4:30AM! I woke up at 4:30AM! Because the sun was up! How does it get up so early? I managed to get back to sleep until 9:30 and make my way up the stairs to the girls’ showers. Didn’t pass any boys on the floor on the way up and only saw three girls. I just acted like I was supposed to be here!
Then, the adventure for the day…Corban and I biked to the grocery store to get ingredients for the meal we prepared for his host family. Now, a side comment about biking…..I know that once you learn you don’t forget. Corban asked if I knew how to ride a bike. Sha! Of course, I do! (even though it has been quite a while). So we mounted our bikes and headed out. I was not aware that it would be a very fast downhill ride (the picture doesn’t show how downhill it was!) and that I would be using hand brakes not pedal brakes. My bag in the basket made me uncertain about my balance, not knowing the route made me uncertain about my speed-are we turning soon? is traffic coming? will I topple over into the rice field? (see the narrow path beside the water?) I wasn’t even thinking about the ride back with all the groceries!!! Headlines were running through my head, “Student’s Visiting Mother Injured in Bike Wreck, Didn’t She Know Better?.” Well, we made it “there and back again.” The ride didn’t kill me, but the prices did, i.e. ONE stick of butter-$4US, ONE rib (not stalk, mind you) of celery-$2US, and so on! But it was worth it.
We carried the ingredients and a few supplies down through the school gate, around the corner and to their front door. We were warmly greeted and offered house shoes to replace our street shoes. That was at about 2:20. The menu: cole slaw, corn casserole, beef stew and (of course) grits (which I had transported around the world!), and Southern Sweet Tea. Immediately we set to work preparing as American a meal as I could make considering the lack of American ingredients! (substitute plain yogurt for sour cream, mozzarella for cheddar, chicken for beef bouillon, etc) The kitchen was small but well equipped. I was pleased with everything but the stew. The meat was not what I thought it was….still not sure what it was but I thought I was getting some bacon to add to the expensive beef! Then it burned a bit right before we stopped the pressure cooker. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!! They had their traditional Japanese foods…lots of sushi, etc. Stephan, from Sweden, had come with us and two other students (both from Romania studying Japanese!), the host parents’ two married children and their spouses and one granddaughter also were there. They had gotten a beautiful cake for three of us: A Welcome to Japan, A Happy Birthday, and A Happy Father’s Day decorated the dessert. I took a picture of my serving with the sign and little cookie decor. The crowd thinned out as night came leaving only Corban and I with the hosts and one student until after midnight! I think we covered almost every subject possible. (didn’t cover religion) Yes, they have seen “Gone with the Wind”! a number of times. Nice people. So blessed to get to meet them. They say Corban has given them a more positive view of Americans than they had had. And, I could not believe how much Japanese Corban can speak and interpret! Yeah, proud momma here. More pictures: