Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh, japan.

We are finally starting our lives in Japan.  Honestly- the last 6-8 weeks have been so fast and so busy- I'm not sure what to do with myself.  I need to blog about our adventures between Ohio and Japan- but those will have to wait.  

I feel like Kent has been on vacation since the beginning of June!  which has been WONDERFUL! but- when life gets back to normal next week with a real work schedule- it will take some adjusting.  Right now he has to go in to work- but usually only the mornings or for a training of some sort.  He starts seeing patients again in a week.

We arrived on base about 9 days ago!   the flight was actually almost perfect.  Our kids were SO SO great. honestly- it could not have gone better (unless we'd flown first class!).  And actually- seats on the rotator (military flight) are all business class- so we had plenty of room! and the flight was only 9 hrs and 24 minutes!  I was planning for much longer.   plus- we landed ON the base so we didn't have to wait in any crazy lines or deal with crazy customs.  

Adjusting to the time change (14 hours!!!) was BRUTAL.  luckily- it only last 4-5 days.  But those days were pretty miserable.  We felt like the walking dead.  
the kids were up by 2:30 and wanting to play or watch movies.  I'm pretty sure it was our stomachs that woke us up.  I was starving constantly. all day long I felt like lead.  my head hurt.  it was rotten.
this morning- nobody got up earlier than 6:15!  and we all stayed awake last night until 8 or later! that is pretty amazing.  

Our very first night here we went to dinner with Kent's sponsor.  Every military member gets another military member already here to help 'adjust', pick us up from the terminal, get situated, etc.  Our sponsor is an internal medicine doc.  He and his wife have been wonderful.  
We went to an authentic Japanese Dinner where we sat on the floor with no shoes!  Metta loved it.  She even ate with chopsticks.  
the boys were both out cold the entire time!  they don't remember any of it.
 That first weekend I also went and checked out 'Joyful Honda'- a giant super store nearby.  The produce here is CRAZY expensive.  1980 yen (approx $19.80) for ONE POUND of grapes!!!  I found a seven dollar peach!  ONE PEACH!  it was shocking.  luckily- the base grocery store is cheaper- and I can shop markets where things aren't so outrageous!!

the male/female signs here crack me up.  
since I wake up so early- I've been trying to get out and run in the mornings!  it is still WAY too hot and humid at 5- but running helps me feel normal and less stressed.  Plus- running in a new place is exciting.  I get to run along/across the flight line and that's pretty cool.  I really need some workout buddies!!  I miss my YMCA so much.
 This is where we stayed our first seven nights here.  It's the temporary lodging while we waited for our place to be ready.  We were on the third floor and the kids loved using the elevators every day.
 We spent a lot of time riding the (sporadic) base shuttle around to try and sort out our lives. We didn't get driver's licenses or our car until we'd been here a week- so it was really tough that first week. and I was pretty exhausted and grumpy.  The humidity here is outrageous.  Luckily- ohio helped us acclimate a little bit. But hauling around three super tired kids in the insane heat on foot is not for the weary!  I think now that we've gotten past that first week- it can only get better and easier!!
We are all moved in to our place- I'll post pics soon- and we are sleeping much better.  We have loaner furniture that isn't too shabby.  we also ended up getting loaner linens (no blankets or pillow, though because they are out!), loaner silverware and dishes, and lightbulbs to light our house.  I only mention all of those things because we had to track them down separately in different buildings from different departments. the lightbulbs had their own building.  It's insane.  The government invented the wild goose chase.

A super nice thing about the base is the plethora of playgrounds.  they are on EVERY corner and in EVERY nook and cranny.  it's pretty amazing.  and if it weren't so hot- we'd spend all of our time on them :)
 Yesterday- Saturday- was our first real day.  we were moved in- had our car- and got internet and phones.  Cell phones and internet (along with grapes) will be our biggest expense adjustment here!  they are a ton more expensive!  luckily on top of kent's salary- we get a few hundred dollars a month as a 'COLA' (cost of living adjustment) to help offset the difference.  I'm kind of a cheapskate- so the prices increases have been hard to swallow!!

