The last school week of the year! I loved the end of terms in high school because it meant the end of the repetitive timetable we had to endure for months. I still know that in my last year we had History, Aesthetics and Dutch on Friday afternoon. It was the best school afternoon of the week. I was a terrible student, I never really knew how to study until I went to university, and so I failed my first year and had to go through reexaminations. Anyway, for me now, the last school week of the year is just a hectic struggle you have to try and get through with only a few minor scratches. There’s so much to be done and not enough time. And we were flying out on Saturday already!
S. stayed home sick a few days and that didn’t help with getting things done. But at least we were able to build a gingerbread house. Thanks IKEA. S. was entirely responsible for the decorations. Meanwhile, E. and D. seemed perfectly happy playing with their new toys. For five minutes at least…
In the evenings I tried to sneak in some last minute Christmas shopping. I used to be prepared for anything and everything. Nowadays, it’s a joke. I went down to the shops after bedtime and at 9pm, when pretty much everything closes, I headed to Electrics which only closes at 10.30pm and has a Starbucks inside. For relaxing times, make it Electrics time. I go there almost every Tuesday or Wednesday now, all by myself, and no one talks to or looks at me or even acknowledges me and I don’t care at all. I just sip my coffee and mindlessly browse magazines and the interwebs. Or do nothing. It’s almost a non-alcoholic version of Nick Offerman’s Yule Log. I do try to blend in a little. The other day, I bought a typical long checkered Japanese mama shirt for goodness sake. All I need now is a knitted hat with a pompom. It appears to be the typical new parent outfit over here. A long skirt or leggings with a long checkered shirt over it, an Ergobaby carrier with or without a baby, who knows, and a beanie that’s only been placed half on the head.
On Thursday evening St. Mary’s put on a Christmas party for staff and families. We wanted to fly out on Friday afternoon, but Seta International had their Christmas concert on at 6pm. S. didn’t know what was going on and why all these people were looking at her. Her class sang and danced to Snowflake, Snowflake and Up on the Housetop. It was cuteness overload. Santa paid a visit afterwards. I’m just really glad S. didn’t figure out C. was Santa. I have a picture somewhere in my parents’ attic where I am about 1 year old and sitting on Sinterklaas’ lap, and I didn’t realise until I was about 20 that his eyes looked overly familiar. Every year, my dad is still Sinterklaas for the children at the hospital he works at.
We got up really early on Saturday to make our way to Narita airport. I don’t like flying , but with 3 children under 3, it’s just a nightmare… I have to admit that S. is quite independent so we didn’t have to be all over her all the time, but E. was super tired and her nose was still stuffed up. I had her on my lap most of the time and she was dozing off now and then. D. on the other hand slept maybe 1 hour on the 18+ hour trip… 1 freaking hour!
After a delay at Brussels airport where they couldn’t find our second car seat and an obnoxiously rude and unhelpful security guard at the exit (Welcome to Belgium!), we finally arrived at my parents’ place around 6pm to surprise my mum for her 60th birthday! She had no idea, she thought we were arriving the next day. Of course we had frietjes for dinner because potatoes in Japan plain suck!
We had planned to go to Aachen in Germany to visit the Christmas markets on Sunday because they have pretzels, eggnog and super sized sausages in tiny buns, but we didn’t really want to spend over 5 hours in the car with jet-lagged children, so we settled for a trip to Leuven instead where we got to visit Santa’s Grotto. So it was all good!