Our annual Sports Day Undokai at Rosa Parks was on Friday. I do enjoy this whole day of fun competition where the Rosa Parks community comes together to volunteer and hang. Kids compete earnestly, and it's a memorable moment each year. I can't believe it's already a year since my parents were here, and cheered Tesla on.
This year was Tesla's 5th year counting from kinder. Next year will be her last. Acknowledging this year's 5th graders as their last made me emotional (I was the MC) as I totally know these kids...some from preschool!
And this year, Aila joined for 1 cute event as part of her preschool Nihonmachi Little Friends (from which a lot graduate to Rosa Parks). Next year, she will be a kinder at Rosa Parks fully participating in Undokai. That was emotional for me. I remember being at Undokai when Aila was a new baby. How times flies, and these annual events highlight that all the more to me. Slow down please!!
Today, at dusk, is our 10th wedding anniversary. "Today" is not a date. We go by Wed. at Burning Man, and that date shifts. This makes it easier for us to remember, which is great, as both Dav and I are not into remembering dates. In fact, the 10th only dawned on us as a fellow couple who also married at Burning Man that week posted on FB that they were celebrating their 10th. Holy cow, 10!
I knew we'd be here tho. I remember that first year I met Dav at Burning Man, then flew back to Tokyo where I lived as we started a 1 year long distance relationship. I knew we'd grow old together, and had a distinct vision (documented in an email to Toni!) of pushing Dav in a wheelchair when we are super old, him wearing a colorful funky hat with cute bunny ears I knitted for fun. I felt it in my bones that we'd stick, and thus I moved from Tokyo to be together.
Our wedding on the playa was in secret from everyone (as friends know, we both don't like planning hoopla around us)...except for dear wonderful Douglas Frey who had no idea what was in store when we asked, "can you spare an hour with your camera?"
In some ways, OMG, I'm wearing wings and a snake! None of the traditional stuff that I grew up thinking I'd wear. But you know what? That moment, when we exchanged vows, was the most powerful, pure, blissful moment in my life. It was RIGHT. And we both felt that in our souls.
The BM camp that married us was one I found when cycling around earlier. A "drive-by chapel" shall we say. When I learned weeks earlier that Dav had an elaborate proposal in mind that didn't make our beloved BM timing, I surprised him (and got tears out of him) with ME proposing to him on the playa. We were engaged (in secret) for 3 hours, then cycled over to the camp at dusk that I had found earlier. This camp did playa weddings...fun in a light ha ha way. But we showed up in total seriousness. The camp rallied. The whole camp came out and wept for us. It was magical, and absolutely the wedding for Dav and Mie.
But, back to Doug. He had no idea. He came with us with no questions, to be the ONE witness from our BM camp, and to document, bless his soul. Here are the pics. His pictures are SO precious to us. It was the real deal. So thank you, for witnessing a most precious moment for us. Forever, you are connected to us.
Thank you, Twight Zone. We are 10 years in, and still in Love! You married us!!
So ok, I need to add that I still feel like the luckiest girl around. Some know, some don't, but I had quite a personal journey to be in the position to meet Mr. Amazing Dav. I worked for it, but didn't know Dav was the reward. I walked a dark journey by myself. Then I found the most wonderful, fulfilling, HOT partner I could have imagined. Still pinching myself. Someday I will tell my daughters, be true to yourself - your fire, your creativity, your way - and you'll get to the place to meet the people you are meant to meet.
Dav is that for me. Love you.
At Aila's kindergarten in Yokohama, they had a "lunch observation day" where parents could come see how their kids ate lunch. Since I was on Tesla's field trip, my mom went and took pics for me.
She has been thrilled to finally have obento for lunch since I always make for Tesla, but it's not needed for Aila in S.F. When she came home with an empty bento box, I couldn't believe it since she's such a picky small eater, but my mom confirmed she ate most of it. Yay!
