Sayonara, Japan

Konnichiwa-for the final time! I am not going to dwell on the goodbyes and the leavings…I want this post to be a celebration of a wonderful two years.

So, as we all knew, Japan was coming to a close in June. I did a good job of keeping my feelings in check throughout the process of paperwork for the new job, closing out accounts in Japan, packing, shipping, cleaning up my classroom, end of year paperwork, and prepping students for summer 🙂 It was a crazy busy time of year so it was easy to bury myself in the work.

The end of year flew by, as they all do.  We had dinners, games, and travels to try to “fit it all in” before we left.

Ellie sent a picture of a gorgeous dragon at a temple she visited. Now this, this is a dragon! IMG_3489

My grade 5 student I mentored for the PYP exhibition. I also tutored him in preparation for his journey to Boston for boarding school. I love he’s using some of the vocabulary words we were studying. Such a great kid! I guess I still instill fear in students. Means I still got it… 😉 We were a perfect match for his project as he was studying over fishing, with a focus on tuna. He did some great research and hopefully helped make a slight impact on our local community…one who frequently consumes tuna.

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So the primary teachers (girls only) have a group dinner (monthly usually). Great dinner, drinks, and bonding with a group of amazing women! This particular night we went to a Romanian restaurant…lots of meat…meat, meat. And all you can drink. Sometime…during this night…we ended up at karaoke…and I found my way home. I should probably thank Ellie for being sober enough to get me a train ticket since I couldn’t find my train card. Great night! Will miss working and hanging out with them! Can’t wait for the reunions!

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Walkathon- NHS (National Honor Society) is the group is advised-(will miss them too!!). Each year the community and NIS get together for a charity walkathon. The past two years NHS helped make the walk itself more entertaining-by providing booths with games along the route. This is the opening of the walk for this year. It’s a beautiful park. It was hot…but we had a great turn out. This is a huge event for us so it was all hands on deck…this also happened to be the weekend I was at the end of my pneumonia. Glad I got through it!

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I don’t look that sick…do I?

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Anniversary dinner on the river downtown. Lots of cities in Japan have beautiful riverbanks throughout downtown. Nagoya has maybe one. Or two. This is one of them. It was short…but lovely. On this night we had a light breeze and enjoyed dinner al fresco…which is also unusual in Japan. It’s a nice treat to find a place to dine outside. The food was Hawaiian, and in this case, average. Drinks were good! Company of course was perfect too 🙂

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These sweet kids. It was a great year. After 8 years, one of the best classes and years. This sweet girl! Someone said she could be mine. Looking at this picture…I can see it!

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These girls go straight to my heart! Will miss them and their quirky, silly, question the world attitudes. Love!!

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Messy hair bun club. Game night shenanigans. Hannah aka B Waves, aka A’Zalea…darling girl, ink buddy, gamer, friend. Love her!

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This boy-he also tugs all the heart strings. We went to dinner at his parent’s restaurant- Burmese food. It was sooo delicious. If you’ve never had it, think a blend of Thai food and Indian. He didn’t know we were coming and was so excited to see me there. His smile lights up the room!

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Our final ladies night dinner was at an American BBQ place we went to often. Tiger Lily! I told them it was our last dinner together as 4/6 of us were leaving. After dinner, they brought this out. This thing was huge! Japan sure loves crazy sundaes. This one was ice cream and whipped cream in the cup, topped with a huge slice of chocolate cake, a donut with powdered sugar, and a chocolate cookie. Can’t forget the pancake topped with caramel and powdered sugar on the side. Can you see the glass jar rolled in chocolate and topped with  m&ms around the lid…

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The last week of school was busy finalizing details. We packed up and shipped some boxes to FL and some to Curacao. We finalized our paperwork for leaving. Paul was busy cleaning…and on Saturday we got the truck from the school and like a good community does, we helped each other move furniture from our homes to the school…to await their new homes. That night we drove to a hotel. We decided to stay at a hotel the last two nights in Japan so we could be comfortable and we could clean our apartment. We spent Saturday/Sunday eating and drinking with friends, going to a science museum, and walking around the city. It was a nice end to our two years in Japan. All our stuff just barely fits in the rental car…:)

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Love hotel for the win!

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Cait (unicorn shirt) was flying back to the states too (we just realized we were on the same flight…after weeks of everyone talking about our flights home…lol). Iz and Hannah drove her to the airport, so we had a lovely little sayonara party at the gate. Enjoying coffee and non-goodbyes before security. Apparently I missed the memo for sad face. I am smiling…though that’s just for the camera. I am very sad here…lol. I promise!

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Another great cider find. I almost thought I was done with ciders until this beauty. New Zealand knows how to grow and ferment apples!

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Welcome back! Thank you Seattle for giving me this delicious biscuit, with avocado, bacon jam, cucumbers, and goat cheese. Well, this is Paul’s biscuit. Mine is blurry in the background. No less significant. So yummy and amazing with coffee on my first morning stateside. Oh yeah!

