Greetings from Omura! Imagine blue skies, palm trees, native flowers … the definition of utsukushii (beautiful). Omura was not only beautiful from the outside, but also on the inside. Its inner beauty was revealed by the smiles, kindness, and my wonderful host family!
During this WCI – Japan tour I have been blessed with great host families. I find that as we share our respective cultures, we discover how similar we really are. My (Yamamoto) family in Omura was awesome! They were so welcoming and natural, I was surprised that it was their first experience as a host family. From the first day I was encouraged to call my Okaasan and Otoosan ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ and was welcomed as one of their own. The first night I remember leaving my toothbrush in a case to the side, and finding it in our family toothbrush holder in the morning – what a nice surprise! I remember enjoying each day as we shared stories, jokes, conversations, drawings … we had so much fun as a family!
The day before last was Arigato Evento and ours was extra special because it was my Mama’s birthday! During our show, my family went on stage for a family interview. Then, it was my turn to give my thank-you speech. Despite my efforts to maintain composure, I was overcome by emotion and tears smoothed my cheeks. After our show, Mama was invited on stage and we sang ‘happy birthday.’ We got emotional again and it was so perfect. Our hearts were melting with joy and our eyes showed it. I gave my Okaasan orange Gabelas (her favourite!), lilies, and carnations (my favourite!) … I am so thankful that I got to become part of such a wonderful family. I will always remember our fun memories. Thank you Yamamoto family! See you again soon.
Grace Cornejo (Canada)