The owner of a coffeehouse in Kansas City contacted me yesterday to ask permission to use this picture on his website/menu. The Internet is so amazing that others can find my art & I do nothing but simply have my pictures loaded in a way that people can find them (although I couldn't find that picture by searching extensively on google). I think its wonderful to share, but very appreciated that he contacted me to ask permission. Its nice that some people still give credit where credit is due.
Or maybe it's because I have a little time on my hands for once. There is a pretty insightful article by Dr. Guntram Rahm which discusses some of the drastic differences of thought between Japanese and Western cultures, which affect the way we relate with each other in business relationships. The article, entitled "Cultural Differences and Doing Business in Japan," is an interesting read if you have a few minutes and desire to comprehend a little of what I dealt with for the past 2 years.
"tea tea" is essentially what you say when you order "chai tea" at the store. This, along with many other common lexical conundrums, is discussed on a page I stumbled across while teaching English in Japan. Check it out if you're interested in not sounding like a bafoon all the time...er, wait, I think it's buffoon...dang that one's not on the site! I guess that would just be one for the good ol' spell checker anyway(s?) ;-)
28 MM is a great amateur photography site I came across a while back. It puts out an online magazine featuring different thematic photo showcases submitted by anyone who wants to try. Of course, it seems they have a pretty rigorous screening process because the photos are great. One of my personal favorites for the current issue is musicians by Walker Pickering. The perspective is beautiful, just beautiful.
Yesterday I finally met some of the incoming students at WCL (Washington College of Law). I was pretty nervous because it's been a while since I've been to schmoozy events (in English at least). It was nice to hear the attitudes of the students - most of them are at WCL for the same reasons I am - the school is laid back, friendly and people-oriented (vs. being corporate/business minded). A lot of people haven't heard of American University, especially the WCL, but it's because it doesn't focus on those money-making corporate law jobs. The graduates make money - of course, we're laweyers - but it's not the focus. When Harvard has students graduating and making over 6 figures at a minimum, of course they're going to be high in the rankings. It's one of the things that shoots the rankings up to the moon. I'd rather make a decent living doing something that promotes human dignity instead of tears it down, as I would imagine most gargantuan corporations tend to do. Anyways, long story short, it was pleasant to realize that I'm not alone - many have the same nervous thoughts as I do and also share some common goals. One more week till the real deal starts though, so I think I'm gonna stop thinking about it.
I didn't fall off the face of the planet - though it may have seemed like it since I was on the other side of it for so long. no, I'm back! not that I've been able to do much on the Internet since I've been back. Since I've had no posts for such a long time, I'm going to try and make this one as thorough and up-to-date as possible.
I last left off with a frog on my door. Well, the frog and myself are no long at that door. We were long gone from it by June. I guess I'll organize this by events:
June 2-30: Hong Kong, Southwest China, Tibet
Craig and I went to Hong Kong (one of the coolest cities in the world in my humble opinion) to visit my friend Momoko. She's one of the coolest people in the world too =) I'll write more about her later. In fact, it is my goal to do brief notes on many of my friends and why I am so happy to call them my friends. Hong Kong was just day after day of fun. We followed Momoko everywhere - having great meals and playing all over the city and the nearby beaches (see the following picture).
at Lamma Island
Then Craig and I flew up to Chengdu, China. This was where we based ourselves for our trip to Litang - a former region of Tibet. The trip to Tibet was amazing, greuling and eye-opening all at once. An overwhelming experience, but it was worth every minute. When I wasn't sick from the spicy and strange food (my stomach just couldn't take it after 2 years of delicately bland Japanese food), I was exhausted from lugging around my pack filled with radios to give to the Tibetan nomads. I loved trying to read the Chinese, and I quickly learned to count and bargain at the markets. It defintely helped learning Japanese first - I can't believe how quickly I could retain things.
Once we returned from Tibet, Craig and I wandered around China a bit more. Call it another honeymoon/birthday trip for me. It was a wonderful time of cheap shopping, relaxing, hiking, and getting teeth replaced. Well, I guess only one tooth - that was Craig's. Oh, and if you ever need a crown, do it in China. We had smile-perfect work done for around $70. See if you could get a US dentist to do that! I'm sure Craig was a little nervous though - it's hard communicating in Chinese with a mouth full of cotton (well I guess it's hard to communicate in Chinese any way you look at it).
getting some dental work
In Japan we had 4 days to finish our goodbyes, have our anniversary, attend a wedding, and head back home. July 4th, the day we flew home, was a very very long day for us. We had stayed up the night before hoping to sleep on the plane (which worked a little). But we arrived in the US at noon, where everyone expected us to be bright-eyed and cheery. I think we hung on all right. Dad had a really nice party for us at his place - it was so nice to see all my relatives again! I stayed in Hell (where my dad lives) for a few days, then flew down to Florida while Craig went to DC for interviews.
In Florida, I stayed with my mom and sister. It had been over 2 years since I'd seen either of them, so it was a much needed reunion. It was mostly an uneventful time for me personally - I worked on some scrapbooks and adjusted to American culture (expect an upcoming blog on culture shock). Then Johnny and I drove from Florida to DC, where I found an apartment and we toured the city. In the meantime, Craig had easily landed a job as a technology teacher at Wakefield Highschool in Arlington, Virginia. He will be taking over the high school's technology program.
Once I returned to Hell, MI, I immediately left again and went up north for a week of lounging and scrapbooking at Craig's parent's place. He made a beautiful bed frame for us, and while he wasn't doing that, we were out searching for a car. We finally found and bargained for our car, a 2000 VW Cabrio. It's dark blue, and I love the way it drives.....like riding on cotton candy. I don't have a picture of it yet because it was dirty from driving around Hell, but I'll take one as soon as we get a sunny day =)
We spent our last week in Michigan at my dad's. It was mostly a time for me to visit long-lost friends (I'm sorry for those I couldn't meet with!), and prepare for our move. Word of caution: if you ever have to move long distance be prepared for a huge expense with a moving van. U-haul was the cheapest and still cost over $700 for the move (not to metion gas!). So, either pack light, don't move far, or cough up the cash.
We are now in Falls Church, Virginia, at the Skyline Towers. The apartment is coming together nicely, after we got some of our bare-bones necessities taken care of and unpacked. It took us nearly 3 days to unpack and put stuff away, but I can say now that we are basically threw. There are a few odds and ends that just don't seem to have the perfect spot, and we need a bathroom trash can (I've hung a target bag on the cabinent knob for now) but that's about it. We're reduced spending to as-little-as-possible-until-Craig-gets-a-paycheck, and we're going to enjoy our last week of freedom as well as possible. The Washington Post has proven to be a useful source as well as a listserve through American University. Oh, and if you don't know, I'll be attending Washington College of Law at American University getting a JD/MA in International Service. There is a *slight*, very very very slight, possibility that this could change, but I'll say more about that if it happens (which it probably won't). I am thoroughly pleased with the school thus far, and have already finished one book (though it is the easiest - A Civil Action). It even seems as if my Civil Procedures class will be interesting - they are basing it on A Civil Action, with an accompanying textbook very nicely written by 2 professors at my college. I hear the book is used at many other universities as well.
I have many other things to say, but that's the problem with a 2 1/2 month summary post. Too broad and no specifics. Sorry about that. I'll try to keep up, but no promises because I have no idea how much of a toll law school will take on my time.