It’s hard for me to believe it’s been more than a month since I last posted.
And here I am… in the same chair… staring at the same clock. Only this time it is different.
The seconds no longer taunt me… slowly ticking by… showing me they are moving, but seeming to slow down. Instead I sit here, feeling as though I never left… but refreshed like I have never felt before.
My sister refers to “it” as “The Christmas in the Crapper.” A title that fits far better than anyone can imagine. (Except the 6 of us that were there… and we are still trying to purge the thoughts from our memories… pun TOTALLY intended) And the most memorable phrase of the trip came from Jared, “Does anyone need to get anything out of their systems before I take a shower?” (Keep in mind as you read the following story, there were 6 of us, and only one bathroom.)
The only part of my trip that went as planned, was my first night back. I met Megan at the airport and we got to the restaurant and totally surprised the pants of Jared. He really had no idea that I had been planning on surprising him. (Seriously, he almost peed his pants! It was SO great!!!!) And I spent the night with Megan at her house… just like the good old days. The next morning I went to church with Jared and tried the best I could to stay awake in spite of being totally jet-lagged… through TWO services. Then we drove home, and that is where my plans faded into some magical place, never to be recovered again. Garrett, my sister’s boyfriend, had caught something on the plane ride from Houston to Denver. Some type of flu. In any case, we walked into my home (YAY for being home!) to my mom saying that we had to wait to leave for the skiing trip since Garrett couldn’t keep anything down. ( Being vomitsoundphobic (the fear of being within 20 miles of anyone throwing up) I was OK for waiting until Garrett had stopped vomiting before initiating our travel plans.) We ended up leaving at 4:30 AM on Monday morning. NOTE My father and I both mentioned, as we were packing the car, that we didn’t feel well. So into the newly rented Suburban we all went… my mom and Dad, Rana, Non-throwing up Garrett (who said he felt much better, but who was under penalty of death if he threw up whilst in the car.), Jared and me. So, we began to travel. Garrett got better, my dad and I did not. I think that what I suffered from was not the same as what everyone else caught, since I did not once throw up. Rather, I think it was my stomach getting used to American food. (Though, I have forced my body to not throw up for so many years, it is quite possible that it has forgotten how to.) Anyway, what ended up happening to me was severe pains… to the stomach. My dad was not as lucky. About halfway to the ski place, we pull over for breakfast. And after breakfast and a trip to the Safeway to get antacids, my dad did ‘that-which-won’t-be-described’ in the parking lot. We finally get to the hotel near the ski place… (after one more time of stopping on the highway for my dad to do ‘that-which-won’t-be-described’ and me groaning in severe pain the entire way) and we all crash. no one really wants to ski, and half of us are feeling crappy. So we decide to wait till Tuesday to go skiing. When we finally got there, skiing was actually really great. Tuesday was a bit slower than Wednesday because we had to teach Garrett the Texan (noticeable by the camouflage jacket he wore) and Jared the finer points to skiing. They both actually did really well! Falling a bit, but that isn’t uncommon and ESPECIALLY for a first day. Unfortunately Garrett fell on one of the last runs and hurt his knee pretty bad. So he wasn’t able to ski the next day. Wednesday was a better skiing day, because Jared was getting really good… and for the most part we were all feeling better. Well, at least we were until it was time to drive back to Colorado Springs. My dad was suffering from severe gas pains. How do I know it was gas?? Every few minutes on the 5 hour car ride back we all would yell “WINDOW!” To help with that smell, we happened to have an air freshener… which was counter productive in it’s overpowering scent… and now, whenever I smell that citrus smell, I feel like vomiting.
We finally got home on Wednesday night. Exhausted, but in happy spirits. The trip had brought us closer than I had ever hoped to be with people who were not blood relatives. But that isn’t the end. The next day, Jared and I went to hang out with Megan up in Denver, and then we exchanged our Christmas presents and headed toward a party for college people from Jared’s church. Suddenly Jared wasn’t feeling well. On the drive from Denver to Castle Rock and then from Castle Rock to Colorado Springs, Jared did ‘that-which-won’t-be-described’ twice, canceling any further plans we had that evening. And then when we got home and told my mom, Rana and Garrett that Jared had become sick… Rana did ‘that-which-won’t-be-described’.
Jared left the next day to go home to Albuquerque and my grandparents arrived. My grandmother was suffering from acid-reflux, which made her also do ‘that-which-won’t-be-described’ and later in the week, my grandfather got a bad cold. (We all hoped he would not catch the same thing everyone else had… you do not want to have a big man like that be sick in your bathroom.)
Even Christmas Eve/Day didn’t turn out quite like we had hoped it would. We didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve, and the next day it took FOREVER to begin opening presents. ( I had stayed up till 3AM wrapping and writing clues for my presents to make sure I was done in time… and my dad woke me up at 9:30 am. We didn’t start till 3pm!!) Christmas dinner was kind of thrown together, since no one felt like cooking. (Rana was still feeling sick.)
Rana was around for the next week, and one of the days we finally got haircuts. And actually, THAT turned out ok. 🙂
Even New Year’s Eve didn’t go according to plan. By the time Jared got around to buying tickets to the Symphony… they were sold out. So we went to Megan’s, where she made us dinner, and then we headed to the Kornblith brothers’ apartment to ring in the new year. It was good to see the people I knew there, but there were a large majority of people I didn’t know. Those people liked to drink, and they liked to be loud. A bit uncomfortable… after spending so much time alone in Japan. Just before midnight we all walked downtown and waited till midnight. At midnight… there were fireworks. (Literally, I am not trying to be metaphoric.) And you know, kissing at midnight might be over-rated, but I have to say… if it is with someone you really care about, to know you are starting off the year with that person… is amazing.
I have to say, I had a lot of plans in mind to do while I was home and I did about 1/4 of them. Without a car… or my own cell phone, I was stuck in Colorado Springs. Which, thinking back on it was good. I was FINALLY able to go through the many boxes of crap that I have been meaning to sort through for ages… AND I was able to see my mom and dad a bit. Almost an entire week was spent sorting through boxes. That might seem like wasted time, but when you plan on returning in July for good, it bring a big peace of mind that there isn’t much left to do once I arrive back home. The only reason I saw Jared at all, was because he was so willing to drive down to the Springs and live there when he wasn’t up in Thornton or Castle Rock practicing.
Anyway, the best way to summarize my trip home, was that it wasn’t the happy vacation I had wanted. It was just a reminder that life isn’t perfect, and plans don’t always go the way we’d like them to. I am planning on coming back to Colorado during the last week in March and first week in April… and then I will be back in Colorado Springs for GOOD somewhere near the end of July. 5 months in Japan have been great… and I have 7 more. Even with a crappy Christmas… I still realized how much I miss home. Jared told me he wouldn’t mind if I came back too… 🙂 Actually, he asked me to come back I couldn’t ask for a better guy to love.
And you know what? He loves me too.
7 more months to chill in Japan… Bring it on.
What a story, Aris! Sorry it didn’t work out as planned, but at least your travels were safe and you got to see family Enjoy Japan!!