I am not doing a good job of keeping you updated on what we are doing. It has been busy with the start of a new semesterâ€¦preparing lessons and baking and more baking. I would welcome any treat ideas you have sweet, savory or gluten free.Â
During the summer we taught a class in the south stake and Elder and Sister Bailey taught a class in the OKC stake. We are not teaching the class in the south stake this semester, Brother Valletta our S&I coordinator (CES employee) is teaching that class (29 students), but we will visit often and will sub for him sometimes.Â
The Baileyâ€™s are teaching the Wednesday night Book of Mormon class here in Edmond and they had 23 students. They also take lunch on Tuesdays to the class at the OU health Science Center. We plan to trade off with them in the future so we can visit this class. We teach a Tuesday night New Testament class in Edmond and we have 20 students registered for that class. We also teach a Book of Mormon class in Shawnee with 4 students. We visited that ward today and met some more potential students. We will work on praying them there. Shawnee is about 50 miles from here, each way. One of the interesting things we learned was that two of our students work for â€œThe Tribe.â€ Thatâ€™s exactly how they said it. The tribe is the Pottawatamie Indian tribe. There are many different Indian tribes here in Oklahoma and from what our students tell us they are very wealthy. The casinos are always run by the tribes. One girl works at the preschool and one of the young men works as a bagger at the tribeâ€™s grocery store.Â
Tuesday, we will be teaching for Brother Valletta at the Stillwater institute next to the Oklahoma State University campus. He is going to court to finalize the adoption of his youngest son. So we are definitely staying busy. We also go to the temple once a week. Itâ€™s only a 30 minute drive from here.
This week besides our missionary activities and attending the temple we finally made it to POPâ€™s on Historic Route 66. Itâ€™s an interesting place, itâ€™s a gas station, convenience store, burger joint. They have a huge bottle of pop out front and we hear that at night itâ€™s lit up with neon. Weâ€™ll have to check it out.
Hereâ€™s the 66 foot tall pop bottle and the front of the convenience store/burger place:
They are famous for stocking 600 hundred different kinds of soda from all over the world. (EXCEPT, the one I was looking for, Shikuwasa, from Okinawa). Although, I did see a few Japanese sodas, none that I recognized. Andrew and Leigh…They did have Cheerwine. Every bottle is $2.19. Here are our selections, both root beer: We also had burgers with fries and onion rings followed by this dessert, an apple pie-ish thing topped with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce and cherries. It was huge and yummy: Â They have cartons to fill with your favorites, which we did not do. At $2.19 each, thatâ€™s a pricey 6 pack. However, 6 packs were flying out the door. All the windows across the front and back of the shop are lined with bottles of pop.
Then yesterday after our visit to the temple we drove to Choctaw to this: Yes, we know itâ€™s still August, obviously those who live in Choctaw know something about when to hold Octoberfest that the rest of the world has missed. We went mainly to eat and itâ€™s a good thing since the main attraction seemed to be drinking beer. We had water!
Our meal, bratwurst on a pretzel bun and smoked pork chops smothered in sauerkraut with red cabbage. We also had potato pancakes with applesauce:
We listened to two bands, the first played polka type music and the second played Cajun??? There were even a few people dancing.
Today on our way back from Shawnee took Route 66 again and got to see the Round Barn in Arcadia, itâ€™s just a little east of Popâ€™s. It was built in 1898.
Okay, so there you have our week. We love you all and miss you!
If you remember I spent 3 or 4 days each week with my grandmother. One of my favorite memories was breaking the wishbone. Whenever Gramma would cook a chicken or a turkey she would dry out the wishbone and save it for Susan and I to break. The idea is to each take a side of the bone, make a wish and pull until the bone splits apart. We were mostly impatient while waiting for the bone to become sufficiently dry- which probably didn’t really take very long in Utah’s dry climate. Time passes very slowly when you are small.
For my birthday, Rick bought me a silver wishbone charm for my bracelet. It reminds me of my Gramma and my sister and the fun memories that we made.
I was delighted when I saw this sculpture on my morning bike ride. It’s right at the entrance to the trail in Hafer Park.
Yes, good old Nigel is here with me. He definitely needs a tune-up.
Friday when I was walking into the grocery store a woman stopped me and complimented me on my haircut. I smiled and thanked her. It made me smile since it is not really a haircut, although I did get it trimmed around the edges last month. It’s just me recovering from my baldness. Her compliment made me feel good. I mentioned this to Rick and he suggested that I should give out compliments as part of The Birthday Project. This is such a great idea.
I have never been very good at accepting compliments. I will not be doing that any more and plan to give out compliments on a daily basis.
Although they won’t be delivered until early March, I ordered Girl Scout cookies from every girl scout selling them in our ward. I have never ordered 33 boxes of girl scout cookies before.
P.S. We don’t plan to eat them ourselves, we are giving them to the missionaries.
Not long after we moved to this neighborhood last year I became aware of “The Friendly Guys.” They live down the street from me. They walk every morning for 6 or more miles. I see them everywhere and often. They are two of the most friendly guys I’ve ever met. They greet everyone…and with more than just a “hi.” They are just so chipper.
After I finished my last chemo treatment I started walking in the neighborhood again. I passed while one of the guys was working in his yard. We greeted each other and I continued on my way. He called after me and asked why he hadn’t seen me for a long time. I explained about the cancer and that I had recently I had been doing my walking in the air conditioned comfort of the Kingwood Medical Center. I told him I was glad to be back outside. He explained that he was a cancer survivor. He was positive and encouraging, telling me I’d be fine and to keep walking.
