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From Korea...

I have a lot more to say about this place, but let's just put it as 'I'm in Korea!!' It's pretty cool, despite some worries about getting to my hotel and such, I've made it through and am finding myself pretty curious and interested by a lot of things.
Though I think I was snickered at over a banana debacle in the supermarket in the basement. That wasn't nice.
I'm also starting to wonder what is not endorsed or run by Lotte...

And as tomorrow, I'll be jumping on that plane and flying the relatively short distance to Matsuyama...this is where this journal stops for now.
As I said, please add http://mikandreams.livejournal.com/  if you want to keep up with me :) It will be friends-only.

Now I'm going to enjoy my lovely, lovely hotel room, and free internet for a little bit more time, and then I will retire to the double bed that promises to make up for being awake too long...hopefully I'll make up for lost sleep, and if I do oversleep, I have a wake-up call sorted.


Writer's Block: The truth is out there ...

If someone discusses UFOs at a party, do you assume they're a visionary or bonkers? Do you consider yourself a believer or a skeptic?
Um. The problem lies in that UFO means Unidentified Flying Object. If you mean flying saucer/alien spacecraft, clarify the question....
There's a lot of flying objects which aren't identified. For all I know, said party guest could be discussing a frisbee seen from a distance.

Following a relatively peaceful last dinner at home, my parents are now having a blazing row downstairs. Figures.


Fear about going to Japan hit me in a big way in the last day or two, which is new. It's sort of crept into my stomach and keeps me awake.
Don't get me wrong. Today, a little excitment has crept in there too. I'll be okay.  I'm just concerned that I'm not prepared enough...if there's something I've forgotten, or a big mistake I've made...

Both my supervisor and Kanako have emailed me this evening. Kanako is very much 'matteimasu!!' and promises of okonomiyaki-getting next weekend when she's off work, and Imaizumi-sensei emailed with reassurance of her and her husband, Inoue-sensei, picking me up at the airport, and  rough schedule of my first few days in Matsuyama--

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Mostly packed now, just doing the odds and ends, transferring music, sorting out my carry-on luggage. And I think I'm so going to treat myself at the duty-free perfume counter in Heathrow to something expensive I've been eyeing >_>; Apparently, if I ask the store to seal the bag specially, I'll be okay on my connecting flight! (Believe me I do not want it to be confiscated once I get my hands on it).

Now I'm gonna finish the packing, clean up my room so that all it requires is dusting from time to time, do music/document transferral from my desktop pc, and then get ready for bed....

Sep. 11th, 2009

I knew it would happen. I've been dreading getting any kind of illness. Last night, my throat started to hurt and I had a sneezing marathon. I passed it off because I've been having allergic reactions to something/many things since I got home... anyway, I took a Lemsip and went to bed with a throbbing head. Woke up feeling a bit groggy this morning but took flu tablets through the day and it wasn't so bad. The sniffiness, headache and sore neck have returned now though. I'm it's just because I've been out in the cold, so am going to take a couple of flu tablets before bed and hope for the best! I really just want to feel fine for Sunday. I don't want to be on a plane feeling sick. I hope it just stays like this and doesn't get any worse!
But my neck is pretty stiff and sore....hope I just slept funny...!

The suitcase is filling up. My mother and I had fun earlier vacuum packing one bunch of clothes. It ended up with me lying flat out on this huge bag, beating the air out of it whilst my mother used the hoover to suck the air out of it. And it really does make a difference in space! I'm doing fairly well on weight so far...hopefully it stays that way...

Now I'm going to finish sorting my toiletries and hit my pillow. I'm quite tired  ("o") But the bruise on my arm has now faded to pale yellow and doesn't hurt much anymore which is a big plus! (^-^)

Tomorrow is my last full day in the UK.
Oh, additionally....my phone has now been cancelled. I've reverted to my old pay as you go number for the rest of the time in the UK, and on reserve up til I get my keitai! The number is on my Facebook if you need it.

