Being in Russia with your boyfriend (whom you haven't seen for 13 months) is absolutely awesome, but all I really wanted when we were there was take Yasu home with me and show him my daily life. Bring him to the places where I go almost everyday and the places I tell him about everyday. Now I could finally show him, what I had been talking about all these months, and I was most excited about that!
I work at the EXPO in the city center of Eindhoven, it is a gift shop which sells postcards, calendars, stuffed animals, clocks, prank gifts, loads of picture frames (standard and made-to-order), posters, photos, paintings, and much more. I started working there in September to finance my job hunting for a teaching position in Japan, and so far I have already spent a small fortune on traveling to and accommodations in London. And now that I secured a job at AEON Corporation, I am spending buckets of money during every step of the immigration process and moving-to-japan process, so I will continue to work at EXPO as long as I live in the Netherlands.
It was really weird to have Yasu on my work floor, I come there almost everyday and I never believed that Yasu was going to visit me there, but now we got to visit EXPO together! I called my store manager from Russia to get some extra days off, as Yasu's visit was so extremely short and it would be a terrible waste to spend that time working instead of being with him. My store manager gave me all the weekdays off, but I had to work the weekend because of all the Christmas shopping that would be going on. But one of my sympathetic coworkers offered to work my Saturday shift, and on Sunday I only worked about 3 hours, had a 45 minute break which I spent with Yasu, and about 90 minutes before the end of my shift I was send home to enjoy my last day with Yasu. But even though I worked only 3 hours when Yasu was here, he did get to see me in 'action'!
My coworker Leonita is a huge fan of the 'All You Need Is Love' Christmas special. She told me she locks herself in her bedroom every year with a box of tissues and a bag of chips to watch the show. And when she saw the commercial for this year's show asking for applications, she thought about her coworker with a boyfriend in far-away Japan! She is the one that alerted me to the show almost 2 months ago and if it wasn't for her I would have never written a letter and Yasu would be going on our 14th month of separation by now! So thank you, Leo!
Jolanda, the store manager was another partner in crime of Heleen, the tv producer who arranged the entire reunion. Gyano had a hard time getting a hold of my passport (as I always carry that around with me), but Heleen needed it to get me a visa for Russia, so she contacted Jolanda. She made up some story about an identification duty to EXPO's headquarters for which she needed everybody's passports. Of course, she only actively hunted me down for my passport and when I gave it to her, she said "Thanks, and I'll keep it in the safe." Excuse me? I thought she was going to copy it, but she actually took my passport hostage! I was very uncomfortable with that and all week I kept bugging her about my passport, she had quite a hard time blowing me off every single day.
Of course my passport was no longer in the safe, it had been picked up by some secret courier, who I actually met that week. I was working at the cash register and this man asked me if he was in the EXPO store, this was an odd question to say the least because his location was extremely obvious, with big EXPO signs everywhere. But I answered his question, and then he asked me about the address, which again he knew correctly! This man was quite weird in my opinion, but he might be a customer so I was as friendly as ever. Then he asked if my store manager was present, which she was not, so I asked him if could help him with something. He told me he was there to pick up some white envelope... this guy was getting more bizarre with every word he said. I went to tell my coworker in charge about the peculiar guy and the desired white envelope and I never thought about him again, until I sat in that private jet to Russia and all the puzzle pieces fell together! Before that moment I had no clue whatsoever that that weird guy was there to secretly pick up my passport!
Yasu wanted to bring some presents to EXPO, so he bought some sushi for my coworkers. But having most of my coworkers pegged as the non-adventurous type, I brought a back up gift of 'oliebollen', a traditional Dutch New Year's snack. I was right about them not being adventurous, as they had never even tried sushi before, but they did try Yasu's sushi with quite some hesitation and neither of them wanting to go first. But after a considerable struggle with the chopsticks they both tried the sushi (the others tried later) and they even liked it, making Yasu very happy!