"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25 on my 25th
A quarter of a century...the big 2-5! When I look back on my 24th year of life, I am so thankful for all the adventures the Lord took me on here in Japan. This was the first full year of life I've been away from home and living on my own, so that feels like a big life accomplishment and a push into adulthood! My birthday almost always falls on a school day (aka many in-class celebrations) but this one goes down as one of the most epic days in my life...
The celebrations started off by opening some presents I had been waiting to open*...the first one from my dear friend Liane and her daughter Mina. They gave me some yummy snacks and a big pack of coffee that I took to work. How cute is the wrapping by Mina!
Next was a letter from Nati who I took almost all my college classes with...so seeing her handwriting again brought the biggest smile to my face! haha. She sent me sparkly AK letters and a rad sticker LION OF JUDAH which has special meaning because her daughter (who I will meet so soon) is named Judah! And if you know....you know that if you ever send a package or letter to Uganda you are supposed to write "God Bless This Package" on it and rumor has it, it will always get to its destination without being opened. Thanks for the love Nat!
And then there was the big package from my sissy + good friend Adrienne! I popped open the box and first thing I see is this cute letter from Hunty...haha!
BEST CARD EVER! Nothing beats a 5yr old's writing. That's me holding balloons btw.
They jam packed the box with so many goodies... a new planner, a bunch of adorable earrings, candyyyyyy AND...
AHHHH!!! An amazingly warm and beautiful scarf, a cute new tshirt, and an amazing quilted jacket. Do they know me or do they knowww me??? Bonus points to Adrienne who works at anthro and hooked it up. Obsessed.
Then I headed to school for what would end up being a crazy day!
I take the bus at 7am and get to school by 7:40 so once I'm there I make my coffee and spend a few minutes journaling before our morning meeting. It has become my routine and I look forward to it everyday. Gets me in the right mindset.
The day started off with 2A singing happy birthday to me in their homeroom before 1st period...and I was given a bag of snacks. The funniest one was from Hideki who gave me "JAM-PAN" (bread with jam inside) with his name written on it. No message, just his name LOL.
The soccer coach and cool dude Yanagibashi left this card on my desk with candy taped to the back! so sweet of him!
I received the most adorable tiny hedgehog from my 3B class along with two mikans from my student's grandpa's garden. And Steph knows me well and brought me my all time favorite donut from Mr. Donut!
I taught two classes and then after school, 1A pulled me in their class to surprise me with a beautiful chalk board message and more candy! These kids are incredible.
Then, the English department sang to me and made me give a speech haha...and Ebisawa sensei handed me this adorable package of two loaves of banana bread!! She is an incredible baker and that gesture was so thoughtful of her!
Kawamoto sensei's kids (6th graders) made me tiny ornaments!!! SO CUTE!!
And how cute is this...the teachers remembered that apple pie is my favorite so they brought apple and blueberry pie from costco. tears!
Kawamoto sensei, Tanaka sensei, and Ikeda sensei...I get the honor of working with these people every single day and I love them so much! They are some of the kindest people I have ever met.
Half of the english department! L-R:Mashiko, Steph, me, Ebisawa, Kawamoto, Tanaka, and Ikeda.
A bag full of goodies from each of the A classes. It was hilarious because they basically each put in whatever candy they had in their lunches so I got a crazy random mix of things...
The best one was someone who gave me ONE STICK on gum...HAHAHAHHA
And Steph coordinated this incredible book full of letters and pictures from people at school. I cried. obviously. These kind of sentiments really get me...and this book will be something I treasure forever!
Wow...so after an incredibly blessed day at school I headed to dinner with Steph, Mina, and Naoya who are some of my favorite people! Of course, my meal of choice was Tonkatsu!!
Naoya and Mina are like family to me and I love them so much. So thankful I could spend time with them on my bday! And the tonkatsu was SOOOOO GOOOOOOOD.
Just when I thought all the fun was over...I woke up Friday to more bday love. Funny thing is, since Japan is 17 hours ahead of the states, I almost celebrate two birthdays haha!
After our morning meeting on Friday, our school principal runs up to the English office to give me a gift!! What! He gave me this adorable 3D card that said "Hope your life will be full of happiness" awww...and then revealed a box with a tiny snowglobe inside that plays music when you twist the bottom...HOW AMAZING IS THAT? From my principal of all people! I couldn't believe it!
Fridays are always my busiest days...
1st per- conference period...aka prep time
2nd per- 3D, we made Christmas cards with English phrases inside
3rd per- 3C, working on an autobiography project with them
4th per- 2A, they gave their speeches about their time in Torrance
5th per- 3A, had to judge their reading (they read a passage out loud)
6th per- 3B, made Christmas cards
phew! But the day wasn't over yet...you see, once a year we have an End of The Year party with all the teachers and this year it happened to be on Dec 2nd. It was at the same venue as last year, a super fancy banquet hall. I figured it would be a nice night of chatting with my coworkers and avoiding the fancy seafood dishes served...but little did I know...
First thing they do is announce "YESTERDAY WAS AMIE'S BDAY" (mind you, this was a party for ALL of the teachers at school aka a lot of people) and come out with a hat and glasses for me to wear along with the cutest cake! They all sang enthusiastically (beer had already been consumed) and cheered loudly while asking "AMIE HOW OLD ARE YOU??" haha. Also, in typical Japanese party fashion, I had to give a speech. They all complained though "SPEAK IN JAPANESE!!!" haha but I'm not at that level yet.
The night wrapped up and I headed home exhausted, but in the best way possible.
I could have never imagined this kind of day, this kind of birthday, which is why it will be a day I always remember. I wrote these words along with the birthday video of my students singing to me and it's the only way I can adequately sum up what I feel "God has an incredible way of orchestrating our lives. When we follow His lead, He puts us places we didn't even know we needed to be at and shows us a world we couldn't even have imagined." Never could I have dreamed up something this good! But that's the God I serve!
"Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."
*not to mention the packages sent my my lovely auntie Julie as well as my mom and dad! I called the company and I should receive them tonight haha!
**UPDATED 7:28pm DEC 5, 2016
RECEIVED THREE PACKAGES IN ONE NIGHT GAHHH....
MY MOM AND AUNTIE ARE CRAZY/AMAZING. Mom and Dad sent me these EPIC Hunter boots and they happen to fit perfectly (mom magic). Auntie Julie and the Lams sent me this amazing Sparkling grape juice + CANDYYYYYY AHHH!!!! THANK YOU LOVE YOU!
And last but certainly not least...my dear friend Caroline (who I met in Japan last year) sent me this amazing book! Recently she had shared a sermon from REALITY SF with me and it was such a good word. Everyone, go to listen to it (you can hear it HERE). I had no idea Dave Lomas actually wrote a book on it so when I got this nugget of wisdom I had a complete bookworm moment! Caroline, in the short time we lived in the same country, really understood me well and is the perfect book friend in my life!! THANK YOU CAROLINE!!!