Anyway, I guess aside from slightly freaking out, there's no other point to this post, so I'll be off. And see you in Japan!
Just a quick post, because I'm leaving tomorrow! This will probably be my last post in the Before page, so the next time I write, I'll be in Japan! It's all so surreal. I'm excited and nervous and panicky all at once. I'm afraid I'll forget something, but I'm all packed and ready to go. I have a couple more things I need to get, though. Well, I just have a couple more pictures for the photo album, and I might get some sandals, and I need to get a couple things from my grandparents and find room to pack it in, like the raincoat.
Anyway, I guess aside from slightly freaking out, there's no other point to this post, so I'll be off. And see you in Japan!
Well, I'd written an entire blog earlier, but my phone and Internet conspired against me and this website basically deleted what I'd written. I'll attempt to remember everything is written about.
Let's see...First I think was that even though my flight is Sunday afternoon, but I live so far away that we're leaving tomorrow and will stay the night at our grandparents house so that the ride to Detroit won't be as long. Plus, I'm going to have a whole entourage of family to send me off. Always nice to have my family along with me! Although, this means there's going to be even more crying and stuff, but still.
I think the next thing was that somehow I only realized a couple days ago that I need my bags marked with my name and things, and though my actual piece of luggage has a little slip with a card in it, but I'm afraid it would fall out. So I added name tag things to my list, but then my always helpful family--rather, my aunt--ended up getting me a couple of MSU luggage name tag things! So now I just need to make sure they're marked inside as well, but I think I can probably just tape or something a note card inside somewhere. I'm not sure what I need to write as my address, though, but I can update on that later.
The next thing is that in the email I got recently, they did say one of the things I need for the first night is a raincoat. I bought a cheap, clear one that will at least get me through the first bit before I can hopefully buy one in Japan. But then, my family is again coming through for me and are going to try and find one before we see them tomorrow. Seriously, what would I do without my family? They're always a huge help.
Next: the hardest decision I'll probably ever have to make...Which two or three books will I take with me, which will be the only books I'll have for eight months? Seriously, though, for a bookworm like me, it's a very difficult decision.
Now for a new development. I think each year JCMU must create a new Facebook group for semester/academic year students, which I highly recommend joining so you can get to know your classmates and get information. Anyway, some students are already there, and one was saying that his Visa card wasn't working at any ATMs, but just said that it works at Citibank, so I'm a bit concerned. My card is also local, but it's a MasterCard, so here's hoping. And worse comes to worse, I could always do money orders through the post office, or even open an account there, though I'd rather not have to.
Now I can't remember what else I'd discussed earlier when my post was deleted.
Ah, right! I'm bringing my laptop as well as the first Japanese textbook and copies of pages from the first two lessons in the second textbook, though it'll make my backpack really heavy. I wouldn't bring my laptop since they do have a computer lab, but I'd rather be where I want when I have to write the many papers I know I'll have for my elective class. And I'm brining that textbook so I can study before the placement test.
Speaking of the elective class, I read what people have written (and it may be a bit obvious), saying to try to take an elective that's in one of the neighboring universities. It's a good way to meet Japanese students and make more friends for one thing. Maybe then it'd be easier finding a club to join.
Another thing is that I was finally looking at the schedule fr the first couple of days. So Monday night we arrive and move in. Tuesday is orientation and a city tour, and Wednesday is the placement test. Thursday classes start, but my elective class starts in October. I'm kinda glad it starts later, so maybe I'll be more comfortable finding my way there. Especially since I'm directionally challenged.
Well, I think that was it. I'll edit later if I remember something. Which is likely, since I feel like I forgot something. I guess maybe how I might be able to meet with some fellow students at the airport, who are going on the same recommended flight. Which I recommend, to make life easier. Though people always say--and some of the students already there have said, too--that people are very helpful and it's not too difficult to get there anyway. Still, if you're like me, I recommend the recommended flight, or at least to meet the escorts. Well, for now, I'm off.
I'm definitely getting excited, but a large part of me that's still overwhelming that excitement is extremely nervous (mostly it's just my personality that I get so worked up, though). I'm mostly worried about the flight and finding the escorts. But then, I'm directionally challenged for the most part, and even though it seems like it'll be simple enough to find them (and it really probably will be), but I'm still worried about it. And then, I'm concerned about going through customs and about answering their questions in the short interview they will conduct correctly, and even more so about finding my luggage. Of course there will be people to help every step of the way, but...
