Thursday, August 25, 2016

Final days in Japan

Japan you forever changed us. This has by far been the hardest yet most rewarding season of our life. When we talked about playing overseas I never imagined it would actually happen. Then two teams contacted us, one in Japan the other Korea. Still didn't think it could happen. Now living here for 6 months I STILL can't believe we did this. Jake is the same way. This year went nothing like we planned baseball wise, but changed our marriage and our hearts. Coming to another country and becoming residents is so different than just visiting. We learned so much about Japan, the culture, and really tried to embrace it enjoying each day. Yes we both had horrible days, and just wanted to come home at times questioning this, but we knew deep down this is where we were meant to be. Attitude was going to make or break this for us.

I struggle with anxiety, and have dealt with this for a very long time. Being here amplified this on top of being pregnant and sick. God worked on me this entire season challenging me, and making me face some things I never thought I could handle or do. Our faith has grown individually that has made our marriage change for the good. Like all couples we go through dips, and have had a few hard seasons of life including right before we left. We both realized how important our walk is individually to have a healthy marriage and to parent. I wish I could say we would have made changes in the US, but I know being here did. We only have each other here, and I am so grateful for Jake standing by my side helping me with personal issues of my own, and I know him as he has been challenged with baseball. We believe this season went EXACTLY how it was supposed to. We do not understand all the injuries which the last one you almost just have to laugh at. I believe it was because it was more for us to grow as a family, and in our faith. Jake played great too don't get me wrong I'm just saying up and down, and injuries. He has battled through a unique year working hard on adjusting to pitch the best he can for Japanese baseball. I'm proud of him for taking criticism and adjusting which isn't easy playing for as long as him, but he continued to have the best attitude. Jake has thrown 108 innings in the minors he has a 2.52 ERA, & 85 strikeouts.

We are better people because of Japan. We have learned we are the outcast here and different yet so many accepted us, loved, and showed us grace when lots of times we didn't deserve it. I want to be like that when I'm home. I want to help the struggling mom I see out, or open a door for someone even if I'm in a hurry. I want to smile, and be happier knowing how good we have it in America! We are so spoiled. I can't tell you how spoiled Americans are!! I think everyone should have to move out of the US for a month, and everyone would appreciate it a little more, and trust me we were treated like kings here and still was hard. It is very hard everyone knowing who you are, and fanning over jake it can get to your head. It isn't normal, and I will be so glad for no one to know who we are in the grocery store, or walking outside I still am not used to it, but it taught us to be as real as possible. Never ignore them, go out of our way to greet and take pictures or whatever! They are the reason he has a job, and the day he forgets that he should walk away from this career. I love the people here! I want to bring 5 home with me.. That has been the best part about Japan the kindness and respect Japanese show.

I can't even begin to express how much We took for granted at home, and even to have a car, or go to one store to grocery shop! Read what we are trying to buy, or let alone understand the language. I don't think I will know what to do when I can ask someone a question in the store, and not try to play charades!  I sit here thinking how blessed We are for the love and support of our family and friends back home and how different it is here. I'm so grateful.

The isolation has been the hardest for me mentally. I can't even imagine not having Stella here. It also has been the most humbling to experience this. My mother in law asked me a while ago "doesn't that bother you not speaking to anyone while you're out or being able to read anything?" I have thought about it before, and with my personality no...Jake however has learned so much Japanese, and will barely use a translator at the field because he is so determined to talk to the guys. The team says they have never had a foreigner like him. It's impressive the amount he has learned. This shows our personalities. I know I should have tried harder. Even with the people at our church I stayed in such a small bubble, and wouldn't let anyone in, but was scared because everything is different. I hung out with a few wives recently who just love and accept me! I'm truly grateful for them not giving up, and showing me love being the new girl.

If you want to find out who truly cares about you move out of the country..We have seen over and over who loves and supports us here realizing we want to focus on people who want to be apart of our life, and we can't handle the negativity or constant issues anymore.. Life is TOO SHORT. We are sad to see the outcome of some, yet have grown so much with others that don't have to work at. It comes naturally, and same with Jake! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the ones who have worked hard at being there for us with a 14 hour time difference. You will never know how much your text, FaceTime, email, meant to us during this year.

