Sunday, December 30, 2007


Boy, I suck at keeping up.

I am embarrassed that my last blog entry was from November 11! Yikes!

December was a busy month, naturally, at school and at home. Life is good though, and a lot has happened this month.


My first semester at NIS wrapped up uneventfully. Our school holiday is three weeks long, which is a welcome rest.

I have not yet taught the students the Macarena, but will very soon.

I rearrange my house at least one time a week. It puts a new perspective on things, and makes me feel like I have all new stuff. It's like shopping, but free.

Now that my Bali holiday has ended, I am beginning to save up for my trip home in March. That is, when I stop shopping, which I've been doing (and will continue to do) for the next week of break. You know, it's funny, when you start making more money, you actually go out and spend it on all the things you wish you could have had when you were poor, thus making you just as poor. Only now you own more crap.

On top of teaching each day, I am also tutoring five students a week and teaching 6 adult English classes per month. In February, I'll be house/kid sitting for a family at school who will pay me to stay with their kids (one of which is my own student).

My classroom has now been equipped with one of the only two interactive white boards in the school. It was installed over break. To get an idea of this piece of technology, imagine your computer projected onto a giant white board that lets you touch and drag and click by using your finger. It's pretty amazing, and I am honored to get the chance to use it and share my learning with colleagues.

I am missing all of my family and friends back home, but am content knowing that you are all healthy and happy.

Happy December. See you in January...

Friday, December 28, 2007


My Baliday
By Miss F.

(before leaving for break, I assigned each student a writing journal, in which they were to write one page each day of break. in an effort to more effortlessly share my bali trip with you, I am going to share my journal (it's only fair that I had to write one too), in about a dozen short installments, to share part of my Baliday with you. it's a quick read, if you're interested, and contains just a few pictures. please note that internet links are a bonus for you, and will not be available for my second grade students.)


December 16, 2007

Today was a painful day!
Miss Pruce and I went together to get our eyebrows waxed, and it was not very nice. First, they put hot wax on your eyebrows, then a strip of cotton over it. Lastly, they yank the cotton off, peeling all the hairs with it - ouch! In the end, though, my eyebrows looked great.
Late in the evening, I realized that my flight left at 9:00 am on Monday, not 9:00 pm, like I had thought. Oops! I had to pack really, really quickly, and scramble to find a ride to the airport in the morning. Luckily, Mr. Webb was able to take me bright and early. I hope I make it!


December 17
On My Way

I made it on time!
Sometimes traveling alone is really boring. Luckily, I had lots of tv and movies on my Ipod. While it was charging at the Korean airport, though, I took a break and studied my Japanese. While I was doing it, I ate a whole bag of Korean pumpkin candies. Yum!
Also today I have four different currencies (kinds of money) in my wallet - dollars (American), won (Korean), rupee (Indonesian), and yen (Japanese). I didn't really need the won, I just bought it for fun! :) My wallet is now very colorful inside!

p.s. I was so excited this evening - on my long flight between Seoul and Bali, the airline ran out of room in the plane, so I got to sit in first class! You should have seen me giggling at my luck! My seat was huge and reclined almost to a bed. But the best part was that I got to watch heaps of movie from my own personal screen, and I chose High School Musical 2, which I have been dying to see! Yay!


December 18
Contiki Bali

I really like my first resort. There are 5 pools and a spa. On day 1, I got a pedicure (for my feet) and a facial (for my face). In fact, today I booked massages for every day of my stay. How exciting!
I have already met a lot of really nice people and it has been a lot of fun. Tonight for dinner there will be fajitas, a Mexican dish that is one of my favorites. Right now, though, I am headed out shopping - I love spending money!
Contiki Bali Resort


December 19
Surf's Up!

Day one of surf school today - how cool!
When I took a holiday in Australia, I tried surfing but did not like it. So, I thought I would try it again here. It was much easier, and my instructor was great. On my first try I was up on the board surfing, and by the end of the day, I looked like a pro! I've got two more days of lessons, so I am going to get really good, hopefully. Now, if I can only get over the board rash on my legs...


December 20
Charlie and Helen

I tried surf school again today, but had to stop because my knees were so sore and bruised. I will finish my surf lessons next week. One of the boys I was surfing with, Charlie, was American. I was very surprised, though, to find out that he and his family live in Japan! I gave him my e-mail address and hopefully we'll stay in touch!
Tonight, while I was eating dinner with friends, I noticed a girl sitting alone, so I invited her to sit with us. Her name was Helen, and although she is British, she lives in Japan too! Can you believe it? It's such a small world...


December 21
Petra the Pachyderm

Today was supposed to be my last day of surfing school, but instead, I pushed back my lessons to next week so I'd have time to recover and feel better. I decided instead to go on safari today with some friends. We got in a van and drove a long way up to a volcano. When we got there, we got on bikes and rode all the way back down, through villages, seeing native peoples. My favorite part was laughing and playing with a group of local kiddos in a small village. They were so cute and had so little (very few toys - no tv...), but they were so happy. It was a wonderful experience.
On the last part of our trip, we rode our bikes into an elephant safari park. We had a great lunch and then got to ride the elephants. I've never been on an elephant before - it was a really neat feeling. In the picture is Helen and myself on Petra, our elephant.


December 22
Getting better all the time!

My Baliday is really getting good!
Today I left Contiki to move into another, more quiet part of Bali. My room at my new hotel is really beautiful, like being in a palace (pictured). I ordered food, which was brought directly to my room - I didn't even have to get up!
Unfortunately, this hotel only had one night for me, the other two nights that I needed were full - so I was a bit worried. But, things always seem to work out, and they are building a new, fancier hotel next door, which they are giving me a room in to stay for my last two nights. This hotel next door is even nicer than the one I am in - if you can imagine that! They are very expensive, but, since they are under construction, they are letting me stay there very cheap, at about half of the price of what a night will cost when the hotel is finished...
Honeymoon Guesthouse, Bali


December 23

Have you actually ever been woken by a rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo? I can now say that I have, but not by 1, but by 5, crowing for an hour, begging me to get up. Good morning! Good morning!
I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Genest today - they are staying in the same town as me! I met them at their hotel, and we went to see the monkeys at the Monkey Palace. There were so many monkeys, and wild too! Once, when I bent down to take a picture of one monkey, another jumped on my back! They were selling bananas to feed to them, but I didn't buy any because they were making the monkeys CRAZY!


December 24
Retail Therapy

Today I am on my own for the first day since I've come. I was in a good mood this morning because I slept so well in my new place - the sheets were like silk! Amazing animal noises kept waking me up all night, but I didn't mind. It's neat to sleep in the middle of the open. I am just glad my bed has a netting around it to keep the bugs OUT!
When I went shopping today, the clouds opened up and it rained for 5 hours! So, I bought a magazine and sat down at a little cafe. I ordered a chocolate-avocado juice because I thought it would be interesting to try. I didn't really like it, but now ta least I know not to want to try it again!


December 25
Christmas Dinner (x2)

Today I said goodbye to my great room (the picture, right, is the upstairs and downstairs, the entire unit which was mine during this stay), but not before taking my hand at Balinese cooking. I figured spending Christmas lunch learning how to cook great Bali foods would be really fun, and I was not disappointed.
After lunch, a cab picked me up and took me all the way back to my third and final hotel in Kuta, about an hour from where I had been. After relaxing for about an hour, Mr. and Mrs. Genest came to my hotel. We watched The Sound of Music and then headed out for Christmas dinner. I had Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple, as it seemed very Christmasy to eat these foods) and it was delicious. The restaurant was completely empty, except for us, but we had a wonderful meal.
Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Recently, at my gym, there was a contest. Each time you went, you received a stamp on a card. After three stamps, you redeemed the card for a can of sport drink.

The first time I turned my filled card in, I received my sports drink and a note. It said:

There is a present when three points are collected.
Moreover, the BIG present is a hit in Secandchans.
Let's Try!

What they (probably) meant was:
Here is your present!
We are also entering your name into a second chance drawing!
Good luck!

So, I am deciding to give you all a secandchans...

My last game, name those cities, was mildly popular. Mildly.

For those of you who made an attempt (that'd be Aunt Jenni and Anonymous), you were both right or close on 6 of the 7, with Aunt Jenni edging out the (anonymous) competitor 6 correct guesses to 5:

Rosanzerusu (Los Angeles)
Nyu yoku (New York)
Rondon (London)
Ajia (Asia)
Yoroppa (Europe)
Osutoraria (Australia)

Neither of you got Burajiru, or Brazil. (duh...)

Now, as I sift again through my Japanese lessons, I am finding more everyday, familiar words that seem plainly out-of-the ordinary when translated into Japanese. So, if you think you're keen and sharp, give the secandchans a go:
Let's try!!

1. enjinia

2. robii (informal place)
3. Itaria

4. purezento
5. kado
6. enpitsu
7. terebi
8. chokoreto
9. kohii
10. takushii
11. biiru
12. Kurisumasu
13. sandoitchi
14. aisukuriimu

Good luck.

(and depending on the replies, there might be a thurdchans?)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dear Mom and Gary,

I know it is going to be a year before you come to visit me in Japan, but there are a few things you'll need to know to help you get along. Since I've come, I've been collecting little tips for this exact reason, and I've decided to let you in on them a little early.

For starters, I will do my best to help you avoid Japanese toilets, but it is likely that before you leave, you will frequent a facility that does not care to take the more Western style into consideration. Please begin to practice for this now. The best tool to get you started? A spade and a 3x1x1 foot hole in the ground. Plus, I'll clue you in that it's much easier to use it if you face forward, not backwards. This is firsthand, tried-and-true knowledge on that that could save you some awkward embarrassment...

Raw fish isn't as bad as it looks. And it's much better than pretending what you are eating at Outback is anything close to what you'd expect to eat at Outback.

Mom: You are just going to love driving in Japan! Everything; the road, the steering wheel, all on the left side of the road. Just perfect for you southpaws! Imagine, for the first time in your life, reaching for the radio with your left hand. I bet it'll be a dream come true!

Garyls: The mailmen here are so friendly and courteous. Just like you! I'll see if I can't introduce you to a few...

There's no Dr. Pepper, or even diet cola. You'll have to do without. But there are lots of nice drinks you'll love. One, called Pocari Sweat, tastes just like it sounds. And green tea really is green and sometimes looks like powdered green chalk. I'm sure once you've tried it and gotten used to the pungent aroma, you'll really, really like it.

I hope you guys like soy sauce!

If you're really nice, I'll translate for you. Or, I just might sit back, watch you fend for yourselves, and laugh silently. (I guess it really depends on how many boxes of Cheerios you bring?).

Fortunately, at 165 centimeters, I don't stand out a whole lot. The bow-legged Japanese girls in heels keep up with me. But you two, measuring in at roughly 172 and 178 cm, well, you're screwed. The good news for me - when you get here, the little children at the shops will stop staring at ME so much...

Oh! I'm already so excited to see you both and welcome you to my part of the world! We'll have such a good time!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

A letter to my uncle

Dear Uncle Brad,

I think that eating hot dogs and enjoying them while getting pictures taken must run in the family.

I want to tell you, though, that when it comes to captured moments, you were much, much more graceful than me when YOU were photographed eating a hot dog.

That aside, though, I was much hungrier for this hot dog than you were. Much hungrier. So much hungrier for a hot dog, in fact, that on that day (which was today), I decided that that hot dog (and the accompanying Dr. Pepper) was the best food I had had in three months.

Let it also be known that Shizuko, my student photographer, was lucky to capture this shot only an instant before the whole thing went in my mouth and into my waiting belly without a single chew.

Aunt Barb would've been so proud, and not a bit shocked, to see truly how fast I ate that thing.

God I hate sushi.


your niece Wendy


My new love is Indian food.

Indian food. My new love is Indian food.

I can't get enough.

Sag curry, made of spinach, with cheese nan.

When we eat out at Indian, my meal costs as much as each couple, as I've made it a habit of buying two portions, one for lunch the next day. One weekend day I had Indian for breakfast and lunch (would've done dinner as well if I hadn't eaten it all during the first two meals).

When I told people that I've never eaten Indian food before, they were shocked. Then I told them I was from Iowa, and they understood.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

The ability to go...

I am mobile!

Blessed, blessed mobility!

Last month, I purchased a car on the same day that internet became available at my house. In one day I was twice as mobile as I was the day before. Then, a couple of weeks later, in my apartment, I finally got a cordless phone, which allows me to walk further than 1.5 feet away from the fridge when I'm talking to friends and family (very handy)!

The internet is great. It is fast, and lets me keep in touch earlier. I'll still pretend that I am too busy to write e-mails (wait, who's pretending?), but am more likely to get back to you sooner now. No excuses...

