For the past 7 months or so I've been volunteering with a group of middle school kids who were going on an exchange trip to their sister city in Kusatsu, Shiga-ken, Japan. I got involved because one of the organizers/chaperones is my neighbor as well as the mother of a girl I went to school with from elementary through high school. The group returned from their 10-day trip last week, and my neighbor invited me over to show me pictures and tell me all about their experience. They visited a number of elementary and junior high schools in that city, and one of the schools greeted each visitor with a hand-folded origami bookmark. My neighbor let me have hers, as well as a box of tea that she bought while there. Thanks, Ms. Sturgis!
Today I received a free lunch bag from my bank, as a token of gratitude for being a member for 15 years. And I was so confused. Fifteen years? Since when did I....? And then I remembered that I've been with the same bank since elementary school, when my mom signed me up for the "little savers" program (or whatever it was called), where they let us kids open bank accounts and make deposits once a week to teach us about saving. I might just give the lunch bag to her, since she's the reason why I have the account in the first place. Thanks, Ma! And thanks to my bank!