03 January, 2017

Looking ahead to 2017

I don't feel like I can truly start blogging this year till I've written this post. So here goes.

We saw the new year in just a couple of hundred metres from our house with friends. Friends who are also a teacher/non-teacher combo. Who also have kids who do the same three sports ours do. And who we went camping with in 2016. So in terms of people who we've spent the most time with in 2016, they probably are top runners. Long days at wrestling and athletics meets, plus long drives together to and from those as well as cross country. It is great to have friends with whom we have a fair bit in common with. Because for most of our time in Japan we've felt like the odd ones out.

When we arrived in Japan we went straight to language school. At the language school we were the only ones with kids for most of our time (everyone else was single or childless couples except for short periods on either end of our 2 ¼ yr time of study). It was a lean time in our mission, in terms of new arrivals, and so it remains true that there aren't so many around our age/stages. We're also Australian. There are relatively few Aussies in Japan or in our mission (though some younger ones have arrived in the last half a dozen years or so), and very few at CAJ. There are no other OMF staff at CAJ just now either.

To have other families around a similar stage of life and with similar interests as us to "do life with" seems to be something unusual for us and worth pointing out and being thankful for. Especially with teenagers, who, of all ages, seem to most struggle when there aren't people similar to them.

But I ramble. As we walked home from our friends' house at 12.30am on New Year's Day, we reflected lightly on what was to come this year:
  • our eldest graduates from high school
  • he also turns 18, the legal age for an adult in his passport country
  • he'll apply for university later this year (you can't do it until September in Australia) and probably be preparing to leave home this time next year
  • between graduation and potentially starting university in Australia in Feb 2018 he'll be seeking to work part-time in Japan. We're yet to see what that will look like, but possibly several different things.
  • in September David and I hit 20 years of marriage
  • our middle son will graduate from middle school and start high school (for the second time in his life—he spent six-months in high school in Australia at the start of 2015, where 7th grade is high school)
  • our younger two boys turn 12 and 15!
  • an overseas trip for three of us next month to Korea for our eldest son's last high school wrestling competition
  • we've got three potential camping trips planned across the year
Other than that, there isn't much drama "planned" for the year. Next year will be a different story, with a home assignment planned from June, but 2017 will hopefully be fairly stable (though predictably busy), though.

There aren't many changes that I'm planning to make. I'm not in the habit of making New Year Resolutions (see my post New Year's Day is just another day).

I'm going to strive to "keep my eyes always on the Lord" (Ps. 16:8a NIV). Praying that no matter what comes my way "I will not be shaken" (vs. 8b).

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