25 August 2014

Valley Girl Memoirs

Today I thought I would post something that I wrote for fun. Laura is at BYU right now and she is taking a writing class. To support/participate in her homework assignments, Mum and I sometimes join in. I also just wanted to document the horrors of my working experience at Valley Girl because the struggle was real!! lol I have so many stories that I need to jot down somewhere! This is one of them.


Prompt: Write a memoir about a job you have held. Show (and tell) why this job did not lead to a lifelong career.


My feet ached. I slowly shuffled my way over to where a mound of boxes sat slumped on the dusty floor. The dust swirled up and around my ankles as I moved. The boxes were labeled in thick, black pen, "Dresses/Skirts" and "Accessories." I paused. Surely this couldn't be right? I had unpacked 10 boxes yesterday all by myself! Where did all this new merchandise come from?! I sighed inwardly and took out a slim orange craft knife from my back pocket. The work was mindless work. My body was on auto-pilot, pulling out dress after dress and hanging it on the rack behind me. People washed in and out of the store doors in waves, flooding the boutique with curious customers. I avoided inquiring eyes and kept my own down, focused on the box in front of me. I tried to lose myself in the music blasting from overhead speakers. 
"Excuse me?" Please don't be talking to me. "Hello?" The voice was louder now and sounded annoyed. I breathed in, rolled my head up and tried acting surprised. 
"Hiya!" I kicked myself mentally for having let that word slip. I would never say 'hiya' in a normal setting. I actually hated the word. But in the retail world, it was the basic greeting. "How can I help?" I said with a tired but friendly grin. The girl seemed unsure at my tone, but continued. 
"Um, the dress on the mannequin at the front. Where can I find that?" I peeped at the mannequin and sighed inwardly again for what seemed like the 100th time that day. 
"The black one? I think that might actually be the last one..." I trailed off purposefully in the hope that she wouldn't hear me and would lose interest. I squinted slightly in anticipation.
"Oh. Do you think I could try it on?" There it was. I went to speak but she cut me off, my mouth ajar. "It's my size. I checked already." Of course you did.
"Sure. Let me just... get-that-for-you." I spat out the last few words and spun on my heel before she could analyze my tone any further. Cheeks puffed, I exhaled slowly until I reached the mannequin. I placed a hand on the doll's stiff shoulder for leverage as I unzipped the dress. It slid off effortlessly, revealing the smooth breasts of the headless figure. The dress stopped in a ruffled heap at the waist. My hands moved to the mannequin's hips and tried to shimmy the dress downwards. A few teenage boys walking by the store stopped and started watching me in my dilemma. I refused to acknowledge their presence and kept my eyes on the plastic torso in front of me. Mid-shimmy, one tapped on the glass. My eyes flicked up long enough to see the sexual gesture he was making. Ugh. I tugged at the dress a little harder now, desperate to escape from the situation. The dress gave and it slid down to the floor. Muffled laughter and cheers erupted at the sight of the naked doll. I rolled my eyes, scooped up the dress and raced back to the girl who was now standing with a hand on her hip.
"Thanks," she said flatly. She snatched the dress out of my hands and left before I had a chance to tell her it was on sale. Jerk! I closed my eyes in an attempt to control my heaving chest and the hot fumes billowing from my nose. My eyes opened and focused on the stack of boxes in front of me. My feet ached. I picked up a blue sequin dress and felt my body switch back to auto-pilot. My mind blocked out the sounds around me and sat quiet, waiting for the day to end.


And the passage ends there. The ending to this tale is that after this lady demanded to have the dress from the mannequin, which gave the impression that she was set on buying it, and after watching me struggle at the front of the store with immature boys gawking at me and the mannequin, she went into the dressing room. I forgot about her for about 10 minutes until I saw the same dress peeking out from the returns rack, almost purposely hidden. I whipped around and saw her sneaking out the back of the store and being quick about it too! I was so annoyed!!!! I used to think that working in retail would be a dream, but it turned out to be a custodial job. You are constantly cleaning up after rude people. 
Never again! 

18 August 2014

Reia is 3


She's THREE!

We had such an enjoyable weekend. Opa came over from NZ to visit and we went away to Hakone up in the mountains to enjoy the pools and onsen! Even though it was Summer, it was still a lot of fun. Aila and Reia stayed in the kiddie pool for hours and loved it! We eventually ventured out to other areas of the place to see the other types of pools. They had so many different kinds! There was a jacuzzi, soda spa, playground pools with slides and things, kiddie pools, fish spa where the fishes clean your feet, coffee, wine, sake, rose, green tea, charcoal, and fresh pools too. My favourites were the charcoal one because it was a nice temperature and just felt really relaxing and also the freezing cold one! I went in that one last and it was pretty cold but really refreshing! I only dunked in once and that was enough but I felt really refreshed afterwards! The Dr Fish spa was also really cool. So after a fun day, all day, at the pools, we went straight to the buffet at the hotel and ate a yummy selection of Japanese foods. After that we all got ready for bed. Opa needed his own privacy so he sectioned off a little space in the hallway lol. There was a whole section of tatami mat that he could have used, but her preferred the tiny cramped entrance way because it had 4 walls lol.


