I have really been giving, sharing, and caring this holiday season.
On Friday, the west-side Tokushima JETs went Christmas Caroling to the various Jr. High Schools we work at.
A few of us climbed into a car Thursday night, drove through the rain, up the mountains. After we got lost, we made it to Iya Valley where another JET lives.
We gathered under the Kotatsue and practiced our carols. We woke-up the next morning to put on our Christmas gear and make it down the mountain, stopping at schools along the way.
It gets dorkier ...
And as the day progressed we got genkier. During Frosty the Snowman one lines features something about Frosty encountering a traffic cop who for some reason yelled "Stop!"
After our impromptu "Stop" became a choreographed highlight we decided to add a "hammer-time" and then dance around for about 35 seconds, to then return back to Frosty.
This move began at the Miyoshi special needs school, lets just say it was a hit and we decided to continue this move for the rest of the afternoon.
Our overall performance was a success. My Jr. High cheered for an encore. We gave them the first verse in Jingle Bells.
We even spotted some snow on our way down the mountain.
This Sunday I visited an orphanage in Tokushima city with other JETs. We played some games, I brought materials for some simple crafts for the kids to do, and then they all got gifts.
We passed out the gifts beginning with the youngest kids. They waited patiently to open their respective gifts. When we told them they could open them, they took their time. Even the 3-year olds.
One of the youngest girls to get a gift from Santa waddled back to her seat and sat their beaming, staring at this wrapped present that was about the same size as her. This was only moments after she had a little melt down when of the JETs tried to pick her up.
She slowly opened her gift and proceeded to walk around the room, proudly showing everyone what she got.
Some of the kids opened their gifts, looked at their gifts pleasingly, to then re- wrap them and walk around with all pieces of the gifts they had been given.
To state the obvious, I was feeling tremendously guilty about my typical Christmas attitude.
My adult sister and I often tear through the wrapping paper, give my mother a shrug, and ask if she still has the receipt because -I already have like three black sweaters and I really was hoping for a teal green one to match my new skirt.
This year my sister and I will not be throwing out wrapping paper at Inglewood Drive, watching the high channels, eating when we are not really hungry. And I am ready to board that plane for a Christmas in Thailand.
Last night, I drove to the train station of a nearby city with Brad to pick-up his brother, who had been doing business in China.
It got me really excited to see my sister, to see anybody I knew from my American life.
When we returned to Naruto Brad and his brother gathered around the computer to skype their parents. Though I am a big fan of Mrs. Direnzi and her hip eye glasses, I had to crawl under the blankets and countdown the days till I get to talk about a shared "Mom" with one of my siblings.