Thursday, July 29, 2010

flower box

In front of our house there is a cute little area for flowers. The last people let theirs go and it was pretty yucky looking - so the kids and I picked out some pretty flowers and planted them this morning. So much nicer to look at!

***Sorry the one picture is upside down...i can't figure out how to change it!

i hope the feeling stays...

We have been so overwhelmed by so many things that it has been hard to stop and appreciate a lot of our new surroundings. Today, Patrick and I had to take a mandatory driving course. It was about 3 1/2 hours long, and at the end there was a pretty tough exam (open book though) that you have to pass to become a 'professional driver'. One of the cool things the base has to offer is 20 hours of free babysitting per kid (with licensed providers). Luckily, one was available to watch the kids so Patrick and I could attend the same class. There are a lot of rules, strange signs, customs and courtesies, and plain OPPOSITE things to learn that what we are used to. The funniest is that their emergency number is 119. We both passed the test (I got a 100%) and then we were off to buy our car. We had to finagle getting enough cash out to buy the car in cash (since we don't belong to any of the banks on base), then Patrick had to get insurance on it and submit for registration. We should be able to have the car by 3:00pm tomorrow...just enough time to take it on our first adventure in Japan!!!

The power is schedule to be off for 20 hours on Saturday. Do you know how bad that sucks? Refrigerated items will be ruined, the house will be so hot and humid and we need to find things to entertain us. So our friends invited us to a recreation park called Tama Hills 45 mins from here. It is still Yokota property, but has a hotel and cabins you can rent along with a nice golf course, horseback riding, mini golf, fishing, camping, etc. So we will drive down Friday night, have dinner and wake up to enjoy all their festivities. At the end of the day we will drive back home and hopefully have power :-) And it only costs $55!

But, as my title suggests...I really hope the excited feeling I have over certain things will last. Like walking out my back door and seeing mountain ranges (and on a clear day - Mt Fuji). Seeing 3 cargo military planes flying right over our heads about to land, feeling their rumble. Looking out my kitchen window and seeing 'Cherry Blossom Lane" - our street is literally lined on both sides with cherry blossom trees. Although they are not in bloom right now, the trees are still beautiful green arching monuments. It makes for a beautiful walk...when we can slow down and take the time to appreciate it :-)

So once our nerves settle, and we settle...I hope to appreciate all these little things. I know this can and will be an amazing experience (it already has been) but I hope to have an open and happy heart to accept the journey that will be put in front of us!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a few more pics...

My pretty flowers to make me feel happy

Our little coffee pot to get us through until ours arrives!

G&E before swimming

The biggest pain in the house was the stairs. They HURT your feet...

problem solved! Japanese stair rugs :-)

First playgroup (and some other details)

Last night, we hitched a ride (again) from our amazing sponsors, Michele and Andy. I hate saying the word sponsor because it makes me feel like we are part of AA. But...anyway, that is what they are referred to here. Sponsors. So they took us to the commisary (grocery shopping), the BX (like a mini Walmart) and the cell phone store. We have been researching a ton about what phone provider to go with and ended up choosing the one on base that offers the IPhone4. We both got one - which ended up being free when you sign onto a 2-year contract. And the total monthly bill for 2 phones (calls, texts, data, web - unlimited in Japan) will be $100. For BOTH phones total! That is cheaper than our Verizon bill was + free IPhone4s + unlimited usage. We are pretty excited! We still have our US numbers - but they are on a military suspend. We will activate them anytime we come home to visit - so we will still have the same numbers. But for now, we will have some kick a** IPhone4s. And we can take the SIM card out when we go back to the US and use it there like an Itouch (for all those tech savvy people that know what I am talking about).

Anyway, I also got a ton of groceries so we can actually eat like normal, not junk food all day. I got the basics to fill the pantry (sugar, flour, oil, etc) as well as 4 dinner ingredients. And all lunch and breakfast items too. And my whole bill was $150. It was 2 cart-fuls. I love it!!! I also picked up some things at the BX - an ironing board, coffee maker, light bulbs...all things that will get here in a few weeks when our big shipment arrives - but things we needed now also. I hated spending the extra money - but we can always donate them when we get our shipment. And of course, I got some flowers to make it feel prettier in our home.

