My New “Daughter”

I feel like I have another child, in a good way.

Akie has become part of our family now. She is comfortable asking for what she wants and shares in our activities.  She is loving and kind and polite and I adore her.

Today when I picked my girls up from school (I always wanted Juliana to have a sister!), they both wanted to go to a birthday party for their Japanese friend at the park.

We have a google group between the parents of host families and I had read about the party invitation from the host mom this morning. She was bringing chocolate cake and drinks and all were invited to attend. I was happy for our family to be part of the celebration and so we brought a gift and some food to share and off we went.  I love kids of all ages. I especially loved walking up to the park and seeing small Japanese children under the age of 5, playing with and teasing our students. At first, I wondered if they were siblings of one of the host families. I quickly realized that there were young, Japanese moms playing with their little kids at the park, and the little kids made a connection with our “real” Japanese teenagers. There was a natural connection for them and the little kids and big kids were all playing and having fun together, chasing and tagging and running around together. I loved this moment and realized that there is a natural comfort in the familiar that we all share.

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We sang “Happy Birthday” and the birthday girl blew out her candles. I hope she enjoyed celebrating with us today as much as we did celebrating with her.

After the birthday party, I dropped off Charlie at his practice and brought the girls to Daiso, so that Akie could compare the Daiso in Cupertino to the Daiso in Japan. They were both relatively the same, of course. We also drove by the Apple Headquarters campus that is being built and tried to use English words to describe headquarters.  What words would you use? I think she understood.

Tonight I decided I didn’t want to cook and clean again, especially because we had a very busy day. I hosted a tea party for several friends this morning and had been busy all day, with no time to cook. We decided to go out for American fast food at Taco Bell, instead of eating left overs. She picked what looked good from the picture menu displayed and we ordered a couple other things for her to try. She really liked her steak burrito and the nachos. She tried the mild sauce and it was pretty spicy for her. This is why we chose Taco Bell over Chipotle, because she doesn’t care for spicy food. It was fun to see Taco Bell through the eyes of someone new. Even the girl working behind the counter was intrigued by our new “daughter.”

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The girl behind the counter came over to my side of the counter to ask me a question. She wanted to know if she could give Akie a hug, because she had never met a Japanese girl before and she was so curious and happy to see her. I told her that in Japan, there isn’t a lot of hugging and kissing and that this would be uncomfortable for her.  Having a stranger ask for a hug would be weird in any culture, but I could tell that she genuinely was wanting to see her and connect with her. As we ate, I told Akie about the strange request. As we left the establishment, I introduced Akie to the girl and they bowed to one another. This was a really cool moment. I wish you could have seen it. Love sees no color.

Today was busy and rewarding. I learned a lot again, even in Taco Bell.

How was your day?

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