Thursday, January 28

pikachu invasion


directed by sebastian. beware, it might make you a tad ill.
yes, pikachu is hungry for cereal after all that attacking.

playing



he's come a long way since his first school play.


he's the one in the blue on the right. and yes, that little blond head in the audience is nico.

Tuesday, January 26

"and who does she look like?"

a common question asked. i thought she looked like sebastian but maybe not now that i looked at his baby pictures.

she definitely doesn't favor nico too much either.

i suppose she just looks like herself.

Monday, January 25

two months.

can you believe it? me neither. two months slipped by quickly, didn't it? and so how is "the colette"?
good. very good, in fact. i mean, the boys were sweet babies but colette is like honey. she glows. she falls asleep by herself. she smiles and coos and is fascinated by my hair and her star mobile. she no longer is a light little bird. happy 2 months, my darling.


all of us are in love.

Friday, January 22

this girl is an american



just picked up her passport and consular report of birth from the post office. she's a citizen, my friends.

Tuesday, January 19

The time is always ripe


"We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right."

from Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The picture is from Nagasaki Peace Park. All around the park you will find chains of origami cranes, numbering to 1000 in each chain. According to legend, if you make 1000 cranes your wish will come true. I like to think of the intention involved with each crease and fold, schoolchildren, grandparents all creating colorful paper manifestations of their hope for world peace.

Thursday, January 14

Hearts to Haiti

I am astonished and proud of how quickly and completely the international community has responded to the crisis in Haiti. The use of the word community feels so true in moments like these. It reminds me of a line from the end of To Kill a Mockingbird
Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between.

Haiti is our neighbor. Already millions of dollars have poured into aid organizations. I know the first group I gave to was the American Red Cross when I heard they were out of medical supplies yesterday. Other groups in need of monetary donations are listed here.

For me, and maybe for you as well, pressing the "donate" button on a website doesn't quell my urge to help. I want to physically respond, to keep my hands busy. I may be limited by means and materials, but I do have a stash of fabric and a sewing machine. For that desire, I have found an outlet. I am going to make small blankets for the group Giving Children Hope.
Here's a comment from the organization regarding this post:

Hi, this is Jenise from Giving Children Hope. You can see our news report here http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=weather/earthquake_center&id=7217433 and the story on our website here http://www.gchope.org/earthquake-rocks-haiti.html
Yes, this is a community effort. The story is so heart-breaking I keep bursting into tears. It is tragic. If you can help - we all need to help Haiti!
Blessings


I hope you will join me. They accept other material goods such as washcloths and pillows. You could knit or crochet as well as sew. It is a good way of reaching out, especially during these times when you may not have the economic resources to contribute. Handmade goods offer another benefit for the recipients, to immediately connect with the heartfelt concern from the outside world.

I have made a little blog badge that you can use if you want to join this effort. Right now it links to this post but I would encourage you to take a moment and write down your own thoughts about the earthquake and connect the badge to that post.

<em><a href="http://gu-choki-pa.blogspot.com/2010/01/hearts-to-haiti.html"><img border="0" view&current="myphoto.gif" = alt="Photobucket" src="http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx230/tiffanykey/myphoto.gif" target="_blank"/><img/></a></em>

Wednesday, January 13

i'm working on a story

care to read it?
okay then, go here.

feedback is welcome. if you are familiar with my history, you'll recognize that i fictionalized a bit of my reality (i'm a postmodern girl in a postmodern world. or is it post-postmodern now?). it is written specifically for a short story contest with the theme "apartments and neighbors". the word count was limited to 750.

if you do read it, i'd like to have feedback. constructive is my favorite.
thanks.

xoxo

sorry, it is public now, no password necessary

Tuesday, January 12

reflecting::1

without getting too sentimental, i am going to dedicate the next few posts to reflecting on our time living on the island. the words will be brief, the images will speak for themselves.

winter vacation is over and we are on the homestretch for the big move. moving to nagoya is somehow more scary/thrilling than moving around the world. living in a city, a big city, is going to be so overwhelming for a long time. we have had our complaints about our present situation but on the whole, our life here has been a sweet transitional stage. our children have grown here, our daughter breathed her first breath here. for the next few months, we are going to be over our heads busy with preparations to move, for sebastian to start elementary school, for jason and i to start our new teaching jobs, for me to successfully complete another semester in the matesol program. full is an understatement.

