As promised I wanted to finish up my people matter post! (but of course it’s later than I hoped to be posting this) I mentioned in our last post being in a new city, away from all things familiar makes you have a new respect and gratitude for friendly, kind, and familiar people.
In our last weeks in Minnesota we were so happy to spend some time with family! Caleb’s parents (Loren and Colleen) came to visit. We were in over our heads with things that needed to happen prior to moving. They pitched right in and helped with everything from putting the kids to bed, to repairing water or insect damage on a window ledge using a sticky bondo substance, and painting walls. Thank you Loren and Colleen for your help, prayers, and support. We made sure to add a little fun and went to Valley Fair with the Boston Scientific Family Fun day!
My parents (Tom and Julie) are helping us maintain long term valuables. They are tremendous help by fostering our sweet dog Shadow and storing our van wile we are gone. 3 days before our move I drove with the kids to Madison to drop off the van. It was a great time to visit with my family. My brother Nick even came to see us for a bit and help with the transport of the van back to Illinois. We got to stay in a great hotel with pool and had a great visit. Thanks Tom and Julie for the prayers, support, hotel stay, storing our van, and caring for our dog!
Sadly Caleb was stuck with the dirty work of spraying the ceiling, and multiple other moving tasks. Thanks Caleb for letting us go to Madison and spend time with my parents!
Caleb has loved the Ultimate Frisbee community in Minnesota. He has played on leagues and at pick up games. It was always a great source of joy for him. Thanks to Plaid Pickup Ultimate “Game to 100” for giving him something fun to do in the weekend we were gone in Madison.
We also had some dear friends invite us over on our last nights in Minnesota. Thanks to Scott and Amy Whitmore for sharing your new home, a delicious meal, and your wonderful friendship.
In our last year in Minnesota we discovered we had fun friends just across the street. Thanks Pete and Lesley for the evenings of friendship, laughter, hot tubbing, and for feeding us one of our last MN meals! Totes! (twice).
We are beginning to make connections in Tokyo. The kids attended one week of summer school at Tokyo International School (TIS). It was a wonderful opportunity for them to be around other kids, get familiar with their school, and have fun learning. Anna made quick friends with a girl named Ashley. Since she also got on the bus at the same stop I got to know her mom Emma as well. Emma and her kids were in Tokyo visiting from Taiwan. I was so happy to meet a friendly mom who spoke English! We spent a couple afternoons with the kids at the American club and at a kids gym place. Sadly, they returned home to Taiwan just days after we met them. When they left Emma shared a box of Traditional Taiwanese Pineapple cake with us. Such a sweet and tasty gift!
Emma told us about this cool gym place, I think it’s called Nandemo; its like a community center that is all free for Manato-ku residents. We filled out the registration card and got to use the whole center. They had a craft room, a toddler kids room, a gym (with unicycles, soccer, small kids climbing structures, and other equipment you could check out). You can also check out video games to be used on their system. In the video game room their is one play station. The check out a game from the front desk, then need to set the timer on the basket for 15 minutes. When
the timer goes off its the next kid’s turn. What a cool idea! While we were there Zeke spent A LOT of time trying to ride a unicycle. There were lots of smaller kids zooming around this gym. Zeke’s determination paid off and eventually he was able to ride a short distance!!!! Way to go Zeke!!!!
We have attended two churches in Tokyo so far. We have not settled in to a “home” church yet but are we are encouraged to know God is here and people who love him are here too. The kids also attended a week of VBS at Tokyo Baptist Church. I was a week full of fun songs, snacks, crafts, and more. I spent a couple mornings volunteering in the craft station. We made friends with another nice family who was in Tokyo for 6 months from Texas. Elizabeth Clark and her husband are both professors and have spent time in Tokyo 10 years ago. They returned this January with their 3 children to stay for 6 months. The kids and I made quick friends with them and spent a couple afternoons after VBS hanging out. Sadly they are leaving in a couple weeks as well.
We are hopeful that we will continue to make connections and hope to keep in touch with many of you from the US.