My car is a sweet little thing. It's a Honda Logo, a car which can't be bought in the States. It's small but mighty, and has a turbo engine. It has a lot of great little features, including CD sound, electric windows, heaps of space, and good gas mileage. A few weekends ago I went rafting, and my car was the one of choice, as it does well on petrol. I fit three large adults, plus myself, inside, with room to spare. And it goes super speedy. Pretty good for the tiny little thing that it is.

Helpful tip (and random tangent...) for driving on the left side of the road (disclaimer - only will work for me - don't try this at home): I just remember to drive on the side of the road that is the same as the wrist I have tattooed. Or, just follow the person in front of you and hope they're going to the same place you are...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Recipe for (hilarious) disaster...

(This is reminiscent of being in Auckland again, only instead of crass-mouthed men, it's an innocent-mouthed small child...)

The lesson: tuning in on interesting words
The ongoing lesson consists of teaching kiddos to listen for interesting words. I have made this lesson travel over to our daily read-aloud, The Trumpet of the Swan, in which children are supposed to listen for and share interesting words they hear. Since the book is a bit older, there are quite a few words of older fashion that the students do not know and find interesting. One word that one of my kiddos found interesting was gay. She infered (correctly) that it meant happy. So, we added it to our growing list of interesting words, and get excited when we hear it in our daily reading of this book, where the main character, Louis, is an exceptionally happy swan.

The assignment: writing sentences with your spelling words
Each night students are required to do various spelling assignments with their weekly words. Tuesday night's assignment is to write each word in a sentence, making sure to write the spelling word in colored pencil.

The recipe:

Mix together 1 part lesson and 1 part spelling assignment

(I feel gay.)

Luckily this student's parents do not speak a lick of English...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Name That City!

The Japanese, who like to make nothing easy, keep their society complicated partially due to 4 alphabets. Two of them, hiragana and katakana, are small symbols that make up the Japanese sounds in every word (in each of these two alphabets there are 47 symbols for each sound such as ga, wa, se, mi, etc...). The third alphabet is for words, and is called kanji. You may recognize it as pictographs, like Chinese writing. The fourth alphabet is the roman alphabet, called romanji, and is used in various forms such as writing bad grammar on t-shirts or spelling out words for stupid gaijin (foreigners like me).

Of the four alphabets, katakana is the most useful to know, as this is the alphabet that is used to spell out foriegn words that are not native to Japan. These words include such gems as clinic (ku-ri-n-ku), or America (a-me-ri-ka). As I have hinted in previous blogs, the Japanese have no sounds for some letters of our alphabet, such as l, th, or most blends.

I am telling you this because every day I come across a word that has been loosely translated from a foriegn word to fit the letter sounds that the Japanese have. This is a constant source of amusement for me, and tonight, I found the ultimate set of words, using Japanese sounds, to share with you.

So... please... see if YOU can name these cities, continents, and countries in the world (hint: it helps to sound each one out slowly):

1. Rosanzerusu

2. Nyu yoku

3. Rondon

4. Ajia

5. Yoroppa

6. Osutoraria

7. Burajiru

(post your answers in the comments spot - prize for the most guessed correctly - and no peeking at others' answers!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Normal, not normal

Normal: driving on the right side of the road
Not Normal: driving on the left side of the road

Normal: one syllable for the word 'I'
Not Normal: 4 syllables for the word 'I' (wa-ta-shi-wa)

Normal: peeing sitting down
Not Normal: peeing while squatting

Normal: having 14 students in your class
Not Normal: having more than 20 (ooh... a little reversal on you there!)

Normal: the art of civilized conversation
Not Normal: reverting to hand signals and gestures when you want something


Today, I spent USD$105 sending home packages to cover the three birthdays and two babies that have happened in the last two months.

I can do this no more.

Please, out of respect for my budget, do not be upset when I do not send packages to you. Instead, be assured that I will bring gifts to cover all babies, weddings, and birthdays when I come in March.

I promise.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Before and after

Since coming to Japan, I've had to learn to speak two languages: Japanese and bad English.

Recently, I received an e-mail from a very nice Japanese lady whom I had spoken with during my Japanese classes. I had offered to work at a Japanese fair, speaking English to Japanese students, and she had written to say thank you.

In the past, my e-mail reply would have been verbose and wordy, (hopefully) intelligent, and with humor. It might have sounded something like this:

Hey Yoshiko!

Thanks for the great e-mail - I enjoyed hearing from you!

I am super excited and more than happy to do the fair next month. Having a chat with Japanese students should be right up my alley! It will be a blast, I'm sure!

By the way, I am looking to possibly get into teaching English to Japanese adults. Would you have any information on where I can look to get in on the likes of this kind of position? I'd really love to put my teaching to the test with older students, and help my Japanese at the same time! A double-whammy!

Thanks again for your e-mail. I'll look forward to hearing from you soon!



Now, though, considering my audience, I've had to scale back the grandeur of even the most simple e-mails. Letters I write to parents and Japanese adults typically sound as follows:


Hello again!

Thank you for your nice e-mail. I am very glad and excited to do the
Japanese fair! It will be a fun and learning event for me too!

I am good in Japan. I am here alone, and sometimes that can be a bit
hard, but the people I work with at the school are very friendly. I
like them. Nagoya is a nice place. It is hot as where I come from,
so there is not a big change for me.

It would be good to meet the family you have. The son and daughter sound nice. We can do conversation together to practice if you would like that!

Do you do teaching sometimes at the Nihongo classes too? I would like
to get more information about teaching English to adults in the
evenings. How do I find out about this teaching?

It is great to talk to you!



For further note, consider the following e-mail I received from a parent in the other second grade class. He works for Korean Air and will hopefully be helping me find discount airfare for my trip over the winter holidays:

hellow? miss foreman......
it is my pleasure to come to greet to you......
please do not hesitate to contact me.....
i will here for you in nagoya branch as a manager....
anyway, please info me about your holiday schedule bound for bali.......
then i will give a itinerary and air-price...
so, lets keep in touch!!!!!!!!
bye now........take care!!!!!!
Sincerely yours
Sanghoon (jinhee father)
phone number : 090....

Monday, October 01, 2007

You Laise Me Up

Now, don't get me wrong. I am very, very tolerant of others. I am very accepting of people for who they are. No matter what they say or do as part of their culture.

But I'm not going to lie. Sometimes a big, big laugh just comes out. Often in the most inappropriate times. Like this one...

