Last week in the States…


I can’t believe I am saying that! This whole summer has been leading to this week…the last week. I am ready to go, no doubt…

but I found myself saying, “Oooh, Paul I have to do this before we go…or eat here one last time…”
It’s a strange feeling really. People trying to get their last visit in before the going away party…and me turning them down because I have family coming in and just being out of time. It’s strange. 

It’s strange to say we leave next week. That this time next Monday we will be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

Its comforting to know that my dad will be tracking our entire flight…24/7. It’s what he does 🙂 
Mom’s nervous about the plane…seeing as all the problems lately. It will be fine! 

Thursday night was spent celebrating great friends and good food with my coworkers from Norton Park. It was a special evening of goodbyes. I have known those ladies for 7 years, and we are all close. It was Asian food themed, so everyone brought something Asian to eat that was their favorite 🙂 Lot’s of yummy food! 

I even won $30 playing BUNCO (a great game, look it up if you don’t know it)!!!!!

Yesterday was family pictures-and boy was it hot! It was a fun evening trying to pose, but not look like we were posing…with sweaty faces and frizzy hair. Hopefully the sweat and the frizz can be edited out!! 

Tonight we had turkey and dressing…a Thanksgiving in July! And, I made coconut macaroons for the first time! They are pretty good too, even if they didn’t set up perfectly…they are close! 

I am really enjoying the family time I get to have. 

It was strange to wake up this morning at 9:25 and realize that I normally would be at work then…socializing with everyone, setting up my room (or trying to anyway, it’s hard when everyone sits around and talks)! I saw a couple posts of pictures…they had a fun photo booth at school today and everyone was taking silly pictures and printing them out on the traditional strips. I saw a picture and was thinking…someone photo shop me in! Just then, I get a snap from a friend-they are in a group picture and left a spot for me. Yes, I totally started crying and couldn’t even completely tell mom what the picture was. 

It was very sweet…I then took a picture of the picture…and drew myself in and sent it back. That made me laugh which stopped the tears. That was a success! 

I am so ready and happy to be on this new adventure…to leave the Park was very difficult. It’s hard leaving your home-but I can think about it with fondness as I look forward to making new friends and having new teaching and learning experiences at NIS. 

Our official going away party is this Saturday-it will be a Southern Sayonara 🙂 It’s a cute theme…a last hurrah of southern food, potluck style since we can’t get southern food in Japan! 

Looking forward to those final goodbyes as we will take off the next day!

For now, 


K + P

10544395_10101269699813423_3141975348379482562_nPictures preview…mummy/daughter ink

10500402_10152291094887476_2978507318636707393_nA sample of great friends celebrating

10583899_10152291095277476_6167491984311234342_nThis girl. Hearts x a million!

10552374_10152291095282476_1583440077536898263_nWill miss both so much! #notjustworkfriends

10579982_10101266632485373_2351573428372040345_n  New bags the family got for us!20140726_094134Morning coffee with hummingbirds

20140727_154147 Hello! Fresh hair color! 

20140727_162532  Selfies in the car with daddio20140727_195040 Mellow Mushroom with my nephews! I think I got Garrett interested in big brother!

20140728_215920First attempt at coconut macaroons=success!




It’s July-means almost time!


14 days left means vacations have started and the big move completed. Well, not the BIG move…but the move into my parent’s house 🙂

Last week we moved houses-got our bedroom set up and the forwarding of email to my parents. We headed out Saturday for a week in Anna Maria Island (near Sarasota/St. Pete area) with my family. We stayed in a great house with a backyard pool-which for me is key while at the beach! I love looking at it, walking in it, listening to it…but I really hate sitting at the beach all day.

On our way to FL we stopped by my amazing friend’s house who has an internship in Gainsville at the vet school for the summer. Laura and I have been friends since middle school-she means the world to me and I will miss her terribly-even though we only see each other maybe once a year. She fixed an amazing Thai curry dinner and we chatted over wine for 2 hrs. I haven’t really ever stopped while driving toward a vacation destination…but it was a lot of fun, and very spontaneous. I like spontaneity! We finally left and made it to the beach house around 2:30 am.



