Sunday, August 26, 2012


Hello. I'm, um, back... I feel kinda strange, and slightly shy, blogging again. I mean, I didn't MEAN to not blog this whole summer. In fact, I lugged the darn laptop about 3/4 of the way around the world, on 9 flights,  in and out of six different states, and 7 different dwellings between the time we left Bulgaria two months ago and now, for the sole purpose of keeping up The Blog. Apparently I was way too busy and was having waaaay too much fun (and most likely was a tad bit lazy...just a tad) to follow through. But anyway. Here we are. In Okinawa! 
We're not in our house yet, because it's being totally redone on the inside (yay!), so we're just up the street from it in a house they use for TDY-ers. Temporary folk. I don't think I've fully grasped the tremendous change this is from Bulgaria. Some good, some bad, of course, but man... totally different! I am so pleased, though, that the kids love it here already. Nuala. Poor Nuala.  Change is difficult for her. This summer, knowing she wasn't going back to Bulgaria, the only home she really remembers, was difficult for her. And, therefore, difficult for the rest of us.  She can be... intense. She still loves Bulgaria, and her friends there (many of whom are now scattered around the globe now, too), but she has embraced this new home quickly.  We knew she would.  It helps that our neighborhood has loads of kids.  
On that note, I'm just going to jump into the NOW. I do plan on catching up on our summer hijinks, but one step at a time, right?  We've been in Okinawa for one week. Exactly.  Much of this past week was spent driving around registering at the hospital, and for various ID cards, and taking drivers tests, and stuff like that. Newcomer stuff. And registering a certain pair of little rascals for KINDERGARTEN. And zipping to the ER for a broken arm false alarm. That was fun, and did NOT make me feel like an idiot.  Also settling into our bomb shelter -- HOUSE! I mean house... for a few weeks before gathering everything up again and moving it down the street. (Honestly, the houses here on base are UGly on the outside. The insides are nice, though, and isn't that what counts? Yep.)  But, here's a little of what we've been up to:
Dynamite! We tried to get a cat, and Bran named "him" Dynamite.  See, the plan was to finally get some pets when we got here. We had been planning on a cat AND a dog, but then Z visited our home-to-be, saw the postage stamp of a backyard and we nixed that plan. TWO cats it will be! A boy (that Bran will name), and a girl (that Nuala will name). How fortuitous that almost immediately upon our arrival, our sponsor told us about this sweet stray cat that kept hanging around, but that they couldn't keep.  Perfect!  She told us it was a boy. I'm not convinced.  I didn't see any tell-tale little danglies under his/her tail, but then I looked closer and maybe... just mayyyybe there USED to be some there? It's been so long since I've had a cat under my care that I can't remember when they get fixed, or if this lil' guy/gal is old enough to have had that done... hmmmm...

Okay, back to the "tried" part.  I think Dynamite rejected us.  I mean, when we first ventured down to his hangout, he followed us willingly.  Maeve insisted that SHE got to be the one to shake the food dish.  It was a fun little procession home. Slow. Very slow. I would pick him up and carry him several feet while he wriggled like an earwig in a chip bag. Then, when the wriggling reached levels that caused me to dance ridiculously to avoid his claws, I'd drop him.  Maeve would scurry over and let him eat two bites of food, then we'd lure him along until I couldn't stand the slowness again, so I'd pick him up, etc. Etc.  He seemed to like us okay.  We put out food and water and went inside. We visited him throughout the day, and he hung around till nighttime. Then he ditched, because that's what cats do.  The next morning he never showed back up, and the kids were very worried about him. I tried explaining The Way of the Cat to them, but the big eyes, and shaky, concerned little voices were too much. Back out we went, to find him again.  And find him we did. About halfway between our house and our sponsor's.  This time, he was much less enthusiastic about us.  He DID meow to alert us to his presence, which was a total lead-on, since then he did that whole slink-just-barely-out-of-reach thing. But, I reached him.  We got him home again. Lucky Dynamite.