The next morning, was Reia's big day! She had been counting down the days. She had been feeling kind of bummed out because first it was Jun's birthday, then Aila's and she was waiting for it to be hers. We woke her up with "It's your birthday!!" She sat up straight with a grin that stretched from ear to ear  ^___^. We went down to breakfast first and had something to eat and then went back upstairs to open prezziez! Jun snuck down to the lobby to get a slice of cake he had ordered the night before. She got some books from Opa, some knickers and a cookbook from Oma, My Little Pony and a toy hair dresser set from Aunty Ric, and a book, a panda hat, and a Mickey Mouse from Aunty Laura and Diego! There was a "happy birthday!" message from Uncle Stef on Facebook lol. Jun and I got her a Minnie Mouse t-shirt, a Toy Story puzzle, the Despicable Me 2 DVD, and a bike (the kind with no pedals so she can learn how to balance first). She still hasn't touched it lol. After checking out of the hotel, we ventured down the mountain to check out the shops. We bought a few treats and then headed out to Odawara Castle. It was very hot that day and even hotter inside the castle. The view from the top was nice and the breeze, welcomed. We traveled home after that and stopped for yakiniku for dinner. We also got to see some really nice fireworks!! We had to pay 1200 yen or something just to get into the car park to view them! All in all it was a very eventful, fun-filled day :)


Reia has developed in different ways this year. Here are some things I have noted. I have written these in chronological order since she was 2 so some things are not relevant anymore:

She can remember a lot and I can tell she knows what is going on but she doesn't have the language yet to say all that she wants to.

She is SO helpful! I love having an extra set of hands that can grab me things when my hands are full. So useful! And the good thing is that she loves to help too. Sometimes she won't understand my instructions though, for instance with colours. I told her that there were chips in the green bowl and she was looking everywhere and even touched the green bowl but still hasn't learnt all her colours yet, so she didn't see the chips.

She sings a lot, especially one of her favourite movies, Frozen! There was a Frozen bug going around at the end of last year and she caught it and still loves to sing the songs at the top of her lungs. Her teddy bears have two sets of names. There is Doti Doti, Doti Doti (2), and Polar Bear. But when she is in Frozen mode, her bears become Princess Elsa, Princess Ana, and Let it Go! Love that she named her teddy after the song! That is her favourite song to sing. Her sheep toys also become Hans and Olaf. She is at that stage where she can play imaginary games with her toys, it's so cute to watch. Makes me remember when I was young and loved my stuffed animals. I treated them like they were my pets and if one fell off my bed in the middle of the night, I would climb down the ladder (top bunk) and fetch it so it wouldn't get cold. I wonder what happened to all of those toys :( Been watching a lot of Toy Story 3 lately, upon Reia's request, so now I feel a bit guilty when every toys get broken and I need to throw them out lol.

She can be very persuasive. If she wants something and I say no, she will pull out her best lines. Oh come on! Yes you aaaaaaare! Pleeease! Mummy, how abooooout... a sausage!

She has started saying phrases like "What the heck!" Probably from me. She has said "Oh my God!" too. Not from me.

Sometimes she likes to hold my hand when she sleeps for comfort. 

She tries very hard to be understood. She will sometimes try to say a word or sentence that she might've heard before but it doesn't quite come out right. You can see her thinking about it and she will slow it down to perhaps to be heard better and other times she just gives up if she sees it's going nowhere. 

She has started using the toilet all by herself! She is already potty trained, but now if she feels the urge, she doesn't tell me and just goes by herself. One day all I heard her say was "Wee wee's!" and she ran off to the loo! I didn't know what was going on until I saw her sitting there doing her thing. She hasn't gotten the toilet paper thing down yet though. That is still my job lol.

She has got her food prayer downa and will sometimes add in "please bless Aila, please bless mama, please bless daddy" which is sweet :)

I see her trying to discipline Aila the way that I discipline her so sometimes I need to step in and explain that that is not her job. It's Mummy's job. Gotta be careful how I act now otherwise it will come back to me!

She is always interested in what I am doing and will constantly ask me (which can get annoying when on repeat -_-), "What doing, Mama? What doing?" She will always want to help me by either stirring the pot, folding the laundry, sweeping and vacuuming etc. I feel like she will be a big help to me in the future!

