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Life

November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving

Food, Japan, Life

This is our third year of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike previous years where we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for all our Japanese and European friends, this year we hosted Thanksgiving for E’s Girl Scouts of America troop.

It was our troops very first Thanksgiving since it was created a year ago. Everyone brought a dish and everything was incredibly delicious. Since everyone brought something to share, I only had to cook a few things instead of the entire dinner.

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One mom read a book about the first Thanksgiving and about the pilgrims to the girls so that they could appreciate this holiday. To make this even more special, it was the first Thanksgiving in many years for some of our troop moms who have lived in Tokyo for many years. I can understand the nostalgia and the feelings of homesickness during the holidays so I was really happy we could host this special dinner for everyone.

Sometimes, I really miss being able to celebrate this holiday with my family. My family’s Thanksgiving is always a mish mash of food that ranged from Spaghetti in meat sauce to the traditional turkey to the red bean soup dessert my grandmother made every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s always a strange variety at the dinner table but it was my family’s tradition so it was always special.

Of course, even if I were to be able to celebrate with my family again, it wouldn’t be the same since my grandmother is no longer here with us.

So now it’s up to me to start my own tradition while living thousands of miles away from the rest of our family. It’s why even though it’s a lot of work every year, I want to host a Thanksgiving dinner for our friends. That is my tradition.

November 24, 2016

Here and Back Again

Family, Life, Updates

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Funny how I posted back in March but then everything went silent again.

Yea, I do that a lot these days.

To be honest, I was ready to toss in the towel with the blog. Social media is so popular and easy to use these days that I find myself posting a lot on Facebook and on Instagram. In fact, I have three instagram accounts. THREE!! I can barely keep up with those so it’s no surprise I can keep up with everything.

However, last night Jason was looking through the blog to show E some pictures from when she was younger. He ended up going through a lot of the old posts and mentioned to me how he misses reading my blog. So I thought about it and decided that maybe I should start writing again.

Time is always an issue with me since I’m always doing something and don’t have the time to edit photos and write coherent blog posts. At the same time, I think the blog has changed a lot over time. It was much simpler back then when I just wrote for us and didn’t try to get all creative and artsy with my photos. Over time I think I tried to do too much and it just burned me out.

So maybe I should just go back to the basics and just tell the story of our lives in Tokyo. There’s always something going on in our lives that’s worth recording so it’s not quite time to give up on the blog yet.

If anything else, I want to do this for Jason and for the kids. They enjoy reading the blog (well, maybe not K since she can’t read yet).

So let’s give this a go once more!

March 31, 2015

March Wrapup

Family, Life

This month has been a very active month. So much traveling around, my in-laws visiting, science fair, E’s birthday, and the end of E’s kindergarten years. It has been a good month I think.

By the way, I realized I never posted the one for February since we were in Kyoto at the time the month ended and things got so busy afterwards that it slipped my mind. So check out what our February looked like.

March 30, 2015

Time to Swap

Life, Parenthood

It’s hard to believe that in one week, E will officially be a first grader.

I’ve started pulling together all the bags and school stuff she will need from next week on. It feels a little weird to have to retire this bag that she’s used for almost 2 years

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and replace it with her brand new, yet-to-be-broken-in school bag.

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We’ve got one more week.

One more week before she starts “real” school. No more snack time. No more park time. No more home lunch.

I just hope she’ll adjust quickly or it’s going to be a long year ahead of us.

March 26, 2015

And Another Chapter Closes

Life, Parenthood

This week was E’s last week at her school. We ended our time here by taking part in the annual school science fair and the spring picnic.

First was the science fair, which happened earlier this week. This year, E’s class did a presentation on their class turtle, Alex. It wasn’t as exciting as last year since the kids didn’t actually do any science experiments but they did well talking about the turtle as a group.

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Like last year, E and I did a science experiment after the kids’ presentations. This year, we did the coloring milk experiment. The kids loved it when the dish soap reacted with the milk causing the food coloring to effervesce.

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It’s a pretty cool experiment and fairly easy to do at home as long as you have milk, food coloring, and dish soap.

Science fair is definitely one of my favorite school events because science is fun. :)

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The school’s annual spring picnic was today. It was a great way for families to get together and have a picnic before the start of spring vacation. The timing is also good for kids who are leaving the school to attend elementary at the beginning of April since it gives us a chance to say farewell to teachers and other friends in the school.

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So today, E said goodbye to some of her favorite teachers and to a lot of her friends. It was nice reminiscing with her teachers and talking about how much she has grown from when she first started the school 3 years ago.

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It’s really hard to imagine how when she first started, she wouldn’t speak a word of English, would cry every morning, and was incredibly shy and a big introvert. She’s still really shy when put on the spot, but her English is amazing and she is a lot braver and a bit more social than she was 3 years ago. Sometimes, I find it hard to believe that it’s already been 3 years.

Time really does feel like it goes by fast when you have young kids.

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It’s not just E who has come a long way since we started at her kindergarten. I feel like I’ve also come a long way myself. My first year at the school was a rough year since I was pregnant and working so I didn’t get a chance to hang out with many moms. Then, K was born and I was essentially missing in action the rest of the year.

At the first spring picnic 3 years ago, I was mostly alone with E and K. I was lucky that Yukie and Yaeko invited me to sit with them at the picnic and even offered to help me with K while I ran after E. I had really thought that I was going to spend the rest of E’s time at this school on my own.

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(Jason taking E to school for the last time since her new school is incredibly close to our apartment and he won’t need to take her on the bike anymore.)

But our second year at the school changed everything because I met Satoko, who had just moved back from Shanghai. She was really friendly and outgoing and before you knew it, we formed a small group with a few other moms, including Sarah Jane, Yukie, and Kanako. Since then, I’ve come to know a few other moms really well. So this year, I didn’t feel lonely or left out at the picnic like I was that first year.

And I have to say, having friends and not having to be alone is a wonderful feeling. It’s part of the reason why I am glad E will have a few friends attending the same school as her when April rolls around. I do truly hope that she will make new friends too.

One other thing that I truly appreciate about having friends at E’s school is that I know when we said our goodbyes today, it wasn’t really a “goodbye forever” but more like a “goodbye, I’ll see you next week”. It meant that our friendship, between our kids and between the parents, is real and not just something temporary and would disappear the second we stop attending the school.

I know I get sentimental over everything but today, I feel really grateful for the time we spent at E’s school and for all the people we’ve met these past 3 years. I hope that we will continue to meet new people and make new friends while keeping in contact with those we don’t see as often anymore.

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(Jason climbed a tree to help the kids get a ball that was stuck. He became a hero with the kids afterwards.)

March 4, 2015

E is 6!

Life, Parenthood

Can you believe that 6 years ago, E was this tiny? (She’s technically a month old here)

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This little baby who changed Jason and my world forever turns 6 today.

Six!!!

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Sometimes I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. She’s grown so much these past few years and is very much an explorer of her own world. She’s full of curiosity and is always observing the world around her and questions things she sees. Her imagination is so vivid and amazing and she is so articulate when she describes them to me.

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She’s also very shy and hates being at the center of attention but isnt so much of a loner as she once was. It’s really interesting to see her when she’s with friends and how she interacts with them.

She’s also a little chatterbox. This kid can talk a lot and for long stretches of time if she has a lot to say. In fact, she always has something to say about anything and everything. But we’ve also had a lot of nice, meaningful conversations that I treasure.

I seriously cannot believe she is ours and I feel so very lucky to be her mom.

Happy birthday My little chatterbox!