Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quiet

You know what's great? I sit and type all these random thoughts and people read them and enjoy them (or at least pretend to) and I get comments and emails all of which make me happy! I find the whole thing to be just lovely (I may enjoy hearing myself talk too....hmmm) Anyway, this weekend was SUPER restful and slightly productive. Got to talk to several people on Skype :) We finally made it to the laundry mat and the dryer did wonders for my jeans and the other clothes in need of a bit of shrinking...we decided to put going to the laundry mat in our budget (need to make a new envelope) so we can go once a month! We also bug bombed the apartment today - scrubbed it from top to bottom afterwards...praying it killed whatever was biting us, not feeling very hopeful because we were feeling itchy tonight. It may have been in our heads so we'll see tomorrow if there are bites :( We broke out the Monopoly board because we were bored and I didn't want to grade papers - got most of it done at the laundry mat, I'll try to finish up during lunch this week. Adrienne kicked my butt - note to self, more properties do no good if you can't afford houses. Anyway, a quiet restful weekend was much needed and this week is sure to be busy. Our church has their missions week beginning on Wednesday so that should be interesting - regular scheduling for school - another week in Japan...crazy!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

BUGS! and other fun things

This week has been rather quiet - got a fun package from the Yamada's (thank you!) - Adrienne and I went on a walk at the beach on Thursday - got caught in the rain, did a little browsing...found a store that's Pier 1 Style, but affordable...might need to marry a military man so I can ship unlimited weight home ;) Anyway, we were sitting with our ice cream and root beer float respectively and we are watching these people take pictures...HAD to recreate the moment for you - Adrienne was a little embarrassed, but we laughed SO hard through the whole thing - so worth it!!



We had Izzie and Carolyn over so that Lori and Daniel could get ready for Powerhouse (church fellowship, potluck, mini Bible study time) We watched part of Ratatouille while eating popcorn (thanks to those of you who sent some!! YUM!) Played part of a game of monopoly before the girls decided our rooms were more fun...

When we went to go on base with them later they decided to amuse themselves on the chairs...yea, they really like "falling" behind the seats :) Powerhouse was nice, everyone very friendly and a good time of fellowship - very peaceful and kick back - nice to be out of the wood box but not BUSY!
Ok, the long awaited Japan Man...so last week when we got the pretty glass Adrienne won a special friend during the hat toss...they got engaged this week with this LOVELY ring we found
Here's their engagement picture - it's not the best picture of him, but it gives you the idea - I had him censored for awhile, but we needed a real picture with his new fiance :)
We've been learning about animals in science this week so we made marshmallow insects to help us remember the 3 parts of the insects as well as the 6 legs, 2 antennae - we had a great time

Risa, Ayaka, and Alyssa with their finished bugs
Dennis, Serina, Kiana, Kyle, and Ryuki
Mana, Nathan, Kai, Shuan, and Kristopher
Kounoske, Banri, Mai, Lauren, and Milena
YEA, this was the real bug that came to visit on Friday - I touched it just for the record! Apparently these are quite expensive here - not sure why, but it's considered a pet, pretty sure Adrienne won't be allowing one here!
My kids hard at work making their insects!!

We had some flying Q-tips (AKA legs and antennae) it was pretty funny to watch
Such concentration!







Another week finished, overall ok - a quiet restful day today, bug bombing, Starbucks (we're using our free coupon so we're out of the house long enough for our bug bomb to work!), and church tomorrow and the Rose Garden of course!! They have mugs, Adrienne and I have joked we're going to have to buy one before we come home :) Finished my fifth book so far, well on my way with number 6! Oh, we also may have figured out why our stuff wasn't getting clean - we apparently need to use heavy soil setting ALL the time...gross - oh well, at least our towels don't have such a smell now - GROSS! OOOOHHHH, we're taking stuff to the laundry mat to dry today also...good times all around (have I mentioned I miss being able to dry my clothes?)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I miss...

