Friday, December 29, 2006

The Asian City That Never Sleeps

Yesterday my husband and I each got emails informing us that our tentative departure date for Japan is February 13th. Yipeeee!! If we meet this departure date, I'll spend my 27th birthday there which should make it fun and rather memorable. I can't even remember what I did for my birthday last year. In any case, our port of entry is Narita, near Tokyo, which means we will be living and working somewhere in North/East Japan. That still leaves a huge area for potential assignments, but at least we can eliminate approximately half of the country. We won't actually know our city, town or village assignment until two weeks before we leave, which I'm sure will drive us crazy. My husband is set on Tokyo, but I don't want to get my hopes up because I don't think we'll get it. I'd feel like hot shit if we did though, and if we could live successfully in Tokyo I wouldn't feel intimated by any city or place ever again. The next time I heard some arrogant New Yorker talking about how you have to be special to make it in New York City (implying us hillbillies in Charleston or Oklahoma City or wherever would never last), I'd be able to think, or say, "Screw you, we lived in Tokyo for a year." Not that I hate New Yorkers, it's just a pet peeve of mine when they behave as if they are superior, same with L.A. folk. Okay, enough of that rant. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Spirit of the Season

Well, Christmas has come and gone once again. In a way, I wish I was one of those people who ooze holiday spirit and goodwill toward men this time of year, but I definitely do not. I don't revel in holiday songs, I don't ohhh and ahhh at holiday lights, I don't bake gingerbread men or sugar cookies. Instead I grumble about the extra people at the mall and resent having to buy gifts and mail holiday cards. I am just a regular old Grinch. Perhaps my one redeeming quality, is that I enjoy spending time with family (especially my husband's) and eating Christmas dinner. I also like Christmas parties and the alcohol that comes with them.

This Christmas went well. On Christmas Eve, my husband and I drove to Greenville to spend the holiday with his family. His dad had enjoyed a cup of more of his favorite drink, Scotch and water, so he was especially jolly and made dinner for the two of us. We slept in the next day and opened presents around one. I got towels, an everlasting nail file, pajamas, a throw blanket, a book about Japan and a nice winter coat. I haven't had a coat in years. Not since my dad's psycho ex-girlfriend bought me a bunch of clothes for Christmas in 1998 or '99. A month or so later she tried to run my dad down with her car, so needless to say that was the last Christmas we spent with her.

The rest of our visit was uneventful. My boss called on Christmas day to try and get me to work the next afternoon but I stalled and he found someone else to do it. We visited various stores the day after Christmas and my mother-in-law bought us a few goodies. My husband and I ate lunch with his father at a Cajun restaurant. My dad called to wish me a merry Christmas, and to tell me he was mailing us a check for a wedding/Christmas present. We visited one of my husband's friends and the two boys spent hours watching football and playing Xbox 360. Good times.

Up next is New Years Eve. As usual, my husband and I have no idea what we're going to do. In the past two or three years, I've come to dislike New Years because of all the pressure there is to have the best night ever. I don't know about everybody else, but nearly all of my New Years have failed to be all that the night is supposed to be. Last year, my husband and I went to another couple's home and spent the night drinking beer, playing board games and waving sparklers around. It was a pleasant enough night, but I felt that we were missing out on something and that we had truly become old. We shall see what this year brings...

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Wedding Story

My beau and I got engaged in April 2006, and basically had no idea what to do after that. Initially, we planned to move back to Florida and have a wedding there, but then Japan became a thing and it seemed sensible to get married before we left the country for a year. Plus, we just wanted to be married and not have the weight of planning a wedding hanging over our heads. After months of indecisiveness, my significant other and I finally decided to have a small, casual wedding at a local beach with as little expense as possible (that was the plan anyway). I say we, but I am actually the one that made all of the wedding plans, and even that is a stretch because it was my girlfriends who came up with the idea for a beach wedding. One of them even chose the date, December 16th.

