Thursday, January 19, 2006

Birthdays and farewells- Saturday

Last weekend had to be one of the most emotionally turbulent times I have ever experienced in my life (which probably is not a bad thing). It was a time of celebration- my 18th birthday (legal age of adulthood in Australia) and also a time of many farewells- my fantastic exchange friends and unbelievable Fukuoka church friends. Let us begin from the beginning, Saturday.

As my alarm clock rang on Saturday morning I awoke with 3 words in my head….”it’s party time”. My host mother was in the kitchen cooking breakfast and also cooking food for my birthday party (I had 3 friends+ family) which was to begin at 12pm. The rest of the morning was spent madly running around my city with my host father completing all sorts of odd jobs- the garbage recycle centre, the bank, Fukuoka bus tickets, my birthday cake (It was a Baskin and Robins Ice cream cake, yummy! It even had Snoopy on the top!), and finally picking up my exchange friends from the train station. When we arrived home we walked into the kitchen to find my host mum had created a feast- Pizza, pasta, fried chicken, sandwiches, baked potatoes- oh it tasted good. I was lucky enough to receive presents from everyone:
Marjo (Finland): Marjo gave me these ultra modern chopsticks, tea spoon and coffee mug with the Japanese flag on them (sounds cheap but they look fantastic), very minimalist design style.
Erik (Holland): He gave me some money which I later used to buy a rare Dragon Ball z model- this model is from the first series ever (circa 1980’s) is in mint condition and from what I understand is rather hard to get hold of anymore- extremely collectible.
Host sisters: Cards, A Japanese Calligraphy proverb and from the oldest sister a handmade friendship band that says “Jesses Japan” (how appropriate)
Host Parents: New Cologne!! It has to be the nicest smelling cologne ever- Burberry, Brit for men.

We shared a nice afternoon together talking about our time together and anything else that tickled our fancy.

Around 5pm we left for our AFS Presidents house to carpool to Saga-Ken for a farewell party with our exchange friends in Saga. We arrived to find a huge feast had been prepared (oh boy!) we were already full from my party, lucky there were many other people present to dispose of the food. Speeches were given, bingo was played (I told you it is a Japanese party thing) and good times were had by all but then came the saddest part of our exchanges, saying goodbye. It has been a surreal feeling saying goodbye to everyone, most people agree that it doesn’t feel like goodbye. It is just incredible how things like email and long distance calling cards have made the world so much smaller. I know that it is going to be a very long time before I see these people again, in fact I may never meet them again but because of things like email and MSN Messenger (Mr. Gates your software designers are genius) it is likely I can keep in contact with these people for life.

I know that some exchange students to be read this website so please let me give you this piece of advice about leaving; say your goodbyes while you can. If you are uncertain as to whether you will ever see a particular person again, wish them goodbye, obtain their contact details and tell them how much you enjoyed your time together- these easy to do things will secure you friendships for life.

Sunday is next to come,