thefukuokaexperience

It's time to study abroad in Fukuoka!!


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September 27th

September 27th

Today started really early. Just as well though, since I somehow found myself awake at around 6:30. I have no idea what is wrong with me. Well, I had breakfast in the cafeteria (because you need to know EVERYTHING that I do) with a few friends, and met someone named Rosanna. I could look up in the guide book they gave us where she’s from, but I’m lazy and tired soooo nope.

Well, I showed some friends where the hyaku en store was (these were some new people I got to know, so they didn’t go with the large group the day before). Turns out it doesn’t open until around 10 am, so we wandered around the city a bit. We ended up finding a supermarket (yay!!) and a coffee place called “Seattle’s Best.” It was amusing because two of my friends that were there happened to be from Seattle; they explained that no one actually went to Seattle’s Best back home because it really didn’t have that good of coffee. After the hyaku en store adventure was over, we ended up at You Me town, bought a few books, and leached off of the wifi at Starbucks. I managed to contact my mom – poor Mom, she was so worried. I don’t blame her though. Her daughter’s in a whole new country, and I wasn’t even able to tell her I was fine, or that I was making friends, or even if I was happy here.  I’m glad I was finally able to do that today.

Shortly afterwards, we headed back to the dorm. I ran into a few other friends who went shopping to buy bikes – and demanded that they teach me how so I could travel cheaper. They also invited me to dinner; in turn, I invited the few friends I went out with earlier to dinner with us (I didn’t just do this rudely; I was told that I should invite them. Plus, they could help me out with the whole riding the subway thing and getting off at the right stops so I could actually make it to Hakata Station in one piece and on time).

I was supposed to do a walkthrough of my room or something, but I’m just not feeling it right now. Maybe later. Man, I miss the internet.

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September 26th

September 26th

I had my first breakfast in Japan. I didn’t really plan to be up this early; but, here I am, awake at 7 in da mernin. I’ve already bathed, eaten, gotten dressed, and all prepared for the day. I wrote the majority of yesterday’s post today (le gasp!!) and have even started this one. I feel…productive… It’s weird. I’m not a morning person!!

But I digress. Have a picture of my breakfast. LOOK AT IT!!!

Yeah…it’s cereal… No idea what it’s called, but it apparently has chocolate in it somewhere. It’s quite good though. While buying it, I discovered that it’s normal for most European countries to eat something sweet for breakfast; not like sweet cereal, but just sweet things. I mean, it’s almost normal in America I think (jelly and what not), but I just don’t think sweet when I think breakfast. I think hearty, like biscuits with sausage or eggs or some other meat. It confused some of my friends; we’re all learning!

I realize that I haven’t taken pictures of my room yet, so I’ll probably do a walk-through tomorrow or something. I dunno. Now, I should make a list of things to buy/look for. Yay lists!!

Also, I discovered the flash on my camera doesn’t work. No idea why. It freaks out when I even consider trying to use it. Soooo only gonna take pictures in well-lit areas – which, luckily, is the majority of places we go.

I could probably go downstairs and get on the wifi that one of the tutors sets up for us, but that’s a lot of effort just to have to bring my laptop allllll the waaaaayyyy back up using the elevator. So I’ll just wait for the whole wifi for everywhere before posting these blog thingies. I can check my email and Facebook using my iPod down there later and stuffs.

Jam managed to find the way to the hyaku en store, which was AMAZING! We also took purikura, but the pictures are small – I’m not sure if I’ll be able to put them up very well. If any of us had a Japanese cell phone, we could just send the pictures from the booth to our cell, but none of us even have a residence card yet. Not sure if I’ll get a cell phone here or not. It would be really convenient for sure, but it would also take away from my random spending money and stuff.

After shopping, we had to hurry back for orientation. Like always, the people there hate us, and we were forced to introduce ourselves. Why do people do that?

Anyway, you know that accent that you just love so much you have to talk to the person? Like, you don’t care if they look at you and say “Fish with bricks eat potatoes in straw houses,” cause it still just sounds so awesome? Yeah, I’ve discovered that accent. I’m, of course, not going to embarrass myself and say what it is here, bbbuuuuttttt yeah, it’s an awesome accent. Just gonna leave it at that.

