PDA

View Full Version : Rastagirls Diary for the next 3 weeks



Angel Oliver
06-30-2009, 06:15 PM
Lori,

Thought id do this thread so you can come once a day if possible and let us know what you have done today and how you are coping as i realise you will be missing your son,who is traveling to Japan. Let us know when he rings and let us know what he gets up too.We are all here for you Lori to support you through these next 3 weeks until he returns.
lots of love
Amanda.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

mountaindreamer
06-30-2009, 07:56 PM
what a great idea angel,

all right lori, you have the stage and we anxiously wait for your stories.....i know they will be great.

Rastagirl
06-30-2009, 10:19 PM
Awwww Angel, you are my sweetie....thanks so much for starting this thread. I was deeply touched when I signed on tonight and saw it. You are such a dear friend. I popped in here earlier when I got home from the airport, but kind of wandered around not sure what to say, or where to post for that matter.....so this time, I have my own special place to come and share.

And Phyllis....what a dear friend you are to me. Thank you for ALL your encouragement, all the time. I'm so glad I've met you. Thank you for your kind words.

So, here goes.....I get to pour it out. This was a difficult day for me. No matter how much you prepare your children, how much you teach them, how hard you work to do all the right things for them, it is still so very hard to send them out into the world on their own for that first time. I found myself talking to my son all the way to the airport, all kinds of little things kept popping into my head...like did I remember to tell him this, or that??? Thankfully, my son inherited my husband's totally logical thinking brain, kind of no nonsense, so he remained completely calm through all my questions and gave all the right answers. :cute: He even asked me..."Mom, you gonna be alright?" Of course, I gave him reassurance, even though I was quaking inside.

On arrival, we breezed through the luggage check in & thankfully he's going with a small group, which includes himself, 4 other students, and an adult chaperone, so check in was easy. We then had an hour to go have lunch all together. My husband came from work to meet us at the Security Gate, and all of a sudden it was time for them to go. I pulled my son aside, at first he tried the "don't embarrass me mom, no hugs or kisses"....do ya think I listened? No way. He got a huge hug from me, a kiss...and then the realization hit....I have no more time to tell him anything....so the most important thing of all came out.....I told him, "I Love You more than anything! Have the time of your life. Make it an adventure, make new friends, try new things...and most of all, savor every moment."

And then I stood with the other mom's watching him go through security, show his passport, empty his belongings into the tub, take off his shoes....everything he's always done with us when we travel. It was the strangest feeling watching him do it alone this time. Yet reassuring too. They all made it through, and headed for the concourse, with one last quick stop to turn and wave to us........and then he was gone.

I am so proud of myself.....I held it together all the way through the airport until I reached my truck. I climbed inside, turned on my music....and then the tears flowed. But they were tears of happiness that my son is being blessed with this opportunity....and that he is happy and secure enough to leave the shelter of my wing and venture off on his own, without the watchful eye of mom.

I've had an unsettled feeling this afternoon and evening though, that I've never felt in my life....I told my husband I don't think I'll settle completely until I get the email sometime around 5:30 a.m., my time, that they have safely arrived. :veryhappy:

But I did something for myself tonight....I went to watch the sunset from the highest hill around our area. The weather man reported on the news tonight that we have sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere over Portland for the next few days, because of a volcanic eruption that happened in Russia on June 12th, so we were blessed with a sunset that had layers of deep purples and lavenders. It was one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. I believe that God blessed me with this sunset gift tonight because he knows how much joy I feel at sunset. I felt as if He was saying to me..."well done, Lori...here's a little something just for you." As I stood there watching, I stared into the West, imagining my son flying on the airplane.....heading off into the sunset for an incredible adventure that I have played a part in preparing him for.

Angel....Thank You from the bottom of my heart for this gift thread you have given me. :angelic:

with Love,

:cool2: Lori

p.s. stay tuned....I'll be back.

mountaindreamer
07-01-2009, 10:11 AM
hi lori,

thanks for sharing the story of your day. You did a perfect job.....you showed your son how much you trust him, you watched him walk away, then you went to your truck and cried.....what a perfect mom.

I remember when my daughter, Amber, went on a vacation touring the country, she called me and said she had a new address and it was in Olympia Washington (the other side of the country from North Carolina). I cried and cried, then my guy (jim) said...."don't cry, Amber's self-confidence in her ability to care for herself is a direct result of your mothering, so don't cry, you should celebrate doing a good job." Since then, i have watched my kids go (and come back) many times...I always remind myself of what Jim said, and it really helps.

What an incredible gift from the Angels.....the engulfing sunset was your sign that you "have done good."

hope you have a great day today.....Let's see, it is 1:00 p.m. here, so you have probably gotten your 5:30 a.m. email....

enjoy your day, my friend.

Rastagirl
07-01-2009, 10:54 AM
Thanks for your kind words, Phyllis....I'll remember what Jim said..."a direct result of good mothering".... :veryhappy: I like that.

I had one long, sleepless night last night...I discovered on the airline website in the early morning hours, that they had arrived in Tokyo, but their flight to Osaka had been cancelled. No explanation. I lay in bed and could not get to sleep wondering what was going on. I finally fell asleep but then woke at 6 am to check my email. Nothing....

Exhaustion hit, and I zonked out and didn't open my eyes again till 9:30 am. Rolled out of bed to discover an email from their chaperone.....she explained their flight to Osaka had been cancelled because there were not enough people. But a wonderful man from the touring agency came to the airport, and helped them get seats on the bullet train to their final destination of Kyoto. They arrived in Kyoto at 10:30 pm, only 3-1/2 hours later than planned. The Manager of the Hotel was waiting up for them, with an ice cream treat :yumyum: and a warm welcome. It's now middle of the night in Japan and they are hopefully getting a good night's sleep.

I feel sooooo much better. I can relax now, and give MYSELF some TLC for my long night. I'll take it easy today, and let my body and mind recoup. Maybe a relaxed movie and an easy day on the couch. I believe I have earned it! :yes:

Hugs,

:cool2: Lori

rob
07-01-2009, 11:19 AM
Lori,

You've had a busy and emotional few days, now, it's time to veg' out and relax-you have more than earned it! Hey, my mailman was just here, and I think he may have left me something from Netflix-I ordered the Led Zeppelin concert you told me about. Anyway, that sunset sounded awesome. Sunsets are like campfires, I can just stare at them and escape it all. Take it easy, and treat yourself to something nice.

Rob

magistramarla
07-01-2009, 11:24 AM
Aww, Lori,
This is a sweet thread. You did a great, job Mom!
As I told you before, I've never felt so safe as I did in Japan. Those trains are awesome, and as your son has already found, the hospitality people there put a capital H on the word. They seemed to think of everything, and catered to needs that we didn't know we had!
He will have the adventure of his life!
Right now, my youngest daughter is pregnant, so I'm getting all those "What do I do now?" calls. Believe me, it's a mind-blowing experience to go through that with a daughter. I've been there, done that twice with two of the others already.
Hang in there, and keep taking good care of yourself,
Marla

Rastagirl
07-01-2009, 11:28 AM
Thanks so much, Rob....I'm off to do just that...veg out. That's how I survive the occasional stress like this. I always allow some down time afterwards to literally do nothing for a day or two.

Oooh, hope your Led Zeppelin DVD has arrived....you will not be disappointed! :yup::yup:

I'm the same exact way with campfires...total relaxation and peace. One of my absolute favorites...a campfire on the beach at sunset....

Hope your day is a good one!

Hugs,

:cool2: Lori

Oluwa
07-01-2009, 11:32 AM
The day sounded like a wonderful beginning for the both of you, Lori..with each change regardless of age we grow.

Love and hugs,
Oluwa

lucky7
07-01-2009, 01:19 PM
AWWWWW, your storie about your day really touched me Lori:cute: I Love that you ended it watching the sun set. GOOD FOR YOU. Im SO GLAD he made it SAFELY and you have that peace of mind as well:yes: Our minds and our hearts NEVER rest as mothers BUT we can calm them cant we. You are a BEAUTIFUL person Lori, im glad we met:heart:

abbasgirl
07-01-2009, 02:09 PM
I had to read with a kleenex! Bittersweet tears!

Lately I've been regretting having my two babies so close in years... watching them get further and further from the nest is bittersweet. One baby bird right after the other is hard on the heart.