Busy-ness

In both scary and exciting news....I leave the UK in THREE days :O

What've I've been up to:

Sunday: Went to Oxford. There was a somewhat hastily organised get-together meal. Myself, Otoha, Marie, Chris, Nate, Kasumi, Tim, Lydia and Sam (later) went to Jamies and had a really nice meal together. Afterwards, we headed to O'Neills for a quick drink before heading off home. We were home by 12, but ended up talking to Oaty til 3am about stupid drama things (Nodame movie is out when I'm in Tokyo!)

Monday: Got up late >_>; Said a muffled goodbye as Oaty left for work before 9am, from my makeshift bed of duvet and sleeping bag on the floor, and promptly moved to her bed to sleep away three hours. Got up, went to uni to hand in my harddrive to see if there was any hope for it, then headed into town. I went into the kids' section of Waterstone, to choose my omiyage for the host family baby girl. Kind of got carried away and super-nostalgic and chatted too long with the nice sales woman. Ended up choosing The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dear Zoo and My Little Learning Library (by Eric Carle, 4 tiny books about animal sounds, colours, numbers and words. Adorable...).
Then had to get the train to Didcot as it was the only place that I could possibly get an appointment at. Had to get my implant changed. My arm still hurts ;_;  It wasn't bad, but I have to tell you the exchange procedure isn't as easy as the first time you get one. The nurse has to fight to pull it out of your arm >_> So I'm now sporting a nice wound and a purple bruise. Took the massive bandage off and it looks a bit gruesome :/ But I only had to keep it on for 48 hours, plus, it's such a pain trying to take a shower with a plastic bag over your arm.
Came back to Oxford and met up with Otoha and a few friends/housemates to browse St Giles Fair. Just walked around and allowed myself a single donut, and a bite of candy floss. Managed to catch up with Sam by surprise, for five minutes, so we had a chat and said goodbye. So many people like this who have left now that I won't get a chance to see.
Was chotto stressed over one thing going on during my stay, and the aching arm didn't make it any better :(
We went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen for dinner (my first time) and I had an avocado and bacon burger....couldn't finish it -_-) So much food...we ordered fries as a side, but that was a huge mistake, they were pretty much untouched.

Tuesday: Running late with various things to sort out via the laptop. Packed up my stuff and got up to the SU for my dentist appointment. 40 minutes of my dentist mostly trying his hardest to get the two temporary caps off my teeth. This was not fun :(  I was so worried about them breaking when I had them....I needn't have been!! It took some kind of epic effort for him to get them out of my mouth. Then I had my permanent ones fitted and filed down until they were comfortable in my mouth. They still feel a little odd but I'm getting used to biting on them. One's also porcelain, I think, because it's near the front....and it feels so smooth and shiny....its puts all my other teeth to shame!! The other one is just at the back though, so plain grey (though he sandblasted it first so that it wasn't ridiculously shiny...).
While they're not really going near your gums for this work, it's still pretty tiring and achey : /
After this, had lunch with Oaty (soup for me with the sore mouth) and headed off to the station.
I felt a tiny bit teary when I left, thinking about leaving everything for a year. Leaving the SU, walking out of Gipsy Lane Reception....  I was surpised, but maybe I shouldn't be...this year has had a lot of happy moments...
...but I will be back in a year.
Got a call on the train from Becky who said we should go for dinner and that she'd pick me up at the station, so we had a nice, cheap-ish meal in Wigan before heading back home.

Today (Wednesday): Headed into Liverpool to meet sashwizzled . We had a nice time just generally wandering about. We later met prince_windie , kitty_cat_gemma , zappin and skipselz for food at Las Iguanas.

