Monday, May 31, 2010
As of this morning I will be leaving the country. (Gasp! What?! No Way!) With my fellow classmates and friends, we will fly over the oceans (and various other places I shall ignore because I'm watching the in flight movies) and land in Narita Airport.
Last night I couldn't sleep for excitement. I said all my goodbyes (in person, anyway) and received all my farewell hugs from friends. This is my goodbye blog post, and I'm actually not going to be here when it is published. I have written some posts that will publish themselves throughout my trip, so enjoy and keep checking for hannahisms.
Here is one of my favorite travel quotes that is VERY true:
"A passport, as I'm sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between two countries, so that the official can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly." — Lemony Snicket
If you ever see my passport photo (and I pray you never do), you will see the truth in this quote. The snickers and odd eye twitches of the airport employees is bad enough.
Have you ever noticed the people that work in the inner complex of airports? Imagine vampires with second cousins who are werewolves, dress them up like tidy airport employees, and make them watch Telly-Tubbies for three hours straight. You have just envisioned the majority of airport workers. The only time real emotion shows on their faces is when they get to confiscate something or search a person for a pair of dangerous nail clippers.
The best parts of an airplane flight are:
- Walking down the corridor connecting the airplane to the building
- Finding a window seat with it's own TV screen
- Take off
- The breathtaking clouds that whish past your windows
- The movies!
- Listening to the radio while drinking an ice cold apple juice
- More movies!
- The experience of using an airplane bathroom. (Sounds and feels like being in a moving vacuum.)
- Seeing the ground below you shrink as you take off, then blossom as you land
- Funny seatmates that know when to talk and when to sleep
- Descending into a brightly lit city at night. Its amazing.
- The movies!
You know how people whine about the stereotype airplane peanuts? Well guess what. They are delicious! And they gave us a bad of crackers, too (they were pretty gross). Sure, i couldn't open my peanut bag because they allow no sharp objects on planes, but i digress. The myth is broken!
I'm probably waiting in the airport as you read this. There are so many opportunities to wait in airports. You wait in for the line, you wait in line, you wait for your friends to come out of the line, you wait for your late plane, you wait during the plane ride, you wait to get luggage, you wait to go through customs, and of course the ultimate waiting time: The Layover.
Sometimes you get a fun layover, other times not. For a fun example, getting a layover in Korea for 6 hours was pretty fun. I did arts and crafts, ate a smoothie, bought gifts, played with a fellow waitee Korean toddler (so cute!), and ate pepper chocolate. Plus, gained lifetime bragging rights.
So, farewell fair friends and fair home! Hasta la vista, baby!
Jet lag and marshmallows,
~Hannah Hoo ;)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Definition: A trinket or knick-knack.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
- Not all homeschoolers are total geeks.
- Not all homeschoolers wear denim skirts and hair coverings for their knee-length locks.
- Not all homeschoolers are incredibly smart (though they do have a better education than a majority of publicly schooled kids. And, according to the NHERI, homeschooled students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
- We aren't all menenite or omish. Homeschooling is done by many christian families (such as mine) and many more, er, "free spirited" people. (imagine flowers, peace signs, bell bottoms.)
- Homeschoolers can be cool or famous. For example, Charles Chaplin (Actor), Tamara McKinney (World Cup Skier), Sally Ride (Astronaut), Jim Ryan (World Runner), along with various celebrities that have decided to homeschool their kids.
With that out of the way, here is another list of events in a homeschool family life that could be turned into a field trip:
- The doctor's office
- The birth of the 10th child
- The movies
- The swimming pool
- Foreign countries
- The grochery store
So, for the public schoolers out there, this is what its like to be homeschooled. In two words: Field Trips.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Aichmophobia: The Fear of Pointed Objects
Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing
Anglophobia: The Fear of England and its Culture
Aerophobia- Fear of swallowing air
Bogyphobia: The Fear of the Boogeyman
Chaetophobia- Fear of hair
Electrogeniphobia: The Fear of urinating during an electrical storm.