Popcorn - although the no snacking thing seems to be working for my waistline :)
Towels that actually dry things and don't have a weird smell after washing
Cheese, yogurt, affordable milk
My bed - this one isn't cozy and so SMALL!
Top sheets
a dryer
friends, family, and co-workers that get it
Stater Brothers (and the really nice guy at the meat counter that doesn't laugh when I ask for 40 chicken breasts)
my car...it actually accelerates!
chai tea - so cozy and comforting
no humidity - I'm tired of feeling damp ALL the time
my cell phone and the ability to actually get in touch with my friends whenever I want without planning the call in advance
dance class
my school stuff, teacher supply stores
normal hair
mint tea
good affordable produce
my classroom stuff
teacher supply stores
Target
my closet...the rest of my clothes
stores with my size
my cookbooks
a real kitchen
a dry erase board...chalkboards are AWFUL
file cabinets
a REAL pencil sharpener


I'm not sure if this is the complete list, but the things that come to mind for now...it's one of those weeks though.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Week 4 done...5 is already started

It's crazy to think how quickly the time really goes in retrospect because there are times that I feel like this experience is standing still. I feel like I have so much time on my hands, just think about how much I blog! HA, but most of that time would be taken up busy with school, or friends, or dance class, or traffic, or traffic, or whatever else I found to do. There's just not all of that here - I can leave school by 4 (dismissal is until 3:25 or so) which is unheard of for me and there's no regular activities during the week except for church on Wednesday...it makes me wish I could bake here - or at least cook my regular meals - I have so much time here and none of my regular things to do - I suppose that was part of the plan to slow things down huh? Apparently I'm settling in finally - everyone seems to comment that my blogs seem more like my perky bubbly self...I am feeling more like myself now - as Aimee would say the jet lag is wearing off and the culture shock isn't AS shocking :) Now, don't mistake this for the desire to stay here forever - I'm giving up plans (mine seem to go to the wayside at this point), but I'd like to be back in the States sooner then later! Anyway, just my thoughts for now. Sunday we went to church :) our pastor was in Tokyo for church business - district meeting or something I think. We went to Rose Garden (of course...YUMMY french toast!) Ruth (our music teacher) came along as well - some others were supposed to join but it ended up being just the 4 of us. We intended to grade papers, do laundry (take our pants to dry at the laundry mat!) and then go on base to go to this craft/glass fair....yea, we went to the fair first - LOVED everything...same stuff as Saturday but cheaper so I bought a few things and we played the hat game (whatever piece your hat lands on you get to keep) I was TERRIBLE at it, but everybody else got quite a bit :) We also got to look at the on base culture gift shops - local vendors, cheaper prices - picked out quite a few of my gift items for people :) We ended up going home with only time to grade...oops, the laundry will have to wait! PS Adrienne found a VERY special Japan Man at the glass store...I'll be sure to get a picture ASAP...we're funny...or at least I find us amusing!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A bit of fun!

Adrienne and I did a little shopping this week - we actually found some cute things - nothing seems to fit me, but it gave hope to finding something that does fit and is actually cute :) This was in the dressing room and I wasn't sure how to put this on...so I took a picture instead of figuring it out :)

Now most of you have witnessed me in a shoe store and I get easily bored and try on random shoes...well, things are the same in Japan and these are some of the pairs I found - I was almost as tall as Adrienne in them :)

Today we went on a little adventure (without the tourbook, we had a tourguide - Rocky from school went with us!) This morning Adrienne and I splurged on a back massage - it was relaxing, my neck could use a little more attention and it was a very different style, but it was a good splurge nonetheless. We at some lunch and then the 3 girls headed to school to meet Rocky. First we went on a glass bottom boat ride - Rocky knew the people working there so we got a deal :) The ride was beautiful - the fish fantastic - all fun things!

This was our boat and the view of the Pacific Ocean (which is much warmer on this side!) It's also so much clearer and bluer!