I've been thinking about a newspaper clipping my mom keeps in her wallet along with pictures of all of her babies. It's a perfect quote about motherhood and I've thought about it through the years. Lately I've thought about it a lot. It says "Making the decision to have a child- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." I think it's by Elizabeth Stone. How very true that is! Every thing they go through, we go through it too... very much like our heart is walking outside of our bodies.

You handled that beautifully, Mom! I'm so glad the trip was safe, you enjoyed your special sunset, and you're taking it easy! (((hugs)))

Angel Oliver
07-01-2009, 03:14 PM
Oh Lori,

You are very welcome.I read your post ahhhh i felt the pain.But what a son hey..still worrying about you worrying about him.Oh i wished you took photos that sunset sounds fab.
You rest up and know we are all here and now you have a place to unload those built up worries,but also to let us know about his great adventure.
Lots of love
Amanda.xxxxxxxxx

ButterflyRN
07-02-2009, 05:51 AM
Thanks for sharing!

mountaindreamer
07-02-2009, 08:22 AM
abbasgirl....what a beautiful quote....and so very true.

my grandmother once told me when i was a young mother ..." children are going to jump off of the cliff, it is your job to hold their little hand so that you are there when they hit bottom." I have always remembered and followed this advice.

Angel Oliver
07-02-2009, 09:24 AM
Did you get an email yet or a call? Is he very excited? How are you today? Carnt wait to hear from you.

love Amanda.xxxxxxxx

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 10:04 AM
Thanks so much everyone....Abbasgirl, the quote is lovely and so very true. It feels so good to come here and find all the encouragement from each of you.

Yes, Angel, he emailed a quick one yesterday. I believe he tried to fit in as few words as he could. :)

...Said, and I quote, "Finally arrived in Kyoto, will be sightseeing all day tomorrow. Love you..."

Hey, at least I got an email. :veryhappy:

I took it very easy yesterday, and it felt so good to sleep unemcumbered last night. Nothing like a good night's sleep to give you strength and energy for the day.

It's going to be a hot one in Portland today.....95 degrees. I'm off to water my plants.

Hope everyone's day is a lovely one! :heart:

:cool2: Lori

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-02-2009, 01:22 PM
ooohhhhh what a lovely thread!!!

like abbasgirl feel like i need a tissue cause you can feel the love friends family love mothers love

i have to say you have obviously done a great job in bring up a lovely son and i tell you what i love my mum to bits but would be proud to call you my mum!!!

and omg the sunset sounds beautiful i really hope you took photo and share it with us!! sounds like something that needs to be framed!!!

i am soo looking at reading all about your sons adventures throu your eyes xx
know we're here to be your cruches to get you throu the bad times and your ears to listen to your rejoices

lots and lots of gentle hugs your friend H xxxx

abbasgirl
07-02-2009, 01:46 PM
I grabbed a kleenex before clicking on the thread this time. hee hee. "She CAN be taught!" (said in best immitation of Robin Williams aka Genie from Alladin)

Phyllis...I am coping that one down...that is perfect! Thanks. Whew, is it fun going off the cliffs with them! And I try to make sure I never say, I told you so, after the thud! I always hated hearing that when I was young. However, I love to say it to my mother. :laugh:

Lori...don't you just love how boys communicate with so much detail? lol. I have to drag it out of my son, meanwhile my daughter shares EVERYTHING. lol. Night and day!

Ah, sightseeing... oh to be young and healthy and go sightseeing in far away lands. And you got a great night's sleep...AWESOME!! Blesses me to hear it!

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 07:06 PM
ooohhhhh what a lovely thread!!!

like abbasgirl feel like i need a tissue cause you can feel the love friends family love mothers love

i have to say you have obviously done a great job in bring up a lovely son and i tell you what i love my mum to bits but would be proud to call you my mum!!!

and omg the sunset sounds beautiful i really hope you took photo and share it with us!! sounds like something that needs to be framed!!!

i am soo looking at reading all about your sons adventures throu your eyes xx
know we're here to be your cruches to get you throu the bad times and your ears to listen to your rejoices

lots and lots of gentle hugs your friend H xxxx

Ahhh Heidi....

I grabbed a tissue this time too....you honestly made me tear up with your sweet comment....that you'd be proud to call ME mum!! That's the sweetest thing I think I've ever been told.

Guess what....the picture of the sunset??? Didn't happen! Guess why???

We couldn't afford to buy another camera right now, so I had to send my only camera to Japan with my son!!!!

I stood there watching the sunset of my life....wrenching inside cuz I had NO camera. I am very much about pictures....to capture those special moments in life....so it was simply pure torture. But then, for once, I felt a complete peace and calmness while watching it....like God was saying to me...."Lori...this one's for you...even if you had a camera, you couldn't capture what I've placed for your eyes only....this one's going straight to your heart....and YOU will remember it forever...even without the picture."

So, sorry guys, no picture....believe me...if I had one....it would already be up here for you.

Thanks Heidi...you are a dear friend. :hug:

Love,

:cool2: Lori

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 07:11 PM
I grabbed a kleenex before clicking on the thread this time. hee hee. "She CAN be taught!" (said in best immitation of Robin Williams aka Genie from Alladin)

Phyllis...I am coping that one down...that is perfect! Thanks. Whew, is it fun going off the cliffs with them! And I try to make sure I never say, I told you so, after the thud! I always hated hearing that when I was young. However, I love to say it to my mother. :laugh:

Lori...don't you just love how boys communicate with so much detail? lol. I have to drag it out of my son, meanwhile my daughter shares EVERYTHING. lol. Night and day!

Ah, sightseeing... oh to be young and healthy and go sightseeing in far away lands. And you got a great night's sleep...AWESOME!! Blesses me to hear it!

Abbasgirl...

You really made me smile :veryhappy: .....knowing not to say I told you so, after the thud. *giggle*

And the comment about boys....yep...nailed it on the head....my son will fit in exactly what he wants to say in about 5 words. I have no idea how he does it.....must be a special "guy" gene.

My daughter however, who just turned 13, will talk me up one side and down the other most of the day. It's a nice balance.....if I need words from another human....and many words with lots of details....she's the one I go to.

:lmao:

Thanks for the encouragment and friendship.

:cool2: Lori

p.s. I giggled over the Robin Williams "Genie" comment too. Great movie!

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 07:18 PM
Aww, Lori,
This is a sweet thread. You did a great, job Mom!
As I told you before, I've never felt so safe as I did in Japan. Those trains are awesome, and as your son has already found, the hospitality people there put a capital H on the word. They seemed to think of everything, and catered to needs that we didn't know we had!
He will have the adventure of his life!
Right now, my youngest daughter is pregnant, so I'm getting all those "What do I do now?" calls. Believe me, it's a mind-blowing experience to go through that with a daughter. I've been there, done that twice with two of the others already.
Hang in there, and keep taking good care of yourself,
Marla

Thanks for the encouragment and sharing your experiences in Japan...that really helped me to feel much better about him going there.

What a fun time with your youngest daughter...it's such a comfort for daughter's to have their mom's available for those questions through pregnancy....the reassurances from mom are better than anyone else at that time in life.

When is your grandbaby due? Bet you're excited!

I'll do my best to hang in there....I've already figured out not to walk past his bedroom....it's just too darn quiet in there. I think this is the first time in years that video games have not been played for more than a day on his computer.

Hugs,

:cool2: Lori

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 07:20 PM
The day sounded like a wonderful beginning for the both of you, Lori..with each change regardless of age we grow.

Love and hugs,
Oluwa

Thanks, Oluwa.....I'm growing big time with this change. But it's a good feeling....think I'm ready for some new lessons.

Hugs n Love,

:cool2: Lori

Lala
07-02-2009, 07:21 PM
Awe Lori, (((BIG hugs)))
My story today is much like yours, but she is only 45 minutes away,
(not an ocean like you.)
My little bird flew to her new and first apartment yesterday...I am weepy today, happy that she is confident and sweet, and kind and good, and sad that she is grown up enough to want her own place. We spent the day carrying boxes up to the 2 floor. Setting up her bedroom and putting her things away. She is sharing it with her cousin, we live in small town, she now, a big city. No more secret trips to starbucks in the late night..:sad2:

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 07:22 PM
AWWWWW, your storie about your day really touched me Lori:cute: I Love that you ended it watching the sun set. GOOD FOR YOU. Im SO GLAD he made it SAFELY and you have that peace of mind as well:yes: Our minds and our hearts NEVER rest as mothers BUT we can calm them cant we. You are a BEAUTIFUL person Lori, im glad we met

Thanks Jeannette....

