We recently celebrated our four year anniversary since coming to Japan, or as Dan calls it our "Japanniversary".
We came as a family of four, Abbi was almost 4 years old and Ryli was one and a half, but now we are a family of five and Landon is already two and a half. How life has changed since then, but not just because we have another child. In the fullness of the past few months I've been reminded of how much our roots have grown here. Then as I reflected on the past four years I could see that our relationships have gone deeper into the community in ways I had not originally expected.
Abbi is in the local elementary school, which connects us with the other families in our community. She walks to school just like everybody else. When there's a school event on a Saturday morning we are just like the other parents attending. She also has a set of good friends, which connects me with all their moms.
Ryli is in a Japanese kindergarten too. Kindergartens here are separate from the elementary school. She takes a little bus every day to school. It's the same kindergarten Abbi went to. Ryli even has the same teacher and bus driver Abbi had. Some of the other moms I have met through the kindergarten, have children Abbi's age so now we are going through kindergarten life together for a second time.
The girls are in swim lessons weekly with some friends, two of which invited us to their homes for Halloween parties.
Relationships are developing through PTA as well. Dan has begun teaching English again at the after school programs at all seven of the elementary schools in our town and preaching at our church.
We were part of the mall's Halloween parade. We still go weekly and have become good friends with many.
Here I am as the official greeter. Each family takes turns saying good morning to the kids as they go to school.
I am quite surprised to see where life is now and how connected we are in this community. I knew God would help us grow here, however I didn't know what it would look like or how we would get to this point. There are still hurdles every day though. We miss our family and friends. We still have to study language diligently. We also struggle with the balance of our children learning to read and write in English and Japanese at the same time. But nevertheless it feels like home.
I wonder what the next Japanniversary will feel like?