March 20, 2011

Leaving Japan

We definitely had mixed feelings about leaving Japan.  Without going into too many of the details we had basically been given the opportunity to voluntarily leave Japan with assistance from the military.  Since we had already purchased tickets to fly to the US in April we were able to change our tickets without any cost to us so that we could leave earlier.  With the uncertainty of what was happening up at the Nuclear Power Plants up in Fukushima and the ongoing rolling blackouts, gas rationing, and school closure we made a decision for me and the kids to leave and get out earlier rather than later.  The night before we left we found out that we would actually be given orders to leave which would allow for some reimbursement of some of the costs we would face heading back to the US.  This was a huge blessing in our mind. 

Our 12 1/2 hour plane ride ended up being a great experience.  We were all up for the first 4 hours or so and then one by one each of the kids fell asleep which was great.  Since we left in the afternoon I figured that they would sleep most of the trip, which they did.  I did not sleep very much on the plane as I had a lot on my mind.  I couldn't have asked for a better trip.  Going through customs and immigrations and getting our bags didn't end up being as much of a hassle as I had anticipated so that was good.  We were greeted at the airport by Mike's dad which was nice.  We all piled into the van and headed only 10 min to his house for a pancake dinner with the rest of the family.  It was nice to be surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  I think the kids really enjoyed being able to have instant playmates.  I was happy to finally be off the plane, happy to eat a normal meal, a little tired from having stayed up all night, and a little sad that Mike was not with us. 

I had no idea how the transition would be and how the kids would adjust.  It took us almost an entire week to be completely off of jet lag.  The first 3 nights we were awake by 3am and finally by night four we were all sleeping until 6:30am.  Those first nights and days were rough.  Being in a new environment also added to some extra stress but eventually we made it through the first week.  The kids had fun staying at their cousins house but after a week of 8 kids in the house I realized it would be a little less overwhelming to be at Grandpa's house so we packed up our bags and moved only 5 minutes away.  How nice that they live so close to each other.  I was excited for my kids to finally have an opportunity to have one on one time with their Grandpa since they don't get that often enough.  It has been great being here so far but it still pains us to be so far from Mike.  I never imagined how much it would affect the kids to be away from him.  I should feel blessed that they love their dad that much.  I don't blame them...he is a great dad.  We can't wait for him to get here in a few short weeks.

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