My family and friends are amazing

I’m going to be writing about this a couple of times, I’m sure, so sorry for any crossposting.

My family threw me a surprise going-away/belated-graduation party yesterday. They’d been planning it for a month–that’s why my grandmother flew in this past Wednesday, so soon after July 4th, and not this weekend. Something like 60 people were there–the Indian families we’ve known for years, and many of my friends from school (high school and college) and work (past and–er–more recently past), and even my orchestra conductor from Georgia Tech stopped by. The lengths they all went to to plan this and to keep it from me are amazing–my dad got in touch with many of them due to his own ingenuity, my mom got in touch with a few more by stumbling across my address book, and my friends helped out a lot by giving him names and contact info of other friends he could contact, and spreading the word and getting more people to come. They even tried contacting several of my close online friends, but of course none could make it–not that I would have expected them to anyway.

I have such amazing people in my life. I don’t know what I did to deserve you all, but I hope I keep doing it!

But now I have a lot more stuff to take with me, in the form of gifts (and cake; we have enough left over from the MASSIVE cake my parents bought that I’m sure they’ll try to send me off with some, haha)–though I got quite a few gift cards and money, but those will lead to me buying more things and cramming those into suitcases. My aunt got me a couple of books to read on the plane ride over (and she made sure to write in the accompanying card that she hopes that I meet a nice boy over there *groan*), and I got some jewelry and Bath and Body Works-esque products, and a watch from my grandmother (who often scolds me for depending on my cellphone as my watch *grin*). My coworkers chipped in and actually got me things I can use to teach kids over there basic English and grammar, and my parents’ friends got me a book on Japanese business etiquette.

I went out with my friends and then went to pick up Laura from the airport, and we alternated talking about my party (which she helped out with by looking up names and e-mail addresses) and her backpacking trip up in Banff in the Canadian Rockies, and I crashed at her place overnight. And now I’m tired and dazed and I have no idea where to begin…I have so much stuff in my room that I have no idea what to do with.

Oh, and they finalized the time of the flight: 10:00 AM on the 23rd, so we have to be at the airport at 7. Just under 2 weeks now, and I still don’t feel like I’m leaving.

Other than that, let’s see…still buying stuff, still in definite need of more day-to-day shoes (I still need to figure out what sort of indoor shoes I want) and clothes, especially for school. Danielle yesterday clued me in to Lane Bryant, and they actually do have some quite nice and normally-sized stuff there, including long-ish skirts. I also bought a CD/mp3 player at Target the other day–I still need to try it out. And I need to start burning backup DVDs of my files so I can start configuring my laptop, which I don’t think I’ve turned on in 2 weeks. I’m going to wait to buy a mouse and mousepad and speakers until I get to Japan.

I ordered some stuff on Amazon–I ordered 2 from Amazon directly and 2 from individual resellers, and Flight 2 and the Lost in Translation soundtrack came in yesterday (I’m listening to the latter right now–such an amazing compilation). I ordered 2 more CDs, which should come in next week, hopefully (Hilary Hahn’s recordings of the Barber and Meyer violin concerti, and Incubus’s “Make Yourself”–I really mean it when I say that my musical tastes are all over the place). I also ordered violin strings off Southwest Strings (they do offer international shipping, but I figured I may as well try to restring my instrument before I leave–I got Thomastik Dominants and Pirastro Aricores; I’ve never used Pirastros before so I’m interested to see how those work), and I did pick up some sheet music to work on over there–Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending” and Saint-Saens’s “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.” And, of course, the Barber violin concerto, still. I’d love to be able to come back from Japan having these 3 pieces mastered.

Generally, everyone has been saying, “We need to get together one more time before you leave.” It’s funny, because I’ve seen quite a few of them more than once, and they say that every time we part ways. It’s touching, though, that they really would like to see more of me–maybe get in as much Smitha-time as they can before we’re separated for a year. Or even longer, because many people are moving out of Atlanta in the next month or so, to work or to start grad school. But it’s really getting down to the wire–less than 2 weeks now. But I still can’t even really tell what’s beyond that 2-week boundary…it’s this big void, just a huge and unnerving blank.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I need to get back to cleaning and packing and all that…so till next time. ;o)

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