This is the 2nd retrieval.  I could not convince Maeve that wearing jeans in August in Okinawa was a death-wish.  Luckily, she survived.
The kids were thrilled to have their pet back. They begged to let him inside.  I knew this typhoon was a-comin' and that's part of the reason we were integrating him into our family so quickly, so he'd have a nice, safe place to ride it out.  Little ingrate... Stood inside the laundry room for about a milisecond, looking around with the crazy eyes, convinced some cat-eating hooligan was going to pop out from behind the dryer.  We haven't seen him since...  Oh, I forgot to explain the name! Dynamite.  When Bran and Nuala had talked about what they were going to name the cats, Bran always said, "Dragon Tail!" or something similarly 5-year-old-boy-ish.  As soon as we saw Dynamite, he said, "I want to call him Dynamite!" Oh! I thought.  Slightly different than what I was expecting, but still, very appropriate coming from Bran. When I asked him why, though, this is what he said: "Because he's long and skinny, like dynamite!"  Ha! I love that. He is a very skinny kitty.  Did I already say, "little ingrate?"  No, I understand. As much as one understands the workings of the cat mind.  I wish him...her... the best.
Our van.  A Mitsubishi Delica. It's super tall.  Bran and Nuala are about 49" tall. Over 4 feet. Just to put it in perspective. We are never lost in a parking lot, because it towers over the other cars. Kind of how I feel here. Hahaha! But true. At least off-base.  Some of you might have heard about the little side door mishap.  It fell off. It was kinda stuck, and Z was trying to wrench it closed, and next thing I know, he's just holding it. Unattached to the rest of the van. Pret-ty neato... We load the kids from the front seat now. I'm sure it will get fixed eventually. You can't even tell, though. I mean, that's an "after" pic up above... Z just popped that sucker back in, banged on it with his mighty fist, and it's good to go.  We went to a nearby junkyard to see if they had the part we need, but they were fresh out of Delicas. 
 Sushi. Yuck.  I'm sorry, I can think of very, VERY few things more disgusting than sushi.  I know I will try some here, because you can't live in Japan and NOT eat the sushi. How embarrassing. But it turns my stomach just thinking about it. Bran was really excited to see the spread. "Sushi!! Can I eat some?"  He's never had it, but it's so colorful and pretty. He pointed at one made with fish eggs... nice, glistening little red balls... "what's that?!" he asked, all excitedly.  "Oh, those are fish eggs..." I told him.  I could see his enthusiasm waver. "Fish eggs? But... what if the baby fish hatch while you're eating them?" Yum. Don't worry, I try to act very neutral and semi-supportive about sushi.  I don't want the rascals to not try stuff just because I don't like it. Shudder.

We walked around a little beach while Z went (back) to Miyagi's Junkyard. They were all eating lunch when we first stopped by. That was totally unnecessary info, but it's now a smidge after midnight here, so a little more of that than normal will be going in here, no doubt... Anyway, there was absolutely no parking at the junkyard, so we parked by this beach instead.  The pics don't do the water justice. It's soooo blue! Beautiful!
We found tons of hermit crabs and tons of shells. It was a good little beach trip. Well, except for the fact that we didn't get wet past our feet. That makes it better, usually.

And, my hair.  You know, I took a bazillion pictures of my hair yesterday, and I couldn't find a single one I liked. I kept taking pictures and then realized, "hey! I don't LIKE my hair! That's why I can't find the 'just right' picture!" What an epiphany. So you just get these. I mean, I don't look hideous (come now, could I really look hideous??), but it's not my favorite. Or my second favorite. Perhaps my 27th favorite, but that could be a bit generous.

It'll grow back, though. I don't regret it, really, because I've been itching to cut it SHORT short for a while. Now I've done it, and I don't think I need to do it again. Please, if I DO start talking about it in the future, refer me back to this post. Thank you.  So, this is the side. The other side is similar, but with more hair, since the split sends more hair to that side. Please pay no attention to the splotchy mirror (3 small children just brushed their teeth) nor my bra-less state. Though now I'm pretty sure you are doing just the opposite of that.
Here I look a smidge better.  What GREAT timing, to cut my hair super short right before meeting a whole new slew of people! First impressions are awesome. Oh, well!  Could be worse! Yes, it could. This is two weeks of growth!

So. The typhoon. Typhoon Bolaven. It's raging outside as we speak.  Or, as I type, I guess.  Bummer for us, it kept us homebound on a Sunday. Our first Sunday here, when we were so excited to get to church and meet everyone! We watched lots of church movies, read books, played games, ate snacks, made typhoon forts... it was good. Here the tykes are building things with spaghetti and marshmallows, like Tinker Toys.  Our new friends, the Wilkinsons, who live down the street and also go to our church, brought us a bag of goodies to help weather the typhoon, including these fun "toys," that the kids loved. Maeve pretended to build stuff at first, but it was all just a ruse to eat the marshmallows. Finally she didn't even pretend anymore.  They LOVED them. Building and eating!