Okay. Moving on. Orientation took forever, so a few of us had dinner in the cafeteria. Beef curry isn’t too bad actually; the potato salad here is…interesting at least. It has some sort of raisin in it though. We ended up walking to the 7/11 afterwards (I think either the 7/11 or the conbini is going to be the equivalent to the Berea Walmart for us). We also decided to meet up tomorrow so I could help them find the hyaku en store. Sooooo, yeah.

I won’t make you suffer through all of my selfies (I get bored when I wake up early), buuuttt here are some other pictures.

This was either breakfast or lunch; I can’t really remember. I think it was breakfast though. Basically, a roll and jam from the conbini; except, it isn’t jam (and it wasn’t from the conbini). It’s actual blueberries with a bit of jelly-like stuff around them and junk. It’s hard to explain, but it’s very delicious.

scene scene trees stuff junk roadandshit uuuugggghhhh

That’s all some scenery from on the way to the hyaku en store. It’s very nice really; lots of trees and nice colored grass.

I finally snagged some pictures of my friends! Starting here on the left is Oumrati, who really didn’t want to be in pictures today, and Sasha.

All right, from the left to the right: Heewon, Caroline, Jam, and Aulia. Kelly is in a different program than us, so she didn’t go to orientation at the same time that we did. We’re all on the train to Kyudai here – or on the way back to Chiyo Kenchoguchi station. Either way, we were on the subway going somewhere.

Two things: most of the Japanese people I’ve met have asked me about KFC, and even more of them think my “father” tattoo is hilarious.

Also, WordPress is annoying and difficult and ohmygodihatethiswholebloggingthingsomuch.


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September 25th

September 25th

I may have beaten jet lag, but going to bed early has cost me. Waking up at 8 am was NOT what I had in mind. I missed breakfast – I hadn’t honestly planned on going anyway, though I’ll probably try to go from now on. I have to be somewhere at 1:30 today, but that’s still a while off. So, just like I would normally do, I copied a hermit and stayed in my room. I went downstairs for a drink, and came back to sort out my room, attempting to make it presentable. I’m not quite ready to explore the outside world on my own, though I was tempted to. My Japanese is poor, and being nervous has just made it worse. I’ll get better though.

My god, it is hot here. And humid. Tennessee and Kentucky have NOTHING on Fukuoka.

Here, this is what the view is from my room:

view view view view

My day was to start at 1:30; we were to meet our tutors and head over to the Hakata Ward Office to get our residence cards – I think. I actually have no idea WHY we were there, just that we all had to be there.

I don’t know how it happened, but, while we were out, I made friends. Quite a few actually. We all set times to spend time out together, going out to buy food for breakfast, eat dinner, and even go to the ¥100 store (basically a dollar store). There was Oumrati from France; Jam (I think her full name was Jamilah), from the Philippines, who I overheard introducing herself as the one with the sweet name; Heewon (I hope I remembered her name correctly, though it’s probably spelled wrong) from Korea, one of the students who will only be here for six months; Aulia from Indonesia, who I spoke to first I do believe; Caroline from Germany, who will also only be here for six months; Sacha, from the Netherlands; Kelly, also from the Netherlands; and then me, the American kid.

I’ve made friends from all over the world. I’ve met a few from America, and that’s nice and all, but I’m really glad that we’re so diverse here. I didn’t come to Japan to make friends from my own country; I came here to learn about other countries and cultures while learning about the Japanese culture, language, and all that jazz. That’s exactly what I’m doing too.

Well, all of us besides Oumrati, Sacha, and Kelly went out to the post office to pay for our rented bedding (only two of us hadn’t already done so earlier). There was a nice Japanese gentleman who helped one of us, though he ended up having to ask a worker to help us. That was an adventure and a half. Luckily, some of us can speak Japanese well enough to understand what was being said (don’t look at me).

Afterwards, we waited for the others, and set back off to You Me, a shopping mall with a grocery section, lots of other stuff we wanted but didn’t need, and plenty of restaurants. We ate somewhere different than yesterday; this time, I had Tempura Udon and Nihonshu (probably botched up that spelling terribly). It was all delicious, and the majority of us loved what we had. A few others tried the Nihonshu, and they all agreed that it was a bit strong; I was definitely not going to finish it. We were grocery shopping afterwards, and I needed to be sober to think about stuff like that.