This morning, Michele took us to a playgroup at a Japanese swimming pool. This place was so awesome. It had so many areas for young kids to play. There was a 3 foot pool (the entire pool was 3 ft), a water slide into shallow water, a lazy river that was 1 ft high with a huge padded mountain in the middle (the kids used ropes to help climb up and then roll down), etc. There were many rules (no jewelry at all, no cameras (boo), no sun glasses) but the entire day only cost 400yen (about $5). Gavin said it was his most fun day in Japan yet. There were also lots of other kids in the group and I got to meet some new moms.

One of the nicest encounters was with a woman who turned out to be Mormon. For those who know, I was very close to many Mormons in Ohio and have a great admiration and love for them. They joked that I would end up being friends with lots of Mormons "because they are everywhere :-)". And it's true, I loved meeting this woman (who reminded me exactly of my friends in OH) and am going to playgroup with them tomorrow. And the weirdest 'coincident' was that her best friend just moved to Columbus because her hubby is a DO in anesthesia. So I will help her network in OH.

Now it is time to keep cleaning and putting away boxes. This was ur small shipment and is taking forever to put away. I can't imagine what the big shipment will be like!!?!?!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh happy day!

Our 'unaccompanied baggage' arrived this morning! The kids bave been so addicted to the DS, Wii and Leapsters (since that is all the entertainment we had here for a while) and they were so exited to get their toys!!! They threw down their gaming systems and jumped into their own playthings. Evelyn stripped down immediately (in front of the Japanese movers - which I think is considered a no-no here) to put on her princess gowns and Gavin has got his batman fort all set up! Thank goodness :-)

borrowed items

Our living room - lovely green couches

Our bedroom

Our first dinner in our house...Pizza Hut

Gavin's room
Since our main shipment will not get here for a few weeks, we had to borrow furniture from the base. They had such an organized process...even the little japanese guys bringing it were orderly. And they ran between bringing in items. Can you believe that?!?!? Instead of the guys in America who smoked every 15 minutes and told me stories of how bad their life is, we got super hard working guys who would not accept a tip since this was part of their job description. But I digress.

It is fun to document this part - because we are so out of control of everything. We need to rely on so many people to help make our lives 'normal'. We had to borrow sheets from Michele and Andy, borrow furniture from the base, and get rides to the store to buy essentials (t.p., milk, etc). It is so humbling and we are so appreciative.

Here are some pics of our house as is right now. Tomorrow, our first shipment will get here with our linens and towels, toys and books, tv, utensils, etc. It will be nice to have OUR things around.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

day 3

The outside of the mall

playing thomas basketball

playing whack-an-alligator
Today was pretty relaxing for the most part. The kids and I woke up around 3:30am (we went to bed at 6:30pm) and just chilled out around the hotel room. This jet lag thing is really awful. If it were just Patrick and I, we could probably fight it. But the kids have to listen to their little bodies and sleep when needed. I forced them today to take a long nap again so we can stay up a bit later tonight. Hopefully this will be the worst of it.

Regardless, it was a mellow day. We took a little walk in the morning around our blocks, found the shopette (like a little convenience store), the indoor pool and even saw Mt Fuji in the distance. We got a chance to skype with MomMom and PopPop Bull which was nice, and then our long naps.

Patrick had to go to the uniform store and get some new fatigues, boots and blues. When he got back, Michele and Andy took us to the local mall. Man, what a culture shock that was for us! First of all, it was HUGE!!! They had an arcade area with games for every age. They had stores I recognized (Gap, H&M, Eddie Bauer) and many unique stores that I am sure I will grow to love. There were tons and tons of people since the Japanese wrk 6 days a on sunday they go out. It is easy to see why they are fascinated with blonde haired, blue eyed people. There are NONE over there. It was easy to see the kids if they went away from us because of their 'toe heads'. People would even stop and ask to take pictures with the kids or pet their heads. Unfortunately, it was 5:30 - which felt like 4:30am to us. So the kids were less than thrilled at this attention.

We are back now for some dinner and hopefully bedtime around 7 or 7:30. Tomorrow we get our new house - so that will help get things more settled.