We are back at “full strength” here again at Casa Aloha with YaYu back from her trip to China. She had a fantastic time and an amazing experience, took over 1,000 pictures, and got to speak LOTS of Chinese! She got over her jet lag in less than a week and is already back into her usual routine of volunteer activities and community service. She also learned this past week that she passed all of her AP exams (yeah!), with a top score on the Chinese exam, so the tutoring expense this past year was well worth it. It’s almost hard to believe that she’ll be back at school in less than a month, and that this will be her final year of high school. Of course this also means the college application process will be beginning soon, with all that entails. I am so glad this is the last time we have to go through this.
The crazy, hot, humid weather continues, but there’s really only been a couple of days where the humidity has been overly oppressive and unbearable, and thankfully it cools off every night so sleeping has been comfortable. We try to get to the beach when we can fit it in with the girls’ schedules, but that doesn’t happen all that often, and will happen less this month as we juggle the two girls’ schedules. Otherwise, things are pretty calm around here, and we’re enjoying the summer break.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I have been a reading a lot these past couple of weeks as four books came off hold at the library at the same time! I read The Long Way Home and News of the World in less than three days, and just finished Michael Chabon’s Moonglow yesterday and started A Man Called Ove. The first three were all excellent, and great reads – I hated putting them down. I had A Man Called Ove checked out last March, while we were in Japan, but never had the time to read it then, and it’s taken this long for it to become available again!
- Listening to: We’re enjoying a lovely, sunny, breezy morning so I can hear lots of birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees outside. Of course the sound of the washer and dryer covers most of that – we got an early start on the laundry today as we’re heading to the beach for a while and wanted as much of that chore out of the way as possible.
- Watching: Brett and I finished a show called The Break (on Netflix) this past week. What a wild ride that was! It was filmed in Belgium, and was subtitled so we had to watch closely, and just when we’d think we’d figured things out there’d be another twist, with the ending a complete surprise. We’ve started another mystery/procedural on Netflix, Bordertown, and so far, so good. It was filmed in Finland, which means subtitles again, but it’s manageable although we can’t pick even one word out of Finnish that we understand. We’re also watching quite a bit on PBS right now: The Great British Baking Show on Friday evenings, My Mother and Other Strangers and Granchester on Sunday evenings, and The Story of China on Tuesday evenings. I’m into Season 9 on Top Chef – the drama continues.
- Cooking/baking: I’m pretty much staying out of the kitchen today, except for fixing my breakfast (yogurt with fruit). Brett is making Scotch eggs for dinner tonight, which the others will have with toast & jam, and we’ll all have watermelon. We make our own breakfast sausage with ground pork and Penzey’s breakfast sausage seasoning.
- Happy I accomplished this week: Brett defrosted the freezer on Friday, always a somewhat dreaded, but necessary task. I got in almost all of my bike rides (missed a couple of the afternoon ones because of the heat), drank all of my daily water allotment and then some, and did my language study every day. I think I’m almost ready to move into the next level!
- Looking forward to next week: We’re going out to breakfast on Thursday at the Tip Top Cafe, our favorite spot for that meal. I am also looking forward to Amazon’s Prime Day on Tuesday – I have my fingers crossed that the suitcase I’ve finally decided on will be on sale. If not, I have no plans to buy anything else. I guess I could look for Christmas gifts, but it seems to early for that (although I have funds set aside).
- Thinking of good things that happened: We’re all still sharing in YaYu’s glow over her testing success, especially the Chinese. It’s very gratifying to see all of her hard work pay off. WenYu has been making some good money at her job, especially since she is only working as a busser, and not wait staff. They pay her out of their tips every day and have been very generous. The manager is now thinking about assigning her hostess duties as well, so she can pick up more hours.
- Grateful for: I told YaYu before she left that I did not want her to bring me anything from China, but I am currently so thankful she didn’t listen and brought me a fantastic three-speed, rechargeable, adjustable bunny fan! It has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion this past week and has helped to keep me cool (and sane). I had no idea I needed a bunny fan, but now can’t imagine this summer without it!
- Bonus question: Do you have a favorite historical period? I remember once a woman I knew saying that learning history was the biggest waste of time she could imagine. Au contraire! I’ve been most especially interested in the WWII era for as long as I can remember, both historically and socially. I grew up knowing and hearing the stories of many people who served in the war, from both my parents and other neighbors who served, a neighbor who spent time in a German prisoner-of-war camp, to a friend of my Dad’s who was on the USS Oklahoma when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and was trapped for days until rescued. I was also fortunate to be able to speak with several Japanese people about their war experience, both in Tokyo and Hiroshima, and developed an appreciation for how the war affected both sides, especially those that had no say in the matter, or who were otherwise uninvolved. I’m always interested to find books, articles, films, and TV shows about the war, both fiction and non-fiction, and think if I could turn back time and do it over again I might major in history, and then do a Master’s (and maybe a Ph.D.) with a focus on some aspect of the war. To that woman who said learning history was a waste of time, I give you Santayana: Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
And that’s what’s been going on at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?
And we are off to the beach . . . .