Thank you Japan for wanting us, and allowing us the privilege to live in this country to play the game Jake loves! Thank you for changing our lives, and giving us one of the coolest adventures of our life! I will miss the amazing friends we made, how safe I felt, and the people who constantly reminded us how we should be daily! We are so humbled by this experience, and give God all the glory for opening doors we never knew could open! We hope to return for 2017 season, but it's up in the air if his option will be picked up. We will find out hopefully by end of September. So until then please pray we feel our work is not done in Japan, but if it is what an incredible season, and can't wait to see where in the world (literally) the Brighams end up in 2017 as a family of 4! I'm holding on for dear life for our next adventure!

Until then my mom comes tomorrow WOOHOOOOO this has been the longest I've gone EVER in my life without seeing my parents. I almost died, ask jake.. We pack up our entire apartment what I need for off season, then box of IF we return next year to keep here, then donate if don't get asked back. Ha so my mom and I have a fun few weeks ahead getting my life organized and moving to the states September 8!! Jake will then move home sometime in October and will enjoy our normal quiet life for about 4-5 months have a baby then do it all over again hopefully.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Let's add one more

As I sit on a local train traveling 45 minutes to Tokyo my second city in less than 48 hours traveling alone. Stella is sprawled out sleeping on me. I have my luggage in my stroller, and backpack crammed in on my lap sweating to death surrounded by tons of people glaring at me because Stella's feet are on the seat! Haha Jake is back up to the majors, and I am sooo excited to be traveling somewhere new, and a much needed break from life in Sendai! We have all star break starting tomorrow with two full off days woohoo (God's gift to baseball families.) I am so excited to see and explore Tokyo! We just left Tachikawa, and is where my mom lived for a couple years! It was very cool to get to see where she lived..

I was really hesitant about coming because first I had to do a bullet train 1.5 hour which is cake easiest way to travel, then get off in Tokyo station which is a mad house to find a local train for another hour, then cab to hotel. It's A LOT!! Stella really is such a good little traveler. From 6 months old she started traveling the country, and now world. We always said she is coming into our life, not the other way around. We have been criticized by many for keeping our child up until 1 am at times during the season, but what I do know is she needs her daddy as often as he is around during baseball. Stella just sleeps in and has a different schedule than most her age! She is the happiest when we are all together, and I constantly remind myself this is all worth it keeping my family together. I have wanted to come home bad and been very homesick, but days like these make it all worth it seeing the love she has for Jake. I'm moving home September 8, and I can't imagine the emotions I will feel!

The last 7 weeks has been rough.....not on a baseball level, but because I'm pregnant!! I thought I had it hard being sick in spring training in my nice rental house with a backyard, car, normal food.. Ha no being pregnant in another country has been by far the hardest thing ever. I have been stuck in my apartment for a month due to rain, and lack of bathrooms near (thanks all day morning sickness.)  For 3 weeks I was having to go to the doctor to get iv with fluids and vitamins. If only I could have those at my apartment! They helped a ton! We had a scare around 7 weeks, and after that I was pretty thankful for the morning sickness knowing our baby is okay!! We are so so excited to be adding a new baby to our family, and Stella is so cute talking about him or her!

The timing is an interesting one, but I know we will deal with it as time comes and God knew I didn't need another "perfect off season baby." I will be surrounded by so many who will help me. February 3 is my due date, and Jake reports end of January. He will stay home a week for baby then report to spring training IF we sign back with Japan as we hope to! We will have to be apart for 2 months, and I will move over with the babies in April. I always said I would never have a baby in season, but God sure does love showing me what He is going to do, instead of my plans!

Jake was down longer than we expected as he got hit in the shin then was rehabbing, and his last start gets hit AGAIN 1" away from the first!!! As I sat there watching with Shu I thought you have to be kidding me.. We are cursed here..not really, but has felt like it with all these random injuries! Most pitchers may never get hit in their career, and Jake gets hit back to back? Thankfully it wasn't very serious, and he was able to finish his last out and get examined. We hope he can stay up the next 2 months, and make a name for himself here showing how hard he has worked making improvements! We both feel God knew I needed Jake home these last 7 weeks to help me. He was home daily by 2 pm, and not traveling except a few times to pitch for just one night trips! If he was up he would have been gone weekly and was a blessing in disguise for sure!

