Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's for real ya'll!

The move is getting more and more real as the days go by. I just talked to Philip, who moved into our apartment in Tokyo on his Wednesday morning (Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of EST). He called from our fabulous three bedroom place which now contains a whopping three pieces of rental furniture, a sleeping bag, some clothes, his laptop, our Vonage phone, and a ragtag band of kitchen necessities that he managed to squeeze into his suitcase. Our fancy new Japanese TV will be delivered in the afternoon as well as our IKEA Japan chairs for the balcony. The majority of our belongings and furniture are en route to the port of Yokohama via sea shipment and are scheduled to arrive in Tokyo in mid- to late-February. We will send four 10-cubic-foot boxes of more immediate necessities, mostly kitchen and baby items, by air shipment on Friday. Soon all of our familiar things will be in a very unfamiliar place.

It's just unreal that we have an address in Tokyo. I know we will make so many memories there, which makes me both happy and sad. I'm happy to think of the place where Matthias may (Lord willing) learn to sit, crawl, talk, and walk depending on how long we are there, and where we will welcome new friends and old ones (hint-hint-please come visit, old friends!). But I am sad to think that we will be so very far away from our families and friends; much too far to spontaneously grab lunch, play a game, or give a hug. It will be hard not to share holidays, birthdays, baby milestones, and ordinary afternoons with the ones that we love. However, I am so thankful for modern technology like Vonage phones, Skype, and Facebook that will help bridge the gap at least a little. Also, Philip has already found a vibrant church in Tokyo and started to connect with a small group composed of English-speaking expats and Japanese people who either speak English as a second language or are learning to do so. I am in awe of how God provides exactly what we need exactly when we need it. When I was in labor with Matthias, I had the song Jehovah Jireh in my head for days and I find myself focusing on it once again:

Jehovah Jireh, my provider
His grace is sufficient for me
For me, for me
Jehovah Jireh, my provider
His grace is sufficient for me

My God shall provide all my needs
According to His riches in Glory
He will give his angels charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me
For me, for me

(Lyrics by Don Moen)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby Passport Outtakes

When Matthias was three weeks old, Philip and I had to take him to the post office to apply for his passport. We decided to take our own photos to avoid any meltdowns at CVS or the like. We knew we would need a picture that would satisfy the following criteria from the state department website:

1. Frame subject with full face, front view, eyes open.

2. Make sure photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin; height of head should measure 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm).

3. Center head within frame.
4. The minor child must be the only subject in the photo. Nothing used to support the minor child should be in the camera's frame, including the arms or hands of a parent holding the child.

4. Encourage subject to have a natural expression.

So, here's what we ended up with:

I can't believe how much bigger he's gotten since then. At not quite three months, he's already trying to commandeer the remote control!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two Weeks 'til Tokyo

I think I am in denial that in two weeks, I will get onto a plane with my little family of three and move to Tokyo. As in Japan. As in Asia. As in 14 hours ahead of EST. As in I can't read the signs. As in I don't even know the letters (characters). And I am moving there sight unseen, except for some photos on my husband's Facebook. Moving there. Not just for a weeklong visit, or even a month. At least six months. Probably a year. And did I mention that I am a new mom? Yep. I will be traveling with an infant on a plane for 14 hours. I am praying that the little guy will nurse and sleep and relax and not fuss and freak out and demonstrate to an airplane full of folks just how unsure I feel about this transition process.

I know that it will be ok. I'm going with the love of my life, the dynamic adventurer, the caring husband, the involved daddy. And I have my dream of a baby boy, the answer to my prayers, all I ever wanted in a son. And most importantly, I'm going with my God, who loves me relentlessly and is not fazed by cultural changes, or language barriers, or screaming babies on planes.

But still, I'm scared. Scared that I will get lost. Scared that I'll isolate myself during the week, only venturing out with my hubby because it's less intimidating that way. Scared that I can't handle all the physical and emotional changes of new motherhood along with those of changing continents. So as I keep busy caring for Matthias, buying necessities like luggage, diapers, and peanut butter, and paying those last few bills in dollars before entering the world of yen, I am praying that this transition brings new purpose, new courage, and new hope. I would love to have you follow along as I step out in faith and believe that something amazing is about to happen.