Graduation 卒業

(My friend Yumie and me at UH Manoa's field after the graduation ceremony. It was very hot, so we could not help to open the front... I like Yumie's slippers; it tells that we are in Hawaii! I studied on Maui, and she completed her degree on Oahu. I met Yumie at Maui Community College when we both first started our associate degree program in 2002. We hadn't seen each other for awhile, but we bumped into each other at this graduation ceremony. It was so nice.)

In May, I graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Education. I received a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

I had my two-years degree from Maui Community College prior to this program. Therefore, I only attended UH-Manoa for two years. (Two plus two equals four.) Two years ago, I was accepted to this program, and my college life in which I faced textbooks and my laptop every single day began.

(UH-Manoa graduation held inside of this stadium)

Two years have passed quickly. The day to wear this green gown and hat with my classmates came. I would like to take this opportunity to express my genuine gratitude for those of you who have helped me along the way.

Loren, thank you for cooking meals when I was stressed out about assignments. Thank you for tickling me when I was in a bad mood, so that I could laugh. Thank you for pointing out my grammatical mistakes in my papers. Thank you for discussing about education with me, so that I could deepen my idea and thoughts. Thank you for reminding me to surf when I almost forgot that the ocean was right there for me. The support I have received from you was huge.

My mother and father, thank you so much for supporting me financially and emotionally. Thank you for being on my side always. Thank you for sincerely listening to me when I talk about my thoughts and feelings. The love I have received from you was enormous and deep, and I cannot wait to give you back that love or part of it if I could at all. But you told me, "Helping you is our job and our pleasure, so you don't have to give us back anything. Just knowing that you are healthy and happy is enough for us and makes us happy." That statement made me want to give you back all the good things you have given me even more :-) Well, I guess that the first thing I can do for you would be to strengthen the foundation for my life and enjoy building it. Also, thank you for coming to Hawaii from Japan for my graduation. It was such a blessing for me to be able to share the moment when my effort has been fruited with you two.

Michimasa (my younger brother), you encouraged me by just showing how you went to the school and started to work in an occupation that you liked. Thank you.

For friends on Maui and in the neighbor islands, thank you for understanding my busy life for the past two years and for not complaining at all that I could not spend time with you. Thank you for 'forcing' me to have some fun sometimes, so that I could refresh myself. Kyoko-san, thank you for cooking delicious Japanese meals whenever I visited you. You did not only feed my body but also my heart.

For friends in Japan, I surely received your support although we were far away from each other. By seeing you all starting to walk your own paths, I was encouraged and thought, “I will do the same!” I am so blessed to have friends like you to be connected despite of our physical distance.

For those of you who are reading this blog now, thank you. I met many great people through this blog and received many encouraging comments. Being able to communicate with people whom we have not met in person is an advantage of our generation. I hope that all of us on this planet can be connected with beautiful friendship.

(Carlen and her boyfriend, Matt came to see me and gave me and my parents their hand-made pulumeria leis. Thank you, Carlen and Matt! Carlen is currently attending UH and will soon graduate. I gave her my graduation gown for her to use :-) In the picture, I see Yumie happened to be walking behind us.)
(Japanese: 卒業式の後に友達のカーレンと、彼女のボーイフレンドであるマットが駆けつけてくれました。そして手作りのプルメリアのレイ(花飾り)を私と両親にくれました。カーレン、マット、ありがとう!カーレンは現在ハワイ大学で勉強中。もうすぐで卒業です。なので私が着た卒業式のガウンを彼女にあげました。写真に私たちの後ろを丁度通りかかったゆみえが写ってますね。)

By the way, I attended two graduation ceremonies. One was held on Maui with other graduates who attended UH-Manoa from Maui through the Outreach program. The other one was held on Oahu at UH-Manoa campus. My parents came to Hawaii for the first time, so I thought that it would be fun to show them one of the most famous cities of the world, Honolulu and to show them the size of UH-Manoa graduation. That’s why I attended both of them. My parents, Loren, and I had a one night and two-day trip to Oahu from Maui, and we enjoyed it although the schedule was tight.

So, I graduated. What am I doing now? I am applying for jobs. I am finally at the stage of life where I am financially responsible for myself. A new chapter of my life has begun. I will enjoy it!

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(Akari standing in a group picture taking. Since I did not have opportunity to ask everyone's permission to put this photo up on my blog, I draw sunglasses on their faces.)

(Leis given to me from many good friends. They smelled so good and reminded me of the day of graduation.)


Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

I told my son about your graduation and wearing slippers and we laughed. In fact, we also talked about his considering applying to UH (on Oahu) for his undergraduate program (in business). He has lived on the Big Island for eight years and so at least won't feel too disconnected there, compared to the mainland, to which he has never been. In addition, I would have thought that Hawaii can serve more as a bridge between the US and Asia, which would probably suit him very well. Still, it is too early to say what might happen between now and next year when he wants to start college.
I continue to practice reading Japanese from your postings. It is a really helpful and interesting way to build up my vocabulary.

Carlen said...

Akari chan!! Do you have pictures of us from your graduation?? I walk on that back road of UH everyday for summer school and I always think of you when we ran into each other and I met your parents. I think we took some pictures but I don't remember.....

Carlen said...

Akari chan!! Do you have pictures of us from your graduation?? I walk on that back road of UH everyday for summer school and I always think of you when we ran into each other and I met your parents. I think we took some pictures but I don't remember.....

Emmalee said...

Congratulations! What a big accomplishment for you! You should be very proud.

Akari Ueoka 上岡安佳里 said...

Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your comment! I think that your son will enjoy a college life here in Hawaii. I like that him being a bridge between the US and Asia.

Akari Ueoka 上岡安佳里 said...

Dear Carlen,

Yes, I have some pictures of us as we found each other on the way back to the car. Can I post it on my blog?

Akari Ueoka 上岡安佳里 said...

Dear Emmalee,

Thank you, thank you. Yes, I was proud of myself and all the nice friends who have supported me. Hope you are doing well. Akari