I am feeling complete again: this academic session, Algonquin College did not cancel Japanese Level II and so once again I am able to pass my Tuesday evenings trying to remember the proper response to "Gambatte kudasai".* Tonight was the first class.
Same teacher as last time. No one from my previous session has continued this time, however, but this group seems like a good bunch. Randal is also taking the class with me this session (his last Japanese classes dating to a few years ago, he feels a bit rusty but up to the Level II challenge). Right now we can only ask each other out to movies and restaurants, and say that we are going to the grocery store together; I am looking forward to the day when he and I are proficient enough to conduct entire arguments in Japanese.
Anyway, since I am so good at instituting and maintaining new aspects of my blog, I am hereby announcing the Japanese Word of the Week section, coming soon to a sidebar near you.**
In other news:
Long time since I last posted and for that, I apologize. Here's the Christmas rundown, not as eloquent as Stuart's (parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) or Rebecca's (while she didn't shame me by multiple posts on the topic, she, like Stuart, has multiple photos also posted), I'm afraid, but hey - they were timely, which I am not, and they had pictures available, which I do not (but I am working on ways to up the pictorial content of this site). Randal, Rion and I flew to Toronto on Friday, December 16. Early Christmas with my family on Saturday night. Visited some friends (Mala & Mark, Shoshanah, Heather). As per usual, much shopping. On Wednesday the 21st, in the evening, the three of us proceeded by air once again to Winnipeg. Spent Christmas and the next few days (until the 29th) in The Peg. Usually it is quite cold this time of year, but they were having quite mild weather (in fact, a 134-year-old temperature record has just been beaten in Winnipeg). Remained around zero degrees most days. Visited all of Randal's sisters' dogs (there's a lot of dogs in that family ... also a lot of sisters ... and a lot of family generally, actually). I hope to get some pics from then up on Flickr soon. (Randal has the fancy digital camera, not me, so it takes time to remember to remind him to download them and send to me.)
Back to Ottawa on the 29th and we spent New Year's here. We went for dinner at Al's Steakhouse (mmmmmmmmmmmmm) and were back in time to watch some of the end of Mars Attacks! and, of course, the ball dropping in Times Square. Then, as per tradition (started last year, Randal and I played a board game over and over and over in to the wee hours of the morning. The culprit? Ticket to Ride a train-building board game that is totally addictive. Present from my brother Jerome and sister-in-law Agnes in Vancouver which had arrived by snail just the day before - timing was perfect! Thanks guys! (A proper thank-you shall arrive on your doorstep soon ... uh, plus your Christmas and (one late, one early) birthday presents.) Hit the sack at 7:15. In fact, the next few days also followed that pattern, until I had to return to work (on the 3rd? 4th? I don't even remember now).
Since then, back to work. I have been reading lots. Haven't been updating my Currently Reading list, but am remedying that. In the last week alone, I have read Falling Sideways by Tom Holt, a sci-fi book about frogs taking over the world, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, a fictitious story about two boys being re-educated in 1970s China and what happens when they discover some forbidden books, and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, a sci-fi book about the interconnectedness of everything. Plus my Art History textbook by Marilyn Stokstad, since I am taking Art History, part II, at the University of Ottawa (in French this semester, incidentally), and of course the beloved Japanese for Busy People plus other related Japanese-language materials. In addition, Randal and I are taking a 60-hour TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) course this month, which takes place over three entire weekends (last weekend and the next two). There is reading for that course as well, plus assignments.
Will continue work on my Flickr site soon - I'm thinking about "leaving" southeast Asia for a while and putting up some Amsterdam pics and pics of the dog. Plus, contemplating a site revamp for pixxiefish in the stacks - preferably in some way that makes me want to update it more often. I am way behind in my list of books.
So it's been a busy month and will continue to be until about mid-February.
Other than that, I am still the same. 10 fingers, 10 toes, brown curly hair except for the days when I wear it in a ponytail and then take it out later, which causes it to be straight (don't worry, Shoshanah; it will always be curly again the next day).
You are now up-to-date on my life.
* For those dying to know, see here for the answer.
** As soon as I figure out how to say that in Japanese, I will add it to the site - LOL :)