Tomorrow I must pick up my new glasses and start packing for real. Final decisions made on what's travelling with me, what I cannot take.
I got some vacuum packs for the suitcase which I will do on the Saturday to have my suitcase looking very neat and organised and without clothes threatening to make it explode. They won't make it lighter though *sigh*
Checked my seats on Asiana and I still appear to be sitting alone on a three seat row...hopefully that lasts! Even if it's not super-comfortable, it means getting to lie down if I do want to sleep, otherwise, lots of space to pop my stuff.

Also the father's 54th birthday tomorrow. We're going for dinner on Friday night, but I'll probably make something nice tomorrow, and a little cake :)
Went to family birthday party. Person having birthday was ill in hospital, thus not in attendance. I knew...pretty much the five relatives that came with me (okay, I get on well with my younger cousins). There was a DJ. A bad DJ. The music was so loud and the pitch of singer's voices on certain 80's tracks sounded like the dying cat parade. Headache formed. No, family, I do not wish to dance, I wish to drink water and not move.
At least my drinks were paid for...
See, ray of light in everything.
Cue heavy rain on my window.

Along with the other good news I keep getting, I got some more, around 2am last night. The Matsuyama International Centre emailed me. Apparently, 5 families had applied to host me, and they ended up picking the Tsurui family. Mother, 24, father, 25 and a baby girl called Rio-chan.
I'm surprised to be living with such a young family! This is good because it means that with the potential language barrier cropping up, as I try to unravel my Japanese, we might be able to find things in common because of the small difference in age. If we get on well, it would be nice to form a friendship.
Anyway, the Centre also gave me the mother, Yuka-san's email address, so I contacted her in what  I hope was passable Japanese that did not sound like it came out of Minna no Nihongo 1.....and I just got back to find a reply which I think is rather sweet.

Have a look : )Collapse )
She also included an English translation in case I needed help understanding. She sounds very sweet : )

I was hesitant about the homestay, but I think this could go really well. I really hope that not too much of my time will be consumed with apartment hunting and getting necessities to live; I want to spend time with them too.

Also, I would like to buy a little omiyage for the baby. I wondered about getting something like a children's English book, for when she's older. A good quality one, maybe with a well-known story. Any ideas? Or am I barking up the wrong tree and should get her a bib with the Union Jack on it? :P (I won't...)  I am favouring the Very Hungry Caterpillar.... I also loved The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

And...suddenly remembered one of my all-time favourites as a baby -

I'll decide and get something in Oxford (^-^)
Tomorrow, need to go to the post office, then go check different places offering for Japanese yen, order yen and some Korean won, buy new nightwear and a lightweight dressing gown.

8 days to go...! (My sudden frequent LJ updating should be a clue to building excitement).

Sep. 3rd, 2009

I think anyone who's hopefully clinging to the dregs of summer can let go now....over the last week, I have been so cold. My fingers and the tip of my nose feel like ice.... I've been sitting with a blanket and using the laptop to warm myself up... I know I was dreading the hot, hot weather in Japan, but I'm sort of looking forward to being able to don some lighter clothes and walk outside in them. And to wear sunglasses!

Anyway, I got some super good news today! Shinako-sensei, my supervisor at Ehime, emailed me to say congratulations. Actually, the subject header of her email was that, so I knew what was coming and I stared at it for a few seconds with a grin. I have been approved to receive the JASSO scholarship offered at Ehime. Essentially, this means for me;In a nutshell, I have a huge worry removed from my mind. And I'm pretty grateful for this, I know that others will have a lot of financial worries :/

It appears we're going to some family party tomorrow...my aunt called before and when she realised I'm departing in 10 days, said I should come so I can see them all before I go. I didn't know what to say, because I don't know the relative whose birthday we're celebrating >_> Maybe I should but....I just have no idea who she is...she's 90 though, so it might not be so apparent...
But it's convenient to be able to say goodbye to relatives that I want to see, like my cousins, without having to travel about place to place. And it's sort of going out, in that I was denied a night out in Manchester today. I tried to be sensible on the money front and decided not to go out in order to save money....thus promised to make dinner, etc for the parents. Then promptly found out I got JASSO and could financially relax.
Timing...