Soceraphobia: The Fear of Parents-in-Law
Arachibutyrophobia: The Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
Francophobia: The Fear of the French
Politicophobia: The Fear or abnormal dislike of politicians
Coulrophobia: The Fear of Clowns
Definition: A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Your bobby pins and hair clips disappear in an instant! You can hear footsteps behind you, yet when you turn around no one is there! The toilet flushes in the middle of the night, even if you are the only person home! The laughter you imagine when you do something stupid/embarrassing? Is it really in your head? Doors seem to always be standing open in your home, even if you closed them just a moment ago! You'll notice a increasing amount of bandages are missing from your First Aid kits! Food disappears from your cabinets and refrigerator! Furniture looks worn and creased (almost as if someone is sitting in them?) after you buy it only a month earlier! Writing utensils find their ways to walls and windows, leaving cryptic messages! You find sunglasses, hats, and gloves laying around your home!
“I’m not sure, Mr.Biblo. I’d really rather not, “I wrinkled my nose and held the object away from me doubtfully. It was unnaturally white and pasty, and oozed ominously when I held it too tight. A blob of filling fell and hit the round table, then sat and quivered for several moments like a querulous jelly.
He sniffed disapprovingly. ”A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it. Nay, if to- Ouch!”
Mrs. Quill had reached over and whapped Mr.Biblo on the head with her book. “Really, Robert, let the girl eat what she wants. She doesn’t have to eat one of your tofu wraps if she doesn’t want to. How would you like it if we made you eat a hamburger?”
"I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit,” he said with upturned nose, then returned to reading his ever-present volume of Shakespeare. Mr.Biblo was rather like a reincarnation of the great bard himself, in both appearance and personality. Thin and pale as a nerd at a swimming pool, the top of his head was shiny bald and dark hair like curly ramen noodles fringed the back. He even had a small gold earring like the great poet, though I suspect it was a fake. A tall, unshaven pencil of a man that chooses to forever write nothing but Shakespeare, that was Robert Biblo. I’ve yet to hear him speak anything that wasn’t once spoken by the bard.
Mrs. Quill returned to eating her own lunch: a tray of KFC and a cup of coleslaw. Mrs. Quill has the amazing ability of reading while eating and never spills a drop or loses her concentration. A tear or two dripped into her coleslaw at an especially sad bit of her romance book. For a librarian, I was surprised she read the rubbish books where the main characters always forget to put their shirts on, yet she reads them like new paychecks.
“No, no! Lillian, he murdered Chris! Don’t you see? It’s just like that time you eloped with Phillip and the mother tried to poison you,” Mrs. Quill ate ferociously fast in her anger at “Chris”.
I don’t actually know Mrs. Quill’s first name; no one does. Mrs. Quill is the grandmotherly kind of person you could know all your life and never know her first name or her age. She was rather like a warm teapot: round, responsible, and bubbling with surprises; things like her romance novels and the tattoo of a pink Elvis Presley on the back of her neck. Her hair is white blond, always braided in a crown around her head. Her clothes are huggable, cozy cardigans and modest skirts. The only thing remotely sharp about her is her heels, colorful and surprisingly tall. Life Lesson #27 of a Teenage Librarian: People aren’t always what they seem.
The door creaked open, and Tim backed into the room with arms full of food. His loud Hawaiian shirt was like watching a car accident; scary yet you can’t tear your eyes away. Tom, in essence, is Ziggy; only with hair and pants. His voice could lull a baby to sleep, inspire world peace, any make kittens and bunny rabbits pop out of thin air. He was the kind of guy who would have gotten bullied in school, only he gave the bullies anger management classes instead.
“Hello, everyone,” Tim’s face beamed with a calm smile, “I hope you are enjoying your lunch break. This is such a bright day, very sunny. All those nice people coming to find books. I helped a man find “Aliens for Dummies” just a minute ago. He seemed very pleased.” Bags of fast food pooled on the table, from McDonalds to Taco Bell. Like Ziggy, Tim was very round and cuddly, like a life size teddy bear…a life size teddy bear with an affinity for Hawaiian shirts.
