Winter Break
Christmas in Japan came and went. Here's a brief synopsis of the events of my first Christmas in Japan: Saturday (the 23rd) there was a special service at my church, including Christmas carols (in Japanese, of course), a short message, candle lighting, and Christmas cake (a Japanese Christmas tradition, possibly borrowed from European tradition). There I was surprised to receive a gift from one of my students-- a beautiful necklace that is just my style! I said to her, "Wow, my student gave me a gift!" She responded, "No, I'm not just your student. You are my sister, because we are both in God's family." Sunday there was the normal church service, in which we sang "Happy Birthday Jesus," then a potluck lunch, then a Christmas "party" of sorts: there was a puppet show of the Christmas story and many musical numbers, including the Hallelujah Chorus, which I conducted!! Christmas day I went to another church to help prepare an American/Australian style Christmas dinner (my friend Katie from Australia was the "director/head chef" for the event, so we used her recipes. Some of Australia's food traditions are a little different from America's, as you can imagine). Then that evening the American teachers from my high school and its affiliated college got together for a small party/gift exchange. We all did a little talent and brought something to eat. My talent was singing (surprise surprise) and I made macaroni and cheese to share with the group (I thought something distinctly American would be appreciated, and it was).

This Christmas was not only my first in Japan, but my first away from my family. The homesickness was more acute than usual, but I am so fortunate to have many friends here to spend the holidays with. They are my new "family away from family," not replacing anyone, mind you, just another family to add to my collection. With the end of Christmas comes the beginning of my first school break. I have two weeks to bum around Shimonoseki with the other "losers" who aren't traveling during the break. Two of my friends and I plan to go to nearby Yamaguchi City to a Mexican restaurant (how strange does that sound!) and to Fukuoka to go shopping and see the sights. I also plan to borrow a lot of DVDs from my neighbors and thoroughly clean my apartment.

I continue to change and add to my apartment. Its funny how long it has taken me to "settle in," as far as decorating and accumulating necessary furniture is concerned. But the new sumo wrestler calendar I acquired is hanging prominently in my living room. A few friends and I went to a special restaurant that sumo wrestlers eat at, and the owner came out to talk to us after our meal and gave all of us these 2007 wall calendars. As you can imagine, each page features enormous men battling each other in giant thongs. I love it.

On the faith front: I'm still a skeptic, but I hold on to the tiny bit of hope I have that God is who he says he is and that he will reveal himself in due time. I am waiting on him to grow my faith and I'm trying to "help" it along by doing some reading. This week's book is The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, a fellow skeptic and former atheist. I welcome and appreciate your prayers and advice and encouragement, as this struggle is certainly more difficult for me being miles away from the people who usually encourage me in this area.


written by Ruthie @ 8:20 PM  
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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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