I don't think I've mentioned this, but I have a couple of cousins that travel a LOT, and they've been a huge help in giving me information regarding flying. For example, reminding me not to wear anything metal so I don't set off the alarm and have to be patted down, and when going through security I'll need to take off my shoes and anything from my pockets and put it into a box to go through security, and my laptop will have to come out to go in its own box. Since it's going to be hot both in Detroit and in Japan, I'm wearing flats, shorts and a T-shirt, basically.
On this topic, I received an email from one of the two escorts from JCMU on the Japan side explaining where and when we will meet (about an hour after the flight arrives) and explaining some of the things we'll need for the first night--bar soap, sandals/flip-flops/ inside shoes, a towel (and hand towel), and some other things I forgot. Well, about $300 converted of course, since they say we'll probably be spending a lot in the first week or two (probably meaning buying the essentials). Oh, and we may have to ship extra luggage, which is about $20 per piece, and the shuttle bus ride will be about $25-50, depending on the number of students. It's a two hour ride, by the way, so we'll be getting to campus by about 9 pm, probably later since we're only meeting at 7, not leaving. I think.
Well, that's it for now I guess. Besides, we have to go visit my grandparents one last time, so we need to be leaving soon.
You know, if I weren't so nervous right now, I think I'd be so excited to the point of being giddy! I just had a moment where I stopped worrying and that's what I felt, anyway.
Firstly, I apologize for my last blog posting. I wasn't being very grammatically correct and my sentences often didn't make a lot of sense. I'll try not to do that again, and try to stay on track more. It would probably help if I started using my computer to type these instead of my phone.
So. 7 days. Only a mere week left. I do believe I've moved onto disbelief and shock, because it certainly doesn't feel real. It just feels like life is going to go as normal, not suddenly thrust me into an entirely different country, culture, and language for 8 months.
I think I'm only writing this due to shock, boredom, and sleepiness. I don't have a ton to say, anyway.
Basically, don't do what I've done and put off reviewing Japanese until the week before. Yes, I know I can do it, but it could be interesting...and it would've been better to not have to cram it all in at once like I'm going to every day starting tomorrow. Well, but I remember quite a bit still, so it shouldn't be too bad. And it's not like there's a ton of kanji I have to relearn-maybe 160 or so. In Chinese, we learned even more than that within one semester. A friend and I are also practicing via Facebook, so that helps (I live in The-middle-of-nowhere, MI, in the UP, and all of my friends live at least 5 hours away, so the internet it is).
I'm not sure I mentioned this before (I'm starting to have issues remembering what I already talked about on this and my personal blog; having two blogs is a bit...), but both sides of my family ended up having a going away party for me (thanks again!!). The one in my dad's side was a bit bigger and more involved, but the other one was just as nice and as much fun (that one was actually just tonight; we sat out around the campfire).
Oh, I just remembered something. Hikone is in the Kansai region, which means they have the Kansai accent (from what I gather, sort of the equivalent to our Southern accent). Now, we've been learning standard Japanese, or the Tokyo accent. So I'm wondering if I'm going to come back with the Kansai accent, or if maybe it's not as pronounced within the population of Hikone. I guess we'll see. Maybe I'll even have a post dedicated to that in the future...Well, being honest, more likely it'll be mixed in with other things I'll have to talk about.
I think that's it for now. Probably after a couple more posts in this Before page, I'll be having to make my "In Japan" page sometime after I'm settled in to my room!
So, there's not much I can do concerning applying for JCMU right now. I mean, I need to get a passport, but I need my birth certificate for that, which is at home, and the earliest I can get that is early November, IF my parents come to visit. Thankfully, I don't have to have it at the time of my application. The only other thing I need to do is ask a couple of profs for reference letters. I'm pretty sure that because I'm a transfer and I won't have been here 2 semesters (you have to have 2 semesters under your belt to apply), I'll need at least one from a prof from NMU. I need to email my Chinese prof. Oh, and I think I need to send JCMU specifically my transcripts from NMU.
I hate waiting, though! I want to get everything going NOW. But I can't. Ah, it's going to be one of the best experiences in my life, I think. And then, I hope I can get an internship. And what I really want is to get a job in Japan and live there for a couple years to continue improving my proficiency. I have a meeting with someone from the Career Services place this coming Tuesday, so maybe she'll be able to give me some more absolute answers to my career questions.
