Moving to New Site

I will be closing this site and permanently moving to my new, self-hosted site this weekend.  You will be able to find all my old posts, current tags, and categories on my new Internet home.

If you would like to continue following me and learn all about my adventures in NaNoLand, then feel free to visit The Parlor of Dreams for further instructions.

Thanks for all your support!  I look forward to seeing you there!

~L. A. Howard~

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First Meetings and Physical Exams

Date:  Sunday. August 31, 2003.

2:30 PM, LaLa Time – I know; I’m terrible for keeping you all in suspense for an entire week!  Then again, I haven’t gotten quite as many emails or comments recently as I did at first.  (You ARE still out there?!  Yes??)

Just so all of you know, I am planning on updating at least once a week.  I may update more, but right now that’s my lowest goal.  I plan on updating sometime during the weekends, either Saturdays or Sundays.  Try to keep everything on-schedule and going in a forward direction.

May cause hilariousness!

Weird package, but GREAT medicine!

This past week has been chock-full of awesome!  I’ve started to get to know the other Americans with my program here.  I’m a little nervous, though; I am the only girl in a building with two guys!  They are okay, but it still makes me feel way awkward.  Still, DAD has provided me with some female friends I can visit at the university across town.  There is one married couple at the third university, but they are only *just* married.

I have met other Family members here as well!  They have been very welcoming of us, taking us to dinner and helping us buy necessities.  (I had no computer when I got here, and the school didn’t seem like it would provide one, so I and a Family member went to buy what I’m sure is a knock-off.  Oh well; at least I don’t have to sit in an internet cafe any more!  lol )

Wednesday, we met with other teachers and got our teaching materials.  I’m still a little…unsure…about what exactly they want us to do, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the first classes go.  I’ll try to plan something ahead just in case, but I’m super-nervous about being in front of a crowd.  (I’ve never taught a class a day in my life; what have I gotten myself into?!)

My cold is all better!  Thanks for asking DAD to help out with that!  LaLalien medicine lives up to its reputation!  Though I did find drinking nearly-boiling hot water a little odd.  And there’s no sugar or honey for the green tea, so it’s very bitter!  Blech!

Even some lemon would be better than nothing at all!

Even some lemon would be better than nothing at all!

Tonight, I’m going over to one of my new friend’s apartment to watch an English movie.  I think I’m starting to feel the beginnings of culture shock; there’s just very little English around here, and what signs or speaking IS in English is badly broken.  It’s cute, but can get to a girl after a while!

Today’s Family meeting was awesome!  The singing was quiet, but good, and the people here are so genuine!  It’s an entirely different way of expression from at home, but it almost seems better.  Purer.  But still, I felt myself wondering constantly, “What if the wrong person hears us?”.  Or, “What if I say the wrong thing to someone on the Internet?”  Gah; I hope I find some bravery!  Ask DAD about that too, if you could; I don’t want to be timid here!

Well, I think this has been pretty long already, so I’ll have to save more for later.  Keep me in mind, though; when I went to get the physical exam the school requires, the doctor found some kind of stone in me*.  I don’t know what he meant by that, but I’ve noticed that whenever I eat certain foods, I get a terrible pain in my side.  Ask DAD about that; I don’t want to have surgery over here!

Until next time, all love with DAD!

~Kitty Awesome~

[Out-of-Charater (OOC) Notes: 

* This actually happened my first year as an ESL teacher.  What he meant, which I wouldn’t find out for several years, was that I had gall stones.  It wouldn’t be until six years later that the pain would get so bad that I’d have to have it taken out.  Kids, eat healthy and TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.  Gall bladder attacks are super-painful, and you WANT to be able to produce bile….unless you like being overweight and unenergetic.]

Ancient LaLalien Secret!

Date: August 28, 2003

Time: 11:30 AM

Despite all my efforts to stave off illness, I’m afraid I’ve caught a cold.  It happens almost every time I travel; not enough deep REM sleep plus eating horrible food for over 24 hours has my immune system playing catch-up. I am not a happy Kitty!

Perhaps I should try some of the ancient remedies LaLa is famous for!

Perhaps I should try some of the ancient remedies LaLa is famous for!

Oh, and not to alarm anyone, but I am not yet in my apartment; it seems there was some renovations needed, so the school has put us up at a hotel.  It’s a very nice hotel, if it makes any of you feel better!  Also, I’ve heard that my luggage is on its way, and should arrive at the school in a couple of days!  Praise The Man In The Sky!

Now, for a word on euphemisms.  From some of your comments and a few worried-sounding emails, it seems that some of you feel a little lost when I’m talking about “La La Land” and “Sad River City” and so forth.  I was sure that I had explained this in my fund-raising letter, but perhaps not everyone understood what I meant. To put it quite simply, it is safer for the ‘family’ here if I do not come out and say where I am or who I am with directly.  The Internet, as wondrous as it is, can also be something of a …. hazard.  So I must be careful. Do not fret, Beloveds!  I am in no danger of being strung up by my thumbs or having my toes chopped off!  The worst that could happen to me is deportation.  (In other words, being sent back home and never being allowed to come back.)  Since neither I nor anyone else here wants that to happen, we’re taking every cautionary step we can.  I also want to urge all those who understand my meaning to get with those who don’t and explain it in more vivid detail, just so there is no confusion.  (In other words:  Tim, could you tell Grandma Martha to stop sending those forwards?  I know she means well, but I don’t want to have to put her on my spam list just for that..)    

