Do you know what I like? When I’m feeling genuinely happy.

It’s not too often nowadays that I feel genuinely happy. Most of the smiles that appear on my face are pretty hallow at the core or are just simply passing moment because someone did something that made me laugh a bit on the inside. Lately though, I’ve been pretty happy. There’s a lot of different factors to this, from people to things. Lately there hasn’t been anything to trigger me into depression – just a whole bunch of things that make a smile appear on my face and my heart swell with happiness.

Christmas Presents Recieved
My Christmas presents I got from my mom, primarily.

The unwelcome guest who stayed for about a month and a half left shortly before Christmas. Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas to me, but hasn’t for a while since the magic of the season is gone for me. Christmas is just another day of the year that I get gifts, the other two being my birthday and Easter. Sometimes I wish to stop getting gifts, but I rather like getting the money ones and having people buy me things I’ve been wanting. I don’t usually give the people who give me gifts, well, gifts, so it makes me feel a bit awkward. Plus, I like receiving more spontaneous, unexpected gifts. Anyway, Christmas (well, more of Christmas Eve) was good. I opened all my presents then. We got to pick out TV shows or movies we wanted all of us to watch. Forced my mom and Devin to watch Doctor Who. I can’t tell if they like it or not. I made them watch the first season of the 2005 reboot, which isn’t exactly the best season. It may arguably be the worst (I still rather like it though) of the New Who. Jenni had us watch some of New Girl (which I love). I got kind of bored and tired during it, so I went to bed.

My belated Christmas gifts.
These are Christmas gifts that ended up coming late, since they came from Japan, as you can hopefully see.

The gifts I received this year from my mom were great, yet, I didn’t feel the excitement I usually feel during Christmas – her buying us Christmas gifts was rather last minute. Usually, I list about 50 items or so I want and she picks out a few, since I’m hard to shop surprises for. That didn’t happen this year, so I pretty much knew everything. Heck, I even order a few things because she didn’t have the time to do it and told me just to order some! I was pleasantly surprised by the new black robe (I’ve been needing a new robe for a while), the green night gown, and the Pikachu hat. I didn’t know I was getting any of those. Well, sorta. I saw the Pikachu hat when my mom was browsing her Amazon orders and she was like “oh, that was suppose to be your surprise” and I just shrugged it off. I rather like the Pikachu hat – it’s cute. Only thing better would be a Darkrai hat…which I should so totally make. And a Darkrai hoodie, that’d be cool too. But yeah, that’s besides the point.

I got a bunch of gift cards from my maternal side of the family, which was great and all. I just didn’t like the restrictions and the fact that it was one of those weird “debit card” sort of gift cards that are a pain to use. I ended up trading them to my mom for cash.

On Christmas day, I went online and ordered a whole bunch of stuff – primarily books, but there were a few other things in the mix as well. A few of the books were for studying my Japanese, since part of my New Year’s resolution is to get through my Japanese (and hopefully take the JLPT), all of them related to the third writing system, kanji. I swear by the end of me learning kanji, I will have all the required ones drilled into my head with how much study material I have for it. Anyway, I also picked up a few novels (which actually will be helping me for my other resolution of expanding my English vocabulary), manga (Sailor Moon volume 1 and Sailor V volume 1), a plushie of one of my favourite generation 5 Pokémon, Ash’s Best Wishes hat, and two DVDs. Oh. And a cord thing for my laptop to hook the audio part to my TV. I had to obviously wait for everything to ship though because it was such a large order.

My dad took us out to dinner, I believe, on that Monday after Christmas and he sort of was this “saving grace”. He just happened to give me the exact amount of money I wanted for Christmas. And in cash. I’m not a huge fan of physical cash, but I like having the freedom to spend my money anywhere I wanted. Which, for me, was a couple of Japanese sites for mostly more study material that they don’t have in English. Seriously – what can beat studying with actual media from the country that uses the language you’re learning? Besides from actually being there, of course. It’s all about increasing my immersion because believe it or not, I’m not as immersed as I would like to be (I blame that on not liking Japanese music for the most part, which is probably a shock to some of you reading this blog).

So, all this going on made me pretty happy – especially my dad giving me the exact amount I was hoping to get from him. That earned him some points. I was having one of those giggly “hee-hee-hee” things going on when he gave me the check. Later on during that week, two more things, or rather three people, completely shot up my happiness level.

I got a text via Skype from one of my good friend, Josh, asking me to guess who was on Skype. I ignored the text though until the following day though, went online, and he had me guess – our friend, Ruby, who hasn’t used any instant messengers from 2008 or 2009, made a new MSN and a Skype account! This was pretty awesome to hear – it was made even more awesome when later that night, Ruby IMed me and we had a nice, long conversation just about whatever we felt like. I would have seriously stayed up all night if two of my friends weren’t coming over later that day.

