This post is waaaay overdue (and mostly my own journal entry), but better late than never. On the second of November, I headed back to the United States for a long visit. As part of my current assignment I get one home-leave trip. And as November 1st marked my halfway point in my current assignment and my friend Susan was getting married on the 3rd and my birthday was on the 4th, it just seemed like the perfect time to visit. So, I got on a plane and went back in time (well, according to clocks and dates) which was pretty awesome. I arrive in Arizona two hours before I’d left Tokyo.
And my first stop after landing in Arizona (while still at the airport)? Paradise Bakery. Mostly for a Diet Coke, but since I was already there…I got a cookie, too. The Japanese do a lot of things really well in the food department, but cookies is not one of them. It turns out that this was a very good decision as I ended up having to wait a while in the rental car line.
While I was waiting in line, and watching a number of things transpire, I came to the conclusion that Americans (I’m generalizing here) are rude, demanding, and incredibly impatient. And I was kind of embarrassed for all of us. The good news was there were no Japanese around to witness it. So, I just sat there pleasantly waiting because clearly the two women waiting for help were having very bad days. Or at least I want to assume that wasn’t their regular behavior.
When I finally got up to the counter, I was as nice as I could be, feeling extremely sorry for the agent who had just been berated. And apparently he appreciated my patience and overall pleasant demeanor (yeah, me) because I was rewarded with an awesome upgrade at no additional charge. Thank you Hertz. I was already excited to drive, but this just made it that much more enjoyable.
And then I headed to my sister’s.
One of the hard things about this trip home versus other trips when I’ve been coming from New York is that I want to see people and play, but I also have to get things done. I’m used to coming into town and just being able to have fun and play with my nieces and nephews and chill. Not the same when you are coming from the other side of the world. I wanted to see as many friends as possible. (Something about being on the other side of the world makes you feel more motivated to see people because I’m not sure when I’ll be back again.) I had my friend’s wedding to go to. I had my birthday to celebrate. And then I had a gazillion errands to run and things to get done.
Friday started with getting my hair chopped and face injected with Botox. (Yes, you read that right. And I am not ashamed to admit it. And for those of you who think I look too young for Botox…that’s the point. I’ve been doing it off and on for a while and it’s working beautifully.)
|Just after the cut and injections. Happy birthday to me!
Friday night the family headed to Kona Grill for dinner and we had so much fun! Seriously, I love my family. And my dad was even there as he’d been in town for a board meeting before I got there, so he just stayed. It was great!
And then, after we got home from dinner, came the obligatory muddy buddies. My sister keeps a pantry like my mom, so there are always muddy buddy ingredii (yeah, that’s not a word, but it’s what we say) on hand. These are probably my most favorite treat ever.
Saturday morning started with my niece’s soccer game. One of my favorite things about being an aunt is when I get to be around for my nieces and nephews “stuff”, be it soccer games or choir performances. I just love getting to see them develop and grow and accomplish. And Saturday morning was no different. And my niece was so excited to have me there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see my other niece and nephew play in their games as I had a wedding to attended.
After heading home and changing, I headed to the LDS temple in Mesa to see my darling friend marry the love of her life. I was so happy to have been able to be there for it. It was this great reminder that waiting for the right person is totally worth it. And, seeing as how I was about to turn “old” the next day and being single makes that a little more depressing every year, getting that reminder was just what I needed.
And then I rushed home for my birthday party with friends. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I got from the party. But it’s an important one. My sweet and thoughtful friend, Jenn, brought me four of my favorite cookies all the way from New York. If you’re ever in New York, you must try Levain.
So, I’m not really one to throw myself a birthday party, but it was such a great reason to get so many of my friends together from various parts of my life. Arizona has my friends from my past life there, my very best friend from my mission, and now a number of really good friends from grad school. It was so fun to see people I hadn’t seen for a while (some, not since I graduated from my MBA program almost two and half years ago).
And then Sunday, my actual birthday, was my big family party including almost everyone in my immediate family (it was a little far for my younger brother and his family to come), my aunt and a number of my cousins, and part of my sister-in-law’s family…who are basically family. It was so fun! My brother-in-law kindly spent his afternoon making my favorite wings in the smoker, my sister made my favorite cake (yellow box and chocolate Betty Crocker frosting…I know, high class) and fruit dip, and I made my famous guacamole (at least famous with my family…I rarely make it for anyone else) and we just had a great time eating and laughing and catching up. It was the best gift my sister (and dad, who funded it) could have given me!
And my sweet aunt and cousins gave me this gift card which was just the right amount to support my DC habit while in the States.
And thus ends my birthday weekend. Up next? My whirlwind trip to Utah.