Last week, there was an amazing youth orchestra who came to our school to do a concert. It was BEAUTIFUL! The string players were from 10-20 years old and were brilliant.

There was also a singer who did an opera number that was breathtaking.

But then...

She started to sing "You Raise Me Up" accompanied by the strings. It was fantastic, until the first line of the chorus came and she started singing "You laise me up, so I can cwimb on mountains...."

When the song was over, my tongue was bleeding from biting it really hard.

It's tough being a role model for children...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Worst Day :(

Recently, my friend Marc e-mailed me. The first line of his e-mail said, "What a nice surprise! How is Japan treating you? Feeling tall???"

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Little does Marc know how true his words were...

Tonight I bought a swimsuit. I had to buy an XL.

It was still a big snug.


Monday, September 24, 2007


I've just heard of a great contest for one and all. An offer that you just shouldn't refuse...

The contest name?


The winner of this contest will receive FREE* room and board within first-class accommodations** in a country of choice.*** The recipient will receive first class dining**** at local luxury restaurants and will also enjoy being shown fine sights***** and local customs and cultures.****** Chauffeured driver included, opportunities for adventure******* available as well. Translation (when possible) upon request.

To enter, simply go quickly to your nearest travel agent, and book a trip to Nagoya, Japan.

It's THAT easy...


* Free if you bring goodies like Twizzlers and Cheerios.
** Comfy futon in 2-bedroom apartment.
** If your choice is Japan.
**** Sushi or Indian, you pick.
***** Mmmmm, Starbucks.
****** Bowing until you have a headache.
******* Choose your own toilet (when available).

Friday, September 21, 2007

New favorite picture

This is my new favorite picture.

Take a walk back in time with me to the story behind it...

It's the first day of school. My little Brynne, an American, walks in the room. The following conversation is verbatum (to the best of my memory)

"You must be Brynne! Hello! I'm Miss F."


"And where in America are you from"



"Mmm hmm."

"Not Ohio, right? Iowa?"

"Mmm hmm."

"OMG. Me too! Seriously? Like proper Iowa?"


Now, walk back to today with me. It's 8:15 and Brynne's mom, the reading specialist at school, is chatting with me about a student. Brynne is coming in the door as well, preparing for the day to start. Brynne's mom says, "Oh, Brynne, come with me! We have a surprise for Miss F."

Brynne walks in two minutes later with the pictured shirt on. She said her friends back home sent it in honor of me.



Sunday, September 16, 2007



Did I hear you say you wanted to hear about me talk about toilets!??

Well, that's kinda gross, but since you requested...

First, this is my toilet.

What's that you ask? Oh, Yes! That IS a faucet on top!

And you noticed there's no knob to turn the faucet on?

Well, silly, that's because when you flush, the water automatically comes up from the tank and through the faucet.

Where's the soap? Well, there isn't a spot for it. Which makes the idea of washing your hands right then and there a bit challenging, doesn't it now?


This is a public toilet.

No, silly, I'm not in the men's room!

This is what the woman's public toilet looks like!

What's that? You want to know how I use it??

AS IF! Ha! If I go to a restroom where there isn't a Western toilet, you better believe that I high-tail it out of there ASAP...

Any more questions?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Nagoya somthing

How cool is this picture?

This weekend I went to the Nagoya something (can't remember the name, can't read the name) to watch some stage performers do a play of sorts.

We got there just as the show was starting, so only got a one sentence explanation of the story beforehand.

It was all in Japanese, and I actually fell asleep (I felt just like Nikki)... but it WAS really cool.

The main performer's husband works at our school, so we got backstage passes, thus the pictures with the pink ladies.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Severe weather...

... in Japan DOESN'T mean snow, ice, rain, etc.

No, no...

It means TYPHOONS!

(cool huh?)

I type this on Thursday afternoon at school. Lunch break. We just recieved word that if the current typhoon, just off the coast of Japan, doesn't change course, it will hit us straight on.

That means there will be no school tomorrow. That means three-day weekend.

Sayonara, kiddies!

(cool, huh?)

So, to fill you in a bit about typhoons, I have created a mini, do-it-yourself lesson on typhoons.


Tracking for Japan: (to see the track of the typhoon) (to see the severity of the typhoon in our area (Nagoya is in the middle of the east coast)

Between typhoons and earthquakes (yes, we've already had an earthquake drill this week), this is going to be a fun, fun year!

(woo hoo!)


Nagoya International School is my new place of employment, and during the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time here.

When I arrived in my classroom, it was FULL of stuff.

Wait... scratch that... It was full of crap. Old text books, old plans, old materials, student work, etc.

The teacher before me loved two things in this world: labels and hot glue. Neither come off of anything without leaving unsightly residue.

I spent the first 5 days just organizing and putting away what I couldn't use (which was just about everything). Then, I spent the next 5 days in meetings and setting up what I wanted.

My classroom library is extensive. There are A LOT of books. Unfortunately, though, the previous teacher loved to put large labels on all of them. Some books have up to two labels on the front and two on the inside cover. I was highly annoyed. First of all, the students don't need to see a label on the front of each book that says the name of the book, guided reading level, publisher, number of pages, and subject. That kind of label (if necessary at all) should go on the back cover, or inside the front. The killer? She DID put those labels on the backside AS WELL AS the front. Wasteful? I reckon! These labels, plus large labels telling the book's genre are placed so that they cover the title, Caldecott medals, author's name, and picture. They generally take away from the pleasing look of the book. My solution has been slow but sure - each day I take bits of wet sponge and place them on the labels of a few books. After the labels are nice and mushy, I easily scrape them off.


But, the room did come with lots of good stuff. Heaps of school supplies, materials, paper, toys, games, posters, etc. That stuff was fun to take ownership of and move around and around.

I also have a teacher's aide (for all my cutting, laminating, copying, busywork needs). She is Shuko.

My teaching partner, Nicholas, despite being Canadian, is lovely. He is very kind and is willing to try new things.

My kiddos are very smart and well-behaved. Very well-behaved, that is, for 14 kids.

I am glad to have a principal as great as my previous one, another gentleman who is happy to let me be a great teacher without a lot of interference. I am trying lots and lots of new reading ideas in my classroom, and have already been asked to be a model teacher for other teachers who want to watch teachers teaching.

I am a bench warmer on the school's teacher volleyball team, which is nothing new. I am also the youngest teacher to another by 6 months, and we, together, are the youngest to anyone else by at least 5 years.

