Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!
What a day!!!
So this morning we all got up. Ai is jet-lagged but she said she slept okay. I went for a run and asked Ai if she wanted to run with me, and she said “heck no!” She likes exercise but not like that! I asked her if she wanted to take Marie for a walk instead, and so that’s what she did. I gave her a poop bag asked Beth to go with her. They got their coats and, from what they tell me, Marie had a blast!!!
So Liz and I went for a run in the freezing cold. Brrr.
But after that we went for chocolate pancakes!!!!!
So… it was a pretty busy day. Lots of preparations!!! After we got chocolate pancakes (Ai seemed more amused than anything at the sheer amount of chocolate I put on my plate but she had some eggs and toast) we took her to Wal-Mart. It seems like everyone who visits the US wants to see a Wal-Mart for some reason. We usually go to HEB but we had to pick up some food, and hey, it’s Ai’s vacation, right? Of course, it was also one of the busiest shopping days of the year. She walked in, stopped at the entrance, looked around, and breathed “くそ大木”. I said I didn’t know she swore. She just shook her head and we went to wander around and see all the cheap stuff.
We told her we’d take her to get some real Texas clothes elsewhere, so she just contented herself with some touristy stuff like Austin postcards and UT stuff. We got stuff for food tomorrow – and we’d need a LOT of it, because everyone was coming around!
After that we took everything home, and then took Ai out to get a nice dress. If she wanted to to go the Christmas Eve service at the church, she’d need something a little less t-shirty. So we went to the mall!!!
OMG she had so much fun! She said they do have malls in Japan but they’re Japanese malls and not American malls!!! We took her to get a nice, semi-conservative dress, and she had fun trying different ones on. Finding them in her size was a little hard, though – we ended up having to get her a kid’s size. She’s not tiny, but she’s small, at least by American standards. Eventually she chose a nice, cute dress that she was happy with. Apparently she likes poufy! Who knew!
After we did some last-minute shopping, we took her to the food court. They have a Japanese-inspired place there! She tried it.
Apparently, it’s only Japanese inspired.
I told her we’d take her to a real sushi place before she left.
So she came home, and Sabby started making stuff for tomorrow. When she gets going, she gets going. But then after that, she went to the shop to close down and tell everyone to get an early start on their holiday. She invited Katie to Christmas Eve with us too.
I asked Sabby if she was sure she wanted her employees getting too integrated with our family, and she said that our employees are our family, and if they need something then we’ll give it to them – if we can. And Katie needs a family, and we happen to have one, and she’ll hear no more about that. Cat-girl wanted to go off and party, and the baker has her own family, and the other dooters have plans of their own, so no hard feelings anyway.
I love Sabby, even though I wonder about her sometimes. But I can’t complain. She did that for me too.
So we rested for a bit, and then it was time to go to Christmas Eve services! And they were actually really nice! They had a ceremony where everyone lit a candle (and they were careful to tell us how to put out the flame so all that smoke didn’t set off the fire alarms, haha) and everyone who had been a Christian for 10, or 20, or 30, or 40 years put out their flames. Eventually there was like two candles lit, for people who had been Christians for like 90 years. That was cool.
Ai didn’t know any of the words to the songs, but she still just sat there and watched everything go on around her. She seemed content.
There was also a pageant where a bunch of kids acted out the Christmas story! Which was funny, because some kids were dressed as sheep, some as trees, and I think one was hanging from a harness and was a cloud. I asked Sabby about that and she said that there’s not enough roles for everyone, so they’ve gotta be creative. Heh, I guess so.
I looked over at Katie and there were tears coming out of her eyes. Aww.
Anyway, we came home, and sat around the tree and opened presents – most of the presents were for tomorrow but we have a rule that we’re allowed to open one. We had a present for Ai too. It was her own ornament for the tree. She loved it. She said it made her feel like a part of our family. I told her she’s my cousin, and I’m a part of the family, so she is. She hugged me impulsively and sniffled.
But the surprise was, Sabby had a present for Katie too. She said she couldn’t get her better benefits than the rest of the employees because that would be unfair and possibly illegal, but she had pulled some strings and got her hooked up with a pregnancy resource center, and that they’d take good care of her and her baby too. It didn’t hurt that our company made a moderately large donation to said resource center… she’ll be well taken care of. Money talks… And the beauty is, if cat-girl gets pregnant somehow, she can go to the same resource center! So it’s fair.
Lots of tears tonight, I guess.
We all drank egg nog (Ai thought it was way too sweet, so she diluted hers with some milk – maybe girl’s gotta point) and I played some Christmas carols on the piano (to which Ai didn’t understand half the words, but she enjoyed herself anyway). I played a couple of j-pop songs for her, and she was so happy! She didn’t think I knew oogoe diamond! Hahaha!!!
Anyway, I’m writing this now, Ai’s asleep on the couch, Marie’s snuggled up with her, and dreams of sugarplums are dancing through everyone’s heads. If there’s a clatter, though… well, Dave’s a second amendment guy and Santa better watch out! I hear reindeer is tasty, but it’d be hard explaining an old guy with a huge bag on our roof…