It is winter. I know because I`ve woken up to a light dusting of snow on the ground the last two days.
I also know because the path I have to take to work everyday is treacherous now. There is a place that goes downhill that will be perpetually covered in ice. I slid down it on my ass the first snowy morning. Today I recognized that it was in fact ice and not just a puddle, so I dragged myself along the railing on the side of the road.
It`s the time of year when it becomes obvious that I have never lived in a cold climate before now. Not only do I slip comically (and dangeorusly) on ice patches, but I also don`t know how to dress properly. My outfits are a hodge podge of whatever warm things my sisters decided to give me before I left the U.S. Schoolgirls walk around with nothing more than a tiny plaid skirt and knee socks, and I`ve already busted out my white waterproof coat and gloves. I also have several scarves that don`t match anything. Sometimes I wear black and brown and stripes and plaid all at the same time. It seems that a legitimately cold winter is all it takes for me to start putting function over fashion. I`m worried that my fashion sense will be completely screwed up by the time I make it back to sunny Georgia. (Although rumor has it that it`s actually snowing there too. Wtf, climate change?)
I think I`m going to take up jumproping (or is it jumping rope?). Since the ground is suddenly laced with booby traps, I can`t go running at night. I twisted my ankle the last time I tried to do that anyways. And since the sun sets at about 4:30 in the afternoon, it`s dark by the time I get home. But, according to the Internet, jumping rope for 15 minutes is the same as running for 30 minutes. I`m going in search of a jumprope this weekend. I`m not really good at jumping rope, because it requires coordination, but I hope to get good at it. I refuse to lose my regular-exercise body. I`m no Greek statue but I look a lot better than I did this time last year.
It`s weird to be done with the GRE. I find myself feeling guilty for not drilling vocabulary in my free time. I have to remind myself that it`s over, and that I never have to think about the Pythagorean theorem again. It really wasn`t so bad. I followed the advice of my friend Kiki and did a few practice tests and I think that helped. My math score was pretty awful, but it was standard for a person in my field. My verbal score was above average, which shocked the hell out of me. I`m still waiting to hear about the crappy writing part (analyze an argument and present your perspective on an issue). I`m definitely a better writer than I was when I took the Graduation Test in high school and the Regents` Test in college, but I think it takes me longer to develop an idea than it used to. I could whip out an all-right essay in no time when I took the Regents` Test, but now, I really like to think things through and do it right. So I`m not sure what my score on those sections will be.
I had a fantastic time in Tokyo during the dreaded GRE weekend. I got there early on Saturday and wandered around Shinjuku and visited the Meiji shrine. There was even a Japanese wedding going on in the shrine! I slept in a nice hostel out in a weird area where there were no restaurants. It was in a huge youth complex that was very easy to get lost in. I had to eat dinner from a convenience store. The next morning, I had to sprint to catch the subway to get to the test on time. But I made it. And before I knew it, I was on a bus home, with snow-capped Mt. Fuji in the distance. I felt more at peace than I had in a long time.
We`re planning a trip for our Christmas break. Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji Castle, and maybe Osaka. Nagoya for New Year`s. And we get to do it all with our buddy Andy, who lives about 4 hours away. He was our good friend in college and it`s a shame we don`t get to see him more often.
This will be the first Christmas that Zack and I have gotten to spend with each other. I`m sad that I don`t get to see my family, but it`ll be nice to be with him for once. I`m also hoping that it will be a white Christmas. I`ve only had one white Christmas in my whole life so far.
I`ve been writing and plan on submitting a short story to some journals in the next couple of days (after I get a little more feedback from my online writers` workshop).
It`s been strange and difficult at times, but I must say that this has been the best year of my life so far. And it`s looking like next year can only get better.