Thursday was a double whammy of homesickness: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah all rolled into one.  Thankfully I had one day of Hanukkah to get used to the feeling of being away for yet another Hanukkah.  I thought I would be adjusted to that sadness so that Thanksgiving wouldn’t suck so badly.

And then my dad sent me this text:

“I know I’m gonna be sad tomorrow, so I’m getting ready.  At least I get to hug your sister before I leave.  We’re waiting on them for dinner now.  First Thanksgiving without my girls. : -(. Hope you’re having fun.  Love you!”

While I did take a moment to feel proud of my dad for (almost) using a smiley correctly, he ruined the illusion I had of keeping it together.  And of course, what was “tomorrow” for him was the morning of Thanksgiving for me.  And where was I?  Same place I am every Thursday: work.  Not that I have anything against my job.  (Especially since last week was testing and I was just expected to sit at my desk the whole day and not cause trouble.)  But the fact that I was just sitting at my desk all day was just making things worse.

So after lunch, I decided to walk around the school and stop in the clubs.  Granted, this is normally what I tell myself: “I’m not going to spend the whole time with the karate club.  I will actually explore other clubs this time.  Seriously.  No more karate.”  And guess what happens?  I made some token effort to walk around the school, but in the end, as always, I walk up to the dojo.

The students were all excited to see me, though I always feel a little bad when they say, “Long time no see!”  And now that they’re more comfortable with me, they’re more willing to speak to me in English.  So, whenever I stop by, they swarm me with half thought out sentences to hurl at me.  I love it.  As I walked up, one of them said, “We’re going running today!”  (I may be editing the fluency for your sake.)

Now, I’m in my work clothes.  Thankfully, I was wearing stretchy pants and a flannel button down with a sweater, so nothing super constricting.  I’m also still recovering from my chest cold and the weather combined with environmental factors have been triggering more asthma attacks than I am used to.  So the logical thing would have been to say, “Nope.  I’m going to sit this out.”  But I have no logic when it comes to the karate club.

And I really like hanging out with the students.  What did I say? “Let me go get my sneakers.”  I enjoyed joking around with the students as we got ready.

“We’re going to run around the school three times.”  I looked at the school.  Ok, it’s a big school, but it’s not that big, right?  I could totally do it.

Fast forward to finally finishing the first lap and I called it quits.  I went back to the teacher’s room, grabbed my inhaler, and wasted some time before returning to the dojo just as everyone was getting back.  They chuckled when they saw me and I laughed at myself as well.  I told them I was weak when it came to running and I held up my inhaler as further proof that I’m not supposed to be running outside.

I got a text from Russell inviting me to Nobeoka for a last minute Thanksgiving thing.  I didn’t want to go.  I really just wanted to go home and wallow for a bit.  You know, cry, have some chocolate, shoot some virtual people, the normal things people do to cope with homesickness.  But Nico told me that I would regret not going and I knew he was right.  So I figured out a train that got me there at the perfect time.  I biked home from work, dropped my stuff, repacked my backpack, and walked to the station.

Once in Nobeoka, Russell picked me up and, after stopping at his place for a bit to finish cooking, we went to Alissa’s for dinner.  There were 9 of us in total.  I got to see some people I had met before and meet a few new ones as well.  All in all, it was a good time.  I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had a train to catch and a Skype appointment to make.

Now, pictures of food:

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