We had a church picnic yesterday morning at 8AM for Pioneer Day (mormon holiday!)!  since we are up at 5:30 anyway- it was perfect timing -although already terribly humid.  the kids got soaking wet to deal with it.

It's been so great to see the kids find friends and play.  I know this has been pretty hard on them and I love that they can make friends so easily.

 Zeb was over it after about an hour and a half.  Have I mentioned how humid it is?!
 we ventured off base and to a giant store called "seiyu" after lunch.  It's walmart. really.  they have walmart brands and walmart bags.  and you can use your walmart credit card.  Best of all- their produce was decently priced!!  and the 'people of walmart' aren't nearly as scary as in the states!!  Check out metta's little stroller thingy.  it was pretty fun.
 Zeb was dying to eat some teriyaki chicken and he was impressed!
 we also found a cell phone store on the street and signed our lives- along with our firstborn- away!!  So many places here have areas for kids to play.  it's HEAVENLY.  our kiddos were just happy too see toys and have A/C.  they were entertained the entire hour we were there.
 Zeb was pretty impressed with himself finding waldo in japan.  It's much harder when waldo speaks japanese, I guess.

we got some fresh fruit at the market while kent practiced his Japanese skills.  He really is such a proficient language learner.  I'm impressed.  He's reading a ton already and speaking well!  we plan on trying to be off base a lot to practice!
 While wandering around- we found a mini parade for the summer festival.
there were a few floats and lots of Japanese people giving us the peace sign :)  we look very touristy, I'm sure. Although I fit in nicely with my giant nikon camera around my neck!!

 here is an example of their streets.  this is two way. and SO SKINNY! driving is terrifying.  In fact- I haven't tried yet.  I make kent drive!!  it's the wrong side of the road!  and the steering wheel is on the right side!!  eeeeek.

We finished off the weekend with church today.  Our building is three stories- the top floor is the main meeting room!  The meetinghouse is just outside the base gates and the congregation is really pretty big.  About a hundred kids in primary (3-11) and as many adults!  It's really fabulous to have a built in community on top of the military one.

I can't wait to explore more and try out more food!!  our adventures are just beginning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ohio has my heart.

I've been busy and tired and sick and just too emotionally on edge to put this post together.  but, it's time now.
I'm sitting in our temporary house here in Japan.  Kent is at work. I've drugged metta so she'll take a nap now and not fall asleep at 3PM only to reawake at 2AM!  the boys are busy reading their books from the Japanese library :)
and I'm sifting through pics from my last couple of weeks in dayton- trying not to be a blubbering mess. pregnancy hormones and jet lag are NOT helping the cause.

My life has always been wonderful.  and it's been made wonderful by the people who have filled it. My three short years in Dayton were some of the hardest of my life thus far- but certainly three of the very best.  I learned a lot of lessons there. I grew in so many ways. I am a better person now.

here's a grainy cell phone shot of just a few of the many superb people I call friends.  We had a giant farewell dinner and laughed and laughed and laughed.   These people are my family.  They took care of me (and my kids) when we needed it most. we spent holidays with them. birthdays. and just regular days.  we shared laughs, tears, workouts, and lots of food together!  It's amazing how important good friends become when you are so far away from family.

Several of them are friends from church. and my last Sunday was so traumatic for me.  we literally drove away from church to head out.  I cried and cried and cried. Our kids cried and cried.  It was a pretty dramatic way to leave.

 Before we left- a friend gifted me with this little yearbook of sorts.  It has pictures of all of our friends and their families.  Metta still won't put it down.  She asks to read it every day.

Our last couple of weeks in dayton were CRAZY!!  prepping to move, cleaning, packing, partying, and trying to make every last minute count!  we had so many great parties.

Our friends SAVED us those last two weeks. Well over 40 hours of volunteer time was put in helping watch our kids, clean our house, help with yard work, and clean our car.

If you know me- you know I am not the tidiest person.  If we got stranded in the mountains in our van - we could survive for two weeks off crumbs alone.

We had to clean it SPOTLESS to prep it for long term storage.  Our friends - the moellers- spent way too many hours helping us with it :)  Thanks Heather and Ryan.  You are saints for sure.

