Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Year Anniversary of our Atsugi Life

October 31st was our 1 year anniversary of being in Japan. Wow! It went so very fast. When I first realized it had been one year, I thought, "I am really looking forward to the next two years." It has been an amazing year for Brian and I as well as for Michael and Bryan. I have made so many wonderful friends that I'm sure I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I have become the Secretary for AESA (Atsugi Enlisted Spouses Association). I am so proud to be a small part of the assocation. They have given away over $44,000 this year so far. It all goes back to the community. I am also a board member for JATA (Japanese American Tomadachi Assocation). Tomadachi is Friendship in Japanese. My friends at JATA constantly surprise and amaze me with their kindness and eagerness to learn about all things American.

My close friends here at Atsugi have formed a close-knit support group as I deal with being without my beloved husband for many months of each year. I count on Leslie to always have that smile, on Robin to keep me updated about Days of Our Lives and shopping, Julie to chat with, Laura to be my girls night buddie and the list goes on and on. I am making strong new friendships with my fellow AESA board members. I look forward to getting to know them better.

I have become so used to small community life that it will be difficult for me to go back to being in a large community. I have come to know most people on base and am recognized wherever I go. Yes, it is different. But it feels like home and I am so blessed to have this opportunity to be "where everyone knows my name".

Japan is a constant adventure, a new surprise just waits everytime you drive off the base. Brian and I had the good fortune to take a tour to Hiroshima, Miyajima Island, and Himeji Castle. It was a long 10 hour bus ride to get there, but WOW was it worth it. The beauty of Miyajima island with its water surrounded Torii was and temple was awe inspiring. The majesty of Himeji Castle again left us in awe. Hiroshima with it's shell of a building from the bombing was solemn and peaceful at the same time. We loved the trip and I was able to check off 3 places on my desired locations to visit list.
Our one and only sad spot from being in Japan is that Hunter, my stepdaughter, cannot come to visit us here. Unfortunately, her Mother is not supportive of her relationship with her Father at all. We are so sad that she will never have this experience. We pray that God will touch her heart and help her to see that Hunter needs her Father's love in her life.
One of the greatest blessings of our time in Japan is that Brian and I's still young marriage has absolutely blossomed. Navy life tends to pull a marriage together or apart and we have been lucky. We are all in this overseas life together and enjoying it so very much. Brian wishes that he was home more with me, but in return he has gotten to see China, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Phillipines and others. Next year I will have the opportunity to visit him in some of those places. Each time he reaches a port he calls me and wishes for me to be there. Even with the separation we feel blessed that technology allows us to email everyday and to talk at least once per week.
We are all looking forward to the holidays together. I am the chairperson for the AESA Annual Holiday Party and am very busy with the planning of the party for 100 people. Our theme is Winter Wonderland and I am enjoying the planning and my committee very much.
I need to blog more, but have been too busy lately!!! I walk everyday, do water aerobics twice per week, have 9-10 meetings per month, take Japanese Washi Paper class every week, along with being a full-time Mom with no Dad in the house. Whew! Sometimes I need a vacation!! But, it almost feels as if I am on a full-time vacation here at Atsugi.
Bryan turned 14 the other day. He is growing up so quick!!! He runs around the base like he owns it now. Lots of girls trying to talk to him and his many friends always ringing the door bell. I am so proud of the man he is growing up to be. He finally had his complete braces put on the day after his birthday. He looks so cute!!
Michael is still teaching English to Japanese students in Chigasaki. He is closer to getting a DOD job at Camp Zama Middle School. We think it is funny that he will work where Bryan goes to school. Once he is hired, I will take over his English classes and I am really looking forward to that!!
Well, thank you Atsugi for giving us a warm and wonderful welcome to Japan. We look forward to all you have to offer for the rest of our time here. :>)