First, I must tell you it is almost unreal to me that I’m living in Japan for a few years. A huge thank you to my husband James for this unexpected and surprising life!
Second, I must tell you that we’ve spent the last two weeks working at settling in. Settling in a new location isn’t necessarily easy, especially one overseas. Adjusting to a 16 hour time zone difference, finding a home while living in a small 400 sq feet hotel room with three children, finding schools for our oldest two children, attending mandatory Overseas Training classes all last week, studying a Japanese driving test booklet after the kids bedtime in the bathroom, passing the test, traveling on the weekend, taking sons to school (one who is excited and the other who has cried each morning at drop off which breaks this mama’s heart), and then a swift walk with C in baby carrier to take the drivers test this morning. I passed miraculously! Try driving on the
wrong , I mean literally the right side of the road? It’s a bit intimidating.
I’ll admit the process has been stressful in some ways. Now we are feeling a little less unnerved. We’re starting to meet people, I’m starting to make friends with other women and moms, I’m starting to get to know the kids school and teachers, I’m starting to understand some cultural norms, and I’m re-learning some Japanese. My kids are more smiles and less whining and crying because they were stressed and missed their friends. We also bought them two fish when they asked at the local pet store. Usually I’d say no to adding anything else to our responsibilities of care, but my husband and I felt guilty we’d moved them halfway across the world away from their friends, school and our extended family. We have two new members to the family. Meet Goldie and ?!?! (other fish’s name gets frequently changed and I can’t recall his most recent title).
Our sons favorite part of owning fish is feeding them and turning on the fish tanks lights. When you’ve convinced your parents to get you fish, go big for those light up tanks when their feeling guilty?!?!
It seems we might be headed for a bit of calm and reduced stress. We move into our Japanese home off base later this week. (Imagine you’re hearing a squeal of happiness.) Last night our youngest slept through the night for the first time since we have moved here. I’ve been awoke around 3:30 and 4 A.M for two weeks now, with going back to sleep before a normal wake-up time only a few times. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture to me! I’ve felt like a half present person walking around. I’ve wanted to wear a sign saying, “I’m sleep deprived, culture shocked and exhausted. Talk softly, repeat yourself frequently around me and give me a lot of grace right now.” I don’t like asking for special treatment, but I’ve needed it. I’ve asked my husband for it several times these last two weeks.
This morning after I got my Japanese drivers license, I felt a moment of calm. I felt some peace. I took those needed big breaths. I took our daughter to the park and enjoyed playing with her without the pressure feeling of so many to-dos circling in my thoughts. Instead, I felt normal, whatever that is, but I felt it. I thought of enjoying and looking forward to my morning with Miss C, and picking up the boys from school (sans sneaking out of overseas training classes as I did last week to get them and then rushing to get C from the childcare center before getting onto the bus). I thought of remembering my oldest son’s piano books for his lessons today after school, about taking the boys to Japanese lessons for a bit, and then enjoying time reading more of The Hobbit, Geronimo Stilton and hearing their sweet voices reading to me. Parenting is a lot of well worth it work. I’m looking forward to focusing on them and having less external moving/relocation stresses as we are feeling more relaxed.
For the rest of this morning I made no plans besides relaxing, playing and reading to Miss C. While I nursed her and started enjoying watching the Super Bowl, she fell asleep and I enjoyed the quiet while watching the Seahawks win!
Take big breaths you all! Enjoy the calm when you can and feel refreshed. We can do hard things. Recharge when you get the opportunity. Let others love on you, too. And love on those you know who need it.