All and all, I like it here.

A lot.


Monday, September 03, 2007


In my kitchen, I have four different trash cans.

The first can, with a red trash bag, is for food waste and small burnable trash.
The second can, with a blue bag, is for small plastic, like food wrappers.
The third can, also with a blue bag, is for large cardboard, like cereal or shoe boxes.
The fourth can, with a green bag, is for non-burnables, such as foam or batteries.

Aluminum cans go in a blue bag as well, but not in the same as the others. For this, I have a separate bag behind the blue trash.

Plastic water bottles also go in a blue bag, but not in the same as the others or the aluminum. For this, I have a separate bag behind the blue trash.

Glass does not go in a bag, and has it's own collection container outside.

Paper cartons (orange juice and milk) are supposed to go to a separate facility a few blocks away, but instead I break mine down and sneak them into the blue bag for large cardboard.


Red bags go out on Monday.
Blue, red, and green bags go out on Thursday.
Glass goes out on Wednesday into a container set aside for it near the trash dump.

When the trash goes out on Thursday, there are four different spots for the four different kinds of blue trash, as well as the red trash and the green trash.

If you don't do it right, the trash police (who can sometimes be found sitting near the trash dump sites) will give you a ticket, as well as a lecture in Japanese.

Since I live alone, the only trash I take out is on Mondays and Thursdays (red) because it stinks.

The fun begins when I go to the Family Mart down the street to buy some take-aways. When I'm done eating, I throw the foam container in the green 'extra' bag, the plastic lid in the blue 'plastics' bag, and the napkin and chopsticks in the red 'burnables' bag, thus making the effort of throwing the trash away enough of a calorie burning exercise to sweat off what I've just eaten...

Friday, August 31, 2007

First Week

I don't know which is the better story for my first week...

1. Wednesday, a baby mouse (which had been eating teachers' food) was caught, put in a gerbil cage, and effectively slipped through the bars to become the terror of the entire K-3 corridor,

2. Yesterday, one of my students went toilet in his pants (oops!),


3. Today, when the aforementioned student walked into the classroom before school and announced to the whole class, 'I'm going toilet now so that I don't go in my pants again!"

I commended him for his attitude and his good humor.

Now, I'm going home to sleep until Sunday...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 1

When it was time for the first day of school, I was ready...

My 14 students walked in. Little do they know that I was as frightened of them as they were of me.

Silly kids...

Here are a few things I learned about second graders today:
Even though they're 8, they still love to sing songs.
Even though they're 8, they love to give hugs.
They can read everything!
They are independent!
They are SO smart!

Photo: 2B - Ai, Alex, Bernardo, Brynne, Haruka, Hikaru, Jubei, June-Q, Keely, Mikaela, Nina, Shizuko, Sho, and Tereza.

I promised to memorize their names by the end of the day, which I did.

It was June-Q's birthday, so they learned the Beatles early.

All in all, it was a good day.

(And no, I haven't turned Japanese since coming - that's my teaching assistant Shuko in the photo...)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Watashi no apato

(My apartment...)

...came with furniture.
 4 rooms. WAY too much space for me.

...came with dishes and pots....
...came with food....
...has appliances whose buttons and instructions are all in Japanese....

is growing on me slowly...

(photos: my (still very plain) living room, (very plain) bedroom, and kitchen)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Easy, Peasy, Japanesey

Hello from Japan!!

After all the stress of thinking about coming to a (really) foreign country, getting here was easy...

The airport? It was a piece of cake!

In fact, before taking off in Detroit, I inferred that the Nagoya airport probably wouldn't be nearly as bad as I thought, considering 1/5 of the passengers were English-speaking Anglos.

I was right. The airport was easy. It was nearly empty, all but my flight. Signs were clearly marked in English, and I even had my temperature checked before I was able to proceed to immigration. Customs was a joke (should have packed more dangerous stuff...), and I was out the door in less than 20 minutes, landing to shuttle.

To be honest, it was the flight that sucked....

In comparison to my last three international flights (on both Air Tahiti and Quantas), this one ranked at the very bottom in regards to service, entertainment, and comfort.

You see, I was expecting, as you would on a 12-hour flight, for some in-flight entertainment in the form of tv screens usually (in my experience and that of others I know, on flights of this length) placed in the back of the seat in front of you. Usually, 20 or so movies are available for you to choose, as well as games, sports, radio, and a flight tracker, showing you where the plane is on a digital map as well as local, arrival, and departure times and temperatures.

Instead, on this flight, there was one tv screen at the front of the cabin, and it was broken. Therefore, through the whole trip, I had no idea how much time had elapsed, was remaining, or our flight path, which, on a 12-hour flight, is good information to keep you sane. The chairs were less than comfortable, and we were not given the usually complimentary packages of earplugs, eye patches, socks, headphones, and wet wipes to make the trip more comfortable.

We chased the sun the whole way, so it was never dark on our trip. For 6 hours of it, the cabin windows remained closed so that people could sleep. I think artificial darkness is creepy.

The flight attendants were far from friendly or apologetic when both my dinner and breakfast choices were unavailable when it was my turn to choose. Needless to say, I left the plane sick and hungry.

My favorite part, thought, turned out to be the self-entertaining game of 'How-long-will-it-take-before-the-flight-attendant-sees-that-my-call-light-is-on-so-I-can-get-a-damn-glass-of-orange-juice?' After about 10 minutes of annoyed waiting, I decided to be equally as annoying and press my call light on and off, over and over again, thus, making it the self-etnertaining game. She wasn't real happy when she came over, but neither was I.

The old man next to me and I were separated by one empty seat, which I had hoped for when I chose my seat earlier in the day. I used this extra space to lay down during the flight, finally falling asleep around hour 9 (I JUST can't sleep on planes). I am a fidgity rester, and I am sure that he was less than thrilled to be seated next to me. I am also sure that he had the bladder of a camel, as I kept trying to wait until he got up to go toilet so that I could as well, which didn't work as he didn't pee during the whole trip (no joke). When I finally DID get to the bathroom, I noticed that I had popped a small blood vessel in my eye. I guess my eyeballs couldn't take the strain of my bladder being that full either.

But, as I flew in over the mountains of Japan, watching the sun setting behind, I knew it would be all ok....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Muy Importante

In familiar fashion, before I go, it'd only be fair to write a few words about the people who made my summer truly great. Unfortunately, I took less than a dozen pictures all summer, so I don't have current photos to go with. If a photo is there, it'll be an old one. But, I'll get working on that...


