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.