Well faithful readers this will be my last blog entry on this blog. We've arrived safely back in the states and in time I'm sure everything will get unpacked and put in the right place. I must thank my dear friend Molly for inspiring me to start this blog. It helped me to tell my story to my friends back home during my time in Japan. It also inspired me to go out and explore the island around me. But now my adventures in Okinawa have ended and a new adventure back in the states has begun. In the effort to keep up my writing and to now share what's going on in my life with my friends back in Okinawa I'm starting a new blog. It will chronicle my life here in San Diego and the trials and tribulations of raising 3 girls. I hope it will be just as clever and interesting without the tropical backdrop.
The new blog is http://momof3seeksadventure.blogspot.com/
It's been a long while since I've had the opportunity to write in this blog, but I feel like I've left it unfinished. We've been in the States for 3 weeks and this is the first moment I've had to update. The trip home was fairly uneventful. Our dear friend Kim drove us to the airport and we unloaded our two carts full of suitcases and gear. The twins rode in their car seat stroller and I carried on a diaper bag, breast pump bag and computer. Gabriella had a suitcase and another rolling bag. Greg had a backpack, computer bag and another bag. We looked like sherpas attempting to summit Everest. We flew through Osaka Kansai Airport, which was a much less busy airport than Narita. We managed to eat a little something before boarding our plane to San Francisco. All three girls were amazing on the flight. Julia and Genevieve never cried, not once. They slept most of the flight and only woke to eat and be burped. Gabriella watched a few movies, colored her pictures and read her books. Once in San Francisco we checked our bags through customs and then rechecked them for the trip home. Then we had to go through security. That took far more time than any other portion of our trip. They made us take the babies out of their carriers. I held both and walked them through the metal detector. They sent their carriers through the x-ray machine along with all of their blankets. The tested the breast pump for explosives. It was a little overdone, they didn't offer to hand search them or give us any alternative. Greg wasn't able to help because he was pushing through each of our 15 pieces of carry on luggage. Once we were through the security ordeal we celebrated getting through it all with a delicious lunch at the Anchor Brewery in the airport. Gabriella and I passed the time exploring a few science experiments set up at the end of our hallway of gates. We had a long layover in San Fran and we were all rather exhausted by the time we got on the final flight to San Diego.
We touched down in San Diego and unloaded ourselves off the airplane. As we walked down into the baggage area we were greeted by our families. My parents, Greg's parents and Grandparents were waiting for us. After a few fierce hugs and tearful hellos we grabbed our bags and headed out to the 3 different cars required to transport us home. Greg stayed in San Diego while Gabriella, Julia, Genevieve and myself went back up to my parents house. All and all we travelled almost 24 hours with no tantrums, screaming bouts and only one spoiled bottle of milk. I would rank this as our most complicated but successful trip ever. The best part of the trip was getting back home in California with family and friends.
Our island time is quickly coming to a close. Our big household goods shipment has been packed up and moved out. All we have left is a lot of government furniture and a few personal items. It's so strange to not have a clock in the family room to note the time the twins are eating or the recliners to sit in. We've borrowed a tv so we have a little entertainment. The stress of packing came and went in only 3 days. Since we've taken so many trips in recent weeks the looming pack out date always seemed so far away. Then Monday the reality hit that in 2 days the movers would be here and everything needed to be ready. It was a herculean effort to get everything done, but we did it. If things were forgotten they will be mailed back or sold at the flee market. If things were sent accidentally, we'll see them in a few months. The movers arrived bright and early at 7:30 am. Gabriella was up and getting dressed when they got here. I was just telling Greg something when I heard the beeping of the moving truck. The Japanese movers managed to pack up everything we had left in just over 2 and a half hours. As always they took great care to wrap each item to ensure it will arrive at the destination in one piece. Neither Julia nor Genevieve were a fan of all the sounds and movement. They found the whole move distressing, whether it was the squeak of the tape being ripped or the movers rushing around it was hard on them. They were unsettled the rest of the day. Gabriella returned from school to an empty house, all and all she's adjusted fairly well. She's a big fan of all the open space and I saved a lot of art supplies for her to play with. We'll be in this shell of a house until Sunday when we move into the hotel. We have a lot of cleaning and sticker removal to do before we turn in the keys to our little castle. I hope the next owners enjoy it as much as we have.
Julia and Genevieve have been on this earth for 9 weeks already. They've each grown to over 11 pounds and they can proudly show a few stamps on their vaccination cards. Yesterday was the girls 2 month appointment and they are growing wonderfully. They are now within 9 ozs of each other, Genevieve is still longer, but Julia is catching up. Here are their stats Julia is 11 pounds 4 oz, and Genevieve 11 pounds 13 oz. The are now socially smiling, meaning when you smile at them they smile back. Julia is desperately trying to sit up and when she's put in her boppy pillow she can almost do it. She can also pull herself up when holding onto Greg's fingers without any head lag. Genevieve has been diagnosed with reflux and is starting medicine to help get it under control. She also loves to watch Gabriella and will smile and turn to look for her every time she enters the room. The girls are eating a lot during the day and beginning to sleep a little longer at night. They still stay downstairs with either Greg or I staying with them. We've both managed to learn to feed both simultaneously. They aren't very fond of sleeping together, although they will do it in a pinch. Gabriella is now able to pick up the little girls and carry them around. She's able to pick them up and set them down while supporting their necks. This is a huge accomplishment and we are very proud. It's come in very handy when one of them needs to be picked up and I'm holding the other one. Our next step is to teach her to change diapers. Everyone is adjusting nicely to our new additions.
We've had a whirlwind last few weeks trying to squeeze every last drop of adventure from this island. This past weekend we went to Okuma. We drove up after school on Friday through torrential rain. Friday night we ate a tasty dinner at the restaurant before watching a dramatic lightning storm rage while we lay in bed. Julia and Genevieve have actually started sleeping for pretty long stretches at night which everyone is thankful for. The next day dawned bright and sunny. We ate a quick breakfast in the room before heading out to the beach. Gabriella braved the cold water to swim in the Okinawa ocean one last time before we move. The little girls got their first beach trip under their belts. They had their swim shirts and diapers on as they napped under a beach umbrella. I must say in the picture above they look pretty identical. Greg grilled brats for lunch as well as a delicious london broil for dinner. We even managed to squeeze a game of miniature golf in before we turned in for the night. Sunday morning we woke up and leisurely got everything together for the trip back home. With the car loaded up we headed for one last trip to the Churaumi Aquarium. I think we've done everything we wanted to do on this island. Now it's time to change our mindset and start California dreamin'.
Just off the coast of Nago is IE island. It's famous for being shaped like a hat and as the place Ernie Pyle died during WWII. We took a quick one night trip to the island a few weekends ago. The island is tiny, it made Okinawa seem huge. We took the ferry across to the island and paid extra to take our car. Our first stop was a cool park we happened to pass. Gabriella made a few new friends and we spent almost an hour letting her play while we fed the twins. Our next stop was the hat shaped mountain. Mount Gusuku is not big close up and Greg and Gabriella were able to scale it, via the stairs, very quickly. While they were climbing to the summit the girls and I perused the gift shop and found some delicious peanuts. IE is famous for it's brown sugared and miso flavored peanuts. After mountain climbing we headed to the Children's Hibiscus garden for a picnic lunch. The flowers were beautiful and before long it was time to check into the hotel. The YYY resort is a well maintained and cozy resort on the coast of IE. We rented a cottage for a night and loved the relaxed pace of this trip after the frazzling trip to mainland we'd taken a few days before. Gabriella loved the heated spa, the pool was a little chilly for her taste. We spent the afternoon and evening relaxing in the room or at the pool. For dinner we grilled our own food Yakiniku style at the hotel's restaurant. The little girls actually slept a fair amount that night and Greg and I were able to catch up on some sleep. The next morning we enjoyed the hotel's breakfast buffet before heading back out to the spa. We wheeled the sleeping twins right next to the spa and all three of us got in to relax. After checking out of the hotel we drove around the island, looking at the lighthouse and the lily fields. We took the ferry back to Okinawa and arrived home more relaxed than when we left.
We took a day trip to Kyoto, Japan's former capital. We got up really early and headed out on the train to Osaka station where we met our guide who took us by train to Kyoto. Once in the city we met up with the rest of our tour. We got a few looks as we arrived with the babies in a sling and a bjorn and Gabriella in tow. However, everyone was absolutely perfectly behaved during the trip. We had three stops during the morning portion of the tour. Our first stop was the Kyoto palace, it was beautiful with many hand carved rooms. The floor was called the Nightingale floor because of the sound it made when you walked on it. According to legend the emperor had it made so he could hear his enemies coming. Other theories is that it's old and squeaky. The second stop was the golden pavilion. It was a lovely walk through some beautiful gardens, the pavilion was shiny gold and in the middle of a green water lagoon. The last stop was the royal residence, we weren't allowed to go inside, just walk around the outside of the building. It was still very impressive. Our stop for lunch was the Kyoto Handi-craft center. We had to hurry and eat before our afternoon tour to Nara left.
Nara is the ancient capital of Japan, it's home to many sacred deer. The one pictured above was very interested in the deer crackers we purchased, however most of the deer would happily snack on paper or anything else you happen to have hanging out of your pockets. I saw one eat pages out of a magazine that was hanging out of a ladies purse. The first stop in Nara was a Buddhist temple, the Buddha inside was giant and awe inspiring. There was a hole in a pillar which is the same size as Buddha's nostril, if you can fit through the hole you can be admitted into heaven. I have a little work to do to fit through the hole, but Gabriella could easily fit. The next stop was a shinto shrine, it was located in a wooded area and Gabriella and Greg took Julia with them while I sat on a quiet bench with Genevieve. We watched the deer wandering around the area, eating people's magazines. When Gabriella returned we took turns feeding the deer crackers before it was time to get on the bus. Our trip home on the train was fairly uneventful. The twins and Gabi had a few new friends on the train and we learned the Japanese word for cute.