Advent has come and gone, Christmas has come at last. However, many of the things that I was waiting for have not come, and so the waiting continues. The language “click” is probably far from happening considering I’ve only been studying the language for 3 months. The crippling homesickness, although I thought its arrival was inevitable, never came – it never even stopped by. I don’t know if it’s because I spent 3 hours with my family (via Skype) opening presents and playing Farkle, if it’s because I’ve been so incredibly busy with Christmas activities, or both.
Our last day of class for the year was the 17th, but daily life actually became busier! I spent the majority of the week at Tokyo Lutheran Church at the various parties, services, and outreach activities. On the 23rd we had our Children’s Christmas Pageant and Party. The pageant told the Christmas story, complete with angels, shepherds, sheep, wise men, and the happy family. I had the opportunity to be an angel – an angel who spoke not a word.
Afterward we all enjoyed Christmas treats, fellowship, and a visit from Santa (hm… Santa looks vaguely familiar, no?). This was round 2 for this Santa and I’ll admit that things went 100X better than they did on Sunday the 19th. Yushi and I make a pretty good Santa-Reindeer team, especially when I actually know what’s going on!
Later that night, as is tradition at Tokyo Lutheran, two groups of Santas traveled around the Tokyo area and visited members of the congregation whom we hadn’t seen in awhile, or who maybe just needed a visit from Santa-San. It was a good time, even if the people walking down the street looked at us like we were crazy.
On Christmas Eve we had 2 candlelight services – one in Japanese, one in English. For the Japanese service, the choir sang a piece that included organ and handbells. The entire time I was sitting with the choir, a little girl (who usually cries at the sight of me) was staring and waving at me. As we recessed during the postlude, she waved enthusiastically as I passed her - I couldn’t have asked for a better gift. After the English service, we went to a family restaurant and enjoyed some coffee and dessert. And then…
Christmas came! Christine, Allyson, and I shared in a breakfast feast, after which I got to spend some quality time with my family. We opened presents and played Farkle – it was priceless (and hilarious). The night ended with a showing of The Holiday in Allyson’s apartment. Then Christmas day was over.
But don’t be fooled – the fun doesn’t stop here! Allyson and I are about to embark on a whirlwind adventure to Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Actually, we’re leaving in 15 minutes, so I best be off! Because I won’t have a computer until the 5th of January I must say this now – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! ^_^