I'm worried about being able to pay for it and having that extra $2000 per semester (or so) for all those extra things, including meals (especially if you're in the dorms). A part of me is concerned I won't even get into the program. I'm especially worried about the plane ride, and that entire process of actually boarding the plane...Is that silly or what? And then, I'm concerned that I won't be able to change myself enough to be more social and not so awkward so I can make friends, or that I won't actually be as good at languages as I thought, or that I'll get lost somehow when we first get there, and just tons of other things. That's probably the source of all my problems: I worry about EVERYTHING, which means I overthink everything. That includes everything from what I should say when talking to people to the smallest problems in class.
Anyway, despite all this, I'm so incredibly excited! I'm hoping it'll be a bit of a turning point in my life, and that I can really make some necessary changes to myself and become more like the person I want to be. Fingers crossed...
Well, I may not post again until I have some more substantial news.
That's right, only two weeks left. Oh, I've always been excited, but I've reached the point of being nervous and worried about it all. Rather, what really worries me is how smoothly things have gone, now that I think of it. Usually there's one thing or another that doesn't quite go as planned or smoothly at all. Like last year when I was getting everything figures out for my first year at MSU. It was stressful making sure I'd gotten all the information in on time, and the financial stuff as always, and even housing, since apparently they overbooked the dorms, which is intended to live in again just because its easier. Of course it all worked out and I found a nice and cheap little apartment, which I think was better than the dorms anyway--I had the room to myself and it was technically cheaper, and I ended up using the excess refunds not just for rent, but for the extra money I'm going to need in Japan.
Anyway, my point is, is that I'm waiting for something bad to happen. Not just a little thing, but something just exploding in my face, since everything else has gone so well.
Sorry, my purpose was not to worry and rant so much. Rather, my passport with the visa inside has finally been returned!! Apparently it was supposed to he here last Friday, but it's OK, since I still have two weeks. Even though I never like having to look at pictures of me, but the visa and passport and everything are so awesome! Though that's probably just because its my first time even seeing one, let alone owning one. I also got the email with the insurance card I need to print out last week sometime, though I still haven't made it to the library to actually print it out. I'll do that sometime this week. Oh, also, a Certificate of Eligibility came staples in it, on which it states that I'll need to give it to some Immigration Inspector once I arrive, which will probably be when I go through customs. Other things that have gone surprisingly smoothly: my financial aid--though I'm STILL waiting for the JCMU scholarship to be applied; getting into the elective class I wanted; buying all the things I need and making sure it all fits in my two bags; and basically everything else. Well, I know I asked to make sure I know how much I'm getting from the scholarship each semester, but I'm still worried that that's going to blow up in my face. I'm also worried about my checked bag being over the weight limit, but I guess I did have a lot of extra room in my carry on still, so I can divide it all up better.
Basically, studying abroad through JCMU has been the least stressful part of my time in college. So far. And it's the first time that I haven't had to take out so many loans, and that finaid stuff has gone at all smoothly. I still made a ton of phone calls, but in the end, it really wasn't that bad.
All right, can we take a moment here to just completely freak out about the fact that after this short week is over, there is only one more week, and then not this Sunday, but the next, I'll be on a flight to another country? Sure, I've been to Canada--which doesn't count--and I've flown in technically three different small planes on m my senior trip to Disney, but that's it.
I probably already talked about this, but I'm going to again, because this whole thing seems so surreal.