I ALWAYS love your encouraging words....I'm so glad we met too.

Extra big hugs... :grouphug:

Love ya,

:cool2: Lori

SandyR
07-02-2009, 07:23 PM
Lori,
I am glad to hear that your son has arrived safe and sound and that mama is doing well too! I especially liked what you said to your son at the airport. It's not every mom that is strong enough to let their child learn to fly on their own. Hats off to you for being able to stand by him without holding him back. I also liked what you said about God and the sunset. I think of sunsets as a gift from God too. And when I go to the beach to see them, they are radiant. I can't wait to hear what happens next in his adventures.
Sandy

Rastagirl
07-02-2009, 11:53 PM
Awe Lori, (((BIG hugs)))
My story today is much like yours, but she is only 45 minutes away,
(not an ocean like you.)
My little bird flew to her new and first apartment yesterday...I am weepy today, happy that she is confident and sweet, and kind and good, and sad that she is grown up enough to want her own place. We spent the day carrying boxes up to the 2 floor. Setting up her bedroom and putting her things away. She is sharing it with her cousin, we live in small town, she now, a big city. No more secret trips to starbucks in the late night..:sad2:

Aww...big hugs back to you Laura :hug:

You need them too...getting her first apartment....first place on her own is a big deal. Sending you gentle understanding hugs for the strong emotions that come with that.

Job well done to you...for being a great mom and raising a kind, loving, independent and secure child...sending a good person out into our world. I believe that doing that today, in this world we live in, is a monumental accomplishment for families...moms.

Just remember...your daughter will ALWAYS need you...her mother. There is no one that can replace that in her life. Ever. You can be there in all sorts of little ways for her now. (Not that you can't be there in big ways too :veryhappy:)

Maybe now instead of late night Starbucks runs with her...you can meet her on the weekend once in awhile somewhere in between your homes and have that cup of coffee.

Hang in there....

:cool2: Lori

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-03-2009, 01:22 AM
Hay Lori thats ok i ment every word i am glad i ahve you as a friend it is a shame you could not caputure the sunset but ownly for selfish reasons lol i think your right god made a gift just for thats why you didn't have the camara it was a special present for your eyes only but i tell you what when ever i see a sunset now i am going to think of you and our friendship!!! and i believe that is my gift from god!!!
Sooooo have you had anymore 5 worded emails ??? hows he doing having lots of fun i bet!!! your right about boys when my brother went to florida think my mums got a text to let her know he was there safely and he is 31 lol when i went at xmas i think she got a 30 min at least phone call every other day filling in on every detail i possible could!! ( my mum not up with the email system lol that and theres nothing like a phone call!!)
lots of hugs to my dear friend glad you are ok i'm sure it willbe easier to go past his room and when he gets back i think for a least a week your going to enjoy the noise of computer games :-)
lots of love H XX

Angel Oliver
07-03-2009, 05:09 AM
Ahhhh i do like reading these posts,knowing you Lori are getting through this time so very well....knew you would!! Oh what a fab time he;ll have.....you'll both be inseparable when he gets back telling you all about this trip.Thinking of you n sending you gentle hugs.
lots of love
Amanda.xxxxxxx

Rastagirl
07-03-2009, 12:44 PM
I thought I would share with you that I just got an email from the Chaperone of the trip, with an update....here's a portion of what she wrote......

"Day One and Two in Kyoto were absolutely fabulous. Our guides have kept us on track to seeing so much of Kyoto and explaining the history and meaning of many temples, shrines and local Kyoto culture. The students are using more and more Japanese as time goes on and are not too hesitant to speak with Japanese people. All five students joined me for a hot spring bath this evening. The baths are separated by gender, so I spent the 1 1\2 in the women's bath with Cat, while the guys fended for themselves on the men's side of the bath house. We all enjoyed it very much and I think I have converted Cat into a fellow public bath lover! I couldn't be more pleased with how respectful all of the students have been to both me as the chapparone and to Japanese culture in general. They bow, say "please and thank you" and always give up their seat on a bus or train for an elderly person. You should be very proud parents. I have absolutely no worries when students venture out on their own in the evening to shop around the neighborhood or to find something to eat or drink on their own...."

There were some other details, but I thought I'd share this portion. I am sitting here beaming with admiration as a "Proud Parent". :cute:

What wonderful experiences my Son is having already...I'm truly excited for him. He has been fascinated with Japanese culture and all things Japanese for quite a few years now, so it's really exciting to read about the things he's experiencing firsthand....a public bath ??? Having a hard time picturing my Son doing that...he's pretty shy and reserved. Wow...I'll bet this trip is really going to help him grow and mature in that area.

Anyway....I'll share more if and when I get updates. In another day or 2, they move to a hotel in Hiroshima and they're not sure if they'll have access to the internet to send more emails.

I believe today they are sightseeing in Nara and searching out some of the Japanese foods that they've learned about and want to try.

I'm off to prepare for the Fourth of July BBQ we've been invited to tomorrow......

Since my Son will be missing America's Independence Day...I packed a small American Flag :unitedstates: in his duffel bag, as a reminder.

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-03-2009, 02:27 PM
ahh thats great i bet you got grin from ear to ear well done you fro bring up such a well mannered boy and i bet he is having a wicked time !! i get excited i see you have had a up dated!!
i to am fasinated by japanese culture as my step mum is half japanese her self it is such a great culturexxx
well i look forward to your up dates and if i don't get a chance or have brain fog have a good independence day xxxxx

magistramarla
07-03-2009, 07:23 PM
Hey all,
It's my turn tomorrow. My oldest daughter, who is 32!, is headed for China tomorrow. She's a very experienced world traveler, but no matter how old they are, Mom worries!
She's flying by herself, and meeting her boyfriend there, since he was lecturing at Oxford, and had to fly from England. They are both Cal Tech grads, and they will be meeting with a group of Cal Tech folks to see an eclipse that will only be visible from China. They are a bunch of nerds with PHDs!
Marla

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-04-2009, 05:58 AM
ahh marla will be thinking of you !! sounds liek a fantastic thing to go see xxx

Angel Oliver
07-04-2009, 09:54 AM
Oh wow Lori,what a fab time he s having.I so look forward to the updates.I bet he's got his little flag out today and thinking of his beautiful family.Enjoy the barbecue....mmmmm...food...lots of love
Amanda.xxxxxxxxxx

Saysusie
07-05-2009, 09:29 AM
Marla;
I think that nerds with PhD's are going to be those who shape our future and who will be the ones who figure out how our nation as well as our planet can reverse the immense damage that we've done. So, Bravo to your nerd with a PhD for traveling the globe in order to learn!
I know, as a Mom, that you will worry. However, it sounds to me as if your daughter, her boyfriend, and their friends are extremely intelligent young people who will take care of one another. Go ahead and worry because that is natural. However, I can hear your pride in your words...so spend most of your time there!

Peace and Blessings
Namaste
Saysusie

magistramarla
07-05-2009, 06:51 PM
Hi SaySusie,
Yes, I am pretty proud of Heather. She holds engineering and Neurobiology degrees from Cal Tech & Duke, and now does research at NYU. Eric is a Political Science professor at NYU, who holds degrees from Harvard, Yale and an Astrophysics degree from Cal Tech.
They are a pretty impressive pair, and are definitely the type to do some good for the world. Mom just wishes they would give me a nerdy grandchild!
I hope things are well with you!

Lori,
What have you heard from your world traveler?
Marla

abbasgirl
07-06-2009, 10:57 AM
Marla...my opinion is the same as SaySusie's.

and I would love to see that eclipse!

Lori...thanks for sharing your news. Girl...you are beaming so brightly I can see you from Georgia!!!

magistramarla
07-06-2009, 11:20 AM
Hey all,
I just got an e-mail from China! They met up safely in Shanghai, and are loving the city. Heather told me that the city is much like NYC, and that Eric was delighted to even find Starbucks there! They have begun to explore, and are finding lots of cool local food, etc.
She said that that the city feels very safe, and that the subways are very clean and modern. It sounds a lot like Tokyo to me. They will soon be exploring out into rural areas, so I might not hear from them again for a while.
Lori, I hope that you've heard some good things from your world traveler, too.
Perhaps we should put our two travelers in e-mail touch someday so that they can compare notes on China and Japan!
Marla

Rastagirl
07-06-2009, 09:01 PM
Just popping in for an update....I've been missing for a few days and have had a busy Fourth of July weekend with time at the racetrack and a BBQ we were invited to Saturday night.