Adrienne and I on the boat...no one got sick - apparently this might have been a problem, but all went well!
This is Rocky - he refuses to have his picture taken so I had to sneak one in - not very successful though!
The view of the shore from the boat

We found this boat and wanted to sit in it - I wanted to stick my feet in the water and sit so it worked out nicely.
Next we went to Okinawa World which was SUPER fun! We got to go into a cave - got stalagtite and stalagmite water on us - we made Rocky point out what all the signs said which was good fun - there was one that said it was the evil forest - I thought it was HILARIOUS! This was the bat entrance...thankfully we didn't see any bats while we were there!
The crew as Adrienne likes to call us in the cave!
This is the Chi Chi dogs - apparently they're Buddhist statues for good luck
This was the entrance to Okinawa World - there were parking attendants that had little hats - it was super funny, I wish I had gotten a picture, but no such luck!
This was the view of the Pacific Ocean I promised - I do live in one of the prettiest place ever...wish the weather was better!
We got to see glass blowing - you can pay to do it yourself too! You have to go back the next day in order to get it so we decided to go to a different place some other time to try it ourselves...the glass is absolutely gorgeous - it may need to be my soveneir...a little pricey but SO pretty!!
The kiln
Aren't we cute?
Adrienne was petting her new friend the pineapple - I made her sit down to take the picture and she made friends :)

Afterwards we had soba for the first time - it was like Ramen, but better and fresh...it was good - I actually like some Japanese food :) It was a fun day AND we found out there's a place to country line dancing - we'll be checking that out soon - I miss my dancing! YEA fun! (a little excited, can you tell?) This is a video of our fish - I took several, but this one is my favorite - I wish it showed how pretty it was.
video

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

random contemplation...

So I've been thinking about what my kids play during recess...not that we get much, but today was pouring most of the day so when it let up for 15 minutes we went outside to enjoy some running around time :) So they often play tag or a few other games I've taught them but they always seem to return to war games...how do I explain to them that it's not something they should be playing when so many of their parents are in the military and the kids that aren't military related are surrounded by it daily...strange to think how close it is here and how common it is for them. My other contemplation is about our infested couch. Adrienne usually sits on our couch and I take the granny glider and she ALWAYS has these awful bug bites while I do not...well I got a few after grading papers on the couch and then again tonight so we've decided it's DEFINITELY the couch...how do we get rid of whatever is biting us???? Adrienne took a picture of how we decided to solve the problem (we're funny!) She'll be posting it soon I'm sure...check it out, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I think I'm funny...

So Adrienne and I have been laughing for the last 6 weeks over who knows what but our latest escapade apparently is going to be the death of her...now who's the drama queen? huh? yea, no comment! Ok, we have a habit of talking every night in one of our rooms, usually mine because I'm trying to go to bed and Adrienne sits on my bed prohibiting my sleeping. Anyway, so I come out of the bathroom one night and check her room to say goodnight and no Adrienne, lights are off in the living room, go into my room and see a lump under my covers. I giggle and giggle and the lump is giggling and the whole thing was super funny. Anyway, so I decide to be the lump under the covers while she was in the bathroom. I'm peaking out from under the covers and she doesn't seem to see me, so I'm trying desperately not to laugh, so the lump is now shaking, STILL not noticed...several more moments pass, she puts away some things in a drawer, puts her ipod away and she grabs her cup off the floor and screams a bloodcurdling scream, jumping around and everything - you'd think I was a giant beetle or something. Anyway, I giggle and she's lying on the kitchen floor having a small heart attack the whole thing was HYSTERICAL and I loved it! Today was raining buckets and buckets, and then nothing and then MORE buckets! The whole day seemed SO long - but hopefully the kids settle down soon :) The raincoats came out - Adrienne decided to wear a skirt and she almost decided to pass on the raincoat...she wasn't excited about the combo - too cute!

We also went to Camp Foster with Lori (she had a rain disaster in her room with ruined carpets) we went with her to get a new rug!
Rachel and I were taking a carpet carrying break :)
I got a class picture finally! It took 3 tries with the timer but success!
So I found a mattress that I want to take home, not that I have room for it - but it made me miss my bed at home SO much - I made the girls try it out too :)
We all managed to get in our tiny car with 2 rugs (oh and I'm supposed to mention that Adrienne is less then 6 feet tall - she is shorter then the 6 foot carpet) and 4 people...it was very clown car - I was amused :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taco Bell!!