I reached under my chair and pulled my own lunch out: a banana and mayonnaise sandwich. No one else understands my B’n’M sandwiches yet to me they are pure delicious.
I am Lucinda Springs, and this summer I decided to gain extra credit points for high school by being a junior librarian. Only a few weeks on the job, I realized that a library is a far more interesting place than I ever would have suspected. On slow days, I can wheel my book cart through the aisles, methodically replacing books and people watching. Teenagers kissing in the reference isle, math whizzes looking up “How to be Gangster” on YouTube, balding men talking to shrinks about life and love, one of my fellow librarians doing the tango with a encyclopedia when he or she thinks no one is looking, a grandmother picking her nose. Life Lesson of a Teenage Librarian #28: People don’t seem to realize that there are other people at a library (much to my amusement).
There was one person missing from our motley lunch crew: Julia Hones. Julia was an odd duck, to say the least. She’s the human form of an email signature, and is constantly in her own little world, thinking unique Julia thoughts or saying strange Julia things.
“Have you seen Julia?” I ask everyone.
“Fell into a sadness, then into a fast, thence to a watch, thence into a weakness, thence to a lightness, and, by this declension, into madness wherein now he raves, and all we mourn for,” said Mr.Biblo, making things clear as concrete. Life Lesson #29 of a Teenage Librarian: Don’t ask Mr.Biblo anything and expect a real answer. Ever.
“Wha- Oh, no I haven’t, dear. Last I saw her she was doing tai-chi on the roof.” Mrs. Quill barely paused in her reading.
Tim looked up at the ceiling as if he could receive a heavenly visitation at any moment delivering news of Julia’s whereabouts. Or maybe just wondering how one gets onto the roof, anyhow. He paused, and then shook his head. “I don’t know.”
A new voice, slow and thoughtful, said, “Do Lipton employees…take coffee breaks?”
“Julia? Where are you?” I looked around. The walls of the break room were more book than wall, and the only furniture was the lunch table and chairs. Unless she had crawled into the air ducts (and that wouldn’t be too surprising), the only other place she could be was…
We all looked under the table. Sitting in the yoga lotus position with her eyes closed, was Julia.
She opened her eyes, realizing we were all staring at her. “What? I was pre-meal meditating.”
She crawled out from under the table and pulled up a chair, sitting down cross-legged. Mrs. Quill, Mr.Biblo, and Tim were used to Julia’s strange and mysterious ways by now. I, however, was still new enough to be startled to find her doing sun salutations on the filing cabinets.
We all assumed the only reason Julia was a librarian was so she doesn’t have to work. Mostly she adds artistic touches to the library and runs the main website. She was in her 20’s and looks like a gypsy; beaded wrap-around skirts, sandals with knee-high leather laces, colorful pheasant blouses and puffy sleeves. Enormous gold hoops and wild curly ebony hair that you can see bobbing above the shelves as she walks through the library. Her only feature that looked even faintly librarian is a pair of metallic glasses.
“Mmmfle gloouf mamfre?” she said through a mouth of salad.
She swallowed, and blinked like a butterfly sunning its wings. “Why are there 5 syllables in the word monosyllabic?”
I shrugged. “I don’ know. Ask Mrs. Quill.”
Mrs. Quill’s head popped up. “Ask me what?”
“Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like a toad, through ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel on its head,” read Mr.Biblo from his book, oblivious to the current conversation.
Mrs. Quill’s eyebrows furrowed. “What? You want to know about toads?”
“When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?” Mr.Biblo asked in confusion.
Julia raised an eyebrow at Mr.Biblo. “If you had a million Shakespeare’s, would they write like a monkey?”
“She speaks…yet she says nothing!” sniffed Mr.Biblo sarcastically.