Ma and Pa

My parents deserve to come first. They are great.

It was so nice to come home to a house with brand-new carpet and an HD, plasma, flat-screen, wall-mounted TV. I don't watch it by myself because I can't be bothered to learn how to use it, but it's still cool.

Al Gore WOULD NOT be glad to know that my parents only use each bathroom towel one time before washing, but since he doesn't read this blog, I think we're ok. Not environmentally-friendly, but ok.

Mi madre has been INCREDIBLE to let me borrow her car this summer. We are taking turns being very flexible and easy when it comes to getting places. It's going very well.

Between the three of us, we work 5 jobs. My dad's new job is top secret. Something about running drugs or something.

It's one great household...



She's my bestest friend.

I actually hate everything about her, but she's still my bestest friend.

(In the world.)

The end.



My auntie is a pretty cool lady. She's kinda like a second mom and a second grandma. She's one of my number one fans, and I hers. Each year, we do this great dinner get-together called Shishka-Sunday at her place, and it's one of the highlights of the summer. She takes care of all of us well, and makes sure we always have what we need. In times of need, she's there to support, whether it be a kind word or a trip to Target.

She's the bee's knees.



Leave it to my silly cuzzie to get knocked up, but, out of her came little baby Corbin, who is the sweetest little baby...

Kel and her husband Justin are great together. They have a cute little house and cute appliances and a cute little garden and a cat and a dog and a baby. This week they asked me to house-sit, which seemed like a good idea until I realized how irresponsible I tend to be sometimes. Note to self - put warning on future housesitting offers...


Grandpa and Grandma Dunaway

Grandpa - My golf partner. How cool is that?

Grandma D. -
Spoils me with the BEST jell-o salad EVER, AND still lets me beat her at Yahtzee!


The Foremans

Grandpa and Grandma on the farm - They're still making the best ice cream and BLTs on the planet!

Dad and Lisa in Indianapolis - They're always welcoming and fun to visit. It's great to see my little brother Sam and sister Sara grow so big and so smart!

Jen and Pete

My oldest Aunt and newest Uncle. Adventureland was a blast, and seeing both of them this summer was too. They were so kind to loan out their basement last year for some of my personal effects (What, me have more stuff than fits at my parent's house? No...). As we grow older, we get closer and closer, which is great. I look forward to spending more and more time with them in the future.



Yay for Tera who is finally getting married! It's about time! Woo hoo! I can say with 100% certainty that she and Zach will truly, truly be happy together...


The Team

(in ABC order): Aimee, Amy, Danielle, Karyn, Melissa, Tamara
This group of girls is too cool for school. I've been involved with them for more than 4 years now. They are the gals that got me started in teaching, and they are still there at the end. To return the favor, I spend days in their classrooms helping set up, or spend time with them and sometimes their kids. In 4 years, the same core 5 of us are still around, with one or two great additions each year. If you count some of the coolest kindergarten teachers on the planet (Brooke, Rutz, Wendy...), you've got a group of teachers that can't be beat. We have a heck of a time together, when we get together, and I count them as six of the greatest friends I have.


Lucas, Jane, Matthew, and Lauren

I love my kiddos! These four are former ones who all took time out of their summers to spend time with Miss F...
**Lauren got me started by offering me a spot in her yard during the Fourth of July parade. It was like having front-row tickets to the big show!
**I spent two nights hanging out with Lucas, once having dinner with his family, and once at a movie with him and his sister.
**Jane and her mom took some time out of their very busy schedule to paint pottery with me. Jane even painted me a popcorn dish to go with all of my others!
**Matthew and his mother were very gracious this summer, taking me out to lunch twice and arranging a 'private' tour of Matthew's school. It was pretty cool.

To all of my 1FO friends who I've seen or have gotten e-mails from (Tate, Macy, Mikey, Meg...) THANKS!

Two truths and a lie...

Oh! Let's have an interactive blog!

Here's the thinking behind my idea...

A couple of weeks ago, as I was daydreaming my arrival in Japan, I was thinking about my first days in Waukee, where, as a new teacher, I had to get up and talk a bit about myself. In professional settings, I've always tried to be a bit discreet, but thought that in Japan, I might let my freak flag fly, and instead, get up in front of everyone and play 'Two truths and a lie' out loud so that people could get to know me that way.

That same week, I tried this game out on my parents. We were at the local theme park having a good time, and I introduced the game to Mom and Garyls, who weren't sure of how to play it. Once they learned the rules, though, we played it all night at the park with my aunt Jen and uncle Pete. We'd just be walking through the park and yell out a statement, to which everyone else had to decide if it was a truth or a lie. We had a blast!

Playing the game with friends and family is a bit tougher, because they know more about you, but playing with strangers is a riot, and is best played with lots of liquor. I have about 40 great statements saved in my head for future use, and I can turn any of them into a lie by switching small details. That way, I don't really have to make up anything absurd about my life, which is a secret to playing the game well.

But now, here's where you all come in...

I'm going to post two truths and a lie about myself. You can all guess which is right and which isn't if you want, but for even more fun, I'd just prefer that you post a comment (and be sure to sign your name in the name box!) for everyone to read that has two truths and a lie about YOU!

Oh! It will be so fun!

Two truths and a lie for me:

1. I actually have three tattoos...
2. I'm secretly a closet High School Musical fan...
3. My favorite food is ravioli in a can...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not in America...

Like Borat, I love the US and A, but coming back was a bit of a shock. Although the initial 'whoa' has worn off, here are some little things that I'm still noticing about how my life is different now than it was two months ago...

In America, I:

can't give cheek kisses or hugs to people upon greeting. Most of them look shocked and sometimes squirm away (Marc Mattis!). Even my own family, sometimes, but I think they're getting used to it...

can't use abusive and inappropriate language in the workplace.

can't say 'black' when referring to an African-American.

can't wear frocks and leggings and skinny jeans without feeling a bit silly.

can't say 'Whatever, guys, I'm easy' without getting sniggers from people. That's a funny one (that I've come to start saying just to get sniggers from people).

couldn't seem to ever get a free drink and meal with every shift worked at Betts.

can't find a gay person hardly anywhere. Ok, that's only Iowa, actually...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Top Ten

Top Ten Reasons I Love Iowa:

10. Running through the corn and screaming at the top of your lungs is really as fun as it looks on tv.

9. Getting beat by one grandpa in cards is just as fun as getting beat by the other grandpa in golf.

8. Driving time from East Des Moines to West Des Moines? 20 minutes flat, no matter what time of day.

7. White trash.

6. So what if the I-Cubs are only Triple-A? The nachos are good...

5. Family, friends, and old flames.

4. Home-ade-ice-cream (and lots of it!).

3. Two words: severe weather.

2. Watermelon is much more fun to eat now that I've learned the adult
truth that the seeds won't ACTUALLY grow in my stomach.

