The Simpson Journey

Four Simpsons on a journey through life and locations

Month: June 2016

Lifehouse Church

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On Sunday we walked to Lifehouse Church.  It was a breath of fresh air to be greeted in English and asked if we were new as soon as we walked through the door.  We were quickly taken to the kids area and got the kids all checked in.  I know Z & A were very happy to be around English speaking kids as well.

When we were searching possible neighborhoods to live in there were a couple considerations we made:  Distance to church, Crossfit, and kids school.  We knew we would be relying on public transportation for many things but proximity to these things were most important to us.  Christianity is not a major religion in Japan.  I believe something like only 2% of  the Japanese practice Christianity.  I had researched churches online and was interested in Lifehouse.  On one of Caleb’s trips to Japan for business he visited Lifehouse church.  He attended a late afternoon service, which was more of a young adult service.  This week we attended 11 am church (their first service of the day) and it has kids programming.

After getting the kids checked in we took an escalator down to the auditorium.  Worship had already started some people were jumping around, the music was pumping, lights flashing, and a fog machine was going.  It was much like a night club!  The songs were sung one verse at a time, in Japanese then in English, the sermon was delivered in the same way. It was pretty easy once you got the hang of it.  Although I knew none of the songs.

The sermon was given by the senior pastor and really hit home for me.  He talked about how God was like a river.  His grace, and love for us never runs out.  Being 6,000 miles from home it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated.  In this moment I was reminded that God is the same at the beginning of the river as he is here now with me.  That He will not grow tired and stop loving me.  Immediately after the service we were met again by Toni, a very friendly and welcoming woman that has been with the church from the beginning.

We were led upstairs to get some more coffee and met more friendly people! The story of this church is amazing, we found out that they are currently doing a building campaign to raise money to purchase a long term home for their church.  Wow, does that sound familiar.  They currently rent the space for Sundays only and pay $10,000 per week!  WOW!  They also have to set up and tear down everything every week!  We know what that is like, on a much smaller scale.  When we moved to Minnesota we were part of a small church plant in Minneapolis.  We stored amps, and music equipment, and kids stuff in our living room and helped haul it to the community center for church on Sundays.

We were very blessed by our experience at the church, we left refreshed and will be back again another week!

To read more about Lifehouse Church visit their site here

 

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Day .5 Tokyo

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We arrived as scheduled at NRT Airport in Japan.    As we debarked the plane Zeke excitedly commented “Hey look the carpet is red, just like in Grandpa Loren’s Vision!!!”  We truely feel that god has paved the way for us on this journey.  In the days before we left Loren shared with us that he had seen a vision of  senturies walking with us as we entered Japan, they had laid out a red carpet, our way was paved and our mighty God was protecting us!  What an amazing vision!

Sentury
noun, plural sentries.

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a soldier stationed at a place to stand guard and prevent the passageof unauthorized persons, watch for fires, etc., especially a sentinelstationed at a pass, gate, opening in a defense work, or the like.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sentry

 

We arrived at our apartment around 2 pm.  It is spacious, with lots of windows, 2 balconies and 4 bedrooms.  It’s huge for Japan standards.  I am so glad that Caleb found this place.  James and russel from Japan Relocation were here to greet us and let us into the apartment.  The apartment manager went througn things with us: where trash goes, how our keys work, how to control the ac units, and told us about 2 alarm buttons we should never touch.  She spoke in Japanese and Russel interpreted for us.  The internet service people were alreay working on the installation and our temporary furniture had already been delivered and set up.  It was kind of like walking into a hotel.  It is mostly furnished, and we have temporary dishes, kitchenware, towels to use for the next month.  So helpful!  There are still many things to figure out like what do all the buttons for the toilet do.

We worked for a couple hours unpacking our suitcases a bit and made the beds.   Caleb walked to the “Family Mart” a convience store located just a block away and got us some food for dinner.  For our fist meal we had some breaded chicken, Rice balls, a pastry and spaghetti.  All the food is premade and packaged we didn’t have to cook!  The long day and travel were catching up to us as we were all about to fall asleep at the table.  We got the kids tucked in and Caleb and I sat down as he had a little work to do.  As I was talking to him I was literally falling asleep as we were talking.  I don’t recall ever being so exhausted in my life.

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We are on our way!!!

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It has been a wild frenzy of activity, packing, sorting, house projects and saying good-byes to dear friends and family.   Today at 11:40 AM CST our family of 4 departed Minneapolis International Airport with our 8  checked bags in tow.  Believe it or not I am writing this blog post from 38,000 feet in the air!

After just 3 hours of sleep last night, we actually made on the plane with all our stuff (Air shipment is coming within a week hopefully, more on that in another post)  At 9 am we pulled away from our Shoreview home.  Our business class seats are providing a great experience for our 12 hour flight.  With quite the extensive menu choices we will eat 2 meals, snacks, and get unlimited beverages and use of the tv and entertainment system.  The best of all is that our seats recline to lay flat.  We all slept 4-5 hours. Due of the time zone difference we will arrive  in Japan 26 hours after we left Minnesota. We will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon.

With tremendous support and help from Caleb’s parents we were able to get our home rent ready.   There was such a large list of projects to get done in addition to the sorting and packing of our items. We got to spend 6/12  at Valley Fair Amusement park together.  It was a good stress reliever for ALL of us to ride roller coasters.  Yeah you read that right…. 3 generations all on roller coasters together.  Lots of laughs, squeals and screams as we rode the “Wild Thing.”

We have officially passed on the property management to a local agent who will work with Boston Scientific’s preferred Property Management company.  The agent will continue to show the home, get a signed lease, and will also check in if issues arise in our absence.  I should have passed all of that on to the property management company much earlier.   Lessons learned!

Coordinating travel logistics with travel has been interesting. On 6/18 the kids and I met my mom, dad, and brother in Madison, WI do drop off our van.  We just paid off our Honda Odyssey and didn’t want to part with it.  My dad generously offered to store the van at my grandma’s house.  We met at an Enterprise car dealership in Madison so they could take my van and I could take a rental van back to Minnesota, and have a vehicle to get us to the airport.  Things worked out well and we had Pizza lunch before Nick had to take off and head back to Illinois with my van.  My parents, the kids and I headed to a nearby hotel with a  swimming pool, real bed and real food; all things I  was beginning to miss in our current state of moving chaos.  Caleb stayed home to wrap up some projects, he made great progress paining ceiling and walls of the kids toy room, draining the hot tub, installing a door.  Its amazing how all the projects at the end are so time consuming.   We even found a Japanese restaurant to eat dinner.  My parents first time trying sushi and they did great!!! Even used chopsticks with the help of “trainers”  We had a Dragon roll, spicy tuna roll, BMW roll, miso soup, and a chicken dish.  No one particularly liked the eel wrapped roll though.  The flavors and texture were just a little much I think.  I am so happy I got this chance to connect with my parents and brother before we took off.  We missed my sister but she is awaiting the arrival of baby #2  very soon!!!

I think I will wrap up this post for now.  As always thanks for reading.  I have our official mailing address please send me an email if you would like me to send it to you.   It may have been the wrong format if I gave it to you previously… oops.  More posts coming soon …..

 

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The Last Days (in the US)

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Quick recap: Packers came on Thursday 6/16, Movers on 6/17, Jenny and my parents left on Saturday 6/18, we left on 6/20. Wow. Pictures and more below the break. Continue reading

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Pack and Ship

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Yes Caribou “Coffee solves nearly every problem”

It was a crazy experience to sort through everything we own and had collected and stored in our 4,000 sq foot home.  We ended up sorting most things and taking boxes down to the “daycare toy room.”  We placed masking tape on the floor to divide our storage items and our shipped items.IMG_0456  With the help of music, coffee,and mixed drinks we worked through and got it all done.

I do not think we were hoarders by any standard but we had lots of stuff.   The scheduling was a little rushed but we got scheduled for a crew from AAA movers to come on Thursday 6/18  and movers to load things on to the truck on 6/19.  Packing day was a crazy experience.  At 10 am 2 guys showed up. When I nervously explained that I could help with anything they needed Calvin calmly told me I could help him by sitting down, relaxing with a martini.  Caleb and I gladly sat down with our dear friend Merry Sondreal who was visiting from Phoenix. IMG_1191  It was a wonderful time to catch up and take in the beautiful Minnesota June weather.  The packing team went through our things, nicely packing them to make their way to Japan via air shipment or packing away our belongings to place into storage while we were gone.  The packers spent 9 hours getting things ready.   After our visit with Merry,  Caleb and I got back to work packing things that we would take in our carry on bags and cleaning up things around the house.

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The moving crew showed up at 9 on Friday!  It was another great experience with AAA movers as they carefully disassembled our couches, table, and larger items.  They wrapped them in moving blankets and saran wrap.  I was so impressed with the time and care that was used by everyone at AAA movers.

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I told myself I’d post even when it’s hard to…….

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I don’t even quite know what to say besides I am tired and weary.  We are busily sorting through every single item we own while literally tearing apart the house, getting things off the walls, having one room ceiling skim coated, holes patched, and still doing showings of the house.   It  is a crazy buzzing hub of chaos.  On the positive: we get to start our new adventure soon, Caleb and I get to stick together: no more solo business trips for a while, my sweet, helpful in-laws are visiting this week, Co even made a lemon cake per my request.  Very nice to have  a treat while we are trying to eat our way through the left overs and randomness from our fridge and pantry.

We are selling things on craigslist, giving to goodwill and throwing things away. We are making piles of things to ship via air shipment, and things to store.  Additionally we get a total of 9 checked bags for our family of 4.  I guess flying business class has even more perks.

So far the hardest things to part with was our 1998 Bayliner Capri and our sweet 70″ TV.   These items have lots of positive family memories associated with them.  I think the kids hit the “nail on the head” when they asked “Why would you sell something that was the source of  our great memories” regarding the boat. I think we were all about to cry at that moment and I know I have shed some tears since then. I am happy to know that the memories are not in the things, but the memories are inside of us.  However, I think we are all grieving this chapter ending.  We have new chapters to begin.   We will be stretched and we will grow.

On a happier note, we are really being taken care of by Boston Scientific.  It’s not all perfect, in fact we still don’t have dates from the packer’s/ movers and our house is not rented out anymore.  However, we have people supporting us in many areas:

Workforce Mobility counselor: our “go to” with anything regarding our move or transition, compensation, reimbursement, home leave policy….. everything.  She is our gateway.

Relocation Consultant: takes care of anything we need on the JA side.  Apartment, internet set up, learning how to run our appliances,  delivery of furniture

Global Pet Move Supervisor: making sure our cat gets to JA okay

BSC ‘s Global Mobility Specialist: coordinates services of all of the above

Move Service Coordinator: Helps us arrange storage and shipment of goods

I know there is more to write….. but it is getting late. Better to post this now than to wait and keep editing….. I hope you don’t mind.  I hope to post again soon.

T- 10 days….. we fly out on 6/20/2016

Here is our ode to the boat; a source of joy, smiles, laughter, and summer fun. Liberty, you will be mourned and missed.

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