I leaned back and sighed happily to myself, watching the lunch entertainment as I ate. Mr.Biblo and Julia were now having a mini food fight, throwing intelligent insults and tofu wraps. Mrs. Quill began to argue with her book characters again, and Tim was trying to calm everyone down. Life Lesson #30: Lunch with librarians in never boring.
On the roof of a hotel I stayed at in Japan they had a posh onsen. The building was the tallest in the town, so you could see the twinkling skyline at night. In the two days or so of staying in the little town, I must have visted the onsen 4-5 times, I loved it! When I returned to the U.S and told my friends that I went to a public bath, they gave me "The Eyebrows". (aka: Where is the Hannah we know and love? Who are you working for, ye perv!) (Ok, not quite like that.)
I can understand why people immdiatly jump to the conclusion that an onsen is a perverse and immoral pastime with sexual connotations, but it is not. Onsens are places for relaxation and friendly conversation, for meeting up with your friends and talking about whats up in your fishbowl.
I would highly recommend going to an onsen to anyone travelling in Japan. It is a bit uncomfortable at first, yet not a waste going. Its sad that people are so nervous or misinformed that they pass up the chance to experience a memorable and plesant experience of an onsen.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Definition: The act of throwing someone or something out of a window.
- Clothing. You never know when the item you bring will not be the right size or acceptable to wear.
- Anything that will break easily or could potentially make a mess. The air pressure of airplanes is often known to make things burst during flight and items are often broken when luggage is roughly handled.
- Anything to do with the numbers 4 or 9. These mean bad luck and death in Japanese culture.
- Avoid the color white. White is the traditional color of death in Japan, much like the way black is in the United States.
- Items or brands largly available in Japan. It is better to give something that they have not heard of or cannot buy in Japan easily.
Another hint: Take the time to wrap your gift(s). Your host family will apreciate the beautiful wrapping and it will make a simple gift a little more special.
Please enjoy your host stay and good luck in finding the perfect host family gifts. If you have suggestions or ideas, post them in a comment below. Thanks!
Thoughts in teapots,
- Travel Journal! I would highly recomend that any traveller brings a travel journal/diary. Some people write the facts, others write descriptions, others novel sized tomes. Whatever works for you. I can assure you that going back and reading your travel journal in years to come will be quite entertaining.
- Bring a sketchpad, or draw in your travel journal. Interesting luggage? Draw it. Shady character in a fedora? Draw him. Terrorists hijacking the plane? Draw them! (the police will thank you later).
- Create a soap opera (in your head or in writing) with your fellow seatmates or stewerdesses as central characters. That man snoozing in the window seat with headphones on? He is actually married to one of the stewerdesses and they are sheming to drug the woman three rows down. The woman is an ambassador to Japan and is falling in love with her seatmate, a young theif in disguise as a profitiable ladybug racer. The sky is the limit (literally) for your airplane dramas.
- Scare yourself. Is that a crack in your window? Is it just me, or is the plane tilting to the right? Why does that guy over there look so suspicious? (NOT reccomended for everyone!)
- Talk to the person next to you in an accent. See if you can keep it up the entire flight, or laugh over it if you slip up. British seems to be the easiest.
- Bring a deck of cards! These can be used for a number of different things and so many games can be played. Balderdash (a bluffling game) is my favorite, though you can also play Egyptian Rat Slap, poker, or ask your seatmate if they know a fun card game. These are also good for long bus/car rides in another country or playing a game with someone who doesn't speak your language. Plus, you can jimmy simple locks and leave a trail if you are kidnapped.
- Ghew gum. Not exactly a thrill ride, but it will pop your ears back to normal at high elevations. Stretching your jaw helps, too. Only don't do it too much, or it will look to your fellow passengers as if you are eating an invisable hippo. Doesn't improve their opinion of your sanity (or lack there of).
- People Watch! This is the perfect activity for a plane, as long as they don't realize you are doing it. Observe people, imagine what their life stories are from little details. Use your imagination.