We all came back to the dorm afterwards, planning to meet the next day at 10:15 in the lobby to head to the ¥100 store, since we didn’t have time to do it today. We also want to find a Supermarket – since it would be cheaper than the grocery section in You Me, especially close to closing time (according to Jam, who has done plenty of research on this, most perishables are half off near closing).

I hope I saved enough money for now. I can’t check my bank account without wifi, and it will still be a bit before the school sends me money anyway. There’s a lot of up-front payment I have to do: bedding, internet installation, things like that. Food is also expensive, even if you don’t eat out! We’re also taking a trip this coming weekend. Here’s to hoping I don’t run out of money!

Also, it was so hot and humid here because I didn’t know how to work the AC. I didn’t even know that random nob on the wall WAS AC control; it doesn’t have any form of instructions, not even kanji. Sooooo yeah, it feels nice here now. Yay.

I didn’t yet snag a photo of my friends, though I hope to do so tomorrow. Instead, have some selfies:

Selfie selfie selfieistillhatethisprocess


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September 24th

September 24th Hint of the day: if you see a blue word, click on it. Something AMAZING will happen!!! 😀 So one big thing I was told to do was bring things with me that reminded me of home. So, I wanted to show off this little guy. Okay, so he’s not that little, and I actually haven’t had him for that long. He still means a lot to me though. I was going through a tough time – my entire family was – during my senior year of high school. One of my friends, and her family, noticed this, and decided to take me to Disney and Orlando Studios. I didn’t pay anything to go. No plane ticket, no food money, no condo rent. It was completely free for me. That, in and of itself, is a huge gift, and I questioned whether I deserved it. I will never question the worth of the people involved though. I’m not going to mention names simply because this isn’t about embarrassing them or uplifting them onto a pedestal or anything. Just, when I thought of needing to bring something to remind me of home when I got homesick, my first thought was this little guy – the gift on top of everything else that the family gave me during that vacation. I want to be reminded of wonderful, loving people like them when I’m abroad, because sometimes it’s harder to see the good in people than the bad. Plus, you know, family is good and all, but I’ll already be thinking of them all the time and messaging them. It’ll be good to think of some other people, especially people that I go waaaaayyyy back with. So that’s the bit of home that really helped get me through that 12 hour flight. Not just because it reminded me of home; mostly because it made the whole sleeping in a seat more comfortable. The rest of this post I’m writing about the day after it happened, so my memory might be a bit foggy. BUT, here goes nothing. All right, so I messaged my mom in the airport until right before I got on my last flight. I didn’t actually get to tell her I was boarding, and I haven’t been able to communicate with her since then (Rupo currently doesn’t allow us to access wifi, though we will be able to – hopefully – in a few days or so). I got on the plane, and discovered I was, of course, in the middle seat. If there was a flight to do this in, though, it was the last one; so, with only an hour to go, I sat myself down and waited for the plane to take off. The man who had to let me in was an older Japanese person; he was wearing a tan, leather-like jacket and seemed quite nice. He pointed out an over-head bin that my backpack could fit in; during the flight, he handed me his pen when I needed to fill out a paper that stated whether I was bringing anything illegal into Japan or not (mind you, I don’t understand why they would ask that out-right. Who would answer yes?). The flight flew by *cough* and I found myself just about to land in Japan. I looked out the window to my right, and I saw an entire island: a beach, many hills, a dense population, all connected to another island by just a bridge. We approached the landing point, and I closed my eyes; landing was just one of those things I had done many times, but the plane shook like no others I had been on. It felt momentous to me, the shaking of the plane expressing the excitement I held in. Well, the nice Japanese man got my backpack down for me – without me asking him to – and then went on his way. I saw him once again while he was in line as a Japanese resident coming home; I was in line as a visitor myself. That’s probably the last time I’ll ever see him, but I’ll probably remember how nice he was for a while longer. There’s not as much English around the Fukuoka airport as there was in Incheon, but I still managed to find my checked bag – it made the trip, yay!!! – and to the meeting point for the Kyudai students. We loaded into our respective vans, made it to our respective dorms, and met our…respective tutors. Yeah. My tutor was named Hikaru; she was a nice woman about my age, just a little older. She likes Korean and Japanese dramas, likes Jpop, loves American pizza, and was worried about how well she spoke English – though she spoke it perfectly. I think that’s just about as much as I can say without getting too personal. I really liked spending time with her, and I look forward to getting to know her better in the future. She ended up taking me to the convenience store so I could make copies of important stuffs. My first purchase in Japan was made there. BE AMAZED AT THE PICTURE!!! – insert picture here that is located elsewhere because wordpress is weird – https://thefukuokaexperience.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/dscf3809.jpg …yeah, it’s just tea. Nothing special. But still, my first purchase ever in Japan. IT’S SPECIAL TO ME- I’ll forget about it within a few days probably. Well, before I arrived, I had received a message from my old Japanese language TA, So, and he had said he would see me soon. Low and behold, So was there among the tutors. It was very good to see him again. We all ended up going out to dinner, though I’m not sure what the restaurant was called honestly. I had beef tongue and warm soba noodles. It was absolutely delicious. After that, I retired to my room. It was only a little past 8 pm, but it felt like 2 am honestly. I crawled into bed, leaving my suitcase packed and my room a mess. An orange genie in the Incheon airport. Woo! Also, have some really crappy pictures of Korea. Buuuuuttt, apparently you have to look for them, because I can’t just put them in the blog. I planned on it being like a word document too……so much for all of the cropped pictures lol. Bbbbbuuuuutttttttt apparently you CAN’T look for them, so I have to insert links to them and hope you can view them. Goddamnit, wordpress. Picture one Picture two Picture three I’m already tired of doing this Why isn’t there an easier way? This is just ridiculous I hate this so much


