Yeah! I have made it to Ohio! The trip wasn't too bad... We went through the Dulles Airport in Washington DC which turned out to be a madhouse and our luggage was lost but it came back the next day. I've been borrowing Leiya's clothes because the first couple days I didn't have any of my own and also because I didn't bring too many to begin with. A little tight here and there, a little low cut (not my style jeans that's for sure!) but I'm managing.
(At the Narita Airport)
Tetsu was completely overwhelmed at the airports and I don't know how many times he's said that he would never have gotten here if he was alone. In the airports people were running in all directions and most people except for us seemed to know what they were doing. I can see how for a non-English speaker like Tetsu he might say "Never again!" but anyway, we made it to our destination.
Here is what we've done so far in brief.
Wednesday, May 28th. Drove up to Leiya's college and took a tour of the campus. Very impressive, very lovely, the few students we met (it is summer break already) seemed confident and did a good job of extolling the virtues of their school. The dorms are smaller than I remember dormitory rooms ever were, but it was interesting to see the Starbucks and Wendys in the student commons building. I think Leiya's will be very happy there come August.
Thursday, May 29th. Met Shelina! It turns out that Shelina lives a couple of cities over, and on extremely short notice (like the night before at 11:00 pm) I let her know that Tetsu and I would be having breakfast at a certain restaurant. Shelina took the time before she had to go to work to come and meet us and chat with us awhile! THANK YOU, THANK YOU SHELINA! It was really great to have a first meeting with a blog friend! (And she brought me a quilting book!)
In the afternoon Leiya took us out to her friend's farm to play with the cows! Yes, who knew that cows could be so much FUN! We had calves sucking our fingers (a new texture treat!) and we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt! Oh, and the friend's house? Such longing was I filled with to live in a farmhouse like that surrounded by antiques and animals and homemade jam set out on the counters cooling. Tetsu said he could picture me sitting in the corner with a quilting hoop on my lap in such a place as that.
Friday, May 30th. We spent all day preparing for Leiya's graduation party. This was a major event that brought a bit of stress and apprehension into our lives just because Tetsu and I have never done this before. Party? Party? How do you have a party? What do people do at parties? No parties in Japan, at least not American style. Tetsu and I were absolutely no help at all in preparing for this big event and we couldn't believe that preparations were being made to host 80 to 100 people. How would Leiya even know 80 to 100 people? It turned out this was a joint party for (by) Leiya and her friend and so Leiya's host mother and the other mother did all the cooking for the party and the girls planned the decorations.
Unlike Japanese parties which are always sit down events with a clear beginning and end and speeches abounding with maybe some organized game or program, this graduation party started and people began milling about, coming in and out freely, eating, chatting, mixing in generations, finding unknown connections (one lady turned out to be from Tetsu's home town! How amazing is that?) The party was held in the Japanese Language church in town where Leiya had been attending so Tetsu gratefully had people he could chat with and the whole thing was a great success. Where I had been floored at the amount of food that Bessie and the other mother had prepared, by the end of the party I was wondering if there was going to be enough (there was). A unique experience for Tetsu and me.
We all crashed into bed around 12:00 midnight after clean up only to be awakend at 4:00 this morning with tornado sirens blaring and we all, humans and the family dog, hurried down into the basement to spend the night wrapped in sleeping bags and blankets, cat napping in front of the emergency news broadcasts of the approaching tornados. No tornados actually appeared but it was an exciting way to end the night (or begin this morning since Tetsu and Leiya are still sleeping in the basement as I write this post.)
On to the docket for today is GRADUATION which is the main purpose of our visit this trip and hopefully the would be tornados have cleared the weather for a sunny day ahead.