Surprise!

Jul. 8th, 2012 10:10 pm
elirrina: (waterfall)
Yesterday I went to my friend J's flat for what I understood to be a belated Independence Day party where a group was going to watch the musical "1776." When J opened her door and let me in, a bunch of my friends, sitting on the various couches, all yelled, "SURPRISE!"

me: I- wait- I'm... not surprised that you're all here?
J: We have English food!
me: Okay...
E: I was afraid I wasn't going to make it here before you!
me: But- I saw you- I was right behind you in the parking lot...
E: I know!
me: I'm so confused. What am I surprised about?
K: You're going away!
me: Oh. OH! Thank you!...?
J: We're still watching "1776."
me: Okay.

Then the group all continued to look at me as I awkwardly took my sandals off so I could come in properly, so I decided I needed a cup of tea, which broke things up and then we could all start eating the "English" food. I'm not sure where they came up with the menu, but there were open faced sandwiches with cucumbers and shrimp and some sort of sauce, lemon bars, crackers with egg salad, and snickerdoodles. J had bought English breakfast tea and pulled out all the other types she had, so I guess that was legitimizing English factor.

I was surprised that J had managed to invite art historians and people from my church small group, since she goes to a different church - our overlap is swing dancing. But she had met J (a guy from art history) at a party last week, and she already knew B (a guy who goes to my small group and also swing dances). So she was resourceful.

We also discussed the relative inappropriateness of the party theme.
me: So... we're having tea and "English food," and we're watching "1776"?
J: Yeah, I couldn't find another time, so I figured we should just combine the parties! I got J to invite the art historians, and B invited your church people, but then he's not coming because he has to go to the beach. I think.
me: Doesn't he hate the beach?
J: That's what I thought too.

And then F played the song "No Place Like London" from "Sweeney Todd" in an effort to deter me from leaving.

So then at church this evening, H and C (a married couple from my small group) wanted to know how the party was, since they hadn't been able to come. H at first thought it was my birthday, but knew that was wrong, while C thought the party meant that I was leaving immediately. I had to explain that no, J decided that she just needed to have the party now because she wouldn't be around when I actually left.

I also saw B, who wanted to know how the party was, discuss the irony of combining a going-away-to-London-for-a-year party with watching "1776," and explain his beach trip.
B: My co-advisor is back in town, and decided we should have a barbecue. At the beach.
me: And you hate the beach.
B: I do hate the beach! Also, I feel like I've lost 18 hours since he's been back in town! It may not actually be related to the fact that he's back- things may just be getting busier, but I'm going to blame it on him, because now I have to go to weekly meetings. Which are good. But still meetings. And he made us go to the beach.

I'm actually pretty well packed. This whole process is just being somewhat complicated by the fact that I'm going to visit family in Oregon for ten days, starting at the end of the week. In getting ready for the trip, I've been looking at the e-books available from the library, since then I could just take my nook along. I've come to the conclusion that at least half of the sci-fi/fantasy books available electronically are about vampires.
elirrina: (astronomy)
My trip to visit my parents went great, and now I'm back in Florida, where I am supposed to be studying German. I really will study tomorrow. My independent study work is all turned in, and I should be meeting with my adviser to discuss dissertation topics sometime in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I think I need to go to the beach once more before classes start, providing that it's still oil-free. I'll have to look into that.

On to vacation!

My father works with international students at the university. Basically, he does what the University wishes it could do, but hasn't got time or money for, consequently everyone loves him. He organizes conversation partners, English classes and culture classes, and lots of social events for the international students. During the first week of classes he organizes a tour around town: volunteers drive carloads of students along a path that my dad has organized, and tell them about the city. The tour ends on campus where there is a free-garage-sale-furniture-etc-giveaway. People donate all sorts of things that students need, which then get set up in a parking lot on campus, and then given away.

This means that there is a lot of furniture-moving going on in the weeks beforehand. Which is what I got to do frequently over my break, including the morning of my first day home. Also, one of my dad's interns moved, so we helped out with that too.

My father also likes to make grandiose proclamations about how my brother and I will be inheriting. Who inherits depends on his mood: sometimes it's me, because I am the eldest, sometimes it's my brother, because he's the son. Currently it's me, at least as of last week. A few years ago my brother and I pointed out to our dad that there really isn't that much to inherit. He was momentarily fazed, but got over it.

So I informed my brother that I'm inheriting again, and then my parents actually decided that they need to update their will. I guess my brother and I are still being left to our maternal grandparents, who are dead, and we're too old for guardians now anyway.

This decision was precipitated by the fact that my parents are going to Asia this fall to visit some of my dad's old students. I believe the plan is to visit China (Beijing and Shanghai, and possibly other cities), Hong Kong, Taiwan, (South) Korea, and possibly Japan. I'm envious. My father is apprehensive.

He doesn't really like to travel, neither does my brother, but my mother and I love it. Dad had to be bullied into visiting Italy with me, but ended up really loving Florence. While at home this time, my mother came across a scarf that I'd brought with me - I usually wear it or something like it into church because services are always soooo cold during the summer, with all the air-conditioning.

Mom: This is pretty! Where's it from?
me: Florence - we got it from the same place where we bought your scarf.
Dad: Yes! WE'VE been to ITALY.
Mom: I KNOW. When are you taking me?
Dad: But! I'm taking you to Asia!
Mom: HM.

In random news, my dad, who, by the way, is ordained as a pastor, and is an elder at church, sporadically likes to talk about his past lives. (Not that he actually believes in reincarnation...) This time around he saw an advert for Shark Week and decided that he'd been a shark in one of his previous lives. His usual favorite past life is when he was the Mother Superior from Sound of Music, and sang "Climb Every Mountain." He also asked me to be on the lookout for his past lives from the Middle Ages as I look through medieval manuscripts and literature.

I learned that my mother is against mixing battery brands. Dad apparently wanted to just put two random batteries into a light that he'd bought for one of his interns, but my mother said he couldn't.

Dad: But they're both batteries! Same voltage!
Mom: I don't care! It doesn't work! I don't like it! Just use two from that new package you bought!

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have a serious tea collection. It's getting a bit out of hand. I had to re-organize that part of the pantry when I got home. But my parents have an even larger tea collection, because my dad's students like to bring him tea from their provinces and so on. Also: really pretty teacups and teapots.

One of them, a yellow teapot, gets used a lot. My dad had a bunch of students over for a breakfast-and-lunch-planning session; I sat in for the meal parts, during which the yellow teapot was being used. It has four circles on the sides, with Chinese characters in them, and I wanted to know what they meant, and realized that this would be a perfect time to find out. According to one of the girls, the characters mean "10,000," "life," "happiness," and "none," which translates to a message along the lines of wishing you eternal life, and is one of the standard phrases used when addressing the emperor or your elders. (Something like "May you have life and happiness without end").

On the way back to Florida, I called my parents when I'd stop to take breaks. At one point my mother told me about the latest gift that they'd recieved:
Mom: Guess what we were given? More tea! We didn't have enough already!
She didn't say what type it was. Hopefully more jasmine; that's one of my favorites.

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