Thursday, March 25, 2010

Only rest will help

Mommy, I want to sleep. Those are the most dreaded words my son can utter. Those words quicken my pulse, make my palms sweat and cause horrible thoughts to flutter through my mind like a million, migrating Monarch butterflies on their journey through Texas. Doctors' visits, shots and sleepless nights come to mind when Jude speaks those words.

Jude is a busy, bubbly, bouncing boy (Do you like my alliteration of the b?). He is in constant motion, physically and mentally. That's just how he rolls. One minute he's jumping off the couch. The next minute he's doing somersaults until he's dizzy and almost pukes.

Like me, Jude is always in perpetual motion, and I love that about him. Even as an infant, he never had time to sleep or to rest. But, now, when I hear him say those words, I cringe. I know something is wrong, terribly wrong. That's like the great white shark in Jaws saying he's not hungry, or like Mel Gibson denouncing Catholicism.

So, on Monday when my kid said those dreaded words to me, I knew he was sick, really sick.

After 3 long days of fever, vomiting, chest congestion, and a doctor's visit, he seems to be the same. He still feels cruddy, and his only request is to sleep for hours on end.

Yes, my busy-body boy has been overcome by whatever virus is inside of him. All of his energy is being used up to fight this nasty bug, leaving him lethargic, exhausted and sleeping.

To me, this is worse than him waking me up at 5 AM with a harmonica in his mouth, making screeching sounds resonating from the thing. This is the worst, most helpless feeling I can have as a parent. I've done all I can do: running the humidifier, rubbing Vick's Vapor Rub on his chest, caressing his hair, putting a wet rag on his head, giving him kid's Tylenol for the fever, etc.

I want to shower him with gifts from Toys R Us in hopes of making him feel better, but I know that won't cure him or make him feel better. I want to feed him Popsicles, Jell-O, candy, hamburgers, fillet Mignon and lobster, but he wants none of it.

Sleep is all he wants.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BJ's visit, in her own words

BJ and her husband's whirlwind Japan vacation is over. They left Monday, and it's a good thing they did. I've been nursing a sick kid since then. Jude threw up on Monday and has been running a high fever with a nasty cough ever since. I'm making an appointment with the doctor today because he isn't getting any better, and we are going back to Paradise (Guam) this weekend.

With that said, BJ had this to say about Japan:

Japan is a very strange, but really cool place. There are just so many weird things about it - the public toilets (squatty potties! and some toilets have heated seats, bidets and a million buttons), Japanglish, which is written everywhere (on a box of coffee cake it said, "Don't you take a break a little?"), crazy clothes (just think Punky Brewster), dyed hair (from platinum blond to orange - even the boys!), and of course the food (yummy, but very different)!

We were able to do a million things while we were there! We visited Tokyo the first 3 days (lots to do there!), then went to the Plum Tree Park (where we were on TV!), sang karaoke, went to one of Weenie's elementary schools (where she teaches English), visited Mt. Mitake, went to a baseball game (on opening day!), and saw the snow monkeys just to name a few...

Check out this commercial, you can see it's filmed in Nagano, Japan, and we went there on Sunday (and yes it was snowing!)

My husband and I were on TV. You can check it out here.

We were thankful we had no major mishaps! We adjusted to the time change right away, had awesome weather, no one was sick, we didn't lose anything, no earthquakes, plane crashes, etc. Princess had a blast at my parents' house. We missed her while we were gone, but it wasn't unbearable. We were prepared for it, I guess. I felt like I was in some alternate universe while I was in Japan, which helped! We also Skyped with my parents and Princess every day, and it was fun to see them on the web cam.

Staying with Weenie was nice because it felt a little more like home. Weenie was an awesome tour guide and gave us plenty to do and see, which made the trip pass very quickly and smoothly!

If you ever get the opportunity to travel to Japan, definitely go for it!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My new kicks

Okay, so this year's Tokyo Marathon was a flop. I was stopped in my tracks courtesy of a couple of injuries. But the injuries have healed, and I'm ready to get back on the road.

Since I'm starting a new training season, I decided to buy some new shoes (pictured above).

I hope my new shoes can carry me to my goal: Tokyo Marathon 2011.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

They made it!

So, we've been enjoying the company of BJ and her husband for the last few days. They arrived safely on Saturday night, and it's been a party ever since! We've been sightseeing and eating our way through Tokyo. I've tried to offer them every Japanese culinary delight I can find. Needless to say, BJ's husband is now hooked on mochi. He, too, sees the greatness in mochi that I see!

Happiness is mochi and the company of wonderful friends!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am so excited for this weekend! BJ and her husband will be arriving on Saturday! On SATURDAY!

Japan will never be the same again! BJ + me = fun!

It's like I'm five years old and waiting for Santa Claus to come. I keep waking up at night hoping it's morning time. I keep watching the clock, to see that another hour has passed, and I'm one hour closer to seeing BJ's smiling face and curly hair.

But for some reason, this week is moving like molasses. Usually my time flies by because I'm so busy with work, classes, and Jude. But this week, time seems to have slowed down. It's like all my anticipation has somehow slowed the clocks of the world, forcing me to be without BJ for an even longer time.

Waiting sucks! I'm not good at waiting! I'm the most impatient person on the planet, and now I have to wait...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back to Paradise

Since I'm sort of on vacation until the next school year begins (in April), I've decided to go back to Guam. Because of Husband's work obligations, he cannot go with Jude and I. So, Sister will be going in his place.

