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Monday, June 24, 2013

A Wedding And A Seminar

It's feeling more and more official

Well there are two things to talk about, as the title of this post alluded to. Friday was my sister's wedding and I'll try to get some pictures of that up here in the event that anyone wants to see me look uncomfortable in a suit. The very next day after that was the Pre-D Seminar for JET where I got to meet many of the LA area participants for this upcoming year's program.

I'll probably talk about the wedding more through pictures than my words, but to sum it up: We all had a fantastic time. We arrived at the hotel way in advance of the actual ceremony wearing regular clothes. It was supposed to be quite hot that day and we planned on changing into suits as late as possible, which we did after lounging about for a few hours while the girls got their hair and makeup done.

Quite a history to this place
The ceremony took place at the Church of Reflections, which is a wonderfully modest and humble church. The landscaping also made for a pleasant experience. It was relatively short, and after that we all hopped back over to the hotel for the reception. There was food, drink, dancing, and more drink as you'd expect from that kind of festivity. I ran into an old friend too (one with whom I went to Japan for the first time with in 2007, hey Steve!) and we chatted for a while catching up.

Looking back at the walkway leading up to the church

Those are real apples but we couldn't eat them
I couldn't stay too late though because the very next day was the first meeting for JET. I think we left about midnight, or just shortly afterwards; I got home and did my best to sleep off the energy from one day and the excitement for the next.

I really didn't have time to take any pictures of the meeting so I'll have to paint a picture with words. Wish me luck. I arrived at the Westin Hotel right around noon, which was a little bit early to make sure I could find everything alright. As soon as I ascended to the second floor I signed in and received a few documents. Immediately to my left I saw a hand in the air waving at me, and though my eyes fail me more and more as the years go on, this particular appendage was that of the inimitable Yeelly! I was elated at having found a friend already from amongst the crowd, and walked towards her to have a seat. Yeelly and I met at UCI and had a number of classes together, she was also the champion of our waving contest (which is exactly what it sounds like) and now fellow JET compatriot.

Shortly into our conversation it was announced that they'd be starting the Visa process. Yeelly and I got up, walked to the theatre entrance, where a table was set up to collect paperwork of various kinds. I don't think anyone really listened when it was first announced because Yeelly and I simply walked up there and handed paperwork in (and our passports) then sat down in the theatre. No one else was coming for a few minutes so we got back up to make sure we were in the right place. By now the entrance walkway was crowded and perhaps 5 or 6 lines formed since we finished with at least 10 or more people in each one. People then started walking back into the theatre, and so we returned as well. This is when I met Brianna, who will be placed further up north and quite a bit away. In any case, Brianna you were very cool and super sweet. I was glad to have met you. I also noticed a few people that I saw during my interview session, which was very exciting to me. Hello to you, Morgen! I wish you the best of luck in Hiroshima! I know I'll be stopping by one day, so look out for that. John Murro was another UCI alum I ran into after one info session. We both felt like we had seen each other on campus before, but couldn't place it. As soon as I got home I remembered quite quickly that he and I had taken a class called Golden Age Comics together. As a side note: that was one of my favorite classes, completely outside my major and completely worth every second there. If you happen to be going to UCI and see that class by Professor Amiran don't hesitate to take it. There were a handful of UCI graduates at the meeting, in fact.

So, I mentioned info sessions earlier. We had signed up beforehand for our choice out of 5 particular topics, I believe. We were to each be assigned three of them. The day started with opening remarks from former participants, heads of various societies and post-JET associations. We were then treated to tax information that I furiously took notes on so as to avoid fudging up something at a later point. After that there was a break and we dispersed to our half-chosen, half-assigned "breakout" sessions. Brianna, Yeelly and I had the first two together, John and I were at the last one. Having been in relative proximity to the program, there was a lot that I had become familiar with, but there were still some salient points to absorb from each session. As the day winded down, we all gathered together in the theatre once more for some traveling information, how to pack, rules and regulations, and so on. This was something I really didn't need information on. Not to sound arrogant but having gone a couple times already (and once for a prolonged engagement) I knew exactly what I could afford to NOT bring.

Lastly, we ended with another speech from a former participant now in a leadership position through one of the post-JET associations. We said our goodbyes to the new people we met, and then parted ways, at least for the next month. We'll all see each other once more at the dinner and goodbye party the night before we all fly out, and then again in Tokyo for a little bit.

I came home quite tired that day.

A wedding, a seminar, and now: relaxation.


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