If you have anymore ideas or funny/embarrasing experiences, leave them in a comment below. Enjoy this list and poke around online or in a travel book to find out more entertaining ideas!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It is revenge.
All those worms,
and fish that I dissected this year in biology are back to haunt. And is it a coincidence that my science books were at the site of the crime? I THINK NOT!
Here's what happened....
It was late last night, and I was immersed under the waves of sleep. My mind and body were completely shut down after a long night of babysitting, but that is another story altogether. From beyond my unconcious mind, my body felt an itch. I wiggled my arm. A little later, I felt one on my leg. I turned on my other side. Finally, my mind decided to turn on the light. I reached up over my head...and the huge metal reading light fell on my head. I groaned like a discontented zombie and fell back into sleep.
Maybe half an hour later, i felt another itch on my arm. I shifted in bed. Then, an itch on my neck. And, was it just my dreamy state, or was the itch...crawling? I decided to chance head injury and turned on the light. The good news: The lamp stayed put. THE BAD NEWS: I wasn't alone in bed.
I looked down to see tiny red specks crawling all over my arms and covers. I turned my head, and right next to where my hair pooled on the pillows a fountain of ants errupted from the crack between my matress and concrete wall. "ANTS!" I yelled in my head, and scrambled off. Then, I realized the meaning of "ants in your pants".
The buggers were crawling all over inside and outside my PJ's. I did a wild little dance while ripping my PJs off and throwing them on the floor. From the crumpled heap, Eyore looked up at me from my night shirt. "I told you ants would come."
I raised an eyebrow at him. "You also said that snakes, tarantulas, and resurrected dinosaurs would infest my room." I quickly sneaked a peek around my room. No velociraptors.
"Oh ...well. (sigh...). I suppose you are going to put us in that washer again? (sigh....)."
"You betcha, Buster!" I held him delicatly away from me and carried hime to the laundry room.
I returned to the site of disasster, ready to find my inner Indiana Jones and vanquish the ants. I filled trash bag after trash bag full of ant-y covers, pillows and sheets and lugged the bags upstairs and onto the front porch. (By the way, I put a new pair of PJs on.)
It was 3:00 in the morning when I finished and my bed was gone. The ants were struggling to get away as I chased then around a squished them with old tissues. "Noooo!" i imagined them screaming as they silently were snuffed out. They weren't done with me yet, though. The buggers were crawling through my hair and I ran upstairs and stuck my head under the sink. The buggy blaggards disappeared and I squised the last one with my hair brush.
After hours of cold, restless sleep on the living room couch in revealing red shorts, the morning came. So did the realization that I HATE BUGS!
So, bio textbook, I get the message. I warn you though, if you do anything to my final grade, I will BURN you. Lets see my textbook try any more revenge tactics, now.
"Hannah!" he hugged me, and Rachel ran up after him. "I'm just stealing Rachel's hug," he said with smuggy smile.
"Peter, move it. Hannah!" Rachel reclaimed her hug and Peter ran off to see some people he knew. "Its great to see you, I didn't know you would be here," I asked in delighted confusion.
She would have answered, only the crowd of people pulled me along. Someone shoved a freshly printed pamphlet into my hands: "2010 Homeschool Graduation". I tried to walk quietly as I ran to catch up with my family, scanning the sanctuary for some good seating. You see, my funeral/wedding/secretary heels are about a half-an inch to big for my feet. I solve this problem by stuffing the toes with tissue paper (shh, don't tell anyone) and if I'm not careful, i make crinkly sounds.
The sanctuary was crowded with people of all ages; friends and family of the graduates. Everyone had their best suits, skirts, dentures, shoes, and wigs on. Plus, at least one lady had their best marshmallow bag on and a extremely droopy top. I noticed tons of people I knew, tons of people i recognized without names, and tons of people I couldn't believe were related to the other people.
We eventually found a empty row just a few pews down from the stage. This afforded an almost perfect view. Not quite ideal, since a wooden alter post appeared in almost every photo, but still.
