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!