We/they came up with the idea in October. Three other girls and I had just gotten done taking the Comprehensive Exam for our Masters degrees and went to a local bar to celebrate. We started talking about what I wanted for my wedding and they soon realized I had no clue how to plan a wedding and that I basically needed someone to tell me what to do. One of the girls suggested that we rent a large beach house in December where friends and family could stay, have the wedding on the beach and then a reception in the home. The three of them promised to help any way they could, and so the wedding planning began.

This is the beach house we ended up renting. I found it on

It has seven bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms, so there was lots of space for people to gather, and plenty of room for friends and family to spend the night. In the summer, we would have had to pay five times the rental price we did, so that was one perk about having a beach wedding in late fall. The last photo was taken from the upper patio on the day of our wedding. We were taking quite a gamble having an outdoor wedding in December, but it was a bright and sunny, with temperatures in the mid-70s so the ceremony was more than I could have hoped for.

Here I am walking down the "aisle:"

The ceremony itself was around five minutes, short and simple, just how we wanted it. We didn't have a wedding party or anything like that. I was unsure what to expect of the wedding officiant, seeing as I hired him from a website called and never met him until he came to marry us, but the guy was friendly, professional and well dressed and several people remarked about how good he was.

For the reception, or "wedding celebration" as I dubbed it, we rented two kegs and bought a case of wine for alcohol. We ended up having far too much and the next day my husband groaned about having to pour out all of the extra beer. We ordered party platters for food and my husband's mother also prepared ham and shrimp and bought us a professionally made wedding cake. I was too wound up to eat much, but our guests seemed to like the spread.

I was so touched at how helpful all of my friends and mother-in-law were. One girl was up at 3 the night before, sweeping the floors, another came by early to set up a champagne station and help my mother-in-law prepare the food, another more or less acted as the wedding coordinator, shuffling people around, making suggestions/issuing orders, running errands for me, etc. My Martha Stewart mother-in-law amazed me with her crafty decorations and food preparations. All of the details I spent hours worrying about before the wedding seemed to magically take care of themselves, although I know it was my friends and mother-in-law that did most of it. The wedding made me realize what great friends I have. All in all, the ceremony and reception went great and were better than I could have possibly imagined.

Of course, not everything went perfectly. Here are some amusing (and not so amusing) mishaps and anecdotes:

On the invitations, which I printed myself, I mistakenly typed the year two thousand and twenty six rather than two thousand and six, and didn't realize it until it was too late. Most people either didn't notice, or were too polite to say anything, although my brother and cousin gave me a hard time about it.

My mother and aunt booked plane tickets to Charleston, WV rather than Charleston, SC and did not realize their mistake until they were in Houston, ready to make their connection. There had been severe fog in Houston earlier that day and many flights had been delayed or canceled, so the airlines were filling the later flights with passengers who had been scheduled to fly out earlier. Therefore, everything appeared to be full and they thought they might have to spend the night in Houston. My mother calls me three hours before I am expecting her, (she was due to arrive at 11:20 p.m.) tells me she booked a ticket to the wrong city and then hangs up. Needless to say I was quite disturbed. She then calls four or five more times asking how far Charleston is from various cities, but all of the city she names are seven or more hours away. After much hysterics, they get a flight to Columbia, which is approximately two hours from Charleston and I am able to pick them up and bring them to the beach house late that night. They didn't have any luggage and we didn't get back until 3 a.m., but they were there by Jove! And thank god, because if they hadn't made I would have had zero family members at my wedding.

After my new husband and I left the beach house to spend the night at an inn downtown, one of our friends (who is married) had sex with one of our other friends (not his/her spouse) in the bedroom next to my mother's. Two of my husband's friends watched the whole thing from the porch outside and later describe it as wild, animal sex. The next day, my mother tells me about an "earthquake" she felt late at night and how she just couldn't figure out what it was. After the friends leave the next day, my aunt moves into the sex room and sleeps in the bed where the "railing" took place. I of course don't tell my mom or aunt what transpired there, and they would never in a hundred years guess. Now, one of the friends says he/she can't stop thinking about how good the other was in bed, and how his/her spouse just doesn't do the trick. I ask you ,what better way to celebrate a wedding than to commit adultery at the reception?

The only thing about the wedding that disappointed me was the lack of attendance by my family. My mother and my aunt were the only family members that came which was something I did not foresee when I began planning. I foolishly assumed that my grandparents and brother and father and aunts and cousins would attend. Wrong-o. One set of grandparents said they were "poor pensioners" who could not afford to attend. I might find this more convincing if I didn't know for a fact that they regularly drove from Oklahoma to Memphis to visit my aunt and cousin. They even came to Memphis for my cousin's high school graduation from HOME SCHOOL! I am more forgiving of my grandmothers in Missouri because both are in bad health and don't travel well. My dad couldn't come because he just started a job as a truck driver and supposedly could not get off work. I'm not so sure I believe him, and even so it's his only daughter's wedding. Whatever. My one brother also started a new job that allegedly prevented him from coming and I let him know just what I think about that. My other brother is fighting the war in Iraq so he is naturally excused. My aunt, uncle and cousin in Savannah said they were coming, (it's only a two hour drive) but they didn't show up and I have yet to hear why. This annoys me because we have visited them in Georgia two or three times, once to go to their re-wedding (long story), but they don't bother to come to mine even though I twice confirmed with my aunt that she was coming. Two of my best friends in Oklahoma also didn't come because of money issues. I am starting to get worked up again, so I'll stop now. As of yet, most of the no shows have yet to even send a card or a gift. My husband says my family sucks. He's right.

However, I don't want to end on a sour note. While I was disappointed with my family, many of my husband's attended and they were all happy to welcome me into their clan. I love his immediate family and couldn't have found better in-laws if I tried. Seriously. Okay, enough sap and wedding babble. Here are some additional photos:

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First Post

Well, I've began blogs before and then eventually abandoned them so I hope this time will be different. I suppose I should introduce myself....

My name is Lady Wanderlust (not really, obviously, but for the purposes of this blog). I'm 26, nearly 27 years old, and I live in Charleston, SC. This past week has been rather eventful for me as I got hitched on Saturday and graduated with a Master's degree on Sunday. I married my boyfriend of four years on December 16th, so as of today I've been married four days! We don't have a honeymoon planned, at least not yet, so life is pretty much back to normal now that our friends and family have returned home. Currently, my husband (that is the first time I've referred to him as such!) is at work and I am sitting in our apartment realizing I have nothing at all to do for the next month or so.

This is a strange feeling for me because ever since I began my last semester of graduate school in August, I've been rushing around preparing for the next big thing. I had an internship that was basically a part-time job, an actual part-time job for a company in its busy season, two graduate classes with a heavy reading load, a Comprehensive Exam to pass, and a wedding to plan. Now that all that is over and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. All the free time is nice in a way, but it's also boring. However, it won't last too long.

Sometime in February, my husband and I will go to Japan for a year to teach English at one of the many language schools there. I started this blog because I'd like to record our experiences there and hopefully entertain some people in the process. Up until now, I really haven't had much time to think about the trip, and even now it seems like some distant, unreal thing in the future. Right now our Visa paperwork is in Japan, awaiting approval from Japanese officials. After that, we find out where we'll live and our exact departure date. My husband and I are hoping for a large city, Tokyo or Osaka or something, although we won't find out where we're going until two weeks before we leave, which makes things interesting. I have no idea what to expect, but my husband and I want to have an adventure, and moving to a foreign city for a year should certainly be one.

He and I have always done things a little differently than everyone else. Most people we know have been married for a year or two, own nice homes, hold good jobs and are just beginning to start a family. We just got married, rent a small, dumpy apartment, hold insignificant part-time jobs and can't fathom having children. We also have this burning desire to travel the world and are terrified that if we don't do it now we never will. Most people seem to admire this, but a lot of them also seem to think it's a bit strange or irresponsible. They don't actually say that, but I sense it sometimes. Who knows, maybe I'm being paranoid.

Well, I guess that's it for my first entry. Although I've created this blog for myself in a way, I'd love to get feedback from whatever readers might stumble across this page.

Until next time....