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We had a whirlwind trip through Seattle on our layover. Loved the EMP museum (basically, a pop culture museum) with music, video, games, Nirvana, Horror films, scifi and fantasy! It was really cool. We ended up with the city pass allowing visits to all the cities “attractions”-some worth it, others not. That’s ok 🙂

This Hello Kitty stature belongs in Japan…something you’d see there for sure! IMG_7344

Lyrics to music written on hotel paper…you might recognize the song…I recognize the handwriting…it looks just like mine!!! It was creepy. Minus the lowercase a…something in common with the great Jimmy Hendricks.

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This isn’t the first time I have been called a maiden warrior 🙂 Guess it’s true!

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City pass success: Ferry boat tour. Great breeze, smooth ride. The summer in Seattle is amazing!

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Went to Chinatown in the search of Chinese food (American style of course). Food was soooo good!

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It was so great to see Ayda! I asked her mom about places to eat and things to do in Seattle since they are from there and as it turned out, we would be there at the same time! We planned to meet and surprise her. It worked perfectly! Ayda was attached to me all day and it was a pleasant way to spend the day, walking through Pikes market.

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A flight for Paul. Beer.IMG_7387

 

A flight for me. Cider. Lets see…in order left to right. Pomegranate…score 2. Mint and basal…5. Grapefruit, 3. Lemon something I think…3.5

Now, the Schilling cider in the back…chai. Now, that was good. 8.IMG_7388IMG_7389IMG_7391

West Palm Beach-my parents new home. I am enjoying getting to know the new city…as I so often do. These are creatures of our backyard. The pool and scenery of course make it so sweet. The sunrise was lovely…I usually do not rise early enough to see it. It was worth it though.

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And finally, though it happened in April, evidence of my pride and joy…my Deathly Hallows ink. It’s perfect. I love it! I of course want more. 🙂 I bit of HP, a bit of me, a bit of Tara (artist) and a bit of Japan.

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This is the last post of our Japan adventure. But don’t fret…it’s not the last post. I will be changing the name of this blog to reflect new adventures. I am cooking up a new name, so As I begin writing about our move to Curacao, all will be revealed. Sayonara Japan. It’s been an amazing two years. I have grown and learned. I have explored and reflected. I have new friends that will last a lifetime. I am eternally grateful.

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K + P

Philippines

So…it’s been a long time. I know and I am sorry! I have been lazy this year! I last left you saying to look for a post on the Philippines and here it is! It will mostly be pictures and some notes…as I have forgotten most of the narrative I was working up in my head…it’s been since March after all.

I will preface by saying this: I LOVED the Philippines. It was one of my favourite places to travel. I know I might be slightly biased…I learned to dive here and my nephews are 1/2 Filipino…so it’s a special place in many ways. I loved how the locals mixed with the tourists on our island. Oh, well I guess I should explain the island too…

We flew into Manila and connected to Cebu. We then took a 5 hour private car (so thankful I didn’t do public bus…) to the northern coast of Cebu where we then caught an after-dark boat ride (about 15 minutes) to the small (And I mean small) island of Malapascua. How small? No docks. We pulled right up to the sand and walked the plank to the sand. It took about 35 minutes to walk from tip to tip. That small. It was great! This tiny island is host to divers from around the world and offers some truly amazing waters. The sand, water, weather, people, eco friendly hotel…it was all just perfect for us. So, with that said…here are some pictures. I wish I could have captured more.

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The Craic house-hotel’s restaurant. Irish themed…pretty good food! International menu-Great people and vibe. Everyone meets here for breakfast (included in room), before/after dives, lunch and dinner. Play games, listen to music, watch the water. It’s a great spot with hammocks and a breeze.

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My dive kit!

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A little excited for the sun! It was coooold in Japan still.

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Volcano I think…?

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Perfection is this. Stunning!

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Less stunning…but super happy!!

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Pre-dive buddy check…She was an amazing teacher. Alex. A lovely one on one training week (would cost me nearly 1,000 USD in the Caribbean for 1:1. I got lucky I was the only student this day!)

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The sunset was brilliant!

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Local restaurant-in someone’s home basically. Delish and cheap!

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Wanted to take him home with me!

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Walking down the local roads. Most tourists blend in with the locals as most are backpackers staying in cheap accommodation alongside locals. All the roads are tiny like this. No cars really…scooters. and feet.

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Last night on the island with Alex (scuba teacher) and her boyfriend Dane. She’s from Switzerland and he’s South African. This. I love this about traveling. Meeting people all over the world, from all over the world.

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Locals eating fresh shell fish on the beach. That’s our security guard joining in!

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Gato island. Our final dive trip-whole day with lunch on the boat. There is a swim through tunnel from end to end on the island…can’t go there as a newbie! But….we went straight to the end of the tunnel where the sharks were. It was AWESOME!!!

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A few of the creatures we saw. This is from a local book-I was trying to draw some of them.

Overall…go. It was amazing!

K + P