I've been meaning to make this post for a while now and kept putting it off. But well, I'm leaving for San Francisco today and won't be back for a week, so it's by time I write about it, as well as other significant things that have been occurring in my life right now.
So back in April, one of our neighbors got their house foreclosed, and they moved back to Columbia. However, their teenage daughter, Tanya, needed to finish out the school year, and so for the past couple months, we've had her staying with us.
We were already pretty close with her prior to this and had a good relationship with the family, so it wasn't too big an adjustment. I think the main difference this has made in my life is that now I have to cook for three people instead of two (and having to come up with proper dinners every night instead of being lazy and going "welp, let's just eat leftovers"), and that now I feel even more like a housewife. I've been acting as her chauffeur too, so now I know what that feels like. XD;
Anyway, she's going to move up to New York in mid-June to live with her cousin (this kind of arrangement isn't new for them; the family is really scattered around). I have to admit I feel kinda sorry for her; when we attended the JROTC reward ceremony at her school on Monday, she said she was sad that she had to leave this year. :(
My exploits as an amateur gardener:
Another thing that's sorta taken over my life lately has been a new hobby: gardening.
I got the idea when I heard on the news that food prices are rising. I thought, "since I'm unemployed, I might as well try growing some of our own food at home." At first, I was going to start out simple: just cucumbers, as well as some moonflowers and morning glories for decoration. But our collection of plants soon grew. Mom wanted tomatoes too, and then Japanese eggplants. She bought a strawberry plant. One weekend, we went to Lowe's and bought a whole bunch of flowers to decorate our porch and deck with.
So my first try at gardening has now resulted in this:
(The strawberries and morning glories aren't shown here because I've put them on the front porch)
I'm proud to say that I did all of that by myself. :D There's been setbacks, of course, and I've been learning a lot. For one, my cucumber seedlings and tomato plant were repeatedly attacked by birds, so I had to get bird netting. There was a really stormy week, so I put up plastic sheeting to protect the plants from the rain and wind. And then my eggplant plants had an aphid infestation; my grandmother in Japan suggested planting basil as a way to ward off the aphids, so I did, and was considering buying ladybugs too, until I saw that some wild ladybugs had already found my plants. \o/
The eggplant plants have been particularly fascinating to observe. There's a whole little ecosystem in there; the aphids feed on the plant, the ladybugs feed on the aphids, and there are spiders to feed on the ladybugs. I've seen several other bugs I couldn't recognize too.
Overall, this has been really fun. I can't wait for the vegetables to ripen and for the morning glories & moonflowers to start climbing up their trellises and blooming during the summer. It's also great that we've finally found a good use for our deck; before, we'd only used it for the very occasional barbecue. Now I go out there every day and it's beautiful. :)
And finally, my trip to California:
Basically, for the next week, I'm going to be volunteering at a Buddhist monastery, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. My mom's coworker's mother lives there, and she's having eye surgery next week, so the coworker is going there to help, and Mom asked if I could come along. I agreed to it, because it's only one week and it sounds like it could be an interesting experience.
So yeah, I'm leaving today. May 28-June 3. I've been to California before, but it was when I was really little and I only have a few memories, so I feel like this is my first time. :O I'm not sure what kind of work I'll be doing yet, or whether they'll put me in the kitchens or the organic garden. I'm not sure whether I'll have to meditate or read satras/mantras, but I hope not, because I'd feel really awkward (for the record, I'm not religious). But I hope to meet some interesting people there, and perhaps a few of those free-roaming peacocks too. :)
My new cellphone:
I also got a new cellphone on Thursday. Up to now, I've had only one phone in my life, a really ancient one that was already pretty ancient when my mom bought it for me back in like 2004. These days, it had really become unreliable, because its battery would run out quickly. Even if I turned it off to conserve the battery, it would still run out, and it was getting to the point that I couldn't even use the phone when I most needed to.
So, since I was leaving for the other side of the country, mom decided it was finally time for me to get a new cellphone. And here it is:
I grew to really like it once I customized it a bit with ringtones, stickers, and charms. :D Though I'm also pleased as punch for the fact that it has web browsing! And I can actually use punctuation in my texts now!!
My ringtones are as follows: "ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER" as default, and "Fly Away" (from Panty & Stocking) for mom. (And "taking the hobbits to Isengard" for Justine, because I could not resist.)
My new (temp) job:
This is a development that occurred just yesterday, and it was a complete surprise to me. My friend Jessi from Writer's Group called me in the afternoon and told me about a temp job opportunity. Apparently the Family Christian Stores in the nearby cities are having an overhaul and are hiring a ton of people to help out. She suggested I drive over and fill out an application. So I did. And then, only a few hours after I first heard of the job, I was hired. :O
So apparently this is the year of me working for religious people, lol. But I'm happy! I'll have work for the next two months! I'll get experience! I'll be paid! \o/ So yes, quite happy. Thank you, Jessi~!
And that's it for now. I'll try posting pictures from my trip when I come back. :D This is looking to be a pretty nice summer~~