I still have yet to try ramen, yakiniku, raw fish.. I am such a chicken! Jake on the other hand just ate pig intestines (yuck!) and cow tongue.. I like to stick to my food I know, and I can't tell you how excited I am for American food! While in Tokyo we ate at hard rock both nights and had thanksgiving dinner! It tasted so good!

My mom is coming end of August, staying two weeks, and helping me move home September 8!!! I am so so excited. Jake will finish the season, and be home early to mid October!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Can't believe another month is almost over and almost July! As all my friends are sweating from the weather at home, the weather here is still in the 70s during the day and 60's at night! I have only been able to wear shorts twice! We are in rainy season now, and it rains all the time! It does make it  hard when it rains Stella and I can't get out since we walk or ride bike. It makes the days very long in our apartment. I am going on day 2 with next 6 days supposed to rain! Yikes! We are trying to figure out places to go when it rains. No luck yet.

Jake is still in the minors, he was probably on his last outing, and gets hit with a line drive in the leg. As Jake laid on the field he thought for sure this time it was broken! I knew when my phone rang it wasn't was an experience going to a Japanese hospital, and thankfully it wasn't broken! It was badly bruised and has not been healing properly.. We find out today it is infected. They gave him antibiotics, and hopefully will clear it up in no time! He has had some good games, and some bad ones. He is really enjoying the baseball over here, and has adapted great! He has made some great friends on the team, and working hard daily doing what he loves!

I have loved the church I found here, and been trying to go weekly by myself. Jake has formed a friendship with the pastor, Nobuki and has been meeting him once a week for coffee. He is our age, his wife is in her 30's. His wife doesn't speak very good English, but he does! I'm so happy for Jake to have found a friend outside of baseball and to connect on a spiritual level. They plan on winning the team over! Ha They are going to start doing chapel like we have back home, and Jake hopes that will open the door to talk about God with some teammates.

I would love to share a little of Nobuki's story. He is 28. When he was younger 20's he decided he wanted to go work for the huge disaster that happened in Haiti. He spent all his Money and bought one way flight. Nobuki, felt led to go volunteer, and be a missionary in Haiti. He gets to Haiti there for 3 days, and Japanese aid assigned guards to follow him around and after 3 days they said you can't be here and shipped him to Miami. Not knowing a soul, no visa, dirt broke he goes to a Japanese restaurant and gets hired. He learns how to cook, finds a church, and the first night he goes to church people offer him a place to live for free! Stays in Miami for two years. Fast forward a few years ago I'm not sure if most know, but this is where that horrible tsunami and earthquake happened in 2011. Nobuki immediately felt the need to come back here and help the community, and his hometown. He got involved with Samaritans purse, and his now wife, Satomi was working for them as a nurse. They ended up falling in love, and she was going to help start another Lifehouse (our church) in Tokyo until Nobuki swept her off her feet. Haha he then became the pastor I believe two years ago. He not only is a pastor, but has two other jobs.. 3 jobs..He is an awesome guy, and Jake has really enjoyed getting to spend time with him weekly! This Sunday they are doing baptisms, but since no pools here and church in a mall they do them in a bathtub in people's home! Nobuki is having one at his house, and we are going. It will be very interesting to see this!

We have met some really incredible people here! I haven't been able to hang out with anyone, so the only time I am really around other people is Sunday's. I will be excited when Jake is back up to go to some baseball games again! I miss it! Jake hasn't been traveling so we haven't been able to explore anymore of Japan this month. He has a few days off in July, and may go to Tokyo!

We have been trying to learn about Japan, and something that has been on our hearts is the orphanages here trying to understand it. We have learned that adoption is very unusual here. If you aren't able to get pregnant then unfortunately you probably don't have children. If a girl gets pregnant out of wedlock this is a big no no, and usually ends up giving her baby up. They have orphanages filled with children who have no hope in ever being adopted. The law is if the mother knows who the father is whether they are in the picture or not the baby can never be adopted. They will be raised in an orphanage until 18. It's so sad to me. Also if a family decided I believe up to 3 years old they changed their mind and don't want to raise their child anymore they can drop them off and raised by an orphanage.. Mind blowing to me.. No punishment or anything! This could be from career, divorce, affair etc.. We have also learned a little bit about adoption, but it's very hard to get a Japanese baby.
"According to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, only 21 children, all below the age of 6, were adopted into the country from Japan in 2012. By comparison, there were 2,697 adoptions from China and 627 adoptions from South Korea in the same year. In the period from 1999 to 2012, there were a total of only 483 adoptions to the U.S. from" We are trying our best to go to some orphanages during our time here to just serve, and spend time with the kids, and to help out with some needs! It's just been hard to get connected with one yet and language barrier.