Back in high school, I was was almost a completely different person--both mentally and physically. I didn't have much confidence, and only my stubbornness kept me going, I think. I'm still shy and quiet, but believe it or not, I'm so, so, so so so so much better now. I'm still awkward and am still trying to figure out how to hold better conversations with strangers and acquaintances, but at least I can do it. I don't shy away from talking to complete strangers or people I barely know. Rather, I almost enjoy it, and the feeling that I could make a new friend or something. Since I've been in college, I've gained so much confidence and I feel more at ease with the world, instead of wanting to hide away somewhere with my books. I don't even really look the same, since I've, well, slimmed down a bit, anyway. So, even though I've been interested in Japan and Asia in general for ages now--thank my cousin for getting me into anime a while back, which started it all--and especially after I took Japanese my senior year and loved it, I soft of wanted to someday travel abroad, but I and everyone else never thought it would really happen, or maybe just that I would ever be brave enough to do it. It just wasn't in my personality. So now here I am, just about four years later, my whole self having changed so much to the point that I even transferred to MSU to study languages and am now about to leave the country to study in a place with a completely different language and culture almost on my own. When I graduated high school, who would've thought that is be doing this in as little as four years from then? Certainly not me, though it was always a distant dream. I'd considered going somewhere for Japanese, but I decided to start at a smaller school that wasn't quite so far away. And then, I'm also intending to go to China for the year the year after next. And then I'll graduate that summer, unless by some miracle I'm able to afford changing my Chinese minor into a major, which I would love to do, but...We shall see. In any case, I meant this paragraph to show how little time it takes to change and for plans to change. Sometimes I think about what would've happened if I'd started at MSU or somewhere for languages right away--i probably could've been graduating this year, or have been using these next two years to finish up my Chinese major, if I'd done that. But really, I still love NMU and am so glad I started there--because of the friends I made and the experiences I had that led me to where I am now. Those two years at NMU let me grow and and become who I am now, and allowed me to discover just how much I love languages and that I do like languages other than just Japanese--by taking a year of Chinese. I'm not sure I would've thrived this much if I hadn't started at NMU. And we can't forget that I had my first real job there, too. They were kind and patient enough to deal with me for two years--and it would've been longer if I'd stayed at NMU--starting from when I was still the old me. It was a good first job that allowed me to experience being in the work force a bit. I think I will only improve from here.
Sorry, that ramble went longer than I meant it to. I guess that was about it, anyway, so I'll stop boring everyone now.
That's my passport! The thing sticking out of it is the Certificate of Eligibility they stapled in it. I wouldn't mind showing people what it looks like inside, but, you know...kinda has all my important info that other people shouldn't know, so...it's just the outside that you get to see.
I wonder if I'm more excited about getting my passport and visa than I should be...Oh well, I'm a first time traveler, so of course it's exciting!
I would like to take a moment to vent a little about how completely impossible it is to find shorts that aren't either too long or too short, and that aren't frayed or too faded and with no holes. I've discovered the same problem with finding any appropriate dresses. Rather, I did find a dress that's almost knee-length, but I'm still not sure if it'll be appropriate, and not just because of the length, but also because it's white and I'm not sure if it'll be appropriate for whatever formal occasions we will be attending. And as for shorts, I actually found some jean shorts on the Kohl's site that I'm going to buy and pray they both fit and are.the appropriate length. I'm probably stressing about my clothes too much, but they did say to wear clean clothes--no holes, frays, or anything like that. Unfortunately, I'm only just beginning to branch out and become more interested in what I wear, not just wearing plain clothes. I guess you could say I'm just starting to try to become more "fashionable". I still haven't found a specific type of clothes I prefer or anything. Anyway, my point is that for someone like me, who's only just starting to make more of an effort in her clothing choices and with no really good knowledge concerning clothes, it's a bit stressful to have these rules thrust upon me. Do I follow them to the T, or are they really nottoo strict? I mean, those of us going are representing our university, our state, even our country. As they've said and written in the handbook, we need to make an effort.to behave appropriately, respect their culture and try to learn and sort of fit in, and on top of all that, not only dress appropriately, but also more conservatively. Compared to Japan, and most other countries for that matter, the US is extremely casual, not just in clothing but in so many other things as well.
In any case, I don't know if I'm just stressing and over thinking things like usual or if I'm actually stressing for good reason this time. Unfortunately, I have this horrible feeling it's the latter for once.
Sorry, I'm being pessimistic again. I'll do my best, and what happens, happens. I survive, and it'll all be a learning experience. I need to focus on the good and exciting things. I mean, I'm finally studying abroad and going to a country with a culture that is so different from mine, and I get to learn about it all along with the language. This is something I've wanted to do for years now, and it's finally happening. In a mere 45 days, I will be flying out of Detroit. 13 hours later I'll be on Japan.
On a side note, it turns out my family really is going to throw a going away party of sorts--just with family, though. As far as I know. Somehow, it feels like a mini-grad party...And I'm not sure if I should be worried that my one relative was.asking how to write my name in Japanese...Anyway, thank you, if any of them are reading this, for going to such lengths and throwing a little party like this! It's a pleasant surprise, since I wasn't expecting anything, really. At least, nothing more than being dropped off at the airport, probably arriving too early, and waiting a teary hour two before going through security and boarding.
On another note, I was just thinking, I feel bad that I can't talk about a whole lot yet, except for a few random things and saying vaguely that such-and-such an application wasn't that hard to complete and a few random things about planes and their tickets and other such things. But I suppose there just isn't much to talk about concerning the application process and preparations. Except complaining about prices and the impossibility of finding appropriate shorts and dresses. Maybe sometime before I go I'll make sure I covered everything I could about the Before things.
