April Odds and Ends

Tulips and other flowers are in bloom throughout our apartment complex.

A few April things too small for their own posts:

  • Brett is studying the same language as I am so for his birthday this past month I bought him a phrase book and pronunciation guide to help him pull things together – I hope he will let me borrow them! Both of us are making progress, albeit slow. One thing we are running into with Duolingo is the almost complete lack of any sort of explanation on grammar points. As a language instructor, it’s been very frustrating as I like a simple explanation of what I’m doing and why. The very few times I’ve gotten an explanation it’s made a load of difference.
  • Although I leave each working day feeling exhausted right down to the bone, I am loving my job at Trader Joe’s. I’m enjoying it so much in fact that I asked for an additional day of work each week beginning in May, and think I’ll be able to handle it. I’m getting so much exercise there, and I’m also recovering from each workday more quickly as well; I typically feel back to normal the next morning versus the two to three days it took when I started out. My request for time off to go to Meiling’s and K’s wedding and visit Maine in July has already been approved – I put in my request and it was instantly approved!
Beautiful, warm days like this are appearing more and more frequently.
  • Things are finally warming up around here. Trees are all leafed or budding out, and there is so much green everywhere – I love it! We’ve had a few days where wearing shorts was appropriate, and I’ve pretty much ditched wearing a sweatshirt at work. On the downside, allergies have been kicking me all month, there have also been a few (very) stormy days and nights, and we’ve had a few days of rain. Overall though it’s been lovely.
  • We binged the first season of The White Lotus, courtesy of Meiling’s one-week trial of HBO. We enjoyed it and could see why it won so many awards. We hope to eventually get to see further seasons. We also watched The Makanai on Netflix in April, a very sweet coming-of-age show about two young girls wanting to become maiko (apprentice geisha) in modern Kyoto. I can’t recommend this show enough.
Kindergarten girls waiting to be called for the opening ceremony.
  • I was invited by our DIL to attend the opening ceremony of K’s weekly Saturday Japanese lessons. This was a formal ceremony and something I’d never experienced before. There were several speeches, introductions, singing, standing for the national anthem of Japan, and so forth. Everyone, including the new students and their parents, was formally dressed, mostly in black or black and white (to indicate the seriousness of the ceremony – according to M, most of the clothing was brought or sent from Japan), but M dressed K in a colorful spring outfit – she stood out like a bright flower. After the ceremony we stopped at a Mexican seafood restaurant we had noticed and had lunch while being serenaded by mariachi. We both wished the restaurant was located closer to where we live as all the food we ate or saw there was amazing.

As you can see, overall April was a pretty quiet month, not really boring but not all that exciting either. I hope the trend continues in May!


10 thoughts on “April Odds and Ends

  1. I’m having trouble with my WP account so apologies if you get this more than once.

    It’s great that you’re doing so well at Trader Joe’s and like it so much you want to work more! The TJ’s near me rarely has job openings, but I just checked and they do have a crew position open right now. I don’t need a job because I work full-time, but I am always tempted to apply and work in the evenings a couple of days a week. I don’t want to work on weekends though. I may apply and see if that would be possible, but I also don’t want to take a job away from someone who may need it, so I’m conflicted.

    My local library offers free access to a language app called Mango that I just downloaded and am goi
    ng to try. I took Italian in high school years ago and have tried to keep up with it over the years. I’ve been to Italy twice and was amazed at how the language came back to me when I was forced to speak it, but I am nowhere near fluent. So I’m curious to try this app.

    I will definitely check out The Makanai on Netflix. I don’t have HBO at the moment but I’m getting my cable equipment upgraded next week and then I will have it, so I’ll check out The White Lotus. I’m probably the last person left who still has cable, but I can’t be bothered with the streaming services and trying to figure out what show or series is on which service!

    You granddaughter’s ceremony sounds like it was lovely. What a cool experience for your family!


    1. If you wanted to apply at our TJs you would probably be hired right away – they are always hiring because we are understaffed – the store is that busy. Our store does more business than the two other stores that opened at the same time . . . combined! We have loads of people at our store working other jobs, not just for the income. People work at TJ’s the benefits, the great working environment, or like me, for something to do.

      I like language study because it keeps my mind active. Your brain uses and strengthens function with a different language that aren’t used in other disciplines. It’s why many people who do great in other subjects struggle to learn a different language or maintain it. I’ve heard good things about Mango, but am sticking with the free version of Duolingo for now.

      Both The Makanai and The White Lotus were great, although they are VERY different. The Makanai is very positive; The White Lotus is not, but the acting is superb. Our Internet service keeps trying to get us to sign up for cable, but we get all our streaming services for free, so it’s not worth it.

      The Japanese ceremony was very interesting, and very different from how a similar ceremony would be here in the U.S. (if we even held a ceremony – we usually don’t). Our DIL said it reminded her of her childhood.


  2. Your granddaughter looks beautiful! So glad to hear Trader Joe job is going so well!


    1. Her outfit was so pretty and bright that day. Everything and everybody else was so somber (to me, anyway).

      I am enjoying my job although it’s very tiring. I worked two days back to back and I’m still recovering two days later!


  3. Those tulips are so beautiful! Sounds like a good month for you.
    Obviously I missed something awhile back…..what language are you studying? Is this for an upcoming trip?


    1. I’m not revealing the language we’re studying – it is potentially linked to our future plans and Brett wants those to stay quiet for now. All will be revealed in the future!

      The landscaping at our apartment complex is beautiful, with lots of trees, plants, and flowers.


  4. The spring is so welcome. We have had very cool weather so far…even a bit of snow one morning this week. It doesn’t stick at this point, but it’s still not pleasant to wake to see it coming down. 😜 Alternatively, we have sun and cold (frost warning) nights. But I’ll take that any time…the light is just uplifting. Our trees are leafing out too, and the allergy season is in full bloom. Ufff.

    I love the outfit your DIL chose for your granddaughter. So springy. The little ones in dark colors look very somber. 😊


    1. We are still getting some cold weather here – we had overnight temperatures near freezing a couple of days this week, but overall there’s been more sun than not, or about equal with not. I’m in leggings and a warm top today, and will need a jacket when we go out later. Our apartment stays very cool, too.

      Allergies remain at the awful stage. I have felt flat out exhausted and weary the past two days, but read that the probable cause is seasonal allergies – they can wipe you out while your body fights them. I was faced with allergies when we arrived last summer so am afraid they’re going to be with me for awhile.

      Black is de rigeur for any formal or serious event in Japan. At least some white was allowed unlike for funerals when black from head to toe is the rule except for a strand of pearls. The black worn there for funerals is unlike what I’ve ever seen before. So deep and purely black that it seems to want to suck my soul in when I see it.


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