It's almost 2012 here...only about 4 hours to go! After Christmas, I spent 2 days cleaning the apartment. It's a tradition in Japan to clean before the new year. In Canada we call it "spring cleaning" and of course, do it in the spring. But we did it after Christmas since I was having a small party at my apartment. It was a good excuse to really clean the place....and now all the dust bunnies are gone!So, Thursday afternoon 3 of my students came over for a late lunch (or early dinner). It was a pot luck and it was yummy! They brought cheese fondue, lasagna, pasta, "annin tofu" (creamy almond gelatin dessert), "karage" (fried chicken...like nuggets) and I made garlic cheese bread, 3 kinds of party pinwheels (tortillas with cream cheese and other items rolled and cut) and a mix between a fajita and a pizza (pizza style fajita?) and for dessert I made a kind of apple pie tortilla with caramel sauce and ice cream. Everything was so good! They stayed and talked for about 5 hours. But...sometime during the party my throat started to feel funny. The next day I was supposed to go out with my friend- I felt bad but I cancelled as I didn't know if I was getting sick. Sure enough...I don't know if I have a cold or a sinus infection but I'm sick. Thankfully I'm on holidays so I don't have to miss any work but it isn't any fun. I think my body was trying to tell me to stop running around like a chicken with no head and since I didn't listen...bam! Sick! So....I have to slow down. In fact I haven't done much of anything except watch Columbo on TV. They are having 3 days of Columbo on the mystery channel-thankfully I love Columbo! 2011. Can't say I'm not happy to see this year end. It wasn't a good year for Japan or for me (4 deaths). I do think, to see the silver lining, that I have learned to appreciate life a bit more and that the "ordinary" is actually extraordinary. The simple things we do everyday are actually amazing. Life can change so quickly so we all need to see that there is beauty in the "ordinary" moments of our lives. Well....I wish all of you a very Happy New Year!!Sayonara 2011! Hello 2012!