Ok, now I know that probably shouldn't be a title of a blog, but I'm just so excited about it that it's just the way life is right now :) Today was a regular day or at least regular in Japan ;) and honestly the idea of routine really helps me feel homey or at least not homesick! Anyway, good day with the kids no major mishaps and being able to talk to people from home all weekend makes the beginning of the week feel good too! (Yea for phone calls to Aimee and Jameo...he and I had quite the squealing chat and I actually got Tash to pick up the phone ;) hee hee) Anyway, back to today...after school we finally made our classroom direct order (butcher paper is coming my way people...watch for human bodies in a few months!) and as we were ordering I thought of a couple other things that normally I would run to the store and pick up...yes, I often forget I am in Japan and there is no running to anything that I need for my classroom. So Lori (Kindy teacher) asks what we're doing and since it's nothing pressing, we are going on base to the BX. FUN! So we get signed on - no problem - follow them to the gate in our car and hand the guy our paper and boy was he confused! Alison Marie and Adrienne Marie were a little to close and he thought we were checking in one person and I finally explained we have the same middle name OHHHHH...yes, 2 people, 2 names, 2 last names, but the As and the Maries really through him for a loop...I laughed :) poor guy! Anway, we finally made it on and to the BX...we hadn't seen any shopping, just housing, OH MY! They have one store with all the sections you can think of...it's like Target, a department store, electronics, brand names (I like that Coach purses were right next to Wet and Wild make up which was next to Este Lauder...the whole thing was one mismatched thing next to another) Adrienne and I wandered around with Izzie and Carolyn pulling on our arms as we stared in wonderment at all the things we could read and recognize - I'd be happy to move in if they'd let me :) We weighed ourselves because both of our pants are looser but we're not sure if we lost weight or if it's because we can't dry our clothes...anway, we saw scales for sale so we decided to put them on the floor to weigh ourselves...let's just say the Japan diet is awesome! 10 pounds in 6 weeks :) I know it has a lot to do with no soda and not much eating out...and less milk products I'm sure helps too...I may be a recovering dairy addict... Anyway, Lori asked if we were hungry, yes we were getting there, would we like to go to Taco Bell? YES!!! AHHH....can I just say I missed Taco Bell? I know it's not super exciting, but it was so good - we ordered extra to have for lunch tomorrow AND we got to use our debit cards :) Such excitement - anway, the whole outing was fun, and the company entertaining...a very homey little trip :) I'm realizing I've used a lot of happy faces in this blog and am finding that amusing - but I think it reflects well with the evening - lots of chatter (in English!), lots of giggles, and a sense of peacefulness...normal perhaps? OH, and I was cold inside Taco Bell for the first time ummm, who knows the last time I was cold, over 6 weeks ago for sure! Okey dokey, off to read and get ready for bed - love to all of you out there (make a comment if you're reading this...I like comments, and certain individuals read this to often to not be making comments...you know who you are!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just for Adrienne :)

Right now Adrienne is making me write a blog...she's bored and needs something to read...I told her to read a book to which she replied "boo" and continued pacing around the apartment - we then compared blog number and I was behind by one...so here I am writing a blog. We went to Mike's Tex Mex for dinner on Friday - very good - the salsa was kinda different...Adrienne reminded me we were in Japan - HA! The whole place was filled with American's which was a first since our arrival, but the food was good and the company always excellent :) Not much else for Friday...it was a long week and to bed early! I woke up early Saturday morning to rain like I've never heard before - I tried to video it a little but it doesn't do it justice! I spent the morning Skyping with friends and puttering around the house - OH, we made pancakes...figured out the Japanese instructions (thank goodness for pictures!) and they were SO good - perfect hang out at home food!! We finally got ready and ventured out during a break in the rain to the travel agency to look into plans for Christmas - only to discover that the International guy was out for Japanese holiday - he'll call us later. We did see our pastor while we were out and reported we'd found the mexican place and he also told us today in church we need to have a re-entry stamp...good to know or we'll be stuck outside of Japan - I'm not sure how much I'd want to come back if I was stuck outside already... ;) We did our grocery shopping - made tacos (the 2nd successful meal here) invited Rachel over for movie night and we made rice krispie treats (with chocoalte krispies...that's all we have) but they turned out really good!