Two final things: definitely watch shows in Japanese and listen to Japanese music and other things before going so you can become accustomed to the sound of the language. I know even before taking Japanese, I learned some simple words and phrases just by watching Japanese shows and things. Just, don't speak like they do in anime and dramas and movies and things, because it tends to be very informal and rude. Or so I've been told (and it does seem that way). Although, interviews with bands and things like that might be more realistic, though I'd still be careful.
The other less important thing is that I might come back and post a picture of my dress and ask anyone reading this to tell me if they think it'd be appropriate for formal occasions in Japan. I'm all about second opinions...and third, and fourth, and fifth...Edit:
Here's a picture of the dress I was talking about. If anyone's reading this, could you comment whether or not it's appropriate, please?
I'm sure I'll have better advice on this after the actual flight, and especially after I come back. Still, I have a few things to say on it now.
We were lucky enough to get a really nice luggage set practically free, that happens to just fit the regulations for the Delta Airline, and today I was "practice" packing, keeping in mind that there are still a couple things I need to get, mostly clothes and gifts. Well, I think I'll be able to fit everything in my checked luggage (62 in. max, though mine may be a tiny bit smaller) and carry on bag. My extra item will be my purse; I really don't have much I intend to bring aside from the necessities: clothes, gifts, toiletries you need/want, at least one towel to start you off (more, lighter ones can be bought in Japan), slippers of sorts, coats, shoes, shampoo and deodorant (depending on your hair type, their shampoo may just make your hair greasy and gross, and their deodorant may not be as strong as you like), an Ethernet cord for internet in your apartment, three to two prong converter, rain gear (which can be bought cheaply on Japan), and possibly a few other little things I may have forgotten. Also, don't forget to make copies of your passport for just in case, and purchase about the equivalent of $300 in yen before you go, as well as keeping about $100 USD for at the airport before and after the trip. The easiest way to get money on Japan is ATM's, but make sure to make transactions in large amounts, but not more than you can reasonably use, all because it's a bit pricey to exchange money. I recommend using Skype for communication, especially since internet is available on campus. Prepaid phones are also a less expensive option and are good for emergencies anyway. These are all things on my list, and though there are a few things I left out, those are a bit more complicates. Besides, I don't need to rewrite the entire handbook for JCMU here...Speaking of the handbook, it gives some really good information on culture shock, and how to sell your experience to employers, and things like that.
It sounds like a lot, I know, and it kind of is, but if you can minimize and learn to live with a bit less than you're used to, then it shouldn't be a problem. OK, so I'm packing about 8 shirts or so, and maybe 4 or so pairs of jeans, a couple pairs of shorts (if I can ever manage to find appropriate ones that aren't either too short or too long and aren't torn or worn...), my winter coat and a nice coat and my swearshirt, about 5 pairs of shoes (no boots though, and note that aside from my tennis and maybe hiking boots, my shoes are flats and flipflops--small shoes), and...oh, gloves and a hat would probably be good. Also note that I'm putting a change or two of clothes in my carry on, so that will open up more space in my checked bag. The only things I'm bringing for entertainment on the flight are my phone, iPod, and Kindle. I guess I'll also have my laptop, since I intend to use my backpack as my carry on--two birds with one stone and all that. You know, since I'll need a backpack as well. I probably shouldn't bring my laptop, but it'll make life easier when I have to write all those papers. No, really--I was looking at old syllabi for the elective classes and it looks like there's a lot of writing involved. Not that I mind too terribly-- I was an English major for two years at Northern Michigan University before I came to MSU.
So in summary, I'll have my checked bag, my carry on, and my purse as the extra item. I'm about 99% sure I can for everything in those three things. I just hope my checked bag doesn't end up being over the max 50 pounds. This is all making me feel the need to explain how airports and stuff work, but I don't remember if I gave a summary or not yet. Well, and maybe I'll save that for a later post, say when I'm actually at the airport or on the plane (can we access the internet on the plane...? I'll find out in 48 days and post about it, anyway!