1. Mmmmmm.... bacon.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


This is my baby cousin.

He's SUCH a cutie. He has a great mommy who happens to be one of my best friends (making me a bit partial). He's such a good boy - he hardly cries and always smiles. He's super strong and super smart already. He comes from good stock, I reckon...

We loves to listen to Raffi sing 'Five Little Ducks' at Barnes and Noble. He'll be a Starbucks junkie before you know it, if I have anything to say about it.

I've always disliked it when people dote on their family babies, but never mind that.

He's worth it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Today's blog is brought to you by the number 1776 and the letters USA.

Happy 231st birthday, America!

Today one of my former kiddos, Lauren, invited me to come and sit at her house for the Waukee parade. Her house is right on the route (pronounced 'root'), so it was a great view. When I arrived, she and her mom had made a sign that said 'Welcome back, Miss Foreman!' I joked that if they would have had a convertible, I could have ridden in the parade and threw out candy.

In the night I went to my very first Cubs game of the season with my pa. We had a blast. We swore and cheered and spit and burped. I had my first nachos with runny yellow cheese, which was TO DIE FOR. The 12 year-old who made them must have figured I hadn't had nachos in awhile, as he loaded them high with lots of goodies. Yummy yum...

Any celebration is a good reason to eat nachos.

Happy birthday, America.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

My First Day

My first day in the US was almost as tragic as my first day in Auckland.

Begin: getting on my second flight from Tahiti (layover) to LA.

For the first time on an international flight, I have to share my seat with others. Not only am I not good at sharing, but I don't sleep well sitting up. Amount of sleep gotten on combined 14 hour flight: 5 hours.

Arrive in LA.

Turn on my cell phone and realize that it won't work in the US (lesson learned: never trust a friend who tells you your NZ phone will work in the US). Even bigger bummer since I paid $40 for credit right before I left. Now am $40 short AND without a phone. Consider pretending to call people and have imaginary conversations so that it looks like I'm talking into my non-working phone, but think better of it and decide not to.

Am extremely disappointed in how incredibly rude people are. Bypass a shouting match with a lady who thought her ticket issues were more important than everyone else's. Deal with disgruntled airline workers. Am treated badly.

Make first phone call from airport pay phone to Aunt Barb. Was pleased to only pay $.50 for the call. 'Am in America;' I say. She relays the message to Mom.

Make it to the plane on time. Whew. No Cinnabon, though. Gutted.

By the time I reach the ground at Vegas, have decided that if I never step foot on an airplane again, it will be too soon.

Get baggage and get to hotel with very little effort (whew!). Only bummer? My hotel room is three doors from the furthest spot from the elevator. With no exaggerations, I have to turn through 7 corridors to get to it. It's a long walk.

At ticket counter, am asked to pay for the second night's room. Thinking I had already paid it, I was confused. Then I realized that I had only previously paid for one night, and am glad to hand over my debit card.

Debit card denied. Credit card expired. No cash. Can't book second night until Mom comes and does it on her card, which won't be until 11 that night.

Come up to room and try to use internet ($12.95/day), but can't connect as there's no credit card on file to charge it to. As a result, can't check bank balances to find deficit.

Try to call Aunt Barb again from the room, but can't make a long-distance call as there's no credit card on file to charge it to.

Grab $1 and the room key and head downstairs to call Aunt Barb on the hotel pay phone. The pay phone is in the furthest lobby from my hotel room. Figures.

Put my dollar in and dial Auntie. The phone asks for another $2.60. I don't have another $2.60. I try to call collect. The phone won't let me. Don't have my wallet with me to buy a calling card from the gift shop.

Decide to fugeddabouddit, and head back up to the room to take a bath, which I have already drawn the water for (and left to cool). When I reach the hotel room, my key won't work. I try it again and again, and again and again it won't work.

I use the guest phone in the hallway to call the front desk (there's no way I'm walking all the way back down the hall, waiting for the lift, and going to the desk). The lady connects me to the security department.

The security head answers the phone, but tells me that it is shift-change time, and that there are no workers to come let me in my room for another 30 minutes.

I decide it would have been nice to know that in advance, as I would have robbed the damn place if I'd have known that there was no security for 30 full minutes. I decide against this idea, and instead wait for exactly 3o minutes, sitting outside the door of my room, for security to come.

And then I finally got my bath and the day was good again.

Viva, Las Vegas.

(photo: New York New York hotel where we stayed)

Friday, June 29, 2007



My first impressions of America
by Wendy, ex-pat and semi-experienced world traveler
(written in order)

1. I forgot that in some countries, policemen wear guns.

2. What a beautiful flag!

3. Muy bien, gracias. Y tu?

4. Listen, you don't have to be so rude.

5. Oh! A hummer!

6. Everyone is so... American.

7. I'm so... American. I sound just like everyone else here...

8. No Cinnabon in this terminal? Damnit!

9. Everything is seemingly half-price!

10. Oh! Another hummer!

11. That IS a lot of water in the toilet bowl.

12. Oh! USA Today!

13. Peanut butter M&Ms. Mmmmmm...

14. Look. A hummer.

15. A man spanked his young child (very hard) and then said to him 'You don't hit.' (um, hello?)

16. The man next to me smells really bad.

17. I smell really bad.

18. (and last, but not least) The following announcment overhead, spoken in a genuine Bob Barker-type voice:

Katherine Emery! Katherine Emery! Please head back down to Terminal A where you LEFT your LUGGAGE. Katherine Emery! Come on DOWN to collect the luggage that YOU left in Ter-min-al A!!!!

(the second time he called it out, he slipped a couple of 'yo's in it, which put the whole of gate 4B in stitches!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goodbye Friends

One last party for my last night.

Would you believe me if I told you that at dinner last night (which I planned two months in advance) was the first time my flatties and I have ALL eaten together?? Would you believe it? So, it was pretty special to eat with all of them. Doug brought Noriko, his girl, and I brought Christian, my man. We ate at Gina's, where I have enjoyed 6 meals now in Auckland. Fitting that it was the first restaurant I ate at upon arrival, and was the last one I ate at before departing.