I got an email today from the Chaperone with lots of details. The last 2 days they have been in Hiroshima...they saw the Peace Memorial and Atomic Bomb Museum upon arrival. They were planning a few other tours, but their chaperone shared that the Peace Memorial and the Museum were an extremely emotional place for the 5 students and herself, and they were emotionally drained afterwards so they decided to take some free time and relax and catch up on a little rest in the air conditioned hotel. I'm guessing the jet lag was catching up with them by that time. They then spent a very long night exploring the city of Hiroshima....one of the boys was amazed how the city "came alive at night". The next morning, she discovered the 4 boys were eating at the hotel cafe, which had a very large buffet. But they had only filled their plates once and were sitting there still looking hungry. She told them it was a buffet...they could eat as much as they wanted. She said it was so sweet....but the boys didn't want to eat more than was polite. She made them go fill their plates. :laugh2: She said you all have very polite boys.

The second day in Hiroshima they went to the island known for the Gate in the Sea in front of a Shrine. They saw the gate, shrine and had lunch all together and then had free time to explore the island. She said it was very hot and humid there. They are really enjoying exploring areas that aren't in the Guide books, and discovering small, out-of-the-way restaurants and parks.

Next, I thought I'd share some of her observations about each of the 5 students on the trip (because it made me giggle).....she says, and I quote, "So far we have learned that Cat (the only girl) doesn't like deer, after a tough lesson in the deer park in Nara....Jordan doesn't like ANY bugs in general....Tim has learned all of the Kanji that he missed on previous tests....Jefferson knows how to be polite in two languages now...and Josh will eat at anytime, anywhere." :cute:

Unfortunately, she didn't give any clues about what happened in the deer park, so I'll have to wait till Jordan gets home to hear about that incident.

Today (Monday), which is Tuesday for them, they left on a 4-hour train ride to Kochi, which is where they will be staying with their host families for 2 weeks. She said they are very excited to reach Kochi.

And the last thing to share was something that happened with my son's money situation. Yesterday when I got home from the racetrack, my son called me and shared that he was down to only $5.00, and when he tried to get money out of the ATM with his card, it locked him out. In questioning him, I discovered he was unfamiliar with how the ATM's worked there, and he was trying to remove more money than he had in his account (confused by converting dollars to Yen) so after 3 attempts, his card was locked by the bank. One very important thing I forgot to explain to him before he left....you can't try more than 3 times. :nah: So, since it was Sunday night, I couldn't call the bank until this morning to straighten it out. When I asked Jordan to explain to his travelmates what had happened and see if he could borrow a little money so he could eat that day, he was too embarrased. So I spent a very sleepless night last night, worrying that my son was over 5000 miles away and had no money to eat for a day. I discovered something about myself as a Mom....it is pure torment to be that far away from your child and not be able to fix a situation or help them. I was in emotional agony ALL last night and exhausted this morning. And then once I got it straightened out with the bank, I had to wait until 3:00 pm my time, to try to reach my son to make sure he was able to use the bank machine correctly today to withdraw cash. It all worked out in the end....the students each loaned him a little money for the day, so he did not go hungry....and he told me as soon as he got off the phone with me today, he was headed to pay each of them back.

So, he's safely off to his next adventure...and this Mom can get some much needed sleep tonight. Boy, am I looking forward to that. What a learning experience this has been for both of us so far.

Thanks for all your support and just being there to lend an ear and walk me through this. I feel like I have a great bunch of friends following me on this adventure....so I do not feel alone. You guys are the greatest!

Oh, and Marla....what exciting news about your daughter and her boyfriend....in China having a great time. The eclipse sounds like such an awesome thing to see....and a once-in-a-lifetime, one place on the planet...adventure. She's a lucky woman! And an incredibly intelligent one. Maybe we should get them together to email...my son is taking 1st year Chinese in the Fall...I bet he'd love to compare notes on China and Japan. Hugs of understanding to you for the distance that separates you from your baby.

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-07-2009, 05:47 AM
wow wow and wow to the both of you what great adventures they are having!!
lori that must have been scary but glad it is all sorted and that your son has great people around him!!
well look forward ot hearing more from you both H xx

Angel Oliver
07-07-2009, 05:58 AM
Hope today you are resting after the worry you had.Such a great adventure he is having and what a wonderful mother you are.What a lovely son.Hope he continues to enjoy himself.

lots of love Amanda.xxxxx

magistramarla
07-07-2009, 09:19 AM
Lori,
Jordan's adventure sounds really wonderful. I know that we Moms worry about them eating, but I've found that teens, especially teen boys, are extremely resourceful when it comes to food. He'll do fine.
That is funny - we both suggested that our two world travelers need to e-mail each other to compare notes. Heather will be delighted - she'll probably try to recruit him for Cal Tech, Duke or NYU !
Don't worry, Mom. It sounds like he's doing great!
Marla

Rastagirl
07-08-2009, 11:40 AM
Greetings my Diary followers..... :wavey:

Got an email from my son yesterday, which was Tuesday for me...Wednesday for him in Japan.

It was short (again) and to the point.....

He apologized for messing up the bank card...and withdrawing too much money....Told him "no worries"...relax and have fun!

Said they had arrived in Kochi....and everyone passed the Swine Flu health inspection....Told him I am delighted that he, nor any of his travel companions, have been quarantined in a far off country.

He announced Kochi is beautiful and he's really glad he's there! :yup:

He told me he was writing his email from his host family's home...I asked him if he remembered to tell them Thank You very much from your Mom and Dad.

And with this one....I felt his relaxation and confidence....he said, "Try to survive without me....oh, and yell at Haley for good measure for me!"....which made me giggle, cuz I know it was a joke....he's not allowed to YELL at his sister. We ALWAYS treat each other with respect in this family.

We kind of have an ongoing joke about this one in our family...my kids claim we are stunting their development as "normal" brother and sister because they have never been allowed to yell at each other. So they claim that whenever they are left alone with each other, they have these yelling matches and get it all out of their systems. They claim they are preventing needed therapy sessions later in their lives. :) I'm pretty sure they're joking, but a part of me has always wanted to hide a recording device in the house when we leave....just to see.

I checked his Itinerary last night and discovered that after his first day at school yesterday....my Son was going to be experiencing a Flower Arranging class. :flowers1: I hope someone takes a picture of that....so I can post it on his Facebook page.

That's the scoop for today.....catch you up with more news later.

Fondly,

Lori

p.s. thanks again, Angel...this is a very therapeutic place for me.

mountaindreamer
07-08-2009, 11:51 AM
oh lori, sounds like he has adjusted to being in a foreign country and on his own....well, almost, except for the overdrawn debit card. ha ha ha

enjoy your day.

magistramarla
07-08-2009, 12:36 PM
Hi Lori,
It truly sounds like your son is having a great time! Flower arranging? If his friends ever learn of that, he'll never live it down!
LOL - siblings who don't yell at each other?? My 5 had some incredible screaming matches. Remember the old Bill Cosby routine about the Mom pounding on the ceiling with a broom and yelling "Don't make me send your father up there!"? I lived that comedy routine! Today, as adults, they ALWAYS hold up for each other. When Meg wrecked her truck, her brother made two hurried trips from Houston to help her to get a new vehicle. And those two hated each other as kids!
Keep on updating us. It's fun to hear about Japan through the eyes of a young person. I'll bet that living with a host family must be a neat experience for him.
It sounds like you are both doing some maturing this summer!
Marla

magistramarla
07-08-2009, 12:43 PM
Hey everyone,
I just got another e-mail from the China travelers.
I copied it here, since it's a really great one - ENJOY.

Shanghai really was great. We're enjoying Beijing now, which seems a bit more "Chinese" though still very modern. Our hotel is near the Forbidden City, and we just spent the morning exploring it. Yesterday, we went through the Temple of Heaven, which was lovely. I'm getting plenty of great pictures and learning a lot. I think we'll go see the Great Wall tomorrow.

You would LOVE the food here. It's a lot different from Chinese food in the US. So far, we've loved every meal. Last night, we had a really lovely dinner sitting along one of the Back Lakes, which makes me think of the River Walk area. At lunch yesterday, we had a whole roasted duck at this out-of-the-way place amid crumbling buildings with food so good that many heads of state visit despite the location. It was amazing!

I wish you could see this. I think you'd both really enjoy it. I'll certainly enjoy telling you all about it when I return.