That's all that's left before the flight--48 days! I'll be flying out on September 1 at 3:45 and arriving in Japan the next day at 5:45 pm. I think I finally figured out this whole time difference thing, concerning the flight I mean. So I'll leave that Sunday at 3:45 pm and will arrive in Japan at 5:45 a.m. US time, or 5:45 p.m. Japan time. Don't quote me on that, though. I'm terrible at math (and pretty good at languages apparently, so here I am, avoiding math like the plague). Anyway, they're ahead of us by 13 hours during the summer and by 14 hours during winter--daylight saving messes it up, and I wanna say the US is the only one that still does the time change, or at least one of the few. Again, don't quote me on this, please; it's just a dusty memory that may or may not be true.
So, now that I'm thoroughly off topic, let me get back to the point and then call it a night. Pack as lightly as you can. Most likely, we're all college students here, right? I think most of us know how to minimize and live off of (and be happy with) very little, so it should be okay. ...Great, I forgot the other thing I was going to point out. Well, have all the important phone numbers with you at all times, bring a copy of the handbook with you, textbooks are mostly provided, and remember that you are representing your university and state, even your country, so dress conservatively and behave appropriately and all that usual stuff. Prepare to be excited and happy at first before experiencing culture shock. Just try to think of all the good things then and persevere and push through it, and then you'll start feeling at home. So...がんばって！And have fun with it. Just don't forget that you're there to learn and exchange cultures, especially since the program is so intensive. DO NOT miss any classes unless you're, say, dying. You'll miss out on a lot otherwise, and probably will be marked down or something. And do NOT be late.
Jeez, I said I wasn't going to rewrite the handbook, yet here I sit doing just that, and lecturing at that. I think it's just the last stuff I remember reading as I was going through the handbook for the millionth time today, checking and double checking that I have everything or at least know what I need. Well, in any case, I think that's about it. And it's getting late. I'll sign off here, then.
Yup, only 23 days left until my flight! Things so far have been progressing smoothly enough, though as always, I had to make about a million calls to financial aid and JCMU and even to student receivables. I'm just no good with that stuff. But everyone was mostly helpful--especially JCMU, and I apologize to them again for bothering them so much, but I'm a perfectionist and worry about everything and wanted to make sure I understood everything perfectly. I literally can't afford to make mistakes when it comes to finances. So, thank you for being patient with me and helping me so much!
I just got good news, too--my PO box address will work for being where my passport is sent to, and I have an email saying that it should be shipped out this Monday the 11-is the 11th a Monday? Anyway, I should be getting it with the visa inside back sometime next week I think. I'm so excited!
I've probably already said this, but...I've always been excited, I know I am. I don't always act like it, though, because 1) I'm rather shy, especially around strangers, even though I've improved a lot since I've been in college, believe it or not, and 2) I've been intending to go to Japan through JCMU for at least two years now, and ever since I was accepted to MSU just over a year ago, I've been planning this. I mean, I had it figured out how is have that extra $4000 in my bank--basically, refunds from loans. It really is cheaper to live in an apartment rather than dorms, if not as convenient, so I still had enough extra refunds even after using a bit for rent. Anyway, I was then lucky enough to be accepted to JCMU and even to receive the Gilman scholarship (which I had my doubts about, because I always think my essays are terrible; but we're always our own worst critics, I guess). My point was, I've had it planned for so long and it's been talked about so much that it's become a fact, so that it takes a bit more for me to feel really excited again.
Anyway, this is going to be the experience of a lifetime, and a great learning experience, and so much fun. I just love learning languages; my language classes have never really felt like going to a class, and I honestly look forward to the quizzes and tests. No, I'm not joking or anything. I honestly enjoy every aspect of those classes and learning a language.
But I digress. Actually, I've now rambled so much and gotten so off topic that I no longer know what my original topic was.
Right. So, I'll be getting my passport back soon (too bad it wasn't in time for the going away party my family is throwing this weekend; and thank you all again for doing so! I'm really excited about it now). I'm also still waiting for that insurance card and making sure my finaid is applied to my account. And I still need a 3 to 2 prong converter that isn't polarized. And I need to print pictures to put in the photo album that I intend to give to my host family, if I'm lucky enough to get one. I'm also intending to give them this box of spices from a local spice shop, and maybe even some other little thing or things. Is that too much...? I know we need nicer gifts for them, but that it's the thought that counts, but I really want to show them (if I get one) how much I appreciate them taking me in.
Anyway, I believe that's it, and that it's enough rambling for one day. I'm just getting more and more excited! OK, I'll stop here.
Oh, but I was going to say, I'm sorry if there are any or more spelling mistakes recently. I've been using my phone to type these last few posts, and it doesn't always catch all the mistakes.