07 December, 2012

Bad days, good days.

There are days in a foreign land where you just have a bad day. You can't find the right words, you run into people who can't or won't help you, and you start to feel defeated, even home sick.

Then there are days when things seem to go right. The words snap into place, people understand what you're saying, and you just get things right (or right enough). Both of these kinds-of days happen when you're in your home country too, but somehow they seem more pronounced when you're out of your most comfortable zone.

Well, I had the second kind of day today. I thought you'd like to know about successful days, not just the baddies, so here goes.

This morning I started off with the usual—getting kids to school. We didn't have any significant fights, that's a good start.

Just before I farewelled my last son out the door, I remembered something about him having an on-computer spelling game to complete before the end of the week. He didn't have it written down, so had forgotten. Not surprising after a particularly hectic afternoon-morning of homework in which he tried to catch-up on other homework not completed earlier in the fortnight. Anyway, I, by some miracle, caught it and he had time to correct the problem. Plus, he did it cheerfully. Not always a trait associated with our middle son, but it was pleasant to enjoy its balm.

After that, an hour long meeting with my Executive Editor on Skype. This usually happens on Wednesday but we had to reschedule this week. An uneventful meeting, but with an underlaying feeling as though we're continuing to make progress on improving the magazine.

I squeezed in a little bit of email and computer work before I headed off to the hospital again for the final (women's business) tests required by our medical advisor. A bit painful, but done without too much difficulty and without much English. And I managed it all on my own. That is one of the best feelings in a foreign land.

It was a bit dicey at the end when the doctor told me that because they'd found no problems (yay!), the tests weren't covered by health insurance (boo!). I searched my person while waiting for the bill, but found less than 10,000 yen, which shouldn't have been enough and I wondered how I was going to manage this. Then the bill was rung up as 2,900 yen. Yay! No idea what happened, but I'm not unhappy.

So I rode down the road to Starbucks and had a rare coffee-shop coffee with a sandwich to celebrate my successes of the morning (not the least, getting the tests done). The Gingerbread Latte wasn't quite to my liking. I'm not sure what spice they used, but it sure didn't taste like ginger! Nonetheless, a rare trip to a coffee shop on my own was delicious.

Then I headed home on my bike, feeling all light headed with success. Dropped into the shop we buy milk at and while I was there hurdled another barrier that I hadn't tried before. I "used" the points that we'd been accumulating on our ?loyalty card. That took 400 yen off the bill. I felt successful again!

Then I headed home to pick up all the parcels that we'd packaged up the night before for our families in Australia. Loaded all of them on my bike. They piled up nicely, one may have mistaken me for Mrs Claus. And rode off to the Post Office. Once there I negotiated the "which type of mail do you want to send them by" trial. There seems to be so many ways to send a parcel from Japan! Strangely enough, the fastest way, was almost the cheapest.

My loaded bike.
The Post Office is a place that used to be almost as scary as a hospital to me, but not today. Anyway, then I spent about 15 or so minutes filling in forms about the exact contents of the box, including their cost. Even though my husband wrote a list out, I was still guessing a bit, but no one seemed to mind. I just hope no customs officer opens them in Australia and gets upset because I didn't count correctly.

Got that lot dealt with, and paid for. And then, another great triumph of the day: I remembered that we wanted to stop the mail from arriving for the week that we'll be away before Christmas, just in case someone sends us a present that arrives that week. So, I filled out another form, this one was an easy one. And Japan Post really has it over Australia Post on this front. It is a free service, with a smile!

Then I headed over to CAJ with a library book to return, and a book to donate to the library. I spent a while finding books to read over the holidays for me, and our younger two boys. I don't remember my mum needing to do this for me, but it seems that my boys struggle to find their own books to read. They need a bit of a helping hand. It is only recently that I abdicated that responsibility for our 13 y.o. and handed it over to him. He still needs some reminders, but he is starting to do it for himself.

And now I'm home, relaxing after a busy, but satisfying day. In the midst of it all I got some nice exercise too. The ride to the hospital includes a nice hill and took me about 15-20 minutes to complete each way. Plus riding around like Mrs Claus, well, that wasn't so bad, but I really do like getting out on my bike, especially on a beautiful autumn-like day like today.

Hmmm, but I do have a bit of email work to get to following up on my meeting this morning. How much do you think I can squeeze in before the boys tumble in the door? Once they're here I won't be able to do much at all, because they'll be excited: we're going to the Middle School Christmas concert this evening, with the all-important traditional hot chocolate afterwards.

No comments: