Friday, July 24, 2009


So I haven’t blogged a lot lately. I could do the usually dozen updates to catch you up, but frankly, I just don’t feel like it at the moment, so I guess we’ll see if it happens at a later date. I just got back from the US. It was definitely a weird experience to go back to America after a year in Japan. I sorta felt like and acted like an observer for most of my time back. It’s not that I felt out of place, but just that everything that was so distant for so long all of a sudden was in my face, some things for the good and some for the bad. And so…I shall only tell you about the good today.

It was amazing to finally meet my niece, Avery Elise. She is going to be SUCH a heart breaker. She has the biggest brown eyes that just make me smile inside.

One of the biggest shockers I think was just how GREEN Minnesota is and how beautiful it was! It’s not that I don’t have trees and fields here in Japan, because they are everywhere. But I guess just like how green it is for miles and miles and you can see it for miles because it’s so flat.

And along with that I guess is just the realization that maybe Minnesota wouldn’t be the worst place to end up despite the low teacher salaries (because frankly, where are they not low) and freezing cold, never ending winters. As you can tell I’m not quite past the cold part yet, but before coming to Japan, I never really thought I would try to settle down in Minnesota. But the longer I am here, the more I think that it’s more about the people in a place than the weather or the money. I loved driving on the open road “farming” as we used to say about my dad, just staring at the fields, cows on the side of the road, and the endless green miles.

I love my best friend’s old farm house and how much like home it feels with refinished wood floors and quiet “neighborhood.” I love a good old fashioned grill out, eating outside, and a keg party with chickens and horses surrounding me and hiding behind the barn with good friends to chat and look at the stars. I love country radio stations. I hate saying good-byes after such a short time when making all these realizations.

It was really nice to spend so much time with my family. Though at a certain point any family who spends too much time together goes a little crazy, it's interesting how things have changed in our family as we've all gotten older and how we have molded a little more to understand each other's personalities. I really spent a majority of time just with my family. We also had a "Christmas in July" trip since we couldn't all be together at Christmas. We went to Sioux Falls, ate some good meals, went to Falls Park, watched Avery go swimming for the first time at the hotel, and went mini-golfing.

Although I’m not quite as nostalgic about Utah itself, I made a 3 day stop to visit my other best friend (and her husband) who has just begun her journey as a mother. I sometimes caught myself thinking “Wow, that thing is really hers!” That “thing” being the cutest little boy EVER! He has the craziest facial expressions that just make me laugh and a smile that makes me smile just as big for no reason. But I was often in disbelief that my best friend has one of her very own. I do realize how outrageous that probably sounds, especially considering I have a lot of friends with kids, but I guess this time it was different because we’re such close friends. And although I talk to her often and know how much energy having a new(er) baby takes, I was still just floored at seeing firsthand just how much it changes your life! So anyway, we just spent a lot of chill time, which is just how I like it: hanging out with Nic and Cohen, watching old episodes of One Tree Hill and The OC, a little shopping here and there. We also spent one last day at the beach relaxing. Things quickly returned to normal with our great minds that think alike – seriously weird how many times we said what the other was thinking. So it’s interesting that no matter how many things change, how some just stay the same, in a really good way.

All these things going on at home really forced me to think about life since, as I said, I was sorta just being an observer throughout. In addition, the changing environment here in Japan, with a few of my good friends leaving, has contributed to this line of thought. Thoughts of what I want to accomplish and places I want to visit in the next year, and what I want to do after this year is up. And the never ending question from people, “What’s next?” So…what is next? I guess I better figure that out. Thanks to everyone who gave me things to think about while I was home. It was nice to catch up on life back in the US of A.