The week was spent trying new beer (Cycle Brew), HARRY POTTER, beach time, pool time, storms, fishing, and amazing (ly expensive) food.

Soo…Harry Potter…I could make my own post, just for HP, and never stop. But I will keep this one pretty short. HP was so amazing-I had a difficult time really absorbing what I was seeing. JKR put so much into the park-more than I can put into words. To tell my quick story I will post pictures. It was hot, but we chose a good day to go…storms were brewing and the rain helped cool things off…plus helped keep lines down. We rode escape from Gringotts which was quoted a 4 hr wait-we lucked out. It was only 3 hrs! Yay us 🙂  It was a great ride-4D, fire, water, spinning, coasters, holograms….A+++++




We were pretty beat but made time for Mediterranean-it was so good. A tiny little place somewhere off the path in Orlando. If you ever…go!

The beach time was really great. Lots of quality time with my family. Morning walks on the beach with my sister…it was supposed to be a sunrise walk with coffee, but it happened earlier than I thought! Oh well-we still enjoyed our time! I also spent a lovely day sitting in the ocean with mom. Just a great week.

10498403_10101253786014803_7302381664759548939_o (2)20140717_20171220140717_20061620140717_19435420140716_20304120140716_132059 (1)

We left the beach Friday and headed to Charleston to stay a week with Paul’s family. On our way to SC, we drove across FL to drive up the coast. We stopped in St. Augustine…it was gorgeous! We will definitely be going again sometime to stay. It was very much like a tiny piece of Tortuga! We drove up the coast and found a wonderful surprise…a castle on the beach! I love castles!

Atlantic coast somewhere between GA and Jacksonville

Pretty yummy gourmet pops in St. Augustine!

We are now in Charleston until Thursday. We got to see Paul’s brother Eliot and his wife Claire who live in DC. We spent the whole day together going to breweries and bars! The rest of the week will be spent at the pool, on the boat, and spending time with Paul’s other brother Johnny, his partner Ry, and our niece Willow!

photo 1photo 1 photo IMG_0029 IMG_0032 IMG_0036 IMG_0044 IMG_0018

A couple more days. Can’t believe it! For now…


K + P



We are at the 25 day mark!

Not a lot going on in information from the school, but a lot of prepping still happening! We picked up our Visas yesterday-they are in the back of our passport. Very pretty too I might add!



Covered those important numbers 🙂 I think we look like puppets or something!

We move out officially on Friday…since we have a 3-way house swap going on and lots of vacations, this was the best time. So, after Friday, I will be living with my mummy and daddy again until we leave. I’m actually excited about that. I spend some good time with them…and not drive an hour to make it happen!

We will be spending a week at the beach in Florida with my family-and Paul is taking me to Orlando (2 hr drive from where we will be) for the new HP park!!! I am sooo excited..I didn’t think I would make it there before we left!

From FL we are driving to Charleston to visit family out there for a week! My former (eeek) co-workers are throwing me a party on the 24th! I can’t wait to see them! I will miss them all so much. 7 years!! Those ladies are incredible friends.

Speaking of friends, I have found a lot of people at my new school on FB-and we have been chatting regularly. So between the new people going to Japan…and those already there, I have some new friends that I can’t wait to meet in person! Geez, I love technology!

For those wondering, I think we close on July 30. If not, then mom will have to take over when we leave (she’s our official Power of Attorney…anything we can do…she can do)! We found a lovely family to move in and I hope it all works out.

Now, for your dose of Japanese lessons!
I found out the difference between kanji, hirigana, and katakana. And here I thought I was doing so well! I started memorizing characters of the words I was learning…then realized it didn’t match when I looked up the word. So, I realize that Hirigana/Katakana are the pronunciations of the words. One set for “Japanese” based words, and one set for “words from other languages.” So, once you learn to pronounce the word, it’s written in Kanji…the characters taken from the Chinese. I am so not there yet. But anyway-new phrases!

