Friday, June 15, 2007

i hadn't actually realized it's been a while since i posted. guess i been busy. doing what, though, you might ask. well. a few things. for one, growing a year older and a year closer to the overbearing number 30. But since i've met several wonderful and youthful 30 year olds since being on Oki, i'm not so fearful of the number.
but still 29 for now.
so i shall mention that my birthday has been quite a successful one this year. it just keeps on giving. the actual bday was on a tuesday but my first and very enthusiastic birthday song was sung on a monday by high school students. This happened because i didn't have school on monday and drove south to spend time with Kel and Yas. While driving down, Kel asked if i wanted to stop by her high school and maybe even visit one of her classes. I agreed. Been curious about an Okinawa high school for a while. all those stories of make-up sessions in class, cell phones, short skirts, Yonkee boys, etc. So i was in quite a surprise when i walked through the halls of Kelly's school. They're all respectful, tidy, smiley individuals who were very enthusiastic about seeing a new foreign face in the halls. and the class i visited blew me away. Kelly had them ask me questions and one of the first i got, said with perfect grammar mind you was, "why do you have so many pockets," this was in regards to the cool skirt i was wearing that does have a large amount of pockets. Next questions came shyly and some under coercing from Kelly but they were impressive when they came. I got asked about my hobbies and sports i liked, but also about the reasons my family moved from Kazakhstan to USA and why i wanted to come to Okinawa to teach. A really inquisitive bunch of high school seniors. And propped by Kelly, they all burst into a rendition of a birthday song when i was asked the appropriate question. Fantastic! I had a great time in the class and walking around during break. It was fun seeing what a high school is really like. It was very intimidating, realizing that there were 1200 students at the school and several teacher offices full of staff that taught them. Quite a shock to the system after my 108 youngsters.
So yeah. that was the first birthday present. I've also gotten a 1440 page book, a giant watermelon, a website with a message just for me, a package of random goodies, two bright red shisas, numerous messages on the Facebook wall, and of course, the best birthday surprise ever from two beautiful women i'm lucky to call friends.

and the rest of the post will be in pics, 'cause i'm starting to get tired.

Ogimi boys in the final game against Nago Junior HS. They're number 1 in the north, and will play in the all Okinawa tournament at the end of July. Go Ogimi!
The cheering section at a baseball game. The card at the bottom shows the name of a player at the plate. During a cheer his name is yelled several times.
Ogimi baseball team taking a bow to the cheering section after winning their first game. They unfortunately lost the next one.
A beautiful tree in Yomitan. The school went on a field trip to learn about the experience of Okinawans during the Battle of Okinawa. We started in Yomitan at a cave site where numerous Okinawans hid and later committed suicide. The students listening to the guide tell them the sad story of the ChibiChiri cave site.
At the Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum students have a chance to read personal accounts of survivors of Battle of Okinawa. This was a very bloody battle, and most of the blood was spilled by the Okinawans caught up in the fighting.
The view from the top floor of the Peace Museum.
That's me being super excited about a surprise birthday cake on the evening of my birthday.
And here are two lovely ladies responsible for the best surprise ever! Kelly and Yasemine snuck into my place, blew up baloons, taped up photos, lit candles and hid in the livingroom for me to find them. I was keeled over and speechless for several minutes. Naughty monkeys!

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