School Visit

We had arranged for Nathan and Jordan to attend school with Justin and Brennan, respectively, so the morning was abuzz with children getting ready for school. I went into work at the usual time but, since I had just finished writing the review and was still waiting for results to come back from my latest ultracentrifuge run, I didn’t have anything particularly pressing to do. I had expected to put in a fairly light week since Lisa was in town, but I didn’t want to push it too much- so I found some “busy work” to do to keep me occupied.

Lisa and Trudy came to campus for lunch and I took them to the top of the Engineering Building. After lunch, the two of them came by my laboratory for a quick tour, as well as to get onto the internet, which had not been working at home lately. I introduced Lisa to Kiyoe, as well as to Anna. After awhile, Lisa and Trudy left again so they could take a walk through the bamboo forest together, as well as do some shopping at the university co-op. I met them near the co-op about 3:15 in order to walk them to the campus bus stop, and, since I could find no reason to continue sitting around the lab pretending to be busy, I accompanied them home on the next bus.

The kids were all home from school by the time the three of us arrived there. The Kerr children had enjoyed the day immensely and wished that they could go back. My kids assured them that the novelty would soon wear off if they did. Both had taken pictures of their day, and we were all treated to a slide show of their experiences. Jordan’s perspective on the elementary school was much different from the stories we usually heard from Brennan. She had enjoyed the attention given to her by the students, who had stroked her blond hair and called it “beautiful”. Jordan was able to name most of the children in her pictures, something that Brennan had still been unable to do. The thought crossed my mind that Jordan had made more friends at school in one day than Brennan had in 5 months, but I didn’t say anything.

The older boys had had fun too, but observed that the Japanese kids tended to act immature as well as to laugh at things that were not funny at all. Both had attended a Health Education lecture on the uterus and Nathan had then been asked to write a reflection on what he had learned and to read it in front of the class. Nathan had written two sentences, where he said that, although he didn’t really understand what they were talking about in class, he thought that it was really important for kids to learn about such things. Notwithstanding, the class had been amazed by his oratory skills.

The kids then decided to play songs on Nathan’s computer and to have a “dance party”. They cleared the furniture out of our living room and danced around for while, but the party started getting more and more rowdy, since the kids were pretty wound up from their day. For dinner, we decided that we would go to Umeda and eat at the other Mexican restaurant that I had discovered online. Just to be sure, I called Los Incas to see if they were open. “I’m sorry, Amigo”, the man on the other line said, “but today we are on holiday”. It was all very suspicious that the restaurant was never open when we wanted to go by.

Five of us then set out for Umeda- since Brennan didn’t really feel like doing a lot of walking, Trudy had agreed to stay behind with him. Before we ate, we stopped at Hep 5 so Lisa and the boys could ride the Ferris Wheel. Jordan, with her fear of heights, decided not to ride, so I took her to Sega World to wait for them. After their ride, Lisa and the boys met us there and played a few games of their own before we walked to dinner. Since it was 7 pm by then, no one under the age of 16 was allowed in Sega World, so Jordan and I waited down one floor for the rest of them to finish, the boys apparently looked close enough to 16 to please the staff.

As we walked past Los Incas, the kids wanted to do a little detective work, since Justin has convinced himself that the restaurant was a front for selling drugs, or some other activity of a ill repute. They insisted that they go up to ask if the restaurant was open, despite the fact that I had called earlier. Although a couple ahead of them was allowed to go in, the kids were turned away at the door, adding to the mystery which surrounded the place and all but confirming their suspicions. We ended up down the block at the other restaurant that I had discovered. It was pretty good, but still not up to our American standards.

After we ate, we walked around Umeda for a while until we ended up at the Sky Building. A huge Christmas tree had been put up between the two towers and the whole area surrounding the buildings had been decorated for Christmas with a Bavarian flair. A sign had read “Welcome to the Night Market” in German, a we approached the grounds. As we turned in our tickets for the Sky Building elevator, the man working there handed each of us a gold star for us to write our wish for 2008 on before hanging them on the Christmas trees which were located in the observatory. I wrote that I wished my sister would remain cancer-free before placing it on one of the trees. Everyone enjoyed the view from the roof of the building, although Jordan was a bit freaked out by the whole experience and didn’t stay outside for long.

Our whole crew was very tired as we made our way back to Umeda, and then walked home from Ishibashi after our train ride, but we eventually reached our destination, around 11 pm. We quickly summarized our adventures for Trudy and Brennan before going to bed.

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