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Intermission

I – at last – have internet!! Buuuutttt, I’m too lazy to upload the, like, 10 blogs I’ve been working on. Such effort. Much lazy. So not done.

Anywho, I’m trying to get back into the whole creative writing thing, but it’s really difficult for me to write without prompts. I happened to find one that worked out; I won’t share the prompt though (feel free to, you know, leave prompts for me. It’s helpful and junk).

READ MY SHITTY SHIT!!

Her hair lay flat on her shoulders, wisping about her olive skin. The once dirty blond hair now shaded her face, its dull black standing as a stark reminder of her whimsical attitude, her spur-of-the-moment actions.

Thin hands sweep up in a rush to calm the unruly mess. Fingers once described as “piano fingers” fiddled with some locks, pushing them into place behind dwarfed ears.

Such bones were not meant to strike at ivory; their privileged softness told of a spoiled childhood. These hands could only sing sour notes, notes that isolated – and, inevitably, abandoned – me.

Thin lips pursed in displeasure; soon, their own sour notes were released, begging for reassurance against the faults of their owner. Such notes were repetitive; the measures had no end, as if a second ending was never written in. The author of such a piece was sadistic in nature, but charisma flowed through his music.

If the questions were repetitive, toxic, so also were the answers I gave.

How such a thin woman held so much power, I cannot say. But her mind twisted my own, forcing false shadows to dance around, mocking me. My friends hated me, my enemies closed in, and I counted myself among neither – for how can someone as lowly as I be a part of anything?

My only solace was the cold feeling of her arms around me, her whispers slyly encouraging my weeping. The blade in my back was sharp and hot; it slid in unnoticed, the scarring more pronounced with each passing hour.

She wanted to be caught, as if some sick thrill helped her sleep at night. When called out, there was no regret in her dull green eyes. She had grown bored of playing long ago, moving on to the next victim before finishing with me.

For years, the sound of falling leaves hurt me. Her name caused anger and grief; not a day went by that the friendship did not cross my mind.

The scarring is permanent, but her grasp is gone. If there is some greater force, may they damn her to the dark, slick hell she wormed out of. Until then, at least I take solace in each easy breath, knowing that the falling leaves are beautiful again.

New notes sing more beautifully for me now – though, perhaps ignorance, and solitude, play the sweetest movements.


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September 23rd: The Day I Never Saw

Since I’m now in Fukuoka time, I’m switching to their days. Soooo, I’ll be considering writing about Tuesday and Wednesday all in one, because Tuesday really didn’t exist for me. Literally. I skipped like 20 hours of it, or some other math number of it. Yeah.

