- Lots of transition, mostly surrounding our move to Australia for home assignment. Change of country, house, schools, roles, and even time without children.
- Our youngest began attending Pre-Prep or kindergarten 3 days a week. For the first time in 10 years, I've had regular child-free time.
- Two new nephews born into our families.
- Some answers about one of our sons.
- First time in several years that we've been together with all our families.
- Trip to Manila. As a result of dreaming about the future with our youngest heading off to school, I've been moving in the direction of writing and editing. The foreseeable future involves working with the editor of Japan Harvest, a magazine by and for missionaries in Japan. My trip to Manila was a definitive step towards that goal, attending a Christian magazine editing conference.
- I began blogging this year. It has been an interesting foray into a different mode of communication with people who support us (and many who don't). My goal - to help people to see what a missionary's life is really like.
- 40 is coming closer!
31 December, 2009
27 December, 2009
26 December, 2009
24 December, 2009
18 December, 2009
15 December, 2009
- It is a privilege to serve our Lord in this way.
- Dependency on God is a great way to live. Lots of surprises!
- Life is less predictable that you think.
- It is not necessary to own a house.
- "No debt" is a great place to be.
- International moves are tough.
- Raising children away from your home culture is very difficult.
- Missionary is not a synonym for evangelist.
- We don't have to be like other people - God values us as the individuals he made us to be.
14 December, 2009
- It's hot (mid to high 30s C which is around 100 degrees F). This means not only the kids get frayed, but their parents do too.
- School holidays. The boys have again needed to learn to live with each other all day, every day. Us too!
- They are excited about Christmas coming. This is a usual problem. School finishing three weeks before Christmas is new for them.
- Change is in the air - we're leaving soon to visit family in rural Queensland.
12 December, 2009
11 December, 2009
10 December, 2009
I know who holds the future, And I know who holds my hand; With God things don't just happen- Everything by Him is planned. SmithBacked up by this from scripture:
"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:6Praise God that He knows and it is not all up to us!
09 December, 2009
08 December, 2009
- We lost a boy...and found him again. Even with four adults and a one-to-one ratio on boys (we had my sister's 5 y.o. too), we managed to lose a child. At one of the shows our 4 y.o. and his cousin were at the front playing with bubbles from the show when the show ended and adults streamed past the kids on their way out. Apparently our 4 y.o. got carried away in the flow and ended up somewhere completely different. Thankfully a kind couple took him to the lost child place and we eventually headed there too after ascertaining he wasn't in the immediate vicinity of the show. Always a heart stopping moment, when you lose a child!
- Seeing our middle child, who is usually first-time-negative (meaning the first time he encounters something new, be it food or people or a place, he is tentative and usually not interested in saying "yes"), warm to the experience and go on most of the age appropriate rides. (That is a shocking sentence, sorry.)
- The lack of enthusiasm of the park's staff. At such a place, when you've paid large bickies to get in, you expect the staff will embrace you into an exciting experience. Most of the employees, however, seemed like they were counting the time until the end of their shift and they could get away from these annoying patrons.
- Time spent with extended family is always valuable. Living in another country, we don't get to see them that often. We also never know when their (or our) time on earth will be over, so every moment together is valuable.
- Building memories for our kids. We don't live a lifestyle that enables us to accumulate heaps of stuff. But memories are totally portable and never need packing or storing.
06 December, 2009
04 December, 2009
03 December, 2009
01 December, 2009
30 November, 2009
Why don't we put in a grass playing field? We will be redoing the drainage and surface of our playing field in December. After extensive research and consultation with competing contractors, it was determined that any sort of grass surface would not hold up to the three seasons of sports, daily playground use, and weekend and other activities including parking. Artificial turf surfaces were considered but are very expensive both to install and maintain, as well as to replace.I wonder what the new surface will look like then?
29 November, 2009
27 November, 2009
26 November, 2009
- It is hot.
- We have Christmas carols playing.
- The Christmas cakes have fruit in them.
- Schools are breaking up for the year - the end of the school year.
- and the icing on the cake, so to speak:
- Cricket is playing on (free-to-air) TV in the background.
25 November, 2009
23 November, 2009
21 November, 2009
20 November, 2009
19 November, 2009
Living in a foreign country where you don't speak the language well makes you feel incompetent. Live there for many years and it can get you down. You can easily begin to believe that you have never been capable.
One of the great things about coming back to Australia is that I can talk to (almost) anyone. I can do my own banking with ease. I can fill out forms with no help. I can make phone calls without even thinking about it. Going to the doctor is a breeze and I don't have to take my dictionary (unless we are interpreting Japanese immunisation records). Hey, I even took the car to the mechanic last week and talked to him both face to face and on the phone.
I'm remembering that I once was a competent professional who held down a challenging job, managed my own finances and even lived on my own for two years. It is good to remember these things.
