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.