Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1 year

We have officially been living in Japan for a year now.  3 months into this tour, I felt like it was never going to end.  Now, I can't believe it's going by so fast!

Today marks 1 year of

*living in a foreign country
*being 8,000 miles away from friends and family
*squatting to pee in public restrooms
*living on a military base
*not understanding a word of what 90% of people around me are saying {I'm fixing this, I start Japanese lessons next week!}
*having access to some of the best public transportation in the world
*eating super fresh sushi
*being taller than 90% of people around me
*seeing movies a week or more after everyone else
*near daily adventures with my husband
*using chopsticks daily
*"hai", "konichiwa", "arigato"
*getting to know some awesome Japanese ladies
*driving on the left side of the road
*teaching English
*shopping online
*being 28 (I can't believe I'm going to be 29 in a few days!)
*feeling massively out of the loop
*not being able to stream movies/tv shows
*missing birthdays/weddings/holidays
*exploring a new country
*trying new foods
*life without our favorite American restaurants
*100 Yen finds
*eating the freshest Fuji apples!  YUM!

and it's been one of the best years of my life!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I've been home for almost a week now, thinking about what to write in this post.  I am not good with words so I think I will just let my photos do the speaking.

The work was difficult, mentally and physically but we also found some time to enjoy ourselves as well

Hopefully Ofunato hasn't seen the last of me.  I'm planning on returning a few more times between now and November to do some more hard work and meet more amazing people!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Only me

My mom and grandmother have always said to me "only you". Seriously, sometimes the craziest stuff happens to me. Today {1st of all, I had a post scheduled for today and I have no clue where it is} I attempted to make my way to Ofunato to start my week of volunteer work.

Here I am, all packed and ready to go {I officially suck at "pack light"}

Unfortunately, I didn't make it that far. I was supposed to get into Ichinoseki by Shinkansen {bullet train} and have over an hour to change to a local bus that would take me to Ofunato. The transportation system here is notorious for being on time. Not today. APPARENTLY, I have been unable to confirm this, someone committed suicide by jumping in front of my train. I truly hope that is not the case but unfortunately it does happen quite frequently here. After stopping twice, for about 2 hours total, I knew I wasn't going to make the last bus to Ofunato. Upon arrival in Ichinoseki, thanks to some awesome translation skills by a total stranger, I was refunded 1/2 of my train ticket price and set out in search of a hotel. It's times like these I REALLY wish I had taken the time to learn more Japanese {I start private lessons in 2 weeks but I should have stared a year ago!}. After 2 "no"s and a taxi ride {my 1st in Japan} I found a hotel with a vacant room and I'm about to crash for the night. Tomorrow I will, God willing, take a bus to Ofunato and then the real fun begins!

~ Posted from my iPhone

Friday, August 12, 2011

don't give up on me

Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten about my blog, I've just been too busy to post lately.  We spent 12 glorious days in Australia...

enjoying picture perfect views

 exploring a rain forest

snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

holding aligators

feeding kangaroos

holding koalas

enjoying more picture perfect views

whale watching

visiting national treasures

and just being over all rock stars

7 hours after we returned to Japan (the journey from Australia to Japan is a whole other blog post for another day), our local VBS started and I spent all week taking photos of super cute children while they worshiped Jesus.

  It was AWESOME but exhausting!  I'm so glad to relax for a few days...but only a few days.  Then, next week, I'm heading to Ofunato, Japan to help All Hands with their tsunami clean up efforts.

I stole this photo from their facebook page to show you what the area still looks like 5 months after the deadly tsunami swept through the town.

Obviously there is still TONS & TONS of work to be done and I'm glad I am able to help out.  I don't know how much internet access I'll have there, other than my iPhone, so I probably won't post again until the end of the month.

Thanks for sticking with me!