i like to visit here and share with you so i won't disappear completely. instead i will share images from our time on fukue. i hope you enjoy.
xoxo

first day of preschool

just arrived on the island, playing at the first park we could find::nico was still a baby *gasp*

the beginning of insect love/obsession

playing with school friends

Wednesday, January 6

traveling with three plus us

last week we went on a whirlwind trip to fukuoka and back for colette's passport.
i know many people who travel long distances in a short amount of time but i don't think we are going to join those ranks. we left on monday morning and returned wednesday night. ferries, trains, street cars, buses, our poor feet, and taxis were involved; cranky children were appeased with happy meals and pokemon. having survived this excursion, i thought i would share the lessons we learned.

1. when taking the limited express (tokyuu), you can buy your tickets in advance. round trip tickets are cheaper and you can get a companion fare when traveling with your spouse (or respective companion). other good things we learned, always have snacks on hand because it might be a while before the refreshment cart makes its rounds. also, if son 2 is the size (and has the temperment) of a mini-linebacker, buy him his own seat. these two brothers, no matter how much they like each other, are too big to share. on our shinkansen ride to nagoya, there will be four tickets. and lots of snacks.




2. this is not new but very important. find a park. any park. let them run wild, even if it is only for ten minutes. they need that time as much as they need water and air.




3. when on a city bus in a strange city in the late evening, pay attention. if you pass your stop, press the button for the next stop. do not assume the bus route loops around. especially if the bus schedule is the holiday schedule. also, do not cry when said bus not only doesn't loop but proceeds onto the freeway and the bright lights of said city grow small in the rear window. just get off at the next stop, and run like mad with small children and shopping bags to catch the last bus that takes you back to the city, where you will gratefully stumble into your hotel, exhausted and safe.

4. taxis can be good. typically we avoid using taxis but sometimes it is the best money spent. especially if your ferry home is two hours late and it is sleeting and you have three sleeping littles plus baggage. the best five bucks ever.

5. buffets rock. especially when they don't charge for kids and have loads of yummy home-style dishes that make you feel good and decent when you clean your plate.

Sunday, January 3

Resolving

This New Year's, we are behind.
The house cleaning is still being done piecemeal. We're making our postcards tonight. Our resolutions are still in the dusty attics called our minds.

Yet, I'm okay with it. We did eat black-eyed peas, cornbread, and spinach (the standard substitute for collard greens in my home). We fell asleep way before midnight and woke up way after the first sunrise.



In an attempt to draw those resolutions out of their shadowy corners, I'm going to use my mother's typical wish for the new year: to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.

I've started on the healthy part by returning to my roots: resuming a vegetarian diet and including a ballet workout in my daily schedule. I'm weaving more macrobiotic elements in our meals, which works well here in Japan. Vegetables and I are becoming good friends and I am learning about all the unknown varieties that dwell in baskets at the local markets, a cloak of soil still dusting their flesh.

I don't know if it's due to my recent acceptance into the 30-club or having three dependents, but suddenly my health is center stage. I want to live a long time. There are grandchildren, great-grandchildren to hold, books to write and read, countries to explore. I have a lot to do.



The wealthy part has no definitive scheme. It's more in the positive thinking pool, floating lazily around. We are getting better with budgeting and making the most of our relative "wealth".

The wise part does have concrete elements, but for now I will just speak for myself. This December, I will finish my master's degree. I will start a daily Japanese study of two hours a day. That's enough to declare.



Above all, we are feeling a little timid right now. 2010 is looming above us with promises and expectations and we are honestly not ready to grab hold and climb onto the back of the tiger. But perhaps tomorrow?

xoxo

Friday, January 1

あけましておめでとうございます!

akemashiteomedetougozaimasu! (or, happy new year!)
here's to 2010! let's hope that all the goodness of 2009 multiples excessively in the new year and that all negativity is washed away, far away.

may all your days be full of laughter and joy.





a few snapshots from our trip to fukuoka this week where there was lots of laughter and much joy