Saturday, November 10, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Today I am thankful for FRIDAYS! I mean, everyone loves Friday because it means the weekend is coming...but I love Fridays because of my agenda on most fridays. After taking the kids to school, I mosey over to the Starbucks and meet up with friends for coffee (or chai latte in this case). Then after hanging out for a while I head to the OClub for a little Mah Jongg. We play for hours, sometimes have lunch there and keep playing, or sometimes head home a little early to get a nap in or run errands. On the 3rd Friday of the month I have my Peace Lily Culture Group that I love! I am booked solid with volunteer duties for YOSC or school stuff or family obligations from Sat-Thursday...but Fridays are MY day. :-)
Tonight I am super thankful for my English classes that I teach. Every Thursday night, I drive off base (about 15 mins) and meet with 10-15 Japanese adults. They are very high-level English speaking and also highly educated. They listen to a 3 minute segment of the AP News and translate/dictate what they think is being said. They each take turns and read a few sentences and then I read what is actually being said. We discuss any vocabulary issues (i.e. snarled), phrases they don't understand ('politics make for strange bedfellows'), and the topic in general (the news segments are from a week prior so they have a week to translate, look up words, etc...so tonight we spoke about Hurricane Sandy mostly, with a little pre-election paragraphs too). I need to do research before class so it keeps me up on current world topics and I also get to learn a lot about the Japanese views on Americans, as well as their views on their own country. It is truly the best culture exchange as we are open and honest with great dialogue - even if our views are not the same. I think I get as much out of it as they do! I also privately teach a sweet lady on Mondays. We have become very close and she is one of my favorite people in Japan :-) She has shown significant improvement in her English as well, so I am thankful I could be part of her learning!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Today I am thankful for a good example my parents (and Patrick's parents) set for both of us growing up. We were taught to work hard, be proud of our achievements, and that we were not entitled to anything without earning it. Both of us had jobs at 16 years old and held part time ones through college. Even though we were fortunate that our parents paid for most of college (from hard earned money that they worked for), we still had to earn good grades, contribute back to society, and learn how to live on our own. We were able to find careers we were passionate about. We loved working and enjoyed the benefits of our hard work. We also learned valuable lessons about saving money, being on a budget, and not being codependent on anybody else. We never expected instant success and we knew it was something that needed to be earned. Both of us took jobs with salaries well below our friends because we knew we could work hard and get to places we wanted to be in a profession we enjoyed. And we both succeeded. We both watched our parents' faces light up when we graduated...from our universities, from our MBAs, from medical school and lastly, from residency. They were proud of our achievements - but I think more than anything, proud that they raised children WITHOUT entitlement. Children who appreciated their successes. Children who would be a positive influence in society. Now that we are parents, we hope we are instilling these virtues in Gavin and Evelyn. We try to teach them responsibility to help themselves, to help others and to help others help themselves. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." We want them to work hard and have positive reinforcements....because it is prideful. It always feels better to earn something on your own than to be given it. They have a piggy bank (from Edward Jones financial) that has multiple slots in it for spending now, donating to charity and saving for the future. No matter what the results from the election, I KNOW we will always be hard workers. We will always care about our value in society. We will always strive to be helpful and charitable. We will always care more about our 'things' because they are ours and were not handed to us without earning it. We will value our time and resources and hope that someday our children will understand how important it is to instill these attributes in their children, just as Patrick and I are understanding it now.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Today I am thankful for having friends in the medical field. Not that we expect any extra attention, or super powers....but it is nice to be able to talk to people on a real level, text them anytime with questions or concerns, send an xray to them from 8000 miles away, etc. We all know how scary any medical procedure can be, so I am thankful when friends can put you at ease. Today, for example, Patrick had his wisdom teeth pulled. Our good friend Kyle was the surgeon to do it. I picked Patrick up and took him home - but realized I had a bazillion questions to ask him. So I grabbed my iphone and started texting so I could get some quick answers :-) Fortunately, he was able to text back right away and spell out everything I needed to know. Unfortunately, Patrick (and most doctors) are the worst patients, but I was able to get him to eat something, take his meds and go to sleep!!! This has happened on many occasions (I owe my pediatrician friend Anita a million dollars with the amount of phone calls about my children)...So thank you to all our physician and dental friends out there who have helped us in one way or another!!!
Today I am thankful for being able to find a good hair stylist wherever I move! I know this is a silly, selfish one...but all the ladies know what I am talking about. It took a good year every time I moved somewhere new to find someone, but once I did... I latched on! I was fortunate enough to start in college with my good friend, Leigh, who followed her passion to beauty school. I was a faithful clients for years until I moved away to Ohio. I would even make the 7 hour drive back to PA sometimes - just because I needed some color. Then, I serendipidly (I think I made up that word) met Lindsey. We had mutual friends and her hubby started shadowing Patrick at work and in talking I found out that she worked at a hip hair salon across town! SCORE! But then she had to move away (so said hubby could go to med school) and then I was introduced to another Lindsey...so I didn't skip a beat :-) Another fun, awesome stylist who took care of me. The hardest transition in hair care came when I moved to Japan. The salon on base was less than optimal (from reviews around base) but I tried it and did not like. And I even tried the Aveda salon off base (which was a HUGE fail that left me with greenish grey hair that got covered up with orange). And then, an angel sent from Heaven appeared in Dusty (Urban Girl Hair Design). A friend had recommended her, and then as I saw the hair color of a few of my friends DRAMATICALLY improve... I knew I had to have her. It has been a year now and I still <3 her. She is booked beyond belief (#1 because she is the only licensed stylist on base and #2 because she is wickedly cool and #3 because she does amazing hair) so I am grateful that I am able to get an appointment (at least for the time being :-)!
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Day 4 is full of thanks for electronic-free fun!!! Although I swear my kids learned to read and write from their leapfrog's and ds's...I am very grateful for old school fun of playing outdoors. Kick the can, flashlight tag, hunting for signs of the raccoon dogs, archery, roller coastering on golf carts, playgrounds, hiking, exploring, tossing a football or frisbee, biking....the list could go on.
Sorry for the late post - but this weekend we went to one of our favorite places around here, Tama Hills, for a great weekend getaway. Patrick was to race in the 30th Annual Tour De Tama mountain bike race on Saturday morning (along with some of our friends) so we got cabins on Friday and Saturday nights to make it a fun adventure! Since it is in the woods - we didn't get any wifi or internet...so I couldn't post until now. It was great since we all went electronics free (except for the occasional iphone check when we could get a signal :-)! So....without further adieu.....my thankful lists day 3 and 4 (separate post): Day 3 I am thankful for weekend getaways! Whether just our family, with friends, or expended family...I love a chance to get away from our normal routine. Patrick REALLY needed to get away ASAP and this weekend did not disappoint! Friday night: