Oh my goodness, my feet are cold! I've forgotten to put on ug boots and now and paying for it. I'm currently sitting in the basement of Ryan's dad's house and the concrete floor is not particularly pleasant in the midwinter!!
Well, we made it! We had a great final day in Japan with Miyao and Andrea. They were such wonderful hosts and we had an amazing insight to what life is really like in Japan through staying with them. On Tuesday, we got up to another wonderful Japanese breakfast made my Miyao's mother. It was Japanese rice, salmon and chives, with miso soup...so yummy! Ryan has a new obsession with nori (seaweed) and so added that liberally. Miyao told his mother about my wasabi obsession so she got out the hottest wasabi I've ever tasted! Bit of a new experience at breakfast but that didn't stop me!!
We caught the train (after dropping in on Andrea and my forum!) to Osaka city, dropping off our bags at the station and then hitting the shopping district. Ryan and I definitely didn't have much space left to pack things so we were mostly window shopping but it was amazing! I know now why my international students at USC say Adelaide's shopping is so terrible. We only went to one district and it was HUGE! Lots of bright lights and neon too - very impressive.
Andrea and Miyao took us to a Japanese omellete house for lunch. There is a hotplate built into the table and the waitresses come and pile up all sorts of things to cook in front of you. We had an egg dish, fried noodles and also the traditional omelettes, stuffed with fresh cabbage and pork and topped with BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. Sounds scary but yummmmmmmm!!
After lunch, we sadly made our way to the train station to catch the Shinkansen to Tokyo. It was really sad to say goodbye to Andrea and Miyao - I got a bit teary - as they looked after us so well. The train journey itself was quite fun. We had bought donuts and coffee in a can from vending machines to keep us occupied and so whiled away the two and a half hour trip watching the country fly past. Unfortunately, it got dark about an hour or so out of Osaka so we missed Mt Fuji but there's always next time. Once in Tokyo, we went straight to the hotel which was just lovely and since we were still full from lunch, had a vending machine drink (I think mine was peach vodka but who knows since the writing was kanji only) and watched the news on CNN. (Do you know that there's snow in Denver?? I think this was the main news story repeated every ten minutes...cause nothing else is going on in the world, right??)
The flight to New York was fine and we arrived around 12 noon on Wednesday at our hotel in New York. I had a raging headache and Ryan wanted to nap so we stopped at the drugstore and then went to our room to rest. (I indulged my Diet Dr Pepper obsession too - priorities!) Well, that was a bit of a mistake as we slept til 9pm and missed the entire day but at least we're not jetlagged anymore! The next day, we pretty much had to head straight to the airport to catch our flight to Virginia so we didn't see much of New York at all this time. However, since we're heading back up in a week or so for New Years' I wasn't too gutted!
We arrived last night in Virginia after a ton of delays at JFK. The gate was absolutely packed with all the holiday travel and Delta was doing a pretty average job of managing the crowd. Still, once on the plane, the flight was fine and we were met at the gate in Richmond by Ryan's dad, his wife Lucy, Ryan's sister and our neice and nephew. Jared was especially excited to see us and we even got hugs without prompting this time! He's gorgeous and so big! Cate is a bit unsure of us for now as she was so little when we were last here. That will soon fade, I think. She's so beautiful and we can't believe how big she's gotten too!
So yes, now we're at the house and doing all the little errands that need to be done before Christmas. Don't know if I'll be able to get online much with all that has to be done, but if not, happy Christmas all!