The “Free” Weekend

The last weekend in February I found myself with a problem: I had a free weekend.  A weekend with no volunteering, no taiko performances, and no other plans.  Dedicated readers of my blog should all know how rare that is and also that I consider this a problem.  A free weekend is one full of things to get accomplished and one in which nothing ever is.  Like most problems, this was one better dealt with by action than inactivity.  So on Saturday morning, after popping awake at 5:45, going for a 4k run (best time I’ve ever had on a practice run, by the way), doing the maximum amount of laundry my drying rack can handle at a time, and clearing all the dishes out of my sink, I knew I needed to make a plan soon or the rest of the day was going to be spent in front of a screen of some sort.

I decided the best answer to that was to text Cassie.  Cassie lives on the other end of the prefecture from me and the train ride takes something like four hours.  That, alone, has not put a stop to me visiting her.  In fact, my first year, I did train all the way down to Kushima and spend a few days with her before we went on to a beach party on an island in Kagoshima.  That was the first, and last, time I stayed at Cassie’s (I think).  The reason being that she now has two cats.  One cat will make me rub my eyes until they are bright pink and gross.  Two might trigger an asthma attack.  And, as much as I love Cassie, I love being not sick-feeling-for-a-week just a little bit more.  That’s not to say I never get to see her.  If staying over at her place were my only chance to ever see her, I would boldly brave the cats.  However, Cassie is on the MAJET board with me, so I regularly see her at meetings and events.

It had been far too long since we had time to hangout just the two of us, so I suggested we meet in Miyazaki City, about halfway between us, for a movie and mall time.  Since she happened to be free as well (incredibly rare for our free weekends to fall on the same weekend), she agreed.  Unfortunately, the movie we decided to go see, Doctor Strange, was only showing at 9:35 am.  After calling me crazy at how early I was suggesting we both get up to make the trek, she agreed.

My favorite part of knowing I only have one day to get things done is that I actually get things done.  The less time I have, the more efficient I am with that time.  Knowing I only had a day, I managed to go to the gym, vacuum, dust, scrub my tub/shower, bake cookies, re-dye my hair, make cauliflower rice, and even clean some of my windows.

The next day I was up bright and early, on my way to the train station.  The movie was fun and the visual effects were great, but I think Cassie had more fun watching me geek-out than she did watching the actual movie.  After that we went to Kaldi, the utopia of foreign foods within the mall.  After we both had more tortillas, real cheese, and coffee than we could carry, we decided the next stop was lunch.

Since I’ve found Boogies Burgers in Miyazaki City, I have been dreaming of going back for some more, delicious, 100% beef burgers. On the walk from where we parked to the restaurant, we happened to run into our friends Alex and Saori.  It was really incredible timing.  All of us ended up going to lunch together and having a great time.

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After lunch we all wandered around a bit and finally made our way to the big bookstore, Tsutaya.  I have been wanting to go there ever since I received book gift cards as my prize for winning the Japanese speech contest in December.  After a while of wandering the limited English books section, I decided the best use of the money was to buy a bunch of low level books to donate to the school I work for’s library.  I ended up with four English books and “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” in Japanese for me, with quite a bit of money left over.  I will have to go back sometime when I have a backpack or some other way to carry the books back easily with me.

When I got back and unpacked my haul from the day, I decided that the tortillas and fajita mix I had bought could only mean one thing for that evening:

Time to make burritos.

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And delicious, but small, burritos they are.  I forgot how much easier it is to work with pre-made tortillas, rather than the ones I make myself.

All in all, I had a very productive and well-balanced “free” weekend.

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