Last Friday I had absolutely no classes. The only thing I had to do all day was go to the final graduation practice that afternoon. I felt really awkward because all morning, hardly any teachers were in the teacher’s room. Everyone was off doing their own thing and preparing for graduation, but the foreigner was awkwardly sitting in the teacher’s room. Mid-way through the morning one of my English teachers, Mr. Fujiwara, came in and was saying how weird it was to not have any teachers in the room. I agreed. He then asked me how old my sister was. The question came from left field, so I was a bit confused but then realized why he was asking. Amanda is my featured foreigner this month. I had no idea that people actually look at my English board, so it made me feel good! I told him that she’s thirty. He said that we have the same face. I told him that many people think we are twins, but there are four years between us.
Anyway, I just sat at my desk most of the morning until one of the office ladies came to get me. She said “hana,” which means “flower” and led me upstairs to the library to make tissue paper flowers with my second graders. For the next hour and a half, I folded tissue paper flower after tissue paper flower. I’m not sure if they noticed that I wasn’t doing anything, needed extra help, or what exactly, but it did give me something to do! Plus, the kid across from me and I spent a good majority of the time making faces at one another as we folded, folded, folded.
I spent break time with my third graders for one last time. I showed them a 2011 calendar that I made for Ian. It had all kinds of pictures on it, and they loved it! One of the pictures was from our honeymoon in Washington (below). Ian’s not fat, but just the way he’s standing and the wind blowing his shirt back makes him look a little plumper. One of my students pointed at his stomach and said, “Baby?” Then another one said, “100 babies!” I tried so hard not to laugh, but I couldn’t. The Japanese are all sticks, so they think we’re all fat. Ha ha ha ha!
Friday night was so incredibly busy for me, and I didn’t even leave my house for it to be that way! All week long, I was working on a piñata for Melissa B’s birthday. I started it on Monday, and every day after work, I’d come home and put on another layer of paper mache. I forgot how messy that is (above right)! I had to make it in our shower so that I could easily clean the mess (below left). Whenever we needed a shower, we’d move it out and have to move it back in. I also wore the same clothes each time I layered to avoid washing clothes everyday. Finally by Friday there were enough layers, and I started the decorating process. Melissa LOVES pandas, so I made her a panda piñata (below middle). It took a LOT longer than I thought it was going to take to decorate it. I had already cut up strips of paper, but I had to glue each individual one on there. Plus, I didn’t have tissue paper. I had construction paper, which is much less flexible and much more difficult to work with. I also made her a panda cake (below right). Baking in Japan is a little tricky because you can’t always find the ingredients you need. Also, we’re not sure if it’s the altitude or what, but brownies and cakes tend to be gooey in the middle and burned on the top. It did burn a little on the top, but I cut off that section because it rose up in the middle. Once the cake cooled, we tried to make icing. We couldn’t find powdered sugar at our grocery, and just in case you’re wondering, it’s nearly impossible to make icing without powdered sugar. We read online that you can make your own powdered sugar in a blender, so we tried. It worked okay. The icing was still a little grainy. Regardless, it’s not the best cake I’ve ever made, but we worked with what we had!
I was trying my hardest to beat my sister, Amanda, who is good at EVERYTHING that she does and made the cake below for our nephew, Jack’s, birthday. It’s not really a competition. I concede. She wins.
Saturday was a particularly fun day, so it deserves its own blog. That one is next. Stay tuned!