Adrienne stirring in the rice krispies...I've never made regular rice krispy treats before - just the peanut butter ones - which are the best!! You must try them sometime :)

I said my pan could make everything and it has now made rice krispy treats ha ha ha! Today was church - which is by far my favorite place on the island right now - I know Adrienne already commented on how it seems to be the first place I've ever been able to leave my worries aside and just focus...and me being able to do that without making lists in my head or becoming distracted by something is saying a lot for me. It brings a complete peace to me - there's a friday night ladies thing that we're going to check out and we still want to bring up having a social diva thing at the apartment :) the church directory (which we're in) will come out soon - I haven't been in one of those since high school at the Naz church- sigh good times- We braved a little laundry despite the weather and now have clothes hanging everywhere inside. Also, we seem to be having a bug problem - Adrienne started getting all these bites and now I have 4 of them...I think it's the couch - I sat on it for the first time in awhile and came away with bites....hmmmm. Not to much going on here - a quiet weekend, oh and some grading...a little concerned about my kids academics...parents aren't going to be happy when progress reports come out at the end of the month...YIKES! Anyway, I'll sign off for now having completed my roommate duty :) Much love to all of you!


video

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A sad lesson

I forgot my lunch today...we have bentos...Japanese style hot lunch/lunch truck...I gave my two choices to the school secretary and left my money with her...OH MY. So I picked beef and potatoes or teriyaki...not sure which one I got because most of it was unidentifiable. There was some greens that looked like someone had taken the pond scum off and stuck it on the plate, rice, potatoes and carrots (mushy) something yellow and pickled along with something pink that I couldn't bring myself to eat, crab wrapped in a piece of scrambled egg, fried fish, something brown that I think is fish jerky (it was yucky). Yea, so I will NOT be forgetting my lunch again - I ate what I could but my tummy feels wierd now :( My kids have art in a half hour so I may end up walking over to A & W for something to fill my tummy...Wishing I could walk to Quiznos or even KFC out the back gate at SGCS right about now :) My kids happily ate their lunches over half of them had soba (noodles in soup and some stuff on top...looked better then my lunch!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Q and U get married!

The class had a special event yesterday - Q and U got married, yes the letters...no I'm not crazy or original even, but we had a really good time making Qu- words after our wedding!

Our qu- words with the happy couple! Yes that's a ghetto tissue veil...I'm making due here people! It was a very sudden wedding and I'm not a wedding planner!

This is right before the "vows"

Before walking down the aisle (escorted by Kyle and Mana)
The boys sat on one side
The girls on the other!


We're starting to get into routine - I think the kids are getting used to me and how I do things so that helps A LOT! I'm also getting used to how things work around here - working the system I suppose :) My devotions went well on Monday - just a little teary-eyed :) I suppose that goes without saying when you share what's on your heart, it should be passionate and on topic...sorry that's my complaint right now - STAY ON TOPIC...my lack of attention can't handle changing topics with no transition or tie in...I'm busy trying to figure out the last point...hmmm oh well. Adrienne and I booked a trip to Tokyo - very excited about that one! We're going over Thanksgiving (thank goodness for American holidays!) Our tour looks very fun and we decided it would be fun to go to Tokyo Disney, but the also have Disney Sea which looks like fun too! I made my first and maybe my only successful meal in Japan. I knew all the ingredients, they were all what I intended them to be, AND it tasted good...imagine that...sigh - can I just say all of you need to be thankful for your grocery stores. Go to the meat counter and thank the person behind it for doing a good job - for having cuts of meat, not fat with some meat on it, track down the produce person and tell them you appreciate their selection, quality, and prices! No, I'm not being dramatic, I hate grocery shopping and cooking in Japan - one disastor after another is giving me a complex! Adrienne and I went to the Wednesday Bible Study and really like the people and atmosphere...next time we want to ask if they have a ladies group - they have a men's group but we thought it would be fun to get to know some non-school people! Look at us, trying to make friends, who would have thought it? I'm not sure where this idea will go - but we'd both like to make some friends here that will last past this experience. Granted, (excuse the following mushiness) Adrienne is quickly becoming one of my most favorite people... I don't know what I'd do without her here...we laugh, we cry, we talk, we meander, we contemplate how crazy we are, we drive our small car, she's a really good sport about our random little adventures, and it's nice to be in this boat with someone else, we joke that we're not going to know how to function on our own after this year :) Ok, that was off topic...overall things are going well - we laugh a lot because nothing is ever comfortable and it seems to be our best coping strategy. We were on a typhoon watch but it looks like we're going to miss it...very dissappointed, but I guess there's another one forming to the south so we're crossing our fingers...might as well get something exciting out of this yucky weather! Love you all - keep writing comments and emails!

