One Love – Japan and America

Today the girls went ice skating with their friends after school. I don’t think Akie had ever been ice skating before and was a good sport. Juliana sticks by her side and helps her and includes her in everything she does. I am proud of all the work she puts into making Akie feel at home here.

For dinner, I served roasted chicken from Costco, rice, fresh corn, and sliced pineapple. I think she liked all of it, which makes me happy. I love that she is willing to try everything.

After dinner, we took Akie to Target to do some inexpensive American shopping and browsing. We were looking at the dollar section right as you walk in the store, and as we’re browsing, we hear “AKIE!!!”

Two of her Japanese friends walked in with their host family and we were all happy to see them. It was really cute to watch them greet each other. They walked up to her and decided to reach out with their arms wide open for a slow, animated, hug. I was shocked! So was Akie.  They hugged, which is not normal for Japanese people. They were practicing being like their American friends and it was so cool!

When we left the store, I asked Akie about the hug and she said this was the first time she ever hugged her friends. I told her that I hope she takes the hugs home with her back to Japan and starts a new tradition there.  She laughed and smiled.  This really made me happy.

She loved looking around Target and admired the accessories, especially the colorful sling handbags and floral jewelry. She spent a lot of time in the candy aisle, and chose two different types of Ghiradellii chocolate bars to bring home. She also enjoyed looking around the kitchen aisles. I loved watching what she liked and what she admired.

We came home and unpacked and sat at the table, sharing a drink and a snack. Akie left the table and came back with a surprise for Juliana, wrapped up in her red scarf. She called Juliana’s name and when Juliana looked up, she presented her with a hand made gift that is priceless.  I wish you could have seen Juliana’s face.

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I took a picture of Juliana admiring her treasure and then asked Akie to give her a hug!!  She laughed and joined in on the fun.

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I can’t even tell you how much I love this girl and how much I am going to miss her when she goes back home in a few days.

Having her here with us is a great gift that we will treasure for a very long time.

Life is good.

Day 51: First Day of Vacation

It was nice to not have to wake up to a 6:30 am alarm this morning. I love the beginning of summer and the change in routine. But this summer feels different already. Still exciting, but a different feel because I have WORK to do!!  Only 51 days left to figure out the details of this big move, AND enjoy our California summer with friends and vacation and have the kids at home without a plan!! In the end, it’ll all come together – it always does, but I’m a bit of a control freak with my lists, and strategies and plans that swirl around on my to-do lists and in my head and trying to fit as much as I can into each day. 

I felt a little anxious today with the ying and yang of work and play, but it all worked out and I think we all had fun. We made chocolate croissants for breakfast and shared them with Megan before she had to leave. Afterwards, April drove Megan to the airport and I took all our kids to Kristin’s for a graduation brunch with a few friends. It was so nice to be together chatting and enjoying each other, while the kids played in the RAIN!!  WTH?!? 

Afterwards, the kids and I sat together and talked about our summer wish list of places we’d like to visit and things we wanted to do. Luckily the list isn’t too overwhelming. I put limits on the amount of TV/Video screen time and made them come up with their own list of other things they might want to do instead. Trying to manage expectations a bit and to set up some boundaries.  Little C went on a play date and the rest of us hung out for awhile. 

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In the afternoon,  I took the kids to Target to use their gift cards from Megan. Little C picked a water gun and a Lego guy and some Poppers. Big C bought some new games – which is perfect, because I want us to play together, especially when we move. And J does what she usually does – negotiated a deal! She asked that I use her card to pay for my stuff and give her the cash instead. She doesn’t like to spend her money. I let them each pick out a snack that I don’t typically keep in the house and these chips and dips were Lil’ C’s choice. His “girlfriend” introduced these to him last summer – brought back fun memories!  J picked Jolly Ranchers and Big C picked a new Dorito flavored bag of chips.  

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We came home from Target and enjoyed our savory snacks while playing C’s new game. Let the summer games begin!!