This will be done in two parts, though no readers will probably notice cause I’ll just be writing it in two parts, not posting it. And yes, I have to explain that even though it doesn’t actually matter. Or at least I’ll try to. I’m scared to charge my laptop in Korea, buuuutttt anyway.

So that 13 hour flight man. TBIT is actually a terminal that is located outside of the normal airport. So I had to quickly run outside, run down the block late night in LA, run through a different security, and stand in line for about 40 minutes until we all boarded. YAY. It turns out the flight was only 12 hours long – WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT!! It was simultaneously the best, and worst, flying experience I’ve ever had. Worst because OH MY GOD 12 HOURS OF NOTHING, and best because….well… I’ll call the airline Portable Air Airline, cause I don’t believe in free advertisement right at this moment. So, Portable Air Airline is THE BEST airline in existence. Keep in mind I was Economy class. I got two free meals that were as filling as freakin Thanksgiving, one snack pack that either had the most delicious pretzels known to man in it or I was starving (possibly both), a blanket, a pillow, SLIPPERS, and I don’t know how many free drinks – OJ, hot tea, water, Sprite, FREE ADVERTISEMENT OVERLOAD!!!!!

But yeah, proof you don’t need first class. You just need a good carrier man.

So then it’s time for Korea. Thank god someone decided putting English everywhere was a good idea, because I would honestly be lost at this point otherwise. But it’s everywhere. So, after following some signs for a while, I went through security for the 1297492 time, making the 12 hour journey oh so worth it.

Okay, so the one thing that gets me about security is that it’s never consistent. Even in the US, each airport SAYS the same things need to be taken out, but they don’t really give you a good list. “So, laptops and liquids. What, other devices? If they’re smaller than a laptop, leave them in. We’ll just be asking you to come back and rescan each of them individually and then wonder why you didn’t remove them originally, and then sigh heavily when you DO take all of them out next time cause you’ll be holding up the line. No worries though, we won’t give you any more information.”

Then, international security in LA: “LEAVE EVERYTHING IN THE BAG BUT THE LAPTOP. THROW AWAY THAT BOTTLE MA’AM. MA’AM! DID YOU THROW AWAY ALL LIQUIDS? ANY LIQUIDS IN THAT BAG MA’AM? LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN YOUR BA-EMPTY ALL OF YOUR POCKETS MA’AM, NO SHOES, NO BELT, NO JACKET. EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BAG.”

International security at Korea? The lady calmly asks the two people in line to remove everything from their bag remotely electronic, hands you the bins, and all that jazz.

IT’S SO CONFUSING.

But anyway, at Korea. Landed at around 4 am, and no idea what gate to go to cause I don’t leave here for eight hours. However, the place is HUGE. There are full places that are designed just for people to sleep in or waste time, and there are even charge zones for all sorts of different plug ins. Of course, the one I need is the one that never works, so I’m now sitting at gate 16, have no idea otherwise where I am, and I’m happily typing away on my laptop while messaging my mother on –insert name of free texting app here—cause I’m pretty sure my phone won’t work so far out east.

If I can find it, there will be a special picture in the next post. But I have to find the poster thing again before I leave. Shouldn’t be too hard, but I’m lazy, and this chair is surprisingly comfortable.

Well, I said that this would be in two parts, but you’ll never know if I lied or not. But yeah, I lied. I’m going to go ahead and post this as Tuesday, cause time zones made that day sort of not exist for me anyway.

I realize most of this information is meaningless, but that’s all that’s really happened so far. I’m travelling. I’m getting on planes. I’m running through airports. And I’m cranky as shit because I haven’t slept, so naturally I see all of the negative in everything before I’ll see the positive. But anyway, it’s time to entertain myself for the next 4 hours. I’ll probably post again later today – WAAAYYYY later. It’ll be tomorrow for most of you peeps, but consider that it’s technically 7 am for me.

…..I want a chai latte…….


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September 22nd: The Journey Has Begun…..