 How do people survive without great friends?!  Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you! to every person that helped out!  it means more to me than you will ever know.

Metta and her best pal, cora. these two are HYSTERICAL.  the craziest little tag team you've ever seen.  I miss that little cora so so much. And I know that metta does, too.

The entire three years I spent in Dayton- I worked at the YMCA teaching spin, tabata, and boot camp classes.  The people at the YMCAs in Ohio are some of the most fabulous people you'll ever meet.  One of my very best friends from the Y- Diana- put together a giant Sayonara party for me.

Diana is one of those people who change your life!  she taught me so much as an instructor and person.  She is kind and loving and just plain fun!  and I miss her and her workouts every single day!!  thanks, diana!!

the workout ladies :)

 mary and her daughter!
 It's amazing how the people you work out alongside become such a part of your life!  you become so accustomed to their faces and smiles!  I really really miss my workout buddies!  thanks to every one of you who listened to my life as we ran alongside each other and sweat it out.  Running and venting has got to be one of my biggest stress relievers :)
 here we are after one of my favorite classes- Cardio Circuit.  hot, sweaty, and happy!

and this picture KILLS me.  Jeri is metta's other mom.  She has taken care of metta since she was BORN!  she has held her, rocked her, fed her, changed her diapers, disciplined her, taught her to speak, and LOVED her so so much.  Leaving the ymca child care for the last time was so so hard for me.  They loved my kids so much.  such wonderful people.  Mr. Trevor in the background is metta's other best pal in the childcare.  She calls him 'stinky trevor'.  These people really did love my kids like their own.

 We had a giant backyard barbecue before we left to celebrate summer.  I hope my kids' last memory of Ohio is this night!  we did sparklers, played in the water, caught fireflies, and ate and talked for hours.

 we borrowed this super amazing slide from friends.  it was a hit!
 As much as I hated the weeding and yard work- I miss our backyard already!!

 my kiddos made such good friends in ohio!  hopefully one day they can be facebook friends or college roommates or pen pals!

 every kid ought to spend summer nights catching fireflies!!

 metta loved holding them!

Pretty sad picture, huh?  metta kept crying as they loaded stuff up. "where's my bed?! where's my bed?!".  It was so cute.

I could go on and on and post pictures forever- but enough is enough.  I love you Ohio.  I love you Ohio friends.  the past seven years were wonderful!!

Driving under this sign was just another reason to cry again. ugh.  moving sucks. leaving best friends is like ripping little pieces of your heart out. Ohio still has many many pieces of my heart,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

our lasts of Summer in Ohio.

Sometimes when I'm sitting too still- little tears well up in my eyeballs.  That's why I'm trying to run myself ragged with tasks and friends and work!  How is it that time can move so quickly??  even when you feel like you've just had three of the hardest years of your life?!

Here is an overview of just a few of the things we've been doing.  I didn't even get any pics of the world cup USA game party we went to!  or kent's resident barbecue.

Ike has been begging for 's'mores at the millers' one more time before we head out.   These are those 'other millers' I'm always blogging about.  Such wonderful friends.  

It's amazing how living so far away from actual family can help you rely so heavily on other people to create a support system.  I have the MOST amazing group of friends that I consider family.  I would NOT have survived without them.  
 Metta is going to have MAJOR withdrawals when we move.  eek.  I'm sad for her.

Enjoying our favorite spots- and checking out all of the spots we never got around to!

This park in Beavercreek, OH- is pretty awesome.  Wax paper under your buns on this thing makes you go pretty insane fast!  even Kent had some fun!

Don't mind metta's ridiculous pig pants and tinkerbell top.  She's such a cat lady.


And some pics of the run from our house this past weekend.  Somehow there was a record LOW for temps on Saturday.  47 degrees when we started our run!  I REALLY wanted one last longish outdoor run before we left Ohio.  I have been running here for SEVEN years now.  I am going to miss the green and the rivers and the bridges SO MUCH.  these pics are just a couple miles from our house!
 We put in 11 miles while Kent used up his saturday morning watching seven crazy kids!  thanks, kent.