Our Exchange Student

We are very lucky to be hosting an exchange student who is so wonderful.

She is very curious and polite and happy and knows what she likes and doesn’t. She is engaging and helpful and has become part of our family in just a few short days.

We are all going out of our way to make her time here a great experience.

Today I took her to the Paris Baguette after school to pick out a treat, as she loves cakes and baked goods. I loved watching her genuinely love all the displays and tasting the samples.

She picked a Royal Pudding served in a small glass jar that I had never seen before.

After an afternoon snack, she got ready to go to a ballet class with one of Juliana’s friends. I dropped her off at the friend’s house and they took her to the class and brought her home. At first, she was nervous to go on her own and I was luckily able to reassure her that she would have a good time and that she was safe. I, too, was nervous to leave her as I felt like she was my child and I was responsible for her well being. I trusted the family and was so honored that they were going through the trouble to share this experience with her, as she is a ballerina in Japan.

She had a wonderful time and was very happy when she returned home. The American girls also enjoyed her company and thought she was a very good dancer with great form. I am thankful for good friends and our community and that Akie had a good experience.

For dinner tonight, I made a spiral glazed ham, homemade mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with hollandaise sauce, and traditional Japanese rice!! She loves rice and I love to serve it for her with every meal, to provide a taste of home. The cool connection I noticed tonight, was that the rest of my family also enjoyed rice with their dinner. Akie has rubbed off on us and I love it.

At school today, Akie learned to play the card game, War. After dinner Charlie found a deck of cards and they played together. Juliana and Charlie and Akie also did a round of the cup song, that she learned last week, passing the cups between them as they played. This was very cool to watch.

I am so happy she is here and am going to miss her when she leaves. I am thankful that Juliana was curious about hosting an exchange student and that we all agreed to go on this journey together.

Love this life.


Sunday – Rest?

Sundays used to be a day of rest. What happened to that concept?

I’ve lost it. I value doing nothing, but I’m not good at it.

At the party I was at this weekend, I heard other women talking about not finding time to go to church on Sunday, because their lives have taken over and their kids have sports events on Sundays. They can’t do it all.  Yes, there is guilt involved and I wonder what we are going to do to change this.

It’s true. I understand.  And I don’t yet have an answer today.

We like going to church, yet we don’t go that often either. Not because we don’t want to; it’s just that we seem to be constantly on the go. And the days, we’re not on the go, we need to rest and sleep in and do nothing.

So it’s 10:00 pm and I’m finally sitting down to rest.  It’s been a long and exciting day and I’m not complaining. I think the time change stretched out the day too and our schedule is really off. It’s ok. This too shall pass.

This morning I left the beach party bright and early so that I could get back to my family. I wanted to spend the day together with them and to share experiences with our Japanese “daughter.”

I love having her here. She is such a delight and is warm and kind and friendly and engaging.

She speaks a few words of English and understands many phrases that we share. We all try to understand one another and all seem to be enjoying each other’s company.  She continuously says, “I am happy.”  I am happy too. I am so happy to be sharing this experience with her and having the opportunity to share one slice of American life with her.

Today we took her to see Big Basin and the historical redwood trees. She was amazed by the size of the trees and enjoyed walking through the forest for a short while.



From the Redwoods, we drove to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.


She was happy again and was excited to go on the Giant Dipper roller coaster with Juliana. She loved the thrill ride and was very excited.

Charlie and I went on the Haunted Castle ride which was so cheesy and funny.  I loved sitting next to him and feeling him cover his eyes and ears, afraid of what was to come next, even though he knew as he had ridden the ride before.



It was a gorgeous day at the Boardwalk and we were so lucky to have an out of town guest to share our beautiful world with today.

Life is good – even if it means I’m resting this late at night.

I hope you have a good week. Take care of your beautiful self. xoxo


Feeling Anxious

I know I have nothing to complain about and that my worries really aren’t worries. But they are on my mind and make me anxious and rock my world a bit.

My baby is leaving for sleep away science camp in the morning. He laid out all his clothes and toiletries and personal items and walked through his checklist, checking things off as he found what he needed. I helped him to pack everything away, but mainly he did it all on his own. He’s growing up and I see it. I see him changing in front of my eyes and it makes me a little crazy. I know it’s a good thing and it’s really weird when you’re actually aware of the change happening as it’s happening. This rite of passage trip is a good thing. This rite of passage…yeah, I know, I know. Still anxious.

I know he has to go off with his classmates and sleep away from home, with “strangers.”  He doesn’t find out who his bunkmates will be until he arrives.  He’ll have to do things on his own and repack his bag and remember all of his belongings without my help.  I know he can do it. But I kinda like looking after my little bird.

My nest will feel empty with him away. I like knowing that he is safe with me and that we are here for him, if he needs us, not that he ever really does.  He’s pretty self sufficient, and tonight when he asked me to get him some water, I felt honored to help him and not irritated. He needed me.

He does need me of course, and I need him. He asked me to come snuggle on the couch tonight since it was his last night at home. He’s feeling it too. Of course, I stopped what I was doing and we snuggled and watched tv, under a cozy blanket. I am going to miss him.

At the same time as he is leaving, we are also receiving a Japanese exchange student for 12 days.  I am excited and anxious about this too. I was nesting, getting her room ready and cleaning up the house and wondering what to bring her and what to buy for her and what to cook.  I was even learning and practicing Japanese. We don’t speak any Japanese and I hope she speaks a few words of English. Otherwise, I am hoping that Google Translate will help us to understand one another.  I am excited to have a guest and to share and learn from one another, despite our language barrier and my initial anxiety.


Life is good, and sometimes a little anxious!