Ahhhhh! They're blowing awaaaaaayyyy!  We ventured out when it wasn't too strong. The kids got a kick out of it.  We were all kinda disappointed with the wimpiness of it. Bran kept saying accusingly to Zachariah, "you said that trees and cars would be blowing down the street!" Which he didn't... Only that the wind was going to be strong enough to maybe do that, not that they'd necessarily be blowing down OUR street. It got pretty crazy once the kiddos were in bed, though. And it's still going on out there. Luckily these little base houses are squat and thick. Perfect for riding these fellas out.

Whew. And that's it for now. It's good to be back blogging again. We got our 2009 blog book from Blurb, and it's gorgeous and so fun to go back through and read, so I need to keep that in mind when I start putting off the ol' blog.  Lots of catching up to do... on our own blog, and I'm so behind on reading my friends', too! I'm gonna get on that... So, for now, chau! Hmmm... that's ingrained in us from Uruguay and Bulgaria, but we're in Okinawa now, so... Ja ne! (See ya!)

*Note: Zac served his mission here, and is still totally, amazingly fluent in Japanese. It's true, and it's so super handy! The junkyard... the Japanese grocery store... even a pizza mishap earlier in the week... he's totally useful! Not that he wasn't anyway... ;) 


Tara Milligan said...

I'm so glad y'all are finally 'home'! I'm sure it's nice to not be travelers anymore. I can't believe how much older Maeve already looks from when we saw her just a month or so ago! I think your hair looks really cute, you totally pull it off. But, yeah, it stinks not to like your hair. Maybe when it grows out a bit you will like it more. Your beach looks really nice! And yay for having so many kids to play with.

Bonnie said...

Welcome back! I've missed you! My thoughts: Your hair looks cute, I think cooked fish is disgusting so why on earth would I want to eat raw fish, Bran and Nuala are TALL, Maeve looks adorable in that last picture, and when I think about all the new things you have to do in yet another foreign country it gives me heart palpitations. You guys are amazing! Looking forward to reading more about your Japanese adventures! And can you please get rid of the word verification? I promise you won't be overrun with spam. I may not be a robot but it always takes me ten tries to get a comment to post.

Anonymous said...

Great post ... nice to see you back at it again! Glad the typhoon didn't decided to spill cars and trees down your street ... sorry Bran! LOL ... Poor Nuala, missing Bulgaria and loving Japan at the same time = life's sad/happy state. Heehee...dynamite's name! Of course Maeve'll want to wear "bujeans wif bockets" ... she's a chip off her old block. Yes, the sushi looks very enticing indeed, and he'd prob enjoy it too, esp if he didn't really know the content of the little colourful stuff... I like your beach area ... guess it's nearby... doesn't seem like any part of Okinawa can be far from the beach. Nice pic of the three little rascals... also the windblown versions heehee... Oh, your hair is short indeed, and of course it is cute too. I know you will enjoy all the different lengths it presents b4 it gets "long enough" again:) You did come up with lotsa good Sunday activities ... I haven't seen the marsh/spagh building activity b4, but it seems like yummy do have nice neighbours! That is great... Zac having the chance to use his Japanese! Thanks for letting us peek in on you all in Japan:) Stay safe! Love, Mom (Dad too) xox

zachariah said...

I still can't believe we are here! That was the longest vacation ever, I think it was harder than being at work for the almost 9 weeks.

Ruth said...

I actually like the short hair much less Grammy if you ask me ;) I am with you about sushi. When we were in Tokyo everyone kept trying to get me to try it but I held strong and let's be honest if you are in Japan that would be the only place I would try it unless you are too firm in your belief of its nastiness and then pass it up completely. Love y'all

fiona said...

Thanks, Ruth, for your honesty... I think... ;) Yeah, it's gotta be a very special piece of sushi that's gonna pass by THESE lips. I just don't get the appeal at all! Bonnie, I'll give it a shot... Maybe the robots have moved on by now. ;)

fiona said...

(Ahem, Bonnie... I took off word verification this morning, and 5 mins ago got a total robot comment on a post from 3 years back! I'll let it slide... for now...! Really, though, it was just kinda funny. We'll see if the robots attack now that one has slipped past.)

Bonnie said...

Oh man! I haven't had word verification on my blog for like three years and have never gotten a single spam comment.

melissa said...

This is Melissa, Hilary and Ethan.....and we LOVE your hair!! We think you have the perfect cute little face to go with the pixie haircut! Post more pictures...we love following you and your beautiful family around the world. xoxoxo