|Signs of Spring: Plum blossoms|
All that remains on our get-settled-in-Japan list is "The Shipment" -- our furnishings that are in transit from the U.S. Awhile back, we were told that our container would hit the port of Yokohama on March 17th. We've heard nary an update in the meantime, and although we are afraid to get our hopes up...we can't help but hope that by this time next week, we will be swapping out rent-a-futons for wooden-frame beds with brand new mattresses.
To our great relief, Lissa passed the driving test on her second try. Stew (!) drove her there that day and waited around while she tested. Twenty people tested that morning and in the end, only two passed, yielding a pass rate of 10%. Stew grew anxious as he saw one driver after another return to the waiting hall, headed straight for the "Reschedule Test" window instead of the "Convert International License to Japan License" window. It was a happy day when Lissa found herself in the Ten Percent category, earning her driver's license! There is something about gaining Internet and drivers' licenses that boosts your morale in a way nothing else can.
From previous experience we know that one of the best ways to ward off the deadly combination of culture-shock and newcomer's blues, is to "get out" and become involved in the community. Several opportunities presented themselves in these recent weeks, and with our relatively uncluttered schedule, we've taken advantage.
|Heather shows off her project.|
|Jenna fixes her display board at home.|
|Science Fair Judges -- We had a blast!|
|Stew walks alongside the city councilman|
Another opportunity came through a last-minute request from a co-worker. We attended an afternoon art workshop at a community center, offered to families of Japanese children who suffer Down's syndrome. This was orchestrated by a city alderman, a fairly new Christian who himself is disabled from cerebral palsy. He is burdened by the lack of resources and support for families of Down's children, so he organized this event to draw parents and children together for some recreation and encouragement.
|This sweet girl painted at least a dozen pictures!|
|It's like we've never been separated.|
We have also enjoyed several visits with good friends this month. One was with the Kimura family. The wife, Kazuyo, comes from our former city in China and was the first friend that Lissa made there in 2004. We enjoyed a joyful reunion over sushi one night and have stayed in contact ever since, mainly through cell-phone texting.
|Heather was only 5 the last time she saw her buddy.|
A friend from our Texas days, Randy, came through Tokyo after a brief stay on Okinawa for business. We took the train to Tokyo's Ginza section to meet up with him one evening, and we visited over coffee. Most recently, we hosted Bill and Pam Truax, parents of Leslie's fiance, Josiah. They live on Okinawa, and when Bill got sent to Tokyo for military-diplomatic business, he flew his wife up to Tokyo for a weekend "date." We are grateful to have friends come through town and call on us!
|Our Texas friend, world traveler Randy Walker|
|Bill and Pam Truax, visiting from Okinawa|