Love you,
Heather

The River Walk that she mentioned is here in San Antonio.
Lori, please be sure to share this with your son. I think that he might really enjoy it.

Another proud Mom checks in -
Marla

Rastagirl
07-08-2009, 01:43 PM
Oh Marla...thanks for sharing this with us! Sounds like they're having such a wonderful time. I haven't had lunch yet....now my mouth is watering with her description.... :yumyum:

I will definitely pass this on to my Son....

I'll let you know if I get any input on the flower arranging experience....Before he left, we were talking about the flower arranging and my son said he was awful at anything to do with flowers. I told him to be open minded and have fun with new experiences. I told him someday he may be able to use what he learns with flowers to impress his girfriend or wife. He said, okay....just as long as my guy friends never find out.

:)

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

lucky7
07-09-2009, 02:23 PM
Well Lori, if hes anything like his mama, the whole flower arranging thing will fall right into place!!!! Im sure HE doesnt want to HEAR that though! LOL Im glad hes doing well LOri and im happy you are getting your "JORDAN DOSES" that you need and want as his mom. :cute:

Angel Oliver
07-09-2009, 02:43 PM
Oh how fab this trip is.You'll catch him making up great flower arragements for you at home....of course in secret....to keep his street cred :) But wow i love reading what he's up too.

Lots of love Amanda.xxx

wrightrs
07-10-2009, 01:33 PM
Lori, I've been gone so long. Trying to catch up. So glad your son is on this great trip. Take care of yourself while he's gone.

Rastagirl
07-11-2009, 12:09 PM
I think I have been forgotten...... :yes:

By my Son, that is.

First thing each morning, I check my email......and not a word from him.

Actually...this is what I fully expected....and probably what I would do too. Away from my parents for the first time, in a place I've dreamed about visiting.....with a debit card and a host family to live with... hehehe. I completely understand.....I'm sure he's probably so busy seeing and doing and experiencing, that he hasn't had time to slow down. I hope he's getting to experience some amazing new things.

I did get an email yesterday from the chaperone who is staying with a host family as well. She said their first 3 days at the high school were incredible. The students and staff are so excited to have American visitors to "talk" with, both in Japanese and English. She did say that the weather there is incredibly hot and very very humid, so they are liking the air conditioned school. She said that 3 of the students have their homerooms on the first floor of the school, where the air conditioning is the best. However, Jordan is in the Advanced Homeroom, up on the fourth floor, which is the hottest, of course. This fact didn't worry me though.....the week before the trip, Jordan and I were outside and it was about 95 degrees here and Jordan told me that heat doesn't bother him at all, he actually likes it above 90. So I'm not too worried about him.

One fact I found interesting.....in Japanese high school, the students stay in the same room all day with the same group of kids.....it's the teachers that switch to different classrooms to teach different subjects. Very different than us. Instead of 500 kids moving around every hour, 30 teachers and staff do it. Seems much more efficient.

On one of the days at school, they had a Welcoming Ceremony and all the students from the middle school and the high school came. Each of the visiting American's had to get up in front of 500-600, and introduce themself and give some background information...in Japanese. The chaperone said they were all pretty nervous, her included, but they all did really good, and were welcomed and made to feel very, very special.

Yesterday would have been Saturday for my son, so I was guessing that it must have been his first weekend with his host family. The host father is an office worker, so it's probably similar to my husband's situation....the Dad's join in on the weekend activities. Hopefully, he got to do some fun things and spend some time experiencing life around Kochi. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. The family Jordan is staying with has Dad and Mom...and, in addition to the student his age (a girl), there is also a 19 year old sister, and an 11 year old brother.

That's all the news for now....just thought I'd better give a quick update. I'll keep checking my email.....and I think I might just send one to my son, reminding him I have not dropped off the planet...and letting him know I love him. :heart:

Take care, everyone.....

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

p.s. My head's going to weird places....had a strange dream last night that someone took my daughter and she was locked in a detention center and I couldn't get to her. It was awful! One of those you can't wake up from for what seems like hours. In the dream, my husband and I planned & executed a break in & we rescued her. I was so happy when I woke up, I went and found my husband and hugged him. He laughed at me. :)

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-12-2009, 02:14 PM
hi lori and malra sounds like they're all having fun what great experiences they have to look back on and tell they're children about!!!

lori don't worry about dreams just your worries coming out some way or another it shows what a loving protective mum you are xxxx i have those dreams ever year for about a month of time of dads anniversary but obviously its people i care dieing it most horrific ways but i had them so much i just know they go away eventually

lots of love to you lori my friendxxxx

magistramarla
07-12-2009, 07:00 PM
Hi Lori,
Your boy sounds like the typical teenage male - all communication is short and to the point, and done as infrequently as possible.
As a teacher, I LOVE the idea of having the teachers change class, not the students. After spending 7 years in the halls of a school with nearly 3000 students, I can really appreciate that idea! The bad thing is that I really enjoyed having my own classroom with my own stuff and decorating the walls with posters and student work. The Japanese teachers are missing out on that.
Wow, teenage boy having to speak in front of that many strangers, and in a foreign language! Many kudos to him. He should get some credit for his speech class (if speech is required where you are).
What a great adventure! Does he keep a journal or a blog? You should encourage him to write about his experiences. Hopefully, his teacher is requiring them to do some writing.
Hang in there, Mom. He'll be home before you know it!
Marla

magistramarla
07-12-2009, 07:12 PM
Hey everyone,
Having a female child (even an adult one) is very different from the boy who doesn't tell you much - girls want to tell you everything.
Here are the last two e-mails that I received from China:
Hi Mom and Dad,

As long as I have internet access here in Beijing, I might as well make the most of it! We're still having such a great time. We really enjoyed dinner, drinks, foot massages, and late night discussions with an international crowd last night in Beijing's ex-pat neighborhood. Today, we went to the Summer Palace and went paddle-boating around the lake in front. Tomorrow, we'll take a 6:10am bus out to the Great Wall for a 4 hour hike. This is an amazing trip!

I hope you're doing well. I love you!

Love,
Heather
Hi Mom and Dad,

It really is quite a trip. Yesterday, we hiked about 6 miles along the Great Wall, up and down the mountain ridges. I have the blisters on my feet to prove it! We had a great meal and then danced into the night at Suzie Wong's, Beijing's hottest nightclub. Today, we saw the Lama Temple, wandered the studios and galleries of the famous art district here, and ate dumplings at a restaurant rated as one of the top 10 in the world by the New York Times (for less than $30 with drinks and dessert, I might add). Tonight, we'll take an overnight train to Datong to see the Buddha caves there and then head for Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. It should be fun. I'm looking forward to getting into the countryside and doing a bit less sight-seeing and a bit more vacationing, though everything we've done has been great.

I love Beijing! The subway system is not as extensive as it should be given the size of the city, but it's so much cleaner and more modern than that in NYC. And for about 30 cents a trip, you can't beat the price. The taxis are cheap and very useful as well. Everything here feels very safe. There's pretty much no crime here, and everyone has been very nice to us. I could go on and on about the food here too. Everything we've had has been outstanding. Eric's been getting me into Starbucks, since we stop there pretty much every day for his iced coffee. ( I thought you two might appreciate that.) Those are everywhere, including the Forbidden City! There's a McDonald's or KFC on every other corner as well. Of course, we don't go to those in the States, so we're certainly not trying them here. It's just interesting to see how much American culture has permeated life here.

I'm still having such a great time. Eric's picking up the language very quickly and can now direct taxis, which is very useful. We're both starting to recognize some characters too. It's certainly a learning experience. It will certainly be fun to tell you all about this!

Love,
Heather

Mom's note: Heather will talk to anyone, at great length! I'm sure that I will hear about every detail as soon as she returns to NYC. She also always posts ALL of her travel pictures on a site so that people can see them. When she does, I'll let all of you know where to find it.
Lori, I hope that Jordan sees this when he gets back!
Marla

Rastagirl
07-15-2009, 12:46 AM
Hello everyone...was busy for a few days with my daughter. Just checking back in for a quick update.

Marla...I know what you mean about teacher's having their own classroom and personal space. I love how they personalize them. Lots of my kid's teachers have such creatively decorated classroom environments. Went in to talk to a social studies teacher once, and she had an entire bookshelf and wall behind her desk decorated with old "Mr. Bill" memorabilia. Brought back some funny memories.

To answer your questions...I believe Jordan blog's on his Facebook page...but I'm not sure if he's been doing it while he's there, or will, when he returns. As for Speech class, he's already had all his required speech.