Days of the Week
Japanese days of the week
You see the difference? Kanji are the characters taken from Chinese…Hiragana-Japan’s alphabet. The Romaji (Roman) is the “ABC” version.

Eigo o hanashimasu ka= DO you speak Enlgish?

Watashi wa Amerika kara kimashitashi, watashi wa eigo o hanasu=I am from America and I speak English. (I think I did this right)
Of course even though I might say that correctly…and possibly understand it if someone else says it…this is what it looks like in kanji/hiragana


Right, good luck with that!

Anyway, that's it for now!


How come they don’t take Master Card?



So that is what Paul said as we finished filling out forms at the Japanese Consulate today. Why do you ask…?

Exactly, why even ask? It’s Paul! It’s one of the many qualities I find so endearing…his ability to make me laugh, smirk, slap him upside the head (shhh, that’s my favorite), and roll my eyes. I think I actually did ALL of those at some point today. 🙂

Really though, the window had a large sign reading “VISA” and another window said “passports”…you can figure out the punchline.

Today was a rather busy day. We shipped a box of school supplies today! Things I don’t have to have, but stuff I like for my desk. The little things from Norton Park and my friends from work, past students…just, stuff. It was exciting to ship our first package of belongings. I might have to send another…

We also had to pick up a package sent from NIS containing our CTE, or certificate of eligibility. The secretary (who is amazingly efficient) of our headmaster prepared the visa application (that I turn in with the CTE) almost completely…which was nice. We turned in our passports and paperwork and after an initial review said my visa would be ready for pick up on Tuesday! Can you believe it????

Tomorrow, or today, or whenever you see this…JULY 3 is officially the marker of 30 days until we leave! Luckily July is busy -beach trip with my family, visiting Paul’s family, two going away shin digs (thanks to my dearest friends from Norton Park and my aunts, mom, sister and mom in law for the other).

I don’t know if I mentioned last time, but we have settled on a car! You can’t wait to hear what kind of car we have right??





Well, so would we! HA! I have no idea what kind of car we will have…what color, what model…hopefully it’s AUTOMATIC!!!! Yikes! I am so scared it’s a stick. Not only would I have to learn to drive on the right side of the car, but the left side of the road, and shifting with my left hand!? Whaat? That’s crazy. Good lord don’t let me kill myself! I was also wondering…are the pedals revered if it’s on the right side? Maybe videos are in order!!

Mom wanted a picture of me at the consulate. I was expecting a whole lot of, well, Japanese stuff. But, there was this nice flag, and a security office that said, “Don’t let the ceiling camera get in your picture.” Ooooo-kkkkay. No problem.

Nippon 日本

Nippon 日本

So last night we went out for sushi. Now, I know it’s nothing like what we will have in Japan…but it was certainly worth some exploration. Paul of course only finds places with stellar reviews, so Vinings won the competition. It was a quaint little place, very authentic actually. We ordered sake (which Paul likes warm, me…not sure) and split a sampler-California roll, shrimp tempura, and salmon roll.

That came with a salad with an amazing ginger dressing, and miso soup. We shared, and I particularly liked the soup. I even slurped it! We also ordered shrimp dumplings…handmade and so good.

I of course favored the shrimp tempura roll, liked the california (not fried) ok, and HATED the salmon roll. I have never liked salmon anyway…so there. Paul made me try it…and he took a wonderful picture, capturing the very moment I realized that I still hated salmon. HA. It’s great!

Salmon rolls=yuck! 寿司

Salmon rolls=yuck! 寿司

Good experience overall…can’t wait to try it for real! (Ok, I am kind of lying…but I like the atmosphere and I feel really sophisticated and cool eating it).

I am mostly looking forward to noodle dishes and signature Nagoya dishes. Luckily, all of their signature dishes for the region are either vegetable or pork. No crazy fish heads…yet.

I am so excited for the last #30 count down. I am not thinking about what that really  means…the goodbyes…see you soons…can’t just yet. Kittens, bunnies and sunshine (well, apparently no sunshine…stupid raining on my pool days)!

For now…