Sunday, January 19, 2014

Everything Is Delivered and Let The Purging Begin

We received both our temporary storage and our final shipment from Japan last week.  Within two days we had about 16,000 pounds of belongings...........and junk in multiple places around the house and on our property.   Its amazing how much I purged before we moved to Japan, once we arrived in Japan, and before I left Japan.  Despite my efforts, we have already made four trips to donate our things to charity, plus one trip to the dump.  It feels pretty liberating to start weeding through our things and purge the things we no longer need.  Our living spaces are coming together, and we are slowly going through the boxes in the closet, basement, etc.  I think the kids are enjoying their rooms,  connecting with old friends, and getting into a routine.  Work at PSNS is going fine for my husband.  He's been in a routine pretty much since we've been back from Japan.  I'm wishing for more consistency with the gym, and a schedule, but I haven't quite gotten into a good flow.  Hopefully within the next month this will change.  I'm really trying to place few expectations on myself after such a big move.

Stuff to be donated and taken to the dump.

This week's experiences:

  1. Its quite expensive having a male driver under age 25 on our car insurance.  Luckily, even college students can get discounts for getting good grades.  We will have to wait until after winter quarter grades are turned in to see a change in our monthly payment.
  2. My middle son has become an expert at driving after his second week of drivers education. ;)
  3. I've seen such an influx of people that look, or act transient.  It seems worse since we were last here.  
  4. We finally have our first Android phone.  I was able to figure out how to answer it and charge it...that's at least a start.
  5. It costs $80 to get a license in Washington State.
  6. The Seahawks spirit is awesome.  They are going to the Superbowl!
  7. If you don't like your job, then you need to quit.  This past week has been jam-packed with horrible customer service.  Maybe the full moon had something to do with it.
  8. Having my younger kids take the bus to and from school is liberating.  
  9. Its been joyful not having to worry about the kids being loud in our home.  I constantly worried about this when we were living in base housing.
  10. Yams/sweet potatoes in the U.S. do not compare to the wonderful tasting ones in Japan.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Uwajimaya in Seattle may have Japanese sweet potatoes. 
  11. I'm remembering to lock my house and cars.  I had to re-learn this behavior after living in Japan.   

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ready For The Next Phase

Over a month ago, I said how happy I was to be moving to the Lodge.  It was going to be a mini-vacation from cooking and cleaning.  While that part has been pretty nice, we're getting tired of living in temporary quarters and looking forward to being back into our house.  Our move in date is coming soon and some of the rooms have fresh paint and new carpet!  I love all of the updates, and it will be an interesting task to see how our belongings from Japan and temporary storage are going to fit into our little house.  I foresee a lot of things being donated in the near future to St.Vinny's and The Goodwill!

Shipment 1 out of 2 from Japan!

Here's a rundown of things that I continue to witness and experience as I re-enter my own culture:
  1. Community College tuition has greatly increased since my $75/semester in California in the late 1980's.  Its over $1,0000 for two classes in the state of Washington.
  2. People wear pajama pants not only to the grocery store, but to pay for their college tuition and to get their drivers license.
  3. Food portions still continue to amaze me.  I keep thinking about how much the owners of businesses would save if they just cut back their portions even by 1/4.  My kids are going to go hungry once I start cooking again.
  4. Driving schools (I think) are making a ton of money.  You go to them for drivers tests now (written and driving).  The Dept of Licensing no longer does testing at their sites.
  5. Cutter bought his first car this week.  We paid half.  He was happy to haggle with the owner about the price.
  6. 1 of 2 of our shipments from Japan arrived this week.  Its so nice to see some of my clothes and shoes again!  Our other belongings arrive next week.
  7. I started at a CrossFit box last week.  While I feel like a newbie, and like I've never worked out before, I'm hoping once I get a regular routine the soreness won't be so bad.  I need about 3 days to recover after one workout.  Ugh! 
  8. The touch-screen Coca Cola machine is pretty cool.  We are wondering how they offer so many choices in one machine.
  9. There have been so many changes in the roads in my city since we left.  I can't keep up with the new roundabouts, one way streets, traffic lights, etc. I need to be grateful that I haven't once driving on the other side of the road.
  10. We were able to find Bulldog sauce for Katsu at a local supermarket for a whopping $5+.  I'm hoping to find some over in Seattle for cheaper.  I should have stocked up on some at the dollar store before leaving Japan.
  11. Reconnecting with friends when you aren't an adult isn't always easy.  I'm sure the kids will continue to make friends, and have some of their old friends over when we get into our house.  Its a beautiful thing being able to have conversations with friends as if you never left.
  12. I am still not used to paying sales tax.  It throws me off every time I go to buy something!

Coca Cola soda machine.  You can mix your own drink.