Today I dropped off a Christmas card with a Panera gift card inside. I thanked them for being so friendly and encouraged them to go out to lunch together. I had a big smile on my face as I hurried away from his mailbox!
Today we were up early and out the door to theÂ St. Nick Fun RunÂ at Rorey’s school. The profits from the race go toward the scholarships at the school. Definitely a good cause and worthy of one of my 59 deliberate acts of kindness.
Andrew and Leigh ran the 5K together and then Leigh continued on to run the 10K. Andrew was very surprised to get second place in his age group. I had planned to push the double stroller with Rorey and John in the 5K. We started out and were going well as we passed the park Rorey decided that it would be a good idea to go across the bridge and check out the water level. So we cut through the park and continued on in the race for awhile before turning around to get to the finish line before Andrew so we could take some photos.
Since I didn’t really finish the race I felt like I needed to do something else today. A norther hit College Station while we were out and about and it was really cold. I drove home with the heat cranked up most of the way and sang my heart out. When I got to Kingwood I decided to stop for some peppermint hot chocolate at Starbucks. I had the intention of paying for the car behind me if anyone pulled up. When I got to the window I told them what I was doing and asked to pay for the car behind me. I was told that maybe I should rethink that since their order was large. I smiled and paid for my hot chocolate and their order. The guys inside smiled. I know that this is a popular thing to do, but I haven’t ever done it! I smiled the whole way home and my peppermint hot chocolate was so good.
The movers arrived promptly at 9:00am on April 2. It took three days for them to pack us. Then our home of six years looked like this:
No more seeing the Angel Moroni from our window.
We did have time to get out and around Tokyo for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) one last time.
Hanami Party at Ueno Park
I also took a short walk around my neighborhood and favorite park. Goodbye Tokyo Temple and your beautiful gardens
Goodbye Arisugawa Park.
I won’t miss you miss you, Mr. Crow.
Very early on Friday morning we went to the airport for our flight to Singapore and then on to Perth, Australia to spend two weeks with Luke, Allyson, Madeleine and Isabelle.
Goodbye, Land of the Rising Sun. We will miss you…you are part of our hearts. We are so grateful that we were able to live here for six years. We are grateful for friends who have blessed our lives. We are grateful for all we have learned.
Although I have been working at getting everything ready to pack up and leave Japan, it really hasn’t hit me that it’s actually happening now. I am right on schedule for everything I want to have finished and will be ready when the packers arrive next Monday. I have not been keeping up with my daily gratitude posts and I plan to do better. I am changing them up a bit this week and want to post about the things I am going to miss about Tokyo and Japan. These are still very much gratitude posts, you see.
So today as I plan to say sayonara, these are the things I am going to miss:
This morning I got up early to take a photo of the Angel Moroni…there will be more to come. A few weeks ago I was a bit distressed when the tower that the Angel Moroni is on became covered with scaffolding. I knew that there was damage from the earthquake that caused Moroni to spin around. He was still in position so I thought they were doing the work while he remained in place. Then one day he was just gone. I was a bit sad and worried that this beautiful statue that I can see from my window might not return before my departure. Then just as quickly as he had disappeared he was back and last week the scaffolding came down. They actually installed a new angel. Some of the missionaries are referring to him as Moroni the Younger. Here are some photos a temple missionary sent to me.
The old Angel Moroni was taken down in parts
The new angel just put into place
This morning's view
I wanted to get up early and shoot the Angel Moroni from this spot down the street. The large silver building is Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills. If I shoot from the corner down the street from the temple it makes it appear as if the Angel Moroni is on top of Mori Tower.
I will miss seeing the the angel from my window everyday.
I will also miss the wonderful smell of the Japanese bakeries as I pedal the streets early in the morning.
I think I am going to miss having a blog called Life in Japan. I’m not sure what to call it now. Â I don’t think I want to call it Life in Texas.Â I’m open to suggestions…maybe I should have a contest. Submit your ideas and I’ll think of a prize if there is a winner. I have an idea, but I would be open to others.
Sometimes I am grateful for days like today.
The view from my window
I am grateful for change. It keeps me on my toes and recently it has helped me get ready to move on. Many things changed in Tokyo after the earthquake on March 11. The changes were not something that can be seen as much as felt. There are a couple that I can see.
From the first night we moved into our apartment I loved being able to look out the window and see the Angel Moroni on the temple just down the street. Then after the earthquake when electricity needed to conserved the Angel was dark each night. Not long ago the lights began staying on at night. Then just last week I noticed that the entire steeple and Angel are surrounded by scaffolding. I assume that work is being done to stabilize Moroni. He changed directions during the quake. I assumed I had more time to take photos of the temple and Moroni. I may have missed my opportunity because it appears that the work is going to take awhile.
The grocery store that I have shopped at during the last 5 1/2+ years closed at the end of October. Â I’ve decided that throughout my life I have always been grocery store loyal. Wherever I live I choose a store and always shop there…Randall’s, Sainsbury’s at the O2 Center, Jelita Cold Storage, National Azabu. It was in an older building and needs to be rebuilt to current standards. I’ll be long gone before it re-opens. My life has changed because the store I go to now is in the opposite direction.
These are minor changes that help me prepare for bigger ones.