Some cool facts we have learned is now that it is summer, everyone has summer uniforms even baseball teams! So now where all these men wore ties and jackets to work daily they don't have to in the summer! Our city has over 1 million people in 300 miles radius, and we are known as "the city of trees!" Swimming isn't very common here (Sendai) the closest pool is 45 mins away and they don't swim like us. Some pools require one piece, and swim caps! I assumed we would have a pool on top of our apartment haha.. Oops! They have all these cat cafe places where you can go and just sit to pet cats and drink coffee.. Hmm.. On Monday we went to an owl cafe! Pretty cool! We got to hold a ton of owls, monkey (it bit me) and pigs running all around us! Poor Stella..the employees were so obsessed with her and fascinated by her anytime they would bring one near her she would say "no, no thank you!" They would just die laughing. We couldn't help but to laugh too and probably scarred her for life!

Happy summer to everyone, and like always thank you for all the love and support!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Finishing this month

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I wanted to do a blog post a little earlier. First I want to thank everyone who reached out to us, and are praying for us. It meant so much and I know that last post was a harder one. I want to be honest on here, and let people in as much as I can being that this is a public blog. We all know it won't be roses and candy everyday even at home! I started the book Fervent based off of war room thanks to Rebecca, and it has been amazing for me!! I have loved it so much I have told a handful of friends and they all have bought it too! I'm trying to find it in Japanese and get it for my little life group at church.

5-29 I was able to go to church today, and I got to take communion. It will be one I will never forget in Japanese. Every time I go to church (only 3x now) since I have been  traveling with jake, but each time I go I have to hold back the tears listening to them sing. It's so amazing to me how beautiful the songs are in another language. Taking communion here was very touching.. It was so different, yet the same. I have never appreciated it as much as I did today as I have found a new appreciation for God and what He has been doing in our lives since moving to Japan. His grace has shown over and over again for my family, and I'm so thankful to have found a church. I will say I will be running into Harvest, and we will have a new appreciation for a lot of things when we get home. Right now I'm happy. I made myself go to "life group" with some other moms, and as hard as the language barrier is and the girl leading it is Spanish knows no Japanese it's pretty tough. we each go around share a verse for the week, and something that happened that week or anything really. I actually spoke, and know these ladies will love on me and pray for me. I need that. We all do! I had to laugh one lady came up to me so excited and she was like "brigumm wife??! Brigumm??" I had the hardest time understanding yet sooo excited to share she prays for my husband, and the biggest fan. She is a season ticket holder, and asked for my picture (so so odd) but very sweet lady and I cannot imagine if Jake is ever able to attend now that people are somewhat realizing what he does. It will be okay! I invited our pastor and his wife, and another friend to the game before we started traveling and we had a lot of fun! The pastor is our age (28) and actually lived in Texas the same time we did!! He went to school for culinary then after the huge tsunami disaster started to work for Samaritans purse and helping with that

It is crazy how big of a deal baseball is here and I still am not used to people knowing who we are everywhere we go. People are very sweet and sometimes won't come up to Jake since he is with us. If any of you are still wanting to give for strikeouts from Jake's season I just wanted to let you know we are donating personally to Liz's Legacy, in honor of Elizabeth Stokes. A very close friend of Jake and I who passed away last year. We have known her family my entire life, and she was one of the first people to ever meet Jake and "approve him" for me to date. Her  foundation is helping children in central Florida who can't afford to get counseling, and that is what Liz did as her profession as well as a huge heart always in helping children and donating her time! We love and miss you Liz everyday and if you want to give to an amazing cause this one is it! I will keep you up to date on the best way to donate directly to her foundation! Our goal is 100 strikeouts. Jake has 18 in the majors, and 19 in minors (37 total)

I feel so comfortable here now. I have now learned the grocery stores, I have my routine, can ride the trains alone, travel to Tokyo alone. Even though I can't talk to literally anyone I feel pretty normal (minus the stares.) I'm so comfortable in our place, and in Sendai. Some days I feel Japanese because I'm doing so well getting around. Lol . It's a beautiful city and now getting used to no car and walking everywhere. I ride my bike a lot too! I was able to travel with Jake twice to Tokyo. We took Stella to Disney Sea on our off day Monday, and a few weeks ago to Disneyland! We had a blast since Stella is so into it now! I made it through an 11 day road trip! Phew it was tough, but luckily we should be together most of June! There are still some things that are really hard, but overall we have adjusted.

