Dec 15, 2008

Early Christmas Gifts

For the past three days it's felt like Christmas came early.  One of the moms in my Thursday morning class gave me this bag full of handmade ornaments including frosted pine cones that she and her son had found.  They're very cute ornaments that fit perfectly in our woody home...and that they're hand-painted makes them so much more special.
Another mom of one of our students is a florist and made this truly unique, arrangement for us.  It has fresh greens and twigs, real princess apples, pine cones and little Christmas treasures on every corner.  It's so creative and cute...I just love it!  (Mashi wrote about it too, so see below for more pictures.  For the last two hours, we've been on separate computers arguing over who gets to use which pictures in their blog entry.  Haha!)

Friday evening brought the delivery man to our door with a box from two of my homes - one from the US and one from Shiga.  The first was from my cousin in Chicago who is so kind and thoughtful as to send us gifts despite the high shipping costs.  She sent her homemade snack mix that I love and can't stop eating once I start, my favorite chocolates with peanut butter inside, Mashi's favorite brand of Earl Grey tea, and a basket which comes from Ghana. It was purchased to supplement the income of the local farmers who make them.  She also included a family photo from my Aunt, bless her heart, which she knows I will treasure.  I so miss my family during the holidays.

The second box came from Shiga from my old supervisor at Koka Junior High School where I worked when I first arrived in Japan - gosh, how many years ago??  twelve? thirteen?  I've lost count.  If it hadn't been for the kindness and constant care of Oki-sensei in those first years in Japan, I'm sure I wouldn't still be living here.  She still goes out of her way to send me gifts and a hand-written card, in perfect English, mind you, EVERY year.   She reports in this year's card the happy news that her eighth grandchild will be born in January.  I will go dig some photos out of my albums to pay proper tribute to this wonderful woman in a separate post once the holidays are over.

Finally, in this run of wonderful gifts that came my way, I got a very cute coffee mug from one of my adult students at our annual Christmas party on Saturday night.  We had a nice, intimate gathering with just a few of our students who could manage to come during this busy time of year.  We always play a simple game and do a present exchange.  For the past two years I've been lucky to receive the present that our student Yuko brought.  Last year I got a really cute frog-shaped tape dispenser, this year a mug from "The Story of Moominvalley."  She has fun taste!  I enjoyed my morning cup of coffee with Moomin this morning.  Thanks, Yuko!  (Christmas party pictures coming soon!)

Thanks to our students and moms for making our Christmas holiday so warm despite my being so far from home, and for my cousin who always makes an effort to stay in touch and keep our small family close.  My life is so blessed with special people.  Tomorrow we start the Christmas parties for our kindergartners and elementary students....the cookie dough is made and in the fridge, cookie cutters washed, Christmas games and Twister set-up and ready to go!  Bring on the kids!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

1 comment:

Emilie said...

That flower arrangement is incredible, truly.

And I hesitate to tell you that your package from us is just getting in the mail today (yikes!). I don't think it will make it in time, but it's a coming!