I'm currently making a packing list to figure out what I have forgotten to pick up...
Anyone who's been on the YAB, if you have a packing list to share, could you? I would appreciate it, in that I can compare it to mine and figure out if I've missed something. Also, any gems of wisdom on the packing process for a long trip, also much appreciated! I'm going to do an initial pack tomorrow to see what kind of weight level my suitcase is up to!

Sep. 2nd, 2009

Some time ago, r05km  asked me questions:

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Sep. 2nd, 2009

Finally making some headway on uploading my lots and lots of photos, to Facebook....as I wait for the progress bar to go up, here is some advertising.

Against my better judgement, I joined poupeegirl out of the interest of building up my wardrobe photo style and being able to see it all easily. Barely made any kind of start on that though If you have it, add me here. I'm lonely :P

Listen to:

Angela Aki - Ai no Kisetsu (Seasons of Love)

I really like this but it's my usual battle of liking the song, but being irritated by something about her.

Yui - It's All Too Much

And again, moving soon to http://mikandreams.livejournal.com/

Thanks for adding me so far, guys :)

Today I went for coffee with a friend and we camped there for nearly 4 hours...(we did buy more than one drink, to be fair)...just chatting and catching up.
Tomorrow, I need to sort some stuff out over the phone and my grandmother is paying a visit.

And now I am so sleepy, so I need to move to bed...

Japan-related ramblings...

Well, today marks 2 weeks until Japan!

Tonight I am really trying not to procrastinate, and getting a list done of things I still need to get. All I can think of is new socks, few new bras, few anti-perspirant deodorants (do not want to embark on an epic search for them in Japan...), toothbrush....few other bits and bobs.
But I'm mostly sorted.
Today I bought a long white hoodie thing with a big golden heart on it, which is pretty cute and two pairs of shoes. One pair of navy flats wth little flowers and a button, and a pair of casual black pumps with small platforms. I think they'll go with casual outfits :) Also picked up a clear folder for documents for travelling. Need to make sure I get my important documents photocopied to go into both my suitcase and overnight bag for Korea.
But I need to stop buying clothes....my suitcase is fine at the moment, but I need to stop thinking about what else I can squeeze in there!

Speaking of Korea, I  booked my one night accommodation in Seoul. I got a deal with limousine bus transfer to and from the airport. So I'm staying at the Lotte City Hotel. It's only a treat, as it's just one night...I wouldn't be able to pay that for a longer stay...but I get a nice big bed, bathroom with a tub, 32" television, free wireless, etc....

Realised I'm going to feel pretty bleh when I arrive in Seoul and wil race for the shower in my hotel room.... Parents are heading to France on the same day that I'm leaving, so we'll be leaving the house around lunchtime to travel down to Heathrow, drop me off around 5-6pm, so I'll be kinda achey from sitting in the car. My flight leaves at 9.30pm and and it's 10.5 hours to Seoul.
Thankfully, this short haircut means my hair won't look horrible and limp after travelling for so long.
I'm also in a cake baking mood recently. I made a yummy chocolate sandwich cake on Friday, with cream and jam inside. Parents ate a lot of it, so I think it was enjoyed (^-^)♫♪♫
I think I might make a coffee and walnut one tomorrow! :D

Time's getting closer for me to hear about JASSO....really really hope it works out! I have so many plans and want to be able to do them.
(Addtionally wanting to pick up a couple of things from MAC and beautiful eyeshadow from Shu Uemura [although this is bad because it's so horrendously expensive and is not what you spend scholarship on.]).

Also, need to redye my hair as roots are appearing! D: But what colour should I dye it? (There's a photograph of my hair some entries away)...

Again, when I go to Japan, I shall be using this journal  http://mikandreams.livejournal.com/

Please add me there : )