitement. Perhaps I don’t feel I was excited because I was so stressed with school and was taking life one day at a time. Or maybe it was because I believed that I wouldn’t get it. I know that even now I feel as if it’s just a dream or that YFU will mail me and say, “Oh man, just kidding. We meant to send that letter to someone else, sorry kid.”

I guess these are the kinds of feelings that occur when one’s dream comes true (as corny as that sounds).

So here it is, less than a month away. I’m missing so much at home-

• Graduation parties
• The ACTs
• A week of school
• Adam’s birthday
• Rachel’s birthday
• Lone Tree
• Seeing Toy Story 3 in theaters
• Hanging out with friends/family
• My cats (haha)

I am sad, but I know that I will be more sad when I leave Japan.