My kids at PE...yes, I have to make sure they get changed from their school uniform to their PE uniforms...not and easy task but we have it mastered in under 6 minutes!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

one month!

A couple of pictures I meant to put up before....the 3 of us at the lighthouse from tour book day :)

When we went to pick up our Alien registration card (which is quite cool...way better then a driver's license) I managed to take a picture of a traditional Japanese toilet...ummm, yea, glad we have a western style toilet!!
I have officially been in Okinawa a month...time flies when you're overwhelmed! I started thing about all that's happened in a month and I'm rather proud of myself! I arrived in Japan, learned to drive on the wrong side of the road, figured out how to get around, I know how to get gas for the car, I can go grocery shopping (missing cheese, popcorn, labels I can read, good cuts of meat, reasonable produce prices...Stater Brothers!!!!) but I have managed to feed myself and Adrienne...several mishaps that I don't care to discuss, we'll just say I won't become a famous chef in Japan! I've done a little site seeing, picked out a trip to Tokyo (we're booking it this week!), found a church I like, set up my classroom, started school, shocked my kids with actual expectations, become completely ok with needing to all things with Adrienne, learned what we need to take with us to get on base, figured out yen, finally figured out how to not scald or freeze myself in the shower...conquering the shower is quite a feat...Adrienne still has not managed it :), discovered Mint Julep Soda YUM!!...all in all we've learned a lot so far!! This weekend was a nice "American" break though! We went on base Friday night for Izzie's birthday party (the Kindergarten teacher's daughter) A ton of people from school were there as well as base friends...the place was PACKED! We got to eat pizza - YUM, I missed pizza! We had a nice time of chatting...in English! Saturday morning was a pj day - we cleaned, did laundry, watched TV - but the pj's made it nicer! We headed to the bakery - our favorite place :) to get breakfast for the week and then headed back to get ready for the "bat passing" party. Laura's husband is part of the bat squandron (he's a fighter pilot). They have a party with in every 44 days (they're the 44th squadron) and the squad leader and his wife were hosting. We had great Surf and Turf...yummy steak, shrimp, cheesy potatoes, chips and salsa, FRUIT! and there was a Trifle, Key Lime cheesecake, cookies - all catered and super yummy and very American! We had a great time meeting everyone - they were extremely friendly and it was funny to see their faces change when Laura explained we weren't with the military we had just come on our own. HA HA - shocked a few people! The crowd was pretty mellow and there was a guy playing music and singing - just nice to be surrounded by people we could understand for the evening. Laura had pointed out this AMAZING apartment overlooking the ocean one time when we went for lunch and I met one of the guys that lives there - he's hosting the next "bat passing" party and invited us along...might need to check out the view from their 2 level apartment complete with a veranda bigger then our apartment, marble floors and did I mention its maybe 20 feet from the ocean? Today we went to church, the Rose Garden of course, then Adrienne did some lesson planning while I finished up preparing my devotion for tomorrow - Adrienne threatened to bring Kleenex in keeping up with San Gabriel style crying at devotions...gotta get over that if I do them once a month! I have to say the tears haven't been flowing, not that it's not still hard, but I guess part of it is becoming normal to feel out of place all the time. I miss a lot of things from home, wishing I brought more of my closet but the shock is starting to wear off a little so that's good. I took some pictures of my kids after lunch the other day - they're kinda silly!





Background