Jake was sent down AGAIN.. My dad officially hates baseball every time I talk with him. I'm so used to this that I'm not worried. This move was not because he did bad because he pitched amazing out of the bullpen, but now they want him to start again. I'm so glad he pitched as well as he did because this is only good for his "resume" and being exposed. He now has shown he can start, and he can long relief, or middle reliever. Jake is excited to go back to starting so they want to build him up. Our team needs some help in starting pitching we have lost like 9 in a row.. Eek

I have been asked if there are other families on our team and yes, originally Gomes and his wife were out here, but some things happened and they ended up leaving about a month ago. This isn't for everyone I can tell you that! I have another American girl on our team with 3 kids, but we just have opposite schedules. Her kids are in school all week, and just different schedules. It is crazy because most American players who do play here with 2+ kids have full time nanny they bring either from America or here. They live with them, or will get them an apartment. I know in the big leagues I would see a nanny as well, but here it's more of a common thing since it's so hard to travel alone. The other two Americans on the team are married, but the wives don't travel here, they stay back in the states.  We never see the Japanese wives at the games. I know have met a few in the family room. I don't think they sit us together either, at least from what I can tell. I have only been to maybe 4 or 5 games home! It's insane how little I go because Jake is either home or on the road. Now that he is going back to starting he will be home again every night after 1st or 2nd inning! Woohoo! Perks of a starter!

A few random facts and notes:
No one wears engagement rings (just a band for wedding)
A pedicure is over $100 and don't even get your feet rubbed or anything just polish.
Births no epidurals-see ya Japan if I ever get pregnant! Haha no baby here for us!
The bullet train for Stella and I to get around if going to Tokyo is around $150 one way.
The players get fight money which is cool so if jake is "hero" of the game you get money (jake hasn't been it yet)
Hotels you pay by person (so annoying)
People smoke in restaurants
Still a ton of restrooms have the hole in ground, and Japanese people prefer that over a regular toilet from what we can tell.
No paper towels or blowers in the bathrooms after you wash your hands. So I wipe it on Stella or jake.
Chocolate ice cream is hard to come by and blueberries!
Watermelon and cantaloupe is still $65-100
People sleep in the trains and then jump up at their exit. I feel like most are sleeping on the trains!
Elementary school age children carry this one backpack I had to look it up and it's $500!! Everyone has one too! Mind blown!
They tow bikes if Parked in wrong place like cars back home or tickets

We love you all and thanks for following along on our adventure!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A different month

Stella and I have been here for 2 months, and it has been a roller coaster of emotions! I knew this move would be different from any other move we have done (30 moves, countless states..) Jake and I have dealt with some stuff, but it has really made us grow closer together. Honestly this has been the best move for our marriage getting away from everything we are used to, and having to rely on God, and each other. We have handled this transition very differently. Jake goes to the field daily, has 3 americans on the team, translators, friends, and a routine. I am home with Stella all day, hard to find things to do, no one speaks english, and a 14 hour time difference from everyone back home. Jake has had tough days at the field baseball related, and i've had more bad days this month than good..I knew this would be a huge transition we aren't just visiting. We are residents, and that kicked in around week 5 how lonely it would be for me. Jake has been so amazing knowing the challenges since he was here 2 months before me, and I am so grateful for him to be sensitive to my feelings as I have been facing some personal struggles. The international office and team I can't praise them enough. They have done everything to make this as comfortable for us, and I know I bother them a lot with dumb questions, but they have become friends.

Saying that above. I hate to sound so negative, but its reality, and this past month has been so hard. Today, I'm in a better place mentally. I take each day, and have grown closer in my relationship with God than ever before. I NEED Him more than ever, and have really been trying to face my fears and I KNOW we are here for a reason! I know more than just baseball. I'm not sure if its to grow our family, to witness to people, or just help, but Jake and I both believe Japan is going to be a big part of our lives for the good. I can't tell you how much we love the people here. They make me want to be a better person. The fans are so respectful and I know i've talked a lot about this in previous post, but even though I can't understand them I love them..My friends back home especially Elizabeth, Lindsey, and a few others have been amazing! They stay up late even with work early the next day just to talk to me so I can have interaction, or text me things they know will make me laugh about our favorite reality shows. Liz sends me our sunday school small group message on video every week, and never forgets. I am truly grateful for our family and friends who have continued to be a huge part of our life! In this last month Stella has struggled. She constantly was saying I want to go home (she knows) and she misses her grandparents, cousins. It killed us. I questioned if I was doing the right thing, but I know keeping our family as one is what is important. Stella has grown so close to Jake, and I know she need her dad just as much as he needs us here. It has been better with her and I have my walls so tacky (taped) with pictures of our family, and friends. It has helped!

Backtracking to a few events these past 6 weeks for us. 4-20-16 we had our first earthquake and it was a pretty big one. Luckily Jake and I were together and happened right after we put stella down for bed. We heard something fall in the kitchen, and our place started to shake. Mind you...we are on the 13th floor (lucky us) Our building was swaying.... like in a baby swing swaying.. I saw my life flash before me. It was a 5.8 and 60 miles away, it lasted for about a minute. I learned after it is normal for our building to sway to be able to handle the earthquakes- that still doesn't give me peace.  Since then we have had 2 small ones (we slept through one.) It has kept me up a night, I still am having big issue with this, and finding comfort. I constantly have to pray multiple times a day for peace with this.
Only negative about local trains packed!! 

5-1 we found a church! It was very scary walking in not knowing if we would like it, or lined up with our beliefs since Christianity is less than 1% here..It is a Japanese pastor (our age) being translated by an Australian girl (mind blown!) About 30 people and from all over the world! I sat there listening to familiar songs sang in part english then Japanese, and was holding back the tears.. I was just so happy we found a church, and needed it badly at this point. Jake and I both did! This has always been an issue for us, and not proud to say we never went to church in the season. I wouldn't trust the nursery for Stella, or want to go alone. Here...  I need it, and went alone last week and survived. I was nervous about Stella and how she would do in her class away from me since its been me and her all day every day, but she loved it! She kept asking to go back. She pooped and they don't change her (fine by me) so I saw a changing table in the bathroom, and went in. All of a sudden a man walks in .. I thought am I in target?? jk... too early for jokes?? haha He looked as shocked as me and realized I was in the mens bathroom! ps.. he did start to pee ahhh!!

That same week Jake was moved back to the big leagues after being sent down after his first start. He pitched decent in his next start, and then moved to the bullpen since our bp is struggling. I really hope they can keep him there and for him to find his role and get comfortable vs moving back and forth like the Braves. He has had some good games, and some bad ones. He has learned so much and baseball if different here. This means his schedule changes and is now at all the games, travels with the team, and like a normal baseball routine. Hey it was good all the family time while it lasted! Jake has learned so much Japanese!! It's amazing how well he is doing with it. Stella has picked it up good too.. Me on the other hand not so much... its tough!! I got to travel with Jake this past week to Chiba and was very refreshing! We go to go to disneyland Tokyo, and had a blast!! I thought would be more foreigners there, but we still stuck out and people constantly looking at us and our every move. Chiba was very beautiful, and had outback steakhouse. we ate there both nights, and got to get together with another american couple who plays there. I had to travel back yesterday because Jake goes on a 10 day road trip.... this will by far be the hardest one. I stupidly brought a huge suitcase, stroller, backpack, and stella. I had to take a local train, then get off in TOKYO make sure I didn't miss my stop and go walk across the station to buy a bullet train ticket, then find the train and be on that for 1.5 hours with lots of help on the phone and texting with interpreters. I was sweating when I got to my seat. In the future I need to learn the best way to do that because I probably had to walk about 2 miles with stella on me on top of a 50 lbs suitcase, strollers, and backpack.... dumb..I will never complain about traveling in the states again when it to a road trip! I do love the trains here once I know i'm on the right one. We don't have to worry about traffic, or any delays! It leaves on the nose!

Things I have learned:
having to hang all my clothes to dry (in my bathroom)
no one buys bulk groceries for the week like us. They have one or two items in basket, and go daily.
You have to bring your own bag for grocery (I forget every time and have to stuff it in my clothes on my bike.)
The kids here are the most behaved little kids. They are never naughty.
no one talks on the trains... like dead silence--everyone is very aware when stella is on a train.
Overall most are excited we are here, others don't like it and we can tell!
I hate not having an oven, dishwasher, or dryer.
No one wears workout clothes like we do in America out.
You usually dont see kids in resturaunts (usually men with men, girls with girls)
They are obsessed with selfies.
You cant find turkey for sandwhiches here, or sour cream.
A costco just opened 45 mins away (game changer) as I can live off of bread here.
The bakery is amazing! They know me in there now since I go so much.

I know this was a long one, but a lot has happened, and I have to document for us. I swear I may write a book one day at least for my family. 😊 We love and miss you all!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our normal

Life in Japan has been amazing. I really can't believe how well we have adjusted to such a different environment. I have been here almost a month.. Hard to believe! My parents left on Tuesday, and that was a hard day. Not going to lie I cried my eyes out the thought of being so far away and longest time apart from them ever. It was so sad, Stella cried so hard for my mom leaving the airport screaming Nina all the way to the train... We had a great visit, and was very helpful having them here to adjust. It was so fun for my mom to be able to come back to where she lived when she was Stella's age. I was really nervous for them to leave because reality setting in I'm across the world from my family.  I don't speak the language, no friends, and Jake is starting to travel..

Coming back to my apartment after the long train trip home Stella kept saying "I lost Nina.." It quickly reminded me how thankful I am to have amazing parents who traveled across the world to help me, and how big of an impact both sets of grandparents/family is for us. I am so grateful they drop everything to help us no matter where we are in the world {literally.} Jake and I said early on we want active grandparents, and for Stella to really know what it's like to have grandparents involved often, and I'm so thankful she has not only one side...but both! Our next visitors will be my in laws in Aug/sep for a few weeks and to help me move home! Until then.... Lots of FaceTime and messages!

Baseball.. The love hate of baseball..I  am really trying my best to trust God, and know this is all in His Hands not ours..Jake got hurt, rehabbed, and threw a few great games got called up to majors Saturday night to pitch last night for the first time. Super exciting!! It's only a few weeks into the season and he was ready! I was sick all day from my nerves thinking about him starting and the pressure... The pressure from the team, fans, so much pressure with this lifestyle. I constantly prayed, and asked God to help Jake just to shine and have a great game to impress because not only are we nervous, but the team. They brought him from America to pitch so they EXPECT him to do well. I get to the game on my cool new bike I just got its electric and seriously the coolest invention ever especially with 50 extra pounds on it. I *only* almost hit 10 people so it was a better day than the day before. Anyways I arrive to the game to meet Shu to help me get to my seats and had a really cool video of Jake just explaining what happened his goals etc.. At this point I'm shaking. Everyone is starring at me realizing I'm his wife so that turns the pressure up not sure how they react if you do good or bad, then I have the front office-international people sitting with me who have now become friends, but I'm NERVOUS and can tell they are too!! I'm just thinking come on Jake you can do this, and lets do awesome!

Jake does amazing the first 5 innings. Clean only threw like 56 pitches tons of first pitch strikes. The other starter was at 90 pitches. Then a switch happens he gets very tired (normal building up) and unfortunately ended up giving up 6 runs in the next two innings. It's so hard to watch the one you love who you know is one of the hardest workers do so well then end up with a game like that because of course those 5 innings don't matter anymore. Our life is under a microscope whether we want it to be or not. The fans have opinions, the team, media, family everyone is watching. Jake handles it way better than me and I eventually went down to the family room. As I was in the family room Stella running around like a mad woman and watching Jake on tv I began to pray thanking God for us to be exactly where He wants us to be, and for this opportunity.. To help me=us in this unique situation and to shine. I saw the looks on the fans faces as I walked by, and team staff. It's hard I get it, but to see Jakes face after and go home is even harder..I wish I could take it away, but it was a good learning experience and everyone has bad days at work..

Jake was leaving for a 10 day road trip today, but he got sent back down to the minors.. Honestly who knows if he would have stayed up or not, they need bullpen help and if you over analyze this it will eat you alive. Trust me I do it every year. I know this will give Jake more determination than ever to get back out there and improve. Thankfully it's a long season and still early. We trust in His plan through all of this and know this is apart of the process especially over here.

I share this because this is a big part of our life what went on last night and our "normal." I know our postings on social media are usually always happy and the good, but this is the truth and I know we have a huge support system all over the country rooting for Jake and praying for not only him, but our family this season. We are so grateful for that too! All the texts, messages from our family/friends back home mean the world to us. We miss everyone, and the isolation is unique.

When he was up in the majors starters are not allowed to be in the dugout during game. Jake gets to come home after the first-second inning so I don't go to the games since coming home, and same on road. That is very different from the states, but giving us a ton of family time. Usually going to maybe 80-100 games a year to maybe 30? Eek... I got to find a hobby. Minors: he has been getting home daily around 2:30 vs 11 pm except when he travels. The field is over an hour away vs majors 1 mile so I will rarely go to the games. Jake will only pitch about once a week. He has to be down in minors for 10 days when sent down. They did say it is normal for guys to rotate because of roster numbers and carry extra position players vs starters. I really am very grateful for the amount of time we are getting together and learning to count on each other since it's just us here.

We are soaking up each day and really cherishing it. Last year taught me a lot after I saw so many close friends get released and to this day are now done with baseball. I was miserable in Mississippi, and here with no car, language barrier I am truly enjoying each day and making the most of it. Attitude can make or break you and this year I will enjoy every second of this adventure with Stella and Jake!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Part 2: arriving to Japan

Part 2:

We arrive in Tokyo and so excited we get to see Jake soon! Freddy one of the front office and interpreters came with Jake to get us. We never realized it would take about an 1-2 hours from customs to getting our luggage. Our phones didn't work either so I couldn't text Jake to tell him update. We had 9 suitcases and 4 carryons. Trying to find someone who spoke English and to help us load our bags was almost impossible. Finally we found a nice man who helped us, and we got to see Jake outside the gates! Stella was so excited to see her daddy and was screaming. It was adorable, and made Jake feel so loved. We ended up shipping our bags to Sendai because we had to get on two trains and 3 more hours of travel. We finally made it to our apartment and we were so exhausted we weren't tired anymore if that makes any sense. I believe from start to finish we traveled 27 hours. Stella did amazing! The first week we all were pretty messed up on time waking up at 2 am and staying up all day. Finally our bodies have adjusted, and Stella is sleeping okay.

We won't have a car here, but right across the train station or ride bikes. I plan on getting a bike for Stella and I once my parents leave. The hardest part which I knew it was going to be is the language barrier. The signs, google map, train station, food, the list goes on I don't know what anything is and that's been overwhelming. Luckily we found ham and cheese so We have been eating that and McDonald's a lot.

Our apartment is very nice 3 bedroom 1 bath on the 13th floor overlooking the city. The family room is panoramic and that helps a lot being able to see out. It's one of the nicest apartments we have stayed in during season. It is very safe you can't enter our building unless you call and I have a video phone on the wall that I can see delivery guy or a key.

Some interesting things I have learned so far is if you make eye contact they immediately look away, and won't look at you. Everyone bows to each other. The respect here is something that makes me see how we have it wrong in the states. Everyone dresses so classy like Ann Taylor, or loft very classy society. People don't just smoke on the streets. They have individual smoke rooms and they all obey the rules. No trash literally nothing on the streets. You don't cross the street unless the pedestrian sign is green even if a car is coming. EVERYONE follows the rules. The police man you never see, but carry sticks and highly unlikely to ever use a gun. They hate guns. Everyone stares at us until we look back, and I don't know if good or bad lol. The team is soo gracious and kind! They have brought us so many gifts team gear of Jake. Everyone really is so kind here.. It's so refreshing!!

It's very strange walking around with Jake because a ton of fans recognize him. They are so respectful too asking for autographs so they tend just follow us if in the stores until get the confidence to ask.

Baseball update: Jake is in the minors still rehabbing hoping to be up soon, but will take it each day. He pitched 21 innings so far and only gave up 3 runs. Last week went 4 scoreless innings and did great. On Tuesday pitched 5 innings first 4 no runs, a few hits, but in the 5th inning got very tired and scored 3 runs, but still did great. We will travel on Tuesday night for him to pitch in Osaka on Wednesday. Thank you for all the prayers he is all better now with his strain, just building up strength and pitch count.

My parents will be here until April 12 so trying to soak up every second while they are here and then next guests my in laws will come out at end of season for a few weeks to help me move and see Japan.