After that, I invited all of my awesome, random friends to for one last drink at (fitting, I know...) SPQR. What fun that was. 25 of my greatest friends showed up throughout the night to wish me farewell, and buy me a drink, and take some photos. Olga promised to play my favorite SP song before I went too, which happened near the end of the night. It was my favorite part.

So, to all of my friends, the kindest thanks for being with me on my last night.

It was magic.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Goodbye Richmond Road

My last day at school was the best ever.

First of all, all of the kids showed up. All of them. That's the first time this term that I've had all of my kiddos at once, as there is usually always one or two missing. This allowed me to take GREAT pictures that I printed off and gave to the kids as going-away prezzys.

In the morning, we danced. We danced the Hokey Pokey, did the limbo to The Limbo Rock, and of course, danced the Macarena.

After first block, at morning tea, the teachers and staff had planned a tea shout (a food party) just for me. It was the biggest feast I've ever seen. They all sang to me in Maori, gave speeches and presents, and just made me feel great. It was amazing.

During second block, my kids got to sing Maori songs with the vice-principal. That was neat too.

The best part of my day was the first part of last block during Jump Jams. We do Jump Jams with the kids once or twice a week, but on this day, all of the school (minus one or two classes) showed up. Just imagine 300 kids just jamming away to dance songs - so cool. All of their arms and legs moving at the same time in the same direction... The Jump Jams teacher, Nina, was sick, so I (beings as it was my last day, I love to dance, and was really excited to see the kids all dancing) led the troupe. We danced our rears off, laughing and smiling the whole time. The VERY best part of my day was when Jump Jams was over (after one last Macarena) and the principal Hayley sent all the kids my way, and we had a 200 person hug that lasted about 10 minutes. It started off as everyone, but turned into a mile-long line of kids, queueing up to give me a hug.

It was magic.

I will very, very, very much miss Richmond Road.

Very, very much.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Cuppa

Occam (across from my house)

Sliced (across from school)

One 2 One (across from SPQR)

These are the three places where I generously donate a weekly percentage of my paycheck in return for a good cup of coffee and a scone. Sometimes, the donation happens up to 3 times a day. Sometimes, the donation includes lunch.

My happiest little moments are small, like when I go to Occam and queue up in line behind 5 people, and the barista has my coffee ready for me before I even order. I just pay, and they push it across the counter. They know me that well, which is impressive in a city of over a million.

This sign, though, is a bonus to my coffee fetish. It's on the path between my walk from Occam (for my first cup of morning joe) to Sliced (the second cup before starting school). It was a speed bump sign that someone cleverly painted over.

He he...

Mi Casa

Besides the pictures lining two walls and the sheets on my bed, this is everything I own.

It's my little closet full of stuff.

And I like it.

On the toppest shelf are 5 bottles of wine and three suitcases, two cans of tennis balls and a hat from a friend. On the far right of the second shelf is The White Album, in vinyl. It's my luxury item. Hanging from the rod are both of my tennis rackets, my clothes, and an American flag. My school supplies are in the plastic, and my shoes compile most of the mess.

It's neat to know that I can live off of so little. I bet my parents are glad too, as knowing that I can live off of so little means that I'll come home and throw everything else I own away, thus freeing up heaps of space in their garage.

But soon, when I pack all that you see into three luggage cases, I know that I will miss my little closet...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Goodbye SPQR

Last night was my last night at SPQR. I had a great night, but was very, very, very sad.

When an employee leaves, it is tradition say goodbye in his/her own words, written in the staff bathroom. I was no exception.

Goodbye, SPQR.


It is so cold here.


Winter has approached.

They like to officially say that winter starts on the first day of June. I hold my tongue and don't say, 'Guys, that's not right, as the solstices are, and have always fallen on the 21st-22nd of seasonal months.'


Be it winter or late fall, it's cold!

I previously mentioned that houses here are not heated or cooled by standard units. In the summer, you rot with the windows open, hoping that a breeze comes in, and in the winter, you freeze with the space heater on, trying to keep your toes, which are frozen to the wooden floor, warm.

Outside, there's no snow. Just cold temperatures and an often fairly strong (cold) breeze.

I have one large space heater that Ian didn't want, so I keep my room warm at night with that. Walking into the hall in the morning, though, is another story. It's like a refrigerator. And don't even try to keep warm from the hot shower to your room. Ha!

Lately, though, I've taken to putting the heater in the hallway so that our common walking area is warmer. It makes it feel like Christmas. Just without Santa and stuff.

Aunt Barb would probably give me a growling, but I never wear socks. I hate them. I don't wear them at home, and I don't wear them when I go out. I wear slip on shoes, mostly, and of course without socks. I know it's my own fault that I'm cold all of the time, but I really do think I have a permanent set of goose-bumps building into my skin.

To top it all off, I sold my bed, and am back to sleeping on the floor. The cold floor. Which, for a few days, is really ok. Cold, but ok.

For once, I'm looking forward to a hot Iowa summer.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The tall, quiet one.

I don't have much to say about Ian.

He's just the tall, quiet one.

He sleeps next to me.

He works hard and is very smart at what he does.

He just got a new girlfriend. She cost about $26,000. She's chrome and red, has handle bars, two wheels, and is named Harley. I guess since all of his friends had motorbikes, it would only be fitting that Ian needed one too.

He's not too assertive, which makes him quite kind. He can't be bothered to make decisions, and prefers to just go with the flow.

He'd probably do anything for you if you asked.

He's very polite.

Every once in awhile we eat at the Food Court or catch up for a game of tennis. Ian has become quite good, and has learned to use his strengths on the court (size and speed) to even beat me a couple of times.

Ian and I used to be a lot closer. We'd sit on the couch and spend whole evenings just watching tv and talking and not talking. We'd make dinner together, go to the store together, and just hang out while the rest of the house was busy. But, as time has gone on, we've both become busier, and have had less and less time to just sit. So, Ian and I just don't do that anymore, which is ok. On the rare occasions when we do just sit and watch the telly, I really enjoy it.

Ian is the glue in our house. He's the one that secretly keeps us all calm and in order. And I don't even think he realizes it. But he is pretty great. I am lucky to have been able to live with Ian and now call him a friend. He's a pretty cool guy.

But that's about all I have to say about Ian.

The tall, quiet one.