Wish me luck!

Mt. Naeba

Two weeks ago, we went sledding at Mt. Naeba. We had a blast. It was my first time and Jude's first time to play in deep snow. We loved it, and we can't wait to go back!

The end is near

Since the Japanese school year starts in April and ends in March, today was my last teaching day for this school year at my school.

My students graciously honored me with songs, dances, pictures and kind words.

There is something so pure and honest when you surround yourself with children. You get to see the creation of future leaders in the world. Even in elementary school, you can tell who will succeed and who won't. You can see who will lead and who will follow.

I feel honored and blessed to be able to witness the creation of greatness.

I'm so thankful I have a great job where I get to motivate and make learning fun. I wish all teachers would do the same.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lost and Found

This could only happen in Japan!

Okay, after our friends ran past us at the Tokyo Marathon last Sunday, we headed home. We took the subway and then the JR train. We had to take 2 different trains to get home.

On the first JR train, we fell asleep. Since it took about 55 minutes to get to the next train station, the 3 of us (Husband, Jude and I) took a little cat nap. Husband was kind enough to carry my backpack, which contained my Nikon camera with my high powered lens, the cowbell and other annoying musical instruments required to cheer on our running buddies, and 2 sweatshirts, just in case we got cold. Well, when we got on the train, Husband put my backpack above him in the overhead storage area. I mentioned to him that that was a bad idea. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind, I reminded him. He dismissed me and told me not to worry. The next thing I knew, we were at our stop and raced off the train, hurrying to catch the next one.

As we stepped onto the second train, Husband gasped. "Shit, I forgot the backpack," he yelled. We raced off the train in hopes of catching the previous train to retrieve the backpack. Unfortunately, the train had already left the platform.

At this point, I was pissed! I mean fuming, raging, pissed like an out of control bull. I had smoke coming from my ears.

#1. I told Husband not to put the backpack in the overhead storage, but he chose NOT to listen to me.

#2. Husband reassured me that he wouldn't forget the damn bag, but he did!

#3. He forgot the backpack with my VERY expensive camera and VERY expensive high-powered lens!

Pissed off doesn't even fully describe the amount of pissed-off-ness I felt as the train pulled away from the station. I breathed deeply, trying not to physically beat my Husband in front of Jude and all the Japanese passengers. It took every ounce of me to not verbally abuse Husband. You stupid, fucking, moron, I told you not to put the fucking backpack up there, and you didn't listen to me, and now my new Nikon camera is gone, you jackass, I thought to myself. Instead of letting this rant out, I controlled myself and thought of countless ways I could kill Husband with my bare hands. That thought brought comfort to me.

When our train finally arrived at our train stop near our apartment, we exited and I ran to the train station manager in hopes of getting some help. Unfortunately, the guy didn't speak a word of English and couldn't understand my half-ass Japanese. So, he handed me a phone number and said gambatte, which means good luck.

I immediately called the number, but the lady on the other line couldn't understand me. She didn't speak English either. I was so completely frustrated...frustrated because Husband didn't listen to me in the first place and frustrated because my new Nikon camera with my new Nikon lens was gone and frustrated because no one could help me. Just frustrated!

When we got home, I called my favorite Japanese student. She was a great help. She called the station for me and explained the situation. They gave her a phone number to give to me. The phone number was for a help line for foreigners. Unfortunately, the line was only available between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM. And by this time, it was already 7 PM.

On Monday at 10 AM I called the number. A very nice, polite woman with a very thick Japanese accent listened to my story. She asked me to describe the contents of my backpack and to describe the color and brand of my backpack. She told me she would call me back later in the day. Yeah, right, I thought.

Thirty minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was the same woman. She told me that she had located my backpack and my camera was inside. She told me that I could pick it up at a particular train station about 45 minutes away from my apartment. I graciously thanked her and told her how wonderful she was and how lucky I am to be able to live in a country where people are good, honest, hard working and not willing to take something that doesn't belong to them. I told her how this would never happen anywhere else in the world. I praised her for her great service and rapid response. I thanked her over and over. I wanted to reach into the phone and hug her and thank her until her ear fell off and ran away from the crazy gaijin (foreigner).

So, yesterday I went and got my backpack. Everything was inside. I was overjoyed when I saw my camera. I was so thankful to have it back. So thankful to live in Japan.

Just so thankful!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I need more cowbell!

So, I didn't run the Tokyo Marathon this year. At first, I was bummed I wouldn't be able to torture myself with the 26.2 miles. But then when I saw the conditions the runners had to endure, I was relieved and almost thankful for my IT Band injury (which by the way, doesn't hurt unless I run more than 15 miles). The weather sucked for the race. It was cold, rainy, windy and COLD!

Since we didn't have anything going on on Sunday, we decided to go and cheer on my fellow running buddies who were running the marathon. We packed our necessities (a map of the race, a subway map, and the most annoying musical instruments known to man...a Dublin whistle, a tambourine and a giant cowbell) and headed down to the race course.

Let's just say that if there was an award for the most annoying side-line cheerleader, I would have received it. My cowbell and Jude's whistle were so loud countless Japanese people moved from their cheering spots just to avoid us and our annoying noise. Young children plugged their ears with their fingers tips, and others moved away from us like we had the plague. I was so proud!