So basically this is the start to my blog/journal that everyone gets to read. I’m supposed to make an entry every day, and I needed to start as soon as my study abroad experience started.. I had no idea what constituted “the first day” of my study abroad experience – and I AM pretty much just writing this for a scholarship, not gonna lie (actually, I have no idea if blogs count, BUT I’m also keeping a journal, soooo SYSTEM OVERLOAD) – so I decided to start with the first day of travel. One could argue that my journey actually started about a week ago, when I began to panic and constantly pack, and unpack, all of my items. Daily.

One could also argue that my experience started about a year ago when I began applying and had to wade through the seas of paperwork – and deal with the whole getting kicked out, almost  being put on labor probation, and all of that crap. Not to mention the running around, getting 838947 signatures on 3976 different papers, all the while still dealing with actual school and labor.

Yeah, one could argue those points. But I’m choosing to ignore this so called “one,” and move on with the actual blogging thing with the words and the not confusion.

I’ll try to remember to add the date or something into the name of the blog, but pretty much my day started at 10 am on September 22nd (2014). My creative writing professor would cry if he saw that I just stated the date so bluntly in my writing…or he would just mention something about “setting” or “sense of place,” and then mention something about using potted plants in stories. Luckily, he’s not reading this, so any headache he would have gotten won’t affect his job performance. Any-who, I woke up and immediately had to resist the urge to go through my suitcase again, telling myself there were more important things to deal with. Like smelling good. And laundry. To…shove into the suitcase… ANYWAY, more important things.

So I made myself smell like a human being with the cleansing power of hot water, and shoved the last articles of clothing – as well as another pair of shoes, some chargers, some drink mix things, and other random crap I found that I thought could potentially probably be a bit almost useful to mostly me in perhaps the potentially not-that-far-off future.

Maybe.

Fast forward to the whole leaving thing. My brother was driving me to the CVG Cincinnati airport, which was about a 2 hour drive from where I was staying in Ohio. So….he drove me to the airport, he left, I lived through security, and then got on a plane. Not really anything exciting. Hell, the flight wasn’t exciting either. I nearly dozed off several times. I DID figure out shortly before we landed that my phone had been turned on the entire time. My phone that has not the knowledge of what airplane mode is because it’s an old flip phone – THE ONLY KIND OF PHONE I’LL EVER OWN. Seriously though, I love flip phones.

Next flight. Well, in the airport, I went to the wrong terminal, ran to the right one, stood in a line for about 34 minutes, and then boarded as part of group 5 after standing in the pits of hellfire after the staff injected jalapeno juice STRAIGHT INTO MY VAINS – otherwise known as the Denver airport, the hottest place EVER. There was a really sweet lady who pointed out a rainbow to me, and another nice lady who had an ocean-themed purse who spoke to me about how we were all going TO MELT INTO A PILE OF BLOBBY SWEAT AND FIRE, but that was about it for that flight. Well, then again, there was a woman on the plane who accidentally sat in my aisle seat, but she ended up just giving me her window seat, so we’re, like, besties now, cause she’s the best person ever. Don’t know her name, don’t remember what she looks like, but we’re close man. Close.

So that was Denver and LA. TECHNICALLY, that’s the end of the first day of my journey, according to my laptop clock. It’s currently around 10 here in LA, but it’s past midnight in Berea. But I’ll at least include this airport’s adventures in this post.

What I learned: Chai lattes ARE SENT FROM WHATEVER RELIGIOUS FIGURE(S) YOU OR WHATEVER RELIGION YOU SUBSCRIBE TO/FOLLOW BELIEVES IN. They are delicious. End of story. Also, apparently cold sandwiches cost $19379028397230280 dollars. They’re delicious, freshly made, and are made from REAL BREAD, but still. $02975073-5827836270o5903286oieuyhtpo12829347 is a bit much for a sandwich, no matter how good it is.

Internet isn’t believed in at this airport, and I have no idea where my flight will be leaving from – see, it says TBIT, which I assume is like TBA, but there’s no way of knowing because GOOGLE RUNS ON INTERNET. Well, I could just ask someone, but I’m socially awkward and will just wait until about 45 minutes until my flight leaves to actually consider that asking would be a good idea. And I’ve got about 3 hours until that happens. BRING ON THE 13 HOUR FLIGHT!!! …or not….that would be nice too….. : ( 13 hours…..

Mmmmmmmmm, chai latte……..