Such a wonderful little school <3
Tesla's class had a field trip while Tesla was attending her Yokohama school, and I joined because Tesla was a bit anxious. True to Yokohama, it was a tour of the old port city, starting in Chinatown, walking to Yamashita Park, Marine Tower, Hikawamaru old ocean liner, brick warehouse, then to Minato Mirai train station. Boy, did we walk (and instead of using escalators at train stations, we used only stairs!)
As we approached the tall Yokohama Marine Tower, Tesla already hungry and tired from just getting there (and hot from the muggy weather) asked if there was an elevator to which I replied, "of course!" Soon after, the teacher lectured about the history of the place, then announced how lucky we all were for the opportunity to climb all 350+ stairs. Proud T did it (a few other students stopped), but once at the top, the slight swaying gave me the jitters so I had to excuse myself to get down early ; )
It was at the Hikawamaru Ocean Liner when the teacher informed me Tesla was supposed to stay with her designated group, and was causing difficulties since she wandered off making her group have to follow her. That was the first time I heard she had to be in her group every step of the trip. Once on the boat, I then spent my time dutifully following Tesla's group since she had to be with them, and I was supposed to be with her...
While exhausted at the end, it was a good experience for Tesla, and I got to see some old haunts that bring back memories, including the Intercontinental Hotel where I used to work.
I was lucky enough to get to visit my friend and former colleague who now lives in Yokohama. She has 2 small children, and we got to catch up about family and work. And it just so happened that her neighborhood was hosting a small omatsuri/summer festival where small kids could pull a musical celebratory cart to celebrate the community.
It was super muggy and hot! But I got Tesla and Aila to participate a bit, along with the "washoi, washoi" that brings back such memories for me! Even though Tesla and Aila had no idea what this was all about, I am so glad they got to experience it. Receiving popsicles as part of it helped : )
Kids started a new school near my parents house. The transition has been bumpy for the kids.
After having settled in Akita, I packed them up to restart the whole process in Yokohama, and culturally, the kids here are more reserved and shy, so the first 3 days, Tesla didn't really have much interaction with anyone. She kept a good attitude and didn't complain (so proud!). Aila on the other hand is at a super cute preschool with a lovely teacher who enthusiastically welcomes her everyday, but so far, everyday, Aila really doesn't want me to leave her there. Once I'm gone, the teacher says she has a good time, but it's so unlike Akita where it seemed Aila couldn't wait to get to school.
I think they both are simply getting tired of so much stimulation and not being in an environment where they get what's going on. I push them knowing that deep down, it's good for them to experience how to adapt and figure stuff out. But I sympathize with them.
They are also getting tired of walking everywhere, and it's very hilly where my parents are in addition to being quite muggy. Akita was a breeze!
And to think they will be going home in 2 weeks, when for me, I stayed forever and never went back. I'm sympathizing with myself in terms of what I am guessing I had to deal with ; )
Some everyday pics from the beautiful town.
KC's neighborhood, and a coffeeshop that didn't open until 11:30 (!!) so I sadly went for canned coffee from the machine.
Park that requires adult supervision only if kids are under 6. The whole town had older kids running around playing on their own. Aila inspecting a bug.
Our walk to preschool after we dropped off T.
Part of the time we stayed at this hotel, the other part at KC's. The hotel had Japanese breakfast which the kids enjoyed too. The kids running off to school.
A local shrine. Eating omurice (rice wrapped in egg) with okosama set (special sets for kids) that come with enticing toys.
Ocean view from a ferris wheel.
Anpanman rides at zoo.
Cute old-school train we rode to main Akita station, and the modern shinkansen back to Tokyo.
Catching up a bit here... I love these scenes from Tesla's last day at school in Akita. The kids and community were so open and welcoming, immediately reaching out to Tesla. (In comparison, now that we are in the Yokohama region, the kids seem more reserved and shy, making it slower to break the ice.)
There was a lot of prep to get kids settled into school and a daily rhythm, but by Wednesday, once I dropped kids off, I had alone time to dust off my running shoes and go for a run. Note...I don't run, and haven't run for years, but this month is about the kids in school so I figured if there was ever a time to get back running, it's now. Akita is flat, beautiful, and the rice paddies are just perfect.