She hardly takes naps anymore. Only sometimes when she is extra tired and is bored. I treasure those days hahaha only so that I can have some ME time.

She loves everything about bums and will always point to it, or shake it around (sometimes in your face), and thinks farts are hilarious and will try to do it on purpose just for a laugh. And while we are at it, when we are shopping she will sing down the isles "I did a poo poo! I did a wee wee!" Luckily we are in Japan where Japanese is spoken and I don't have to hide my face lol.

Her molars have come through so now she has all her teeth!

She loves being chased and will always run away from people because she thinks it's a game.

If her clothing gets the slightest bit dirty or wet, she demands to get changed into something else! I try to tell her that it will dry or it's not that bad, but she hates wearing dirty clothes.

She LOVES dancing.

When deciding on something, she will often say, "How aboooout... hmmmmm" and will tap her chin simultaneously

Her Japanese Grandparents came to Tokyo to visit one time and her Obaachan was reading a book to her. All of a sudden, Reia's English pronunciation changed to Japanese English pronunciation! Pig became piggu and horse became hoshi (even though it should have been hosu) and head became heddo. Having studied Language Aquisition, I was pretty amazed about what was going on.

Her memory is good! She remembers things the next morning, like if I say that we are going to hula tomorrow, she will wake up the next day and say "We go hula dan?" (dance). She has also memorized two AIUEO Japanese books! It is her fav thing to read before bed. She can remember words pretty well! I wonder if she recognizes the words if she hears them in conversation...

She still says "There she is!" when she finds something. That was something she learned in NZ while playing beekaboo under the covers with her Aunty Ericca. Well it has stayed with her and she still says it! Although recently, I heard her say "Where is it?" instead of she which is a step up!

She has rhythm! Hallelujah! She will often clap along to songs or follow along to dances she sees on TV.

She loves watching Play Doh and Kinder Surprise videos on Youtube. She could watch them all day if she could.

She picks her nose and says "It's a big one!" when she strikes gold lol. We also call it the "green monster" so she will sometimes say "Ah! Green monster! I'ts a big one! Hahaha

She knows a lot more Japanese now. She says pinpon for right and bubu for wrong.

She doesnt quite know how to play nicely with Aila yet and will pull on her legs or roll all over her much to Aila's distress! I try to teach her to play nice but that hasn't sunk in yet. When I get frustrated and tell her off and once she senses that I am done, she will pull a face and try to make me laugh *sigh* What am I going to do with this girl lol. At those times I either grit my teeth and try to keep my tone and other times I just give up. This girl I tell ya!

She has started getting an attitude! Her favourite phrase recently has been "No way!" She has started talking back and putting her foot down! This has kind of happened quite quickly and I am still not too sure how to deal with it all. Right now if she does/says something naughty, I take her toys or something away. She will usually run to her room for a little cry and then return a little while later and say "I'm happy!" Needless to say, I have been enjoying my alone time in the toilet a lot lately. I even lock the door sometimes to keep her out! I am sure I am not the only one who finds solace in the bathroom lol

She loves bugs, pirates, dinosaurs, guns, swords, thomas the tank engine, handy manny, tools, digging,  and octonauts. On the other hand, she also likes barbies, play doh, princesses, mini mouse, and accessories!

She doesn't mind brushing her hair or getting her hair done, but doesn't keep it for long! She will always at some point take her hair ties out and her headbands off which means her long hair is always in her eyes.

She has overcome her fear of automatic hand dryers in public bathrooms.

Comfyuta = computer

She has gotten more defiant/independant

She is definitely a sponge. She will hear a song or something once or twice and will remember it forever! For example, I know she has seen part of the video clip for Wrecking Ball because once time, we were at a park that had a rope swing with a ball at the end and I got on to show Reia what to do. As soon as I started swinging she starts singing at the top of her lungs "I came in like a wreeeecking baaaaaall!"Lol I could not stop laughing!

She can sleep a lot! Sometimes she sleeps for 14 hours!

Her Japanese has gotten a lot better. She can definitely tell the difference between the two languages because she will ask for "My English" when a DVD is being played in Japanese. Or when her friends are speaking Japanese, she will speak it back to them. Her most commonly rotated words are kocchi, chiagu, dame, sou, soukka, ame futteru, iranai, onaka ippai, onaka suita, taberu. Her best friend is probably Shouta Aoki.

She is such a bubbly kid and loves dancing and singing. I often get told "it's my turn!" when she wants me to stop singing. So much for joining in on the fun!


Our big baby is a joy to our lives and we love watching her learn and grow <3