The lights flickered in warning, and the stereotype processional music began. A hush and scattered giggles fell over the crows as one by one, graduates walked down the aisle in their black robes, red sashes, and cardboard hats with the little tassel that that kept swinging in front of their noses and making them go cross eyed. About 1/3 of the way through entering graduates, the song came to an end. After a few moments of silence, it began again. Due to a uncoordinated DJ, this happened at least 3 times before they had herded every graduate into the rows of chairs behind the stage.
The ceremony began with a pastor opening in prayer and some Sir whats-his-names making mini speeches. We paid homage to some flags, then waited for the show.
Out of all 30 something homeschool graduates, two performed. One of the performers the crowd wanted more of...the other one not so much.
To the melodious sounds of Muse, a colorful grad wowed the crown with her vocals and cherry red heels, peeping out from under the black gown. The next girl wowed the crowd with the neon orange pants and retro flats now visible as she stood up with her guitar. The crowd was then again wowed not by her singing voice, but perseverance of singing the song despite the crowd's inability to hear what she was singing. Then, in its extended and possibly drug related glory, she sang:
Puff the Magic Dragon.
At her high school graduation.
After losing her voice.
Yes, it was a little painful.
Yes, it was probably written by someone on drugs.
Yes, she ended it by saying "Whatever" because she couldn't hold the note.
Yes, I will never forget that.
On to more, er, melodious subjects: it was time for the guest speakers. Now, at a regular high school graduation they speak for about 10 minutes, giving high schoolers a pep talk about the future and warning them against drugs, pregnancy, bad friends, taxes, drinking, and all of the above. You forget this is a homeschool graduation. This is what they talk about (with terrible sound system so you can't hear them in the audience barely):
~ Falling in love after high school
~Having trustworthy friends
~The evils of a certain radio station
~Saying bad words is, well, bad
~ The husband's science genius
~The wife had a odd uterus thus the miracle of their children after trying to conceive many times (This won't embarrassing AT ALL)
~The educational value of everything and anything
~The uses of good friends who will tell you if you are being stupid
~Genetic hand sweating in front of crowds
All of these subjects and more were covered in a 20-30 minute speech. Turns out, the graduates couldn't hear a thing the speakers were saying because the sound speakers were turned to the audience. Not that the audience could hear that much anyway. It was probably for the best.
Here comes the "Awww" photo taking/impressive credential graduation bit. The Grad made his way to the stage where their life goals and the list of elderly neighbors/nursing homes/soup kitchens they had worked at. Except for one guy, who's intro speech seemed to be an advertisement for Chick-Fil-A.
Finally, near the end of the line of Graduates, my brother walks onto the stage in his black dress and square hat. My mom and dad make their way to the stage, and my toddler sister Emi climbs onto the pew to get a better view. Just as the "Here's your award" hugging, picture taking, general priceless moment stuff begins, Emi leans back and topples over the back of the pew! A man behind us manages to push her back over, but the moment has passed when i look up from her mortified and tear-stained face. Oh, well. There is always college graduation, right?
In all my years, I have never seen so much hat hair as when they filed down the isle and threw their hats into the air. Curly, matted, sweaty, stringy, icky hat hair. It made for some nice, memorable photos ; )
The after party wasn't much to rave about. People awkwardly tried to make conversation with each other as they ate black icing that turned their lips and teeth black and blue. I did find out that the orange pants turned out to be a complete orange jumpsuit under the black robe. I mostly sat with my Grandma and waited for the ordeal to end, then we went to the Outback Steakhouse to celebrate. (Interesting fact: When your table is next to the restroom doors in an Australian themedrestaurant, it is rather entertaining. The doors read "Blokes" and "Sheilas" so the people pace back and forth between them, poking their heads in and trying to figure which is which. )
That was the extent of the graduation. Dress up, laugh at your siblings in dresses, eat black icing, take blackmailworthy photos and listen to Puff the Magic Dragon. Homeschoolers are special!