I had gotten a call on my cell earlier in the week from a number I didn’t recognize – turned out it was Ryan calling from his friend’s cellphone (since Ryan’s almost out of minutes this month). He mentioned that he was free on Friday and that our friend, Tom, would probably be able to come over, for once. I kind of felt torn because Ryan and I still need to finish up series 5 of Doctor Who (and Tom’s only seen random episodes of the series). When it hit Friday, they both came over, and it probably was one of the best hang outs I’ve ever had with two other people with me. Normally when I hang out with two other people, I usually feel like one person is left out or no one really talks. We were all pretty much having fun at the same time. You know it’s a good hang out when you’re suppose to be watching a TV show, but you keep stopping to just chat about everything and anything. We took a trip to the awesome, wide open area in my backyard that will be eventually filled with houses and walked until we hit a road across from what might be a butchers shop. We stayed there for a while and talked, waving to cars as they passed by. On our way back, I stepped in a small river of water by accident, slightly hurt my left ankle, and got thorns in my pants. When we got back home, we talked a heck of a lot and managed to eventually sit down and watch Doctor Who – the first two episodes of the 2005 series and the first part of a Classic Who episode. After we finished the episodes, I ordered us pizza. They didn’t help me bring it in, so I made them get the cups and plates. Oh my god, I wish I recorded that moment! They pretended that the plastic cups and paper plates were super heavy and sort of dragged themselves and the items to the table. It was sooo funny. Then we sat down, ate, talked. Afterwards, we retreated to my room, watched a bunch of YouTube videos, and I showed them a bunch of songs. Ryan and I basically started having a dance party and Tom was watching us make fools of ourselves. Then they had to leave. Rather than feeling sad, I felt good for once after a friend has left – I guess you could say it was satisfying, them coming over? I couldn’t stop smiling that night! I cannot wait to hang out with both of them again!

Then we come back to Ruby, Josh, and heck, even Emi. There’s a lot of different factors to them making me happy. Most of it is just how much they talk to me, especially Ruby. I haven’t really talked to her much since 2008 (except via notes on deviantART), but we clicked pretty quickly and keep on having some pretty long conversations about a large variety of things (sometimes geek and nerdy, sometimes not). The second day I saw Ruby online, Josh invited the three of us into a group chat, which inspired her to draw a pretty hilarious picture of her character, Minako, Josh’s character, Yumiko, and my character Kelly. Rather than describe the image, I suggest you go look at it yourself. We all kind of have it agreed, I guess you can say, that Kelly seems to be the target of a lot of Yumiko and Minako’s pranks. Sorta. I guess. I dunno. Something like that. Before any family members get defensive, I’m perfectly fine with it and I think it’s rather hilarious!

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any happier, Ruby mentioned to me she was thinking of making a website. I pretty much right away jumped onto helping her find free hosting and I decided to make her a layout, completely free of charge (though she’s planning on drawing me a thank you picture later!), to make sure she didn’t use one of the pretty pre-made layouts sites offer that usually get butchered by the people using them. I basically procrastinated from doing whatever else I had to do (study Japanese and work on artwork) and made her site, including the graphics. After I finished making the site layout, I wrote up a tutorial on how to update the site, since she would have to code certain things herself.

Even more to my joy, Josh told me that he wanted to make a site as well and wanted my help for the layout. I made him a layout as well (though, I had to recode the entire thing once because the first time I was coding it half asleep and didn’t have the patience to make everything look right) and a tutorial to help him with the updating.

It probably seems silly that I would get excited over the fact two of my friends wanted to make websites, but it does! You see, I love web design. It’s a kind of challenge for me that is fun, unlike doing artwork that is painful until it’s finished. I’m not a huge fan of challenges in the first place, but sometimes I’ll get a certain challenge that just clicks with me and it’s fun. In this case, it’s web design. Not only did I get to make the layouts for them, I also got to teach them a few things about web design. That teaching part is one of the most exciting parts of this entire experience. I just realized a few weeks ago that I only had one friend who was into web design, so the fact that I was able to teach some of my friends a few basics just to edit their site makes me pretty dang happy. I will always make my friend’s sites, free of charge, to prevent them from using the pre-made layouts. I guess at the end of it, I just like to spread the joy I feel about web design. Designing a website is like designing your home, painting it, and putting whatever you want in it. It’s awesome, fun, and hard work.

Enbuoh Plushie & Ash Hat
My Enbuoh plushie and Ash's hat!

Earlier in the week, four of my items came – a kanji book that was a lot taller and more childish than I thought it was going to be (fine with me! I’m below a child with my level of Japanese anyway), Code Geass R2 volume 3, my Best Wishes Ash hat, and my Enbuoh/Emboar plushie! I’m hoping to cosplay Ash’s current outfit sometime in the near future, but I don’t know when that’ll be. There’s a lot more things I need to get and do before then (like fabric). I’ll probably end up watching Code Geass R2 right after I get volume 4, which will be one of these days. I’m kind of in debate if I should start the kanji book now or not, but I think I would be better off waiting until I finish both of my textbooks for that particular kanji book.

Yesterday, I got my large order in the mail that contained mostly books, as well as a DVD of a movie entitled The Great Yokai War to satisfy my interest in yokai. I bought the Remembering the Kanji series due to all the rather fantastic things I’ve heard about it, in preparation of my future kanji venture, as well as some novels and manga, as I mentioned earlier in this blog. I FINALLY picked up Dragon Sword & Wind Child. I’ve been wanting to read it for quite a while now and I’m happy to have picked it up. Cannot wait to read Sailor Moon and Sailor V either, but I’m going to have to because other things have the priority.

Hey look, books! And a DVD.

I started flipping through Remembering the Kanji 1 this morning and now kind of find myself slightly debating if I want to start reading it now or if I want to start it with my kanji venture. I sort of want to start it now because I feel as if I would have an easier time learning kanji that I’m learning inside of my textbook if I started on it now. On the other hand, I feel like I may end up getting overwhelmed if I do both. However, since the first volume of Remembering the Kanji just focuses on writing and remembering the meanings, not the readings, I might go with it anyway. I’m not sure. I’ll probably know by the end of the day. I’ll be writing about it over at my Japanese Language Learning blog, so if you’re interested in knowing more about my decisions and whatnot, go check there.

The only orders left is my cable and anything coming from Japan.

So, yeah. Overall, everything has been quite good and I haven’t been depressed. I might have had days where I felt more neutral, but for the most part, I’ve been happy. Very happy.

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