Ooh, I need to remember souvenirs!

Ooh, I need to remember souvenirs!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my envoy has come to take me and the other two American teachers shopping for necessities.  (Eh, must be done despite head cold!)  

~Kitty Awesome~

P. S.  Since I am normally going to be in my apartment when I write an entry, I’m not going to put the location every time.  If there IS a location, it will be because I’m traveling, or have decided to go somewhere else to write.  🙂

Lost Luggage and Found Envoys [Kitty’s Journal]

Date: August 27th, 2003

Time:  10:45 PM, LLT [La La Time]

I feel wide awake, even though I’m usually in bed or falling asleep on my feet at this time back home.  I think the time change is going to take some getting used to!  And since I’m up, I might as well update you good folks on the trip here.

There is only one word to describe the trip since our 747 landed:  Chaotic!

It all began with me standing and waiting for my luggage at the carousel.  I waited and waited….but it never came!  I implored one of the older returning teachers to help me figure out what to do.  We went to the help desk, and through a bit of broken language on both sides, we discovered that my two massive, 50-lb suitcases never made it on to the plane!  

It was a good thing I took the advice from the training session seriously, and packed a few necessities in my backpack and carry-on suitcase!  (Do not fear, loved ones; the lady at the help desk told us to expect the luggage in Sad River City in a few days.  Ah, LaLa!)

Having had that sorted out, our one ginormous group split into a few smaller ones, with some folks headed to other gates for other cities, and one small group staying in the international airport’s city.  I followed my group, the one headed to W. province, to the next gate for our final flight.

When we landed again in W. province’s main city, we were somewhat accosted by various ‘friendly’ people wanting to take our luggage…and our money.  I think there were even a few beggars, but it’s hard to tell in a sea of so very many!

This is where my main group broke up; our envoys from the schools were here!  People headed in all sorts of different directions as the envoys came to pick up their new and returning native English-speaking ESL teachers.  I was hurried along by a tiny lady in a smart business suit who was speaking Lala-nese very quickly to everyone who wanted to carry our luggage or take us where we didn’t want to go.  I believe her English name was Jenny, but I’m not sure.  I’ll have to remember to ask when I see her next!

Speaking of which, I think exhaustion just overtook me.  I’ll have to recount more later; dead-tired all of a sudden!

Jet lag, man; it’s no joke!

In my next entry, I’ll endeavor to catch up more, and also answer the question of why I’m using so many euphemisms.  ‘Till tomorrow, friends!

~Kitty Awesome~

A Personal Touch! (Kitty’s Journal)

Date:  August 27th, 2003

Time: 10:30 PM

Location:  On-Campus Apartment in Sad River City, La La Land

So some folks at home have told me that they wanted an easier way to keep up with my experiences and journeys here in La La Land!  I wasn’t sure how to do that; I was already planning on sending out update emails and am working with a friend back home for physical update letters.

shakespeare_blogging

I was talking about this dilemma with Morty, a new friend and fellow American teacher at my university, and he suggested that I start blogging.  I wasn’t too sure about it; I’ve never had a blog before!

Technology is so amazing!  I think this will be the PERFECT way to keep in touch with all the family and friends back home who are interested in more personal updates.

That being said, I’ve already transcribed the first entry from my written diary to this blog.  Feel free to read it here!  (Morty also helped me out with learning some more technical things, like how to make a link!)

I plan on updating at the end of every day.  If I don’t, feel free to email me and push me along!

I look forward to sharing all my adventures with you folks!  😀

~Kitty Awesome~

Very First Journal/Blog Entry!

Date:  August 25, 2003

Time:  8:00 PM

Location:  La La Land

Finally!  A chance to sit down and properly break in my new journal!  I thought I was never going to get a moment to rest!

There is so much to tell that it’s hard to decide where to start!  Even with the short notes I was able to jot down on the flights, I’m afraid of forgetting something.

Not a real phrase book

“Don’t leave home without it! “- Kitty Awesome

No place to start like the beginning, I guess!

The flight from my hometown to Los Angeles were largely uneventful.  A lot of sitting around and reading, with the occasional chat with a stranger.  The only person of note was on the very first flight to Atlanta.  I was flipping through my translation guide, when the man next to me decided to teach me how to say “Hello!” in [La La language].

I obliged him, but felt terribly uncomfortable the rest of the way.  Fortunately, it was a short flight, not even an hour long.

I appreciated his help, but I wasn’t sure how to accept it.  But there I go again, being suspicious of any and all guys who talk to me.

I think I would have felt better if he wasn’t so much older than I was.  Not OLD old, but definitely not around my age.  Forties, maybe?

That was the most eventful thing that happened up until LAX, anyways.  When I got there and finally found my gate, I was greeted with a ridiculous amount of other teachers!

To make a long story short, I (slowly) started warming up to some of them, finally getting acquainted with the teachers I’ll be working with in the same city.  I was glad to see that there were at least three other girls, along with the two guys I’ll be getting to know!

Now if I had just known about Morty’s fear of live crustaceans before supper tonight, maybe we could have avoided that incident at the night market…

More on that later; I’m dead-tired, and we’re going to have to catch a train to our city in a couple of hours.  In fact, I can hear our school’s envoy pounding on the door now..