Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wow, It's Almost June!!

Sorry for the silence these last few months.  I knew they would fly by.  Last March we were talking about all that was on the calendar for the next few months.  We had a home leave trip planned for April for two weeks.  The following week I was helping decorate for another wedding at our church.  Four days after that we had guests arriving.  They left today and now in two more weeks our oldest daughter and son-in-law come for a two week visit.  We blinked and the time has flown by.  Soon, too soon, it will be the end of June and we will have only two more months in Japan.  

I'm trying to take it all in.  There are goodbye lunches, dinners and picnics being held every weekend it seems.  All the while there is still uncertainty about what happens once we get home.  We are just trying to take things one day and a time.  What good does it do to worry too much about it. God always seems to have another plan.  It's usually superior to our own anyway.  

Here are a few photos from our recent months.

We went on a couple of hikes around our house.  It's an entirely different kind of beauty in comparison to Japan.  But, everywhere you look, there is something gorgeous.  

This is the only part of the garden that looked good.  So much work to do when we return!
Do you remember this place?  It's been awhile hasn't it?
I came back to help this lovely lady get married.  I was sweet and simple, but still took a lot of work.  What a blessing to be able to contribute to this special occasion.  

Our guests arrived soon after and we hit the ground running.  They are from Malaysia and she was one of our foreign exchange students that we hosted several years ago.  We hadn't seen each other in 12 years.  The sensei really gave us some special treatment and took us to his favorite lunch place.  

Last Friday I got a message asking if I wanted to go with my photography group to the fish market early in the morning. My company was so excited so we headed out at about 5:30 am. This was definitely not my normal environment for photography but it was very fun and quite a learning experience.   

He's using the longest knife I have ever seen. 

They went off and did their own thing in Kyoto and Osaka for a few days.  Such great kids and so helpful and considerate.  When they returned, we visited the Aquarium.  My husband hadn't been there yet either.  Along with it was the Fuji Antarctic Exploration Vessel that was in commission for 18 years.  

With that I'm going to swim off and go eat some Mexican food.  Yes, we have one good Mexican restaurant here.  Basically it's a bar with about 4 tables, but that's beside the point.  Until next time. . . 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Shift

There is a shift in the air.  Expat life is mostly fun and amazing as you have probably noticed. What I don't mention often is when it's frustrating or downright difficult. Expat life is full of goodbyes.  It seems like many we have met or gotten close to have left or are leaving before we do.  Thankfully there are a few close friends that will be here till after we leave.  We are in a season of goodbyes.  Matane means "see ya later".  A Matane party is a goodbye party.  They are bittersweet.

I have one young friend leaving at the beginning of April.  She asked me and "S" to take pictures of her and her daughter in kimonos.  "S" is a much more experienced photographer than I am.  It was super fun to watch how she works a portrait shoot and especially how she handles a toddler.  I don't think I want to do portrait photography, but I really did enjoy it.  Although I felt inadequate and was sure nothing was going to turn out.  I thought I'd show you some of my favorites.  As you can tell, I prefer more candid shots.  This little one looks just like her daddy.

There were also amazing Ume trees (plums) blooming, so I got a few pictures of those while I was there.  This is our last Spring in Japan and I want to savor every moment of it. Ken and I will be traveling to Kyoto and Hiroshima at the end of March which should be beautiful this time of year.  

This week I went to another Matane party for my two young friends that are leaving.  It was a Karaoke party with toddlers!  It was really fun and again, I took my camera. Oh yeah, there were Moms there too.  

 I can't even get enough of this cuteness!
Goodbyes are hard.  I treasure these sweet friends.  Thankfully, I will see some of them again because we will be moving from California to Texas when we return.  Many are going to the same place.  If you've followed me here long enough you'll realize that this means we will be selling our beautiful home and relocating.  That is a hard one.  But, no matter how we plan our days, they don't usually end up the way we think.  God has much better plans than we can ever dream of.  So we are trusting in His direction one step at a time.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 20, 2017

I know you've done this.

I know you've done this.  We've done it too.  Many Japanese who live by us have never seen some of the things I've seen in this last year and a half.  I remember when we lived in Southeast Texas many, many years ago.  It was our first move away from home and we thought we'd be there about two years.  Nine months later my husband was given a promotion and we would be moving to South Dakota. We had two weeks. It was a huge wake up call.  We hadn't done a thing in the area.  We hadn't driven around to see Galveston, we hadn't driven to Houston.  We had just set up house and gone about our business.  Often it takes having company to go see interesting things around your home.  Stop that, right now!  Enjoy where you live.  Take the time to investigate all it has to offer.  Go on day trips in your local area.  Check out the parks, museums, events and even the aquarium!

My friend took me to the aquarium in Nagoya in January.  You may have seen some of the photos on Facebook or Instagram.  It's super hard to narrow it down here.  I think I almost love the people, especially children, more than the actually sea animals.  Take the little tour in no particular order. 

 This is a new one for me.
 "who are you looking at?"

 Play ball!

 "ichi, ni, san, chizu"

 You just never know what you'll see!

Lesson learned. I'm heading out Wednesday for hopefully an amazing location.  I'll keep you posted! 


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