And Marla...I loved reading about the China adventure. Thanks for sharing your emails. Makes me feel like I'm following them on their trip. They're having such fun!

I've heard from Jordan twice in the last few days and have emailed him back. He's having a great time....love's it there. :veryhappy:

But I had to drag that out of him. He's definitely not the "talker" that you have Marla. My emails are about 4 sentences.

He did tell me that he bought himself a shirt today...and that he's still looking for the set of bowls I requested. Oh, and the postcard he was supposed to send me the first week...he hasn't quite found the right one yet, but he'll send one soon. I asked him if he remembered the idea was, for me to actually get the postcard while he was still in Japan...???

We'll see how he answers that. :laugh2:

He said it's pretty hot and muggy there....and would Dad please put the vinyl window covering on his bedroom window (his room gets HOT afternoon sun) before he gets home...????

In my reply, I said if you want your window covered, better drop that postcard in the mail.... :lmao: just kidding.

Anyway, he'll be home in about a week. It's amazing how fast the time has gone. Lots of you guys told me it would....Angel and Pearl and Marla. Seems like I barely had time to miss him too much.

Time really does fly.....and marches things onward....like our kids growing up and stretching for their independence. Trying out their wings....sort of a trial run. That's what this has felt like. A trial run for both of us.

Thanks for supporting me all along the way....love you guys.

Hugs,

:cool2: Lori

mountaindreamer
07-15-2009, 05:05 AM
hi lori,

postcards from children.....hmmmm, what is that? I received my postcard from Lisa while she was in Australia after she got home....and she was gone 6 weeks.

kids....what do you do about them? just love them and let them grow.

hang in there lady, you only have one more week.

Angel Oliver
07-15-2009, 07:22 AM
I love reading this thread,about all of you and your childrens experiences.So nice.
Lori, nearly hometime for Jordon,soon he'll be right beside you. So glad this diary has helped time pass a little faster and we have enjoyed reading all about his travels.

Gentle hugs n love
Amanda.xxxxxxxxx

magistramarla
07-15-2009, 08:53 AM
Our kids are of the computer age. They will send e-cards rather than postcards. Their generation really doesn't see the need for actually holding that piece of paper in the hand.

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-15-2009, 09:27 AM
it has been really great listening to all the adventures so glad their having lots of fun and are safe where every they may be in the world and soo glad lori your son will soon be home!! i wonder when you ask what he did if he will i don't know or i can't remember i get that from my nephews of 7 and 8 when ever i ask them what they did at achool that day lol where my niece will tell me all tha way home in smallest detail of her adventures at school :-)
well speak to you all soon looking forward to the message hes home safe xxxxxxx

magistramarla
07-16-2009, 12:01 PM
Hi everyone,
Here's the next e-mail from my China travelers. Heather even sent pictures with this one. Check out my picture album! I uploaded her pics so that you all can see them. Enjoy!

Marla

Hi Mom and Dad,

Greetings from Xi'an. Yesterday, we saw the Terra-cotta Warriors, which were amazing! The day before, we rented bikes and biked the 8 miles around the city wall. Today, we wandered through a mosque in the Muslim Quarter and spent the afternoon in the Shanxi History Museum, which is supposed to be the best in China. We're still well and loving eating our way through China. Everything has been absolutely delicious. Tonight, we'll go to a restaurant known for the local dish we want to try (with no dog as far as I know). Tomorrow, we'll fly down south to Guilin and take a river cruise. I'm looking forward to that! We've been doing several of the top things one is supposed to do when in China. I know that the memories are going to be great.

It's actually much easier to get around than I thought it would be. We've definitely figured out buses, taxis, subways, and trains. Everything feels very safe here too. Everyone has been nice and helpful. I really do like this country!

Love,
Heather

Angel Oliver
07-16-2009, 04:19 PM
Oh so exciting to read all this.Fab! Oh please let them never eat the 'd'. So glad they are having a fab trip...Jordon too. This thread is so exciting.

love Amanda.xxxxx

Rastagirl
07-17-2009, 03:19 PM
Our kids are of the computer age. They will send e-cards rather than postcards. Their generation really doesn't see the need for actually holding that piece of paper in the hand.

Don't I know this one for sure, Marla. :yup: The old fashioned age of letter writing and sending postcards is falling by the wayside. Which makes me quite sad. Don't get me wrong...I'm all for e-cards and electronic texts on-the-run....but there is something cool about having a postcard (or letter) come through the mail, all the way from some far off place. You know, you can't say that about an e-card... "this e-card was in Japan a week ago....actually there!"

There are a few old-fashioned ideas that I'm certain I'll never let go of. I still treasure old letters and notes that my Grandmother and Great Grandmother sent me. Seeing their handwriting, which to me is a part of a person's character, makes their words come alive...makes me feel closer to them. I don't think I'll ever get 'that' from an email or e-card.

My son has grown up watching me send postcards to other people and always sending them to myself on every vacation I've gone on. He knows it's kind of my 'thing'. So before he left, I told him that since I played a big part in paying for this life-altering, once-in-a-lifetime exchange trip for him....it is REQUIRED that I receive my postcard.

Not an e-card, not an email, not a text........A POSTCARD! :veryhappy:

:cool2: Lori

p.s. I like seeing the stamps from other countries, too. I've been stamp collecting since I was a kid. Can't get that off an e-card!

Rastagirl
07-17-2009, 03:45 PM
Hello everyone....I've been AWOL the last few days as my head almost burst from daily migraines. Ugh! Ugh! But I have resurfaced, better than ever.....I think?? And it's Friday....Whoop Whoop!! :beerchug:

Time for a quick update from Japan..... :samurai:

What's nice about communication on this trip is that even though I haven't heard from my son regularly.....the Chaperone is a woman, who has the communication gene intact, and she has filled in the gaps quite nicely.

I received an email update from her this morning with word that our students made the news in Kochi (don't worry, it was for something good) :) Her email reads as follows:
__________________________________

Hello from Kochi, Japan!

Wednesday the five students and I participated in a tea ceremony, hosted by Kochi Minami's Tea Ceremony Club. The local NHK news station came to Kochi Minami to film the ceremony and interview some of the students. While in great physical pain, due to sitting in traditional Japanese Seiza Style, the students put on a great smile for the hosts and cameras. They ate the sweets and drank the bitter green tea while admiring the atmosphere and dishes used in the ceremony. Japanese viewers were surprised to see how well they did at such a traditional Japanese activity. NHK News interviewed both Cat and Josh, but unfortunately only Josh's interview made the news.
Yesterday the students at Kochi Minami did not have class, as Thursday and Friday this week are Parent/Teacher/Student conferences. Instead, we went with the hosting Japanese students on a day field trip to several spots in the Kochi area. The highlight for most of the students was touching the ocean for the first time on one of the hottest days of the trip.
Today is the last day to come to school and it seemed like a sad day for the students, they had to say "Goodbye" to everyone in their class, and stand in front of the entire school during the closing ceremony for the first semester. Jefferson gave the Goodbye Speech as a representative for our students.
This weekend we have the "Sayonara Party" with all of our host families at the school on Saturday afternoon. Other than that, it will be free time with our host families until we meet Tuesday to leave Kochi by bus. Monday is a Japanese holiday, Marine Day, so it is a three day weekend for most Japanese people.
I'm hoping all of the students can have a great last weekend in Japan and get to do many fun things before the trip ends for us on Tuesday afternoon.
Enjoy your weekend and we'll see you next Wednesday.
___________________________________

So, I was thinking....even if my son doesn't remember all the details of the trip when he returns home, I'll have these emails from the Chaperone to jog his memory about things that took place and hopefully spark some conversation. I have a feeling, though, that Jordan will have some exciting things to share.

Thanks for listening....reading.....following, his Japanese adventures!

Sayonara!

:cool2: Lori

magistramarla
07-18-2009, 07:37 PM
Hi everyone,
Here's the latest news from the China adventure. They will soon be going to meet up with the other Cal Tech alumni to see the eclipse. Heather seems to be having the time of her life. Mom and Dad just hope that Eric decides that they should continue to travel together for the rest of their lives, and finally gets around to proposing!
Here's her latest e-mail:

Hi Mom and Dad,

We are very happily exploring Yangshuo now (the endpoint of our cruise down the Li River this morning. We're planning to bike around, explore caves, see rice paddies, and go hot air ballooning over the absolutely beautiful landscape here within the next couple of days before heading north to view the eclipse. I could not have asked for a better vacation. I wish you could see and taste all of this! Maybe someday I'll be able to take you exploring in China. ;-)

Love,
Heather

Lori,
Jordan's wonderful adventure will soon be over! I know that you'll be glad to get him back. It sounds like he will have some wonderful memories of what school is like in Japan.
If he agrees, please post his pics!

Hugs,
Marla

Rastagirl
07-18-2009, 07:55 PM
Will do, Marla. I loved seeing some of Heather's pics. You can tell how much fun she's having.....what a great adventure.....by the words she shares and her pictures.

I'm really glad you shared this thread....it helped me feel "not so alone" in my son's travels. And I got a little taste of Japan....and China.

I'll be sure to share some of Jordan's pictures too! I am so exited to see and hear everything from him.

Hey, I'll send a little prayer heavenwards for you for the son-in-law thing. :laugh:

much Love,

:cool2: Lori

p.s. I have adopted this little ritual each evening.....as I'm sitting at the computer in my daughter's room on here, I hate to see his empty room, so when it starts to get dark.....I turn on his light.....just for about 5 or 10 minutes. Makes it feel "not so empty". :veryhappy:

magistramarla
07-19-2009, 12:29 PM
Thanks, Lori
I was a little worried that I was horning in on your thread, but it was so much fun to compare our kids' experiences. I'm glad that you're enjoying it, too.
I've gotten used to the empty rooms, but what we're doing now is really tough. We're cleaning out all of the boxes of stored stuff that the kids left behind and told us to get rid of. We're sorting through stuffed toys, baby clothes (I found Heather's first outfit!) and school memorabilia. We can't keep it all, since there's just so much room in our storage facility. We're making lots of trips to Goodwill. The house that we've lived in for 17 years is getting more and more empty, and it really feels strange.
On a happier note, we've found that even when the kids move out, they just keep coming back, so you continue to see them. Sometimes, they even move back in - with reinforcements. We've had one move back, with the son-in-law, a step-son, the new baby and a dog! You finally get to the point that we are at - you really WANT the empty nest!
Enjoy your quiet weekend, and get ready to enjoy Jordan's homecoming.
Hugs,
Marla

Rastagirl
07-21-2009, 01:04 PM
Thanks, Lori
I was a little worried that I was horning in on your thread, but it was so much fun to compare our kids' experiences. I'm glad that you're enjoying it, too.
I've gotten used to the empty rooms, but what we're doing now is really tough. We're cleaning out all of the boxes of stored stuff that the kids left behind and told us to get rid of. We're sorting through stuffed toys, baby clothes (I found Heather's first outfit!) and school memorabilia. We can't keep it all, since there's just so much room in our storage facility. We're making lots of trips to Goodwill. The house that we've lived in for 17 years is getting more and more empty, and it really feels strange.
On a happier note, we've found that even when the kids move out, they just keep coming back, so you continue to see them. Sometimes, they even move back in - with reinforcements. We've had one move back, with the son-in-law, a step-son, the new baby and a dog! You finally get to the point that we are at - you really WANT the empty nest!
Enjoy your quiet weekend, and get ready to enjoy Jordan's homecoming.
Hugs,
Marla

Wow Marla....I can't even imagine sorting through 17 years of memories and trying to decide what to hold on to. That would be so difficult to do. And to watch your home of that many years, be emptied slowly and readied for a new family. Sending you gentle hugs for your heart. But once it's all sorted and stored, you'll be one step closer to your California adventure. You have so much to look forward to....so much excitement and fun ahead of you. I can't wait to hear your impressions of Monterey and all about your new home.

Well, this is it....my last day at home without my son. I cannot believe how fast 3 weeks have gone by. Barring cancelled flights and traveling snafu's, he'll be home from Japan tomorrow morning. I got an email from him last night, which was Tuesday morning for him, and he said he was getting ready to say goodbye to his host family and go to the bus station. He was joking around and exaggerating things. Like saying he had a 7-hour bus ride, and then his flight from Osaka to Tokyo might be cancelled, so he probably wouldn't be home for about a week. He commented that the flight from Tokyo to Portland is like the longest trip in the world. He told me not to stay up late and stress over cancelled flights. He promised he'd make it home....somehow. :laugh2:

I've noticed in his last few emails, he sounds more confident...more relaxed....like he's grown up a bit and discovered what independence feels like. I hope that the part I've played in his life so far...Loving and Nurturing and Teaching and Imparting Wisdom, with plenty of laughter along the way, have helped him to realize that life is truly an adventure.....wherever it might take us, and that we can face things wherever we find ourselves in the world, with strength and courage and perseverance and Love........always Love. :heart:

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

Angel Oliver
07-21-2009, 02:43 PM
Lori,

Yes you have made a big impact in his life and to ours at WHL too.Jordon will seem more grown up i bet when you see him next,just enjoy your work of Mothering him and be proud.

Marla,

Goodluck on your new adventure.I carnt imagine going through all my stuff for a move,but what an exciting future...new memories to be made..so nice.

Lots of love n hugs
Amanda.xxxxxxxxx

magistramarla
07-22-2009, 11:36 AM
Hey Lori,
It's Wednesday, so by now you must have Jordan home with you. I'll bet that you will find him much more mature than when you sent him off on his trip. Treasure the time that you will still have him under your roof. Believe me, the time will go by very quickly, and then he will go off on his own journeys.
As for the rest of us, we can't wait to see his pictures from Japan.
The eclipse has happened in Asia, and my girl will be headed back to NYC this Sunday. You are lucky that your world traveler comes back to your home. We tend to see Heather about once every two years. Oh well, this is what we want when we raise them - for them to grow up to become productive adults and to be on their own.
Feeling a bit contemplative,
Marla

Rastagirl
07-22-2009, 12:41 PM
Yes!!!! He's HOME!!!! :veryhappy:

Jordan's plane arrived about half an hour early this morning and they made it through customs pretty quickly. Jordan commented that the customs people in Japan airports were so much nicer....greeted everyone formally and spoke to you with respect and kindness and made you feel welcome....he said it was absolutely the opposite back here in the U.S. They used slang, some barely spoke English, and they almost never looked you in the eye when they spoke to you. And he said the U.S. customs were actually quite rude in the way they spoke. He said the Japanese people would NEVER talk that way.

First off, I can't believe how much my son changed....and seems like he grew. You're right, Marla.....more grown up, for sure. I noticed a difference in him right away. When I saw him coming, I edged my way up there and I got one HUGE hug from him....and I totally treasured it.

He was so exhausted, poor kid looked like he was going to fall over. His sister and I carried his bags for him. We got him home, and I sat and talked with him for at least an hour....I wasn't allowed to ask any difficult questions though, he said his "higher reasoning powers" in his brain had shut down half way through the flight home, and he was finding the switch from mostly Japanese back to English kind of challenging. He said we'd need to bear with him for a few days....as he will probably be speaking in short, choppy sentences.

He had an absolute BLAST! He said he had a great time staying with his host family. They were very gracious and he adapted to their home life very, very well. He said his host Mother had bought him a box of cornflakes for breakfast, not knowing what he'd like....so he ate those for the first week, but then asked one morning if he could have rice and egg like the rest of the family. So after that he ate pretty much everything the family ate. He said Mother was very happy he wanted to eat their food each day. He loved the school life.....his main class was the International Culture Class and they gave him a lovely gift that the students made and each wrote a short note to him....it has amazing artwork by one of the students and a picture of the whole class. He sat and showed me each of the students he became friends with. It's a wonderful keepsake. He also went to Soccer Club each day after school with the host student he stayed with, Sayaka. And he even got to practice soccer with the girls team. They loved having an American boy play the game with them. :cute: He said they never got home from school before 6 pm each night. So dinner was usually late. He told me that he actually liked the public bath, so he went to that at least 3 times.....a couple of times with his host family. He said on Saturday, when Father was home, was the time when the whole family would go bathe and relax and meet friends and spend time together.

I asked him what his very most favorite thing was while he was there and he said the day he went to a Karaoke bar with his host family and they spent 7 hours there. He said it was a blast.....a really funny time. And my son actually sang. Here at home, he's very shy and I'm not sure I've ever heard him sing outloud. He said they had quite a few American songs he knew, but he also recognized some from the Japanese Anime shows he watches...theme songs...and the family knew them too, so they sang together....with the whole audience cheering them. He said a few times, they were laughing so hard they could barely sing.

I know there will be more stories to come and things to share, but right now my Son has disappeared to his room for a nice long nap. He unpacked his gifts and souveniers and took them with him....he said, "no peeking"....you'll get them tonight when Dad gets home. I'm looking forward to doing some more talking, once he has rested.

The entire time he was gone, I had a slightly unsettled, uneasy feeling...like my world was just a little out of balance. And I know now, that it was having him gone. I just couldn't quite settle, until I knew he was back in my arms and our home.

My world has tipped back upright....and All is Well once again! *big sigh of relief*

Fondly,

:cool2: Lori

p.s. Marla...I will take your advice and treasure this bit of time that I still have him under my roof. This was a great practice run for the real thing.

p.p.s. Now I need a long nap, myself......:sleepy:

magistramarla
07-22-2009, 02:29 PM
Yeah for you, Lori,
I remember that flight from Japan - it is LONG. We were on Japan Airlines, and they were wonderful. The stewardess was in a traditional kimono, and she was constantly serving delicious food, tea or wine. When it was time for sleep, she practically tucked each passenger in with a pillow and blanket. It spoiled me for the U.S. airlines.
Jordan is right - everyone at the airport there was so courteous, and here in the U.S. was just the opposite. Ask him if he experienced any of the incredible public bathrooms that we saw in Tokyo. You can program the seat to warm up and play music before you sit down!! This was even in the airport and the mall. When we got back to L.A.X., I was in culture shock. The restroom was filthy, with TP spread all over it, and it smelled like a pigsty. To think, this would be a first experience of the U.S. for international travelers. I know I was ready to board the next plane back to Japan!
The karaoke bar was one of our favorite memories, too. We went out with seven other Americans, two of whom lived there in Tokyo. They took us to a great local sushi bar and then to the karaoke bar. It was so cozy and comfortable, we all felt comfortable enough to sing and have a great time. I'm so glad that Jordan got to have that experience.
Enjoy your family time, sweetie. Please keep us informed about Jordan's stories. It sounds like he had an incredibly wonderful experience.
Hugs,
Marla

Angel Oliver
07-22-2009, 02:52 PM
:unitedstates::musik05::You_Rock_Emoticon: YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

So glad Jordon is home n safe.Mmmm egg n rice for breakfast n karaoke sounds fab! You'll sleep tonight now he's home safe.

Lots of love n hugs
Amanda.xxxxxxxxx

SandyR
07-22-2009, 03:23 PM
Lori / Marla,
Glad to that your little chickies are home/about to come home and well. Sounds like Jordan had a wonderful time. Can't wait to go look at all the pics.
Sandy

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-24-2009, 09:15 AM
woohoo yaaaaaaay glad he's home safe and well and what sounds like a fantastic time!!!
i know how he feels with that brain switching off business i get that all the time i don't need to be on aiplane to get like that :-)
well hope you enjoying having your bay boy home even if he got bit more grown up and you feel all calmed and relaxed big hugs xxxxxxxxxxx

Rastagirl
07-24-2009, 12:21 PM
Thanks, Heidi and Sandy.....I've been missing for a few days trying to recover from the stress and spending some time with my son, hearing all about his trip.

We had a wonderful family dinner last night, and sat around the table afterwards asking him questions and getting lots of details of his exciting trip.

I just wanted to pop in and say hello to everyone and let you know I'll have more details to post later today about Jordan's trip , and I have some amazing pictures to share....I think you'll be very entertained by them. He actually took a little over 200 pics....more than I expected. It's going to be hard to decide which ones to share.

Right now I've got to get a little shopping done....Jordan's celebrating his 17th birthday this weekend, so I need to get a few things done for that. But I'll be back on later this afternoon to organize and post some of his pictures from the trip.

I've finally gotten caught up on my sleep....it only took 4 very long naps, plus 9 or 10 hours of sleep each night for the past 2 nights. I've learned that is what I HAVE to do after any stressful event for me....that's how I stay sane and in remission. :yup::yup:

Thanks for all the support and love from my friends here....you guys are the best!

much Love,

:cool2: Lori

abbasgirl
07-24-2009, 11:40 PM
This was just such a wonderful idea Amanda! It blesses everyone all around!

Lori and Marla...ya'll are supermoms!

It's nice to read about the adventures and it's great of you both to share with us.

Can't wait to see the pics!

tiggerlishus - Heidi
07-25-2009, 05:12 AM
right thats it gonig to your page lori to look at these photos and tell jordan i wish him a very happy 17th birthday and i think he has one great mum!! much love xxxxx

Rastagirl
07-25-2009, 12:35 PM
right thats it gonig to your page lori to look at these photos and tell jordan i wish him a very happy 17th birthday and i think he has one great mum!! much love xxxxx

Aww....thanks Heidi....you're making me blush! I'll give Jordan your birthday wishes.

And thanks Abbasgirl....most days, it doesn't feel like "Supermom"....so I thank you for the recognition.

I've been busy sorting through pictures and started posting some last night and this morning. It's going to take me awhile, because I have to keep bugging my son to tell me where this or that picture was taken. I think he's a bit annoyed with me knocking on his bedroom door all the time. I'll try to get the ones of Kochi posted today. That's where he stayed with his host family for 2 weeks. He took some sweeping views of the city of Kochi, from the highest point above Kochi....and it was an 180 degree look at the entire city. It's really a very beautiful city right next to the ocean.

Jordan has been recovering for the past few days, by sleeping at the most random times. He'll be awake one minute.....and next, I find him curled up on his bed, sleeping heavily. I'm not forcing him to get back to his normal schedule....since it's summer, I'm guessing he'll sort it out soon enough.

I gotta say....my kid did good on the gifts. He remembered every single thing we requested. He picked out absolutely lovely, delicate glass Japanese rice bowls, with details that matched each of our personalities. And even the chopsticks....mine were a lovely grayish, black with small purple and pink flowers. And Jordan's were a black and red pattern that looked exactly like Darth Maul's face in Star Wars.....perfect for my son! :vader:

Also, I had asked for a Japanese fan....a real one....so I told him not to scrimp....break out the big bucks. And what I got was an incredibly delicate, hand painted, rose and lavender fan that is beautiful. The wood work on it is amazing. We also got gifts from his host family....one of mine was a package of hand made paper stationery that is delicate pastel colors and the softest paper I've ever felt. It comes with matching envelopes. I also got some beautiful Japanese towels for my kitchen. And a table runner with a picture of a Japanese Lady in her kimono adorned with peacocks.

Seeing the pictures....and hearing Jordan's stories about his visit.....makes me want to take a trip to Japan so bad. We talked about what fun it woud be to take a family vacation there. When we do, Jordan wanted to know if we could go back to Kochi....so he can see his friends again....and his special host family....his Japanese Mother, Father, Brother, and Sisters.

My answer: Absolutely!! :yes: I can't wait to meet them.

with Love,

:cool2: Lori

magistramarla
07-25-2009, 12:45 PM
Hi everyone,
I've finally heard from my world traveler again. They were out in the boonies for the eclipse, so we didn't get e-mails for a few days:
Hi Mom and Dad,

Greetings from Shanghai! We've had a whirlwind trip, but it's finally winding down. I fly out tomorrow. We've had a wonderful time, and we saw an amazing total eclipse. It was a bit cloudy, but we could still see all of it from the steps of a Chinese pagoda on a hill in a lovely park in Wuhan. (We chose the location based on weather, which worked out well.) We've had the occasional hot, miserable hour as we went from full hotel to closed one to one in which no one spoke any English in a few cities, but nothing too bad. I'm starting to miss NYC and my own bed though, so this trip was perfectly timed. ;-)

I hope you're doing well. I looking forward to calling to chat Monday evening. I'll be getting in in the middle of the night on Sunday, so I'll wait until a decent hour the next day to call.

Love you,
Heather

Heather has to fly back to NYC alone again, since Eric will be going back to Europe for more guest lecturing. He won't fly back to NYC until late in August. What a life those kids have! I can't wait 'til Heather calls me!
Happy Mom,
Marla

magistramarla
07-25-2009, 12:53 PM
Lori,
You have a great kid!! He did such a good job with the presents. Aren't those fans glorious? Is it one of the gigantic ones that you hang on the wall? I have one of those, and it is beautiful.
Wow, a family trip to Japan would be great fun! Don't miss Tokyo, though. They have a park that reminded me of Central Park in NYC or Forest Park in St. Louis. It has a great zoo, lovely lakes and pagodas