Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Routines in our New Life in Japan

So if you knew me just a few short months ago, you would know that on any given day, as we are leaving our house for work/school in the morning, someone was likely to be missing a shoe, bookbag, jacket, or homework assignment.  My have things have changed for me since we are now getting settled in to our new home and routines here in Japan. I had to share this whole morning lunch packing process as a great example. Since Connor is attending Fuji Yochien ( - It, of course, is in Japanese, but if you click on the dates in the pink box on the right column you can see their montly newletters. You need to first look for the class in the red hats and then for the little tiny pale face with blonde hair...and that will be Connor!!), I am now packing his lunch in true bento style. Mind you, I am still a total bento amatuer, but I am getting a little better and better each week.

So here is the skinny on how the bento box came into my life....I was absolutely unaware when we registered Connor for school that I couldn't/shouldn't just pack him a PB&J, bag of grapes, and juice box in a cute little Power Ranger lunch box and send him off to school. While at a fun play date with a new friend and fellow Fuji School mom, she asked me if I had been shopping yet for the things I will need to pack Connor's lunch. "Things I need like Ziplock bags and maybe a thermos," I ask. She gives me this curious look like she knew my life was about to change, and said, "Lets run up to the mall and I will show you!" Off we went and holy moly was I in the a shocker. We picked up all the basics and she told me other places to go for rice presses, decorative foil, fun toothpicks for friut kakobs, silicone cups, and a million other things that I didn't even know exsisted. I came home and did exactly what anyone else in this situation would do...googled bento box! I am, in no way, creating rice balls that look like the entire cast of Sesame Street like you will see online, but I am making some progess. I decided if I was going to have to do this over the top lunch preparations for one child...I might as well do it for all three! The best part of all is that everyone is coming home with empty bento boxes everyday!

That is just a quick story of the preparations, the packing is a whole different story! I think I finally have it down!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

These Are a the Days We Will Remember

Well, here I am up at 4:00 am on Saturday, January 26, 2013. Any other Saturday, being up this early would be a crime, and for most everyone else in the world this is just another day, but not for me! Today is the day that I start living my dream. I'm not sure the exact time or circumstance when this dream was planted in my heart, but it's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. In about an hour, I get to wake my family up and start a brand new chapter. A chapter and an adventure that will change our
lives forever.

Aiden asked me so sweetly yesterday why I wanted to go to Japan. I told him that it had always been my dream to be able to travel and see different parts of the world. Then he asked the most perfect question with such curiosity and sincerity, he said, "Well how did you get your dream to come true?" I suddenly felt like the luckiest person in the whole world. There I was getting to have a conversation with my child about how I have been able to live my dream. This is a conversation that I never had with my mom, and I am sure she didn't have with hers. I chose my words carefully because somehow I felt like what I was about to share with him could be the seeds that plant a dream in his own heart.

I told him all the people that have helped me along my journey, the people that God gave me at just the right moment. I wanted him to know that I have been blessed with people who have seen possibility and potential in me, even when I couldn't see it in myself. These are the people who invested themselves in me, shared their gifts and passion, and inspired me to become better and stronger.

I told him that I had to work hard, and that I made a lot of hard choices and sacrifices. I wanted him to know that though I had people who believed in me, most importantly, I had to believe in myself. I had to know that all the choices that I was making were the right ones for me.

Finally, I told him about the two people that taught me that life is far too short not to dream big dreams. I told him how proud his Nanny and Pop would be of all of us. I know that they would be so proud of me for not only being offered this opportunity, but having the courage to accept it. I told him that they will be so proud of his dad for the sacrifices he is making so that we can all have this experience together, and that they would be so proud of him for his excitement and eagerness to try something new.

Oh, what I would give to know that they know what we are doing today! I couldn't have made it here without them.

To say that I am humbled by this opportunity is the understatement of the century. I honestly can't believe that someone believes that I have enough talent to share that is worth moving me and my family around the world to share it!

So, here I go living my dream!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

We Have Entered The Lame Duck Phase

It's crazy to think that at right this moment in 3 more weeks we will be checked in at the airport ready to begin our trip to Japan! This last week has gone by so quickly. I went back to work on Wednesday and enjoyed a quiet few days to wrap up several projects. Most everyone on my team was still on leave so I had lots of time (free of meetings) to clean out my cubicle (see picture below) and work on my transition plan. We have 21 days total, and hopefully I only have 9 work days left (if the leave I requested gets approved).

This is what puts us in the "lame duck" status. We have made significant progress towards preparing for our new life in Japan, however, we are still living in our old life here. We are going to the same jobs, coming home to the same (although nearly empty) house, doing the same routines, but, all the while, knowing that nearly everything about our lives is about to change drastically. The "lame duck" phase is really bittersweet. We are so excited and thinking constantly about what our new life will be like, however, we have to keep living in our old one. I've also noticed how other people seem to view me as a "lame duck" as well. It feels like some people in my life have already begun to sort of separate themselves from me as if I'm already gone. I don't think it's ill intentioned, it's probably just a natural response to dealing with separation. It's just going to make these last 21 days a little more awkward with some people.

Here is the Maggie update....
Updating this part of my life is really what kept me from blogging all week. I decided, after adding up all the potential expense (possibly close to $2,000) that bringing Maggie was not going to be an option for us. We would be In a different situation if our house had rented or sold and if we just had a little more time. 45 days is not a lot to be making these serious life decisions. This was such a hard reality to except. I had to keep reminding myself that living in another country has been my dream for as long as I can remember and that I can't expect it to come without sacrifice. To keep the story short, God blessed me with a wonderful couple who was actually able to take Maggie and Max. I never even considered the possibility of them getting to stay together, so that was really a blessing. To try to ease the transition and pain on the kids, I treated them to a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop. We told the man that was helping us why we were there, and he actually gave each of the kids a free bear! It was a really hard start to the new year for me, but I got through it and I know Maggie and Max are going to be better because of it. Their new mom offered to be my Facebook friend, so we will be able to keep and touch and see pictures of them and their new adventure.

Two other big events this week were getting our house officially on the market (in the "sign in the yard" sort of way) and the kids visiting Dr. Elam, their pediatrician, for the last time. Whew, what a week!

Here are the things that are hot on my to-do list at the moment:

- Find 10 suitcases (yes...10! We can each have 2, and what we take with us in the plane could be all we have for at least a month)! I'm going "Goodwill" hunting today with Sandy, so hopefully we will get lucky!
- Build a "travel" kit for the kids on the plane. I want to do a little more research on some ideas, but I'm thinking a DVD player, movies, cards, coloring books, etc.
- Get comfy clothes for everyone to travel in. 14 hours is a LONG time to be in the same clothes.
- Research the best ways to avoid Jet Lag!