On Saturday morning, my mom and I got up super early (5 a.m., a time that I wasn't even aware existed until this weekend) and headed to the farmer's market in downtown Des Moines. All summer, I've been thinking of what things I can bring to Japan to give to people I meet, my host family, Kayoko's parents, my Japanese friends, etc. I've noticed that the Japanese people are very into gift giving, and I thought it'd be a good idea to bring some stuff to dole out. I thought that getting handmade, or Iowa-esque things would be a good idea.
Anyway, I've never been to the Des Moines farmer's market, and it really surprised me! It's huge! There was a ton of produce, and pastries and breads and a lot of jewelery, clothes, and other handmade goods. Lots of sweet ethnic food stands to try as well! I split some Indian breakfast fried potato pocket things with my mom (I forgot what they were called, but they were fried dough filled with potato chunks and spices and came with a really good dipping sauce), and got a shrimp spring roll later. I ended up buying some really great things to give as presents! I'm not going to write exactly what, because maybe Kayoko or other friends or my speaking partners will read this, but I hope they'll like them or find them useful. My mom actually offered to buy a bunch of the more expensive stuff, which really surprised me, but I didn't decline! :)
Speaking of money, it's been tight lately. Things haven't been nearly as busy as they usually are at the restaurant I work at--I only made 32 freakin' dollars on a DOUBLE shift on Saturday (usually I'll make anywhere between $70-$120 on a Friday or Saturday night shift alone!). Friday wasn't much better, I only made somewhere around $25 and spent it all at the farmer's market the next morning. Luckily, today's double shift was surprisingly good for a Sunday--we had a late rush tonight, and I made $75. I'm really wanting to make money this week, because it's my last week working (for...potentially 9 months, I can't believe it!), and I need to buy some things before I go. I've deposited all the money I've saved this summer in a savings account so I won't spend it until I take it out to exchange it, so I'm relying on this week's money for my last-minute things.
I'm considering getting a new suitcase to take over, just because the one I took to Italy in high school isn't made of the hard material like the new ones, and it's bulky. I'm super afraid of my stuff being damaged (and lost, but I guess I can't help that). I saw some good looking (and discounted!) suitcases at TJ Maxx the other day, so I'm going to look around there and some other places this week. That's my big purchase I'm looking at, and why I needed to make money this weekend--even getting it for a discounted price, I'm still looking anywhere between the $80-$120 pricerange for a good case.
Hmm, what else...oh, actually, right as I was typing this up I got my speaking partner assignment e-mails! (I've been checking my e-mail almost obsessively the last few days--I'm impatient!) I signed up for two partners, since they had a surplus of Japanese students sign up. Mine are both girls, and named Ayami and Azusa (Azusa is a name I've never heard before!). I'm probably going to e-mail them after typing this blog :).
I've had some experience with speaking partners before, I had to have one for my TESOL class last semester. Actually, my first speaking partner experience wasn't exactly a good one. I was partnered with a Saudi Arabian guy named Mohammad, and while he was really nice, I got the feeling he was being a little too nice--red flags kind of went up in my mind when literally the first question he asked me upon meeting me was "So, you have a boyfriend?" (>.<) He also informed me that he really liked blondes and wanted to meet with me as much as possible every week. Let's just say my time spent with Mohammad was very awkward! I talked to the speaking partner coordinator and was given another partner, a Saudi girl named Noor, who was MUCH better! She's incredibly sweet and we got along really well, even though our schedules wouldn't allow us to meet as often as I would have liked. She knew English pretty well already, so we mostly just talked about fashion, or differences between America and Saudi Arabia, or whatever else. I was kind of hoping that my KGU speaking partners would be girls, just because I think it's easier for me to get along with girls in situations like this, and we'd have more in common to talk about probably! (Uh...this part of my post was half-deleted for some reason when I first posted it, so it may not have made sense if someone read it right away, lol. Hopefully it's fixed now.)
Also, after some serious snooping around tonight, I've found some more KGU blogs to read! I even figured out how to put a widget linking to other blogs on my blog, so check 'em out if you want. I can't wait to get there and meet new people on campus :). よろしくね :)
(speaking of e-mailing my speaking partner--I just now got an e-mail from one of mine! Yay! I'm gonna read it and eventually get to bed sometime tonight!)