My husband is a wonderful partner in the business of living and raising a family. In fact he is exceptionally competent in many things and in Japan is more competent than me because he's managed to learn more Japanese than me. Therefore when we're in Japan I lean on him a lot. He does the banking, he makes many of the phone calls, reads the kindy notices and fills out the forms.
He enjoys being in Australia because I am much less dependent on him. When he is away in Japan I feel very fragile. When he is away in Australia I feel a bit shaky, but much less so.
I do know that my self-worth doesn't come from what I can do, it ultimately comes from Christ and that I am loved and accepted by Him. However I don't think it hurts to remember the abilities that He's given us and use them when we can. Actually the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) tells us that God wants us to use, and presumably appreciate, the abilities He's given us.
I am thankful for all these things - for a wonderful husband, for a Lord who loves me and for the opportunity to live in Australia where I can communicate easily. Last week God was very gracious to me in providing all the help and strength I needed to survive the week. He also gently reminded me that the gifts and abilities He has given me are sufficient for where He's placed me.
18 November, 2009
"Some people wear more skin than that."Ain't that the truth. My aim is to "wear" as little skin as possible!
17 November, 2009
16 November, 2009
14 November, 2009
13 November, 2009
When I get to be an adult I want to live in Japan because my raincoat is there because it rains a lot and the lawn is never brown.What lawn? Never mind. As a 4 y.o. he already has a broader view of the world than most of his peers.
12 November, 2009
10 November, 2009
08 November, 2009
07 November, 2009
- Manshon - mansion. But the meaning is different. This is a large fairly modern apartment block. Japanese are amazed that the meaning of the English word is for a large house that usually only has one family in it.
- Sutaduresu taiya - studless tyres. English? Yes, but not where I come from. These are tyres used on snowy roads, but have not studs (which wreck the roads).
- Sutovu - stove. Again a different meaning. This is a heater.
- Aian - iron.
- Pasocon - PC - personal computer.
- Beeza - visa
- Youkari - eucalyptus tree
- Lordo (has two meanings) - lord and load
- Sutsukesu - suitcase
- Makudonarudo - McDonalds
06 November, 2009
05 November, 2009
- Sutaduresu taiya
- Lordo (has two meanings)
04 November, 2009
03 November, 2009
02 November, 2009
01 November, 2009
31 October, 2009
30 October, 2009
29 October, 2009
- I use my hands to illustrate some of my words, like numbers. This comes of learning another language and lacking confidence that people will understand your words. Interesting that it has translated over into English.
- I've been told I speak softly (except when dealing with children who aren't responding). I don't think that this was particularly a characteristic of mine before I went to Japan. A couple of theories - possibly just Japanese. I wonder if it is also born of sticking out so much and trying to compensate by speaking softly?
- I don't like my shoes on in the house, though possibly that was the case before.
- I can tend to go over the top in humour or speaking my mind, just because I can.
- I speak to people in lines, chat to bank employees, checkout chicks - just because I can!
- I pay less attention to what others think. For years we've been living in another culture, with lots of people paying a lot of attention to us. In the end I've had to largely disregard them and get on with doing my own thing. Sounds weird, but here's an example; managing my kids in public. In Japan they attract a lot of attention in public, just because of the way they look. Dealing with bad behaviour in public is tricky in the face of that. I've had to block out the fact that lots of people are observing us and get on with managing my family as best I can.
- Related to the above but slightly different - I've grown fairly comfortable with me (this is a sign of age too, I know). We are living lives so different from most of the people around us - here and in Japan - that we've had to find our own plimsoll lines. How much we can take on, when to say no, even what to feed my family, how to manage my own kids, and what my own role will be outside of my home-maker role. With so few people as role models it has not been easy and negative comparison with others is a potential trap.
28 October, 2009
27 October, 2009
Some false assumptions among many Japanese that’s slowly being dispelled by time is the “uniqueness” of Japan...(and therefore)
- Japan is the only country that has four seasons;
- foreigners can’t understand Japan; (nor can they speak Japanese)
- only Japanese can use chopsticks properly.
It's absolutely true. So many times people have commented on my amazing ability to speak Japanese (or use chopsticks) when I've only uttered a short phrase, no better than a primary schooler might do....
Here's another key insight:
...and more. Especially if you have white babies or children. We've had ladies nearly swooning at the "cuteness" of our kids! It is wonderful to be in a land at present where we don't stick out. And in fact, where it doesn't matter too much if you do!
Drawing attention to yourself as an individual is a huge no-no: don’t blow your nose in public, try to avoid eating while on the go, and don’t speak on your cell phone in crowded public areas like trains or buses.
The main problem with this is that foreigners simply can’t avoid standing out; we stick out like sore thumbs no matter how long we’ve been here, or how much we know about Japanese culture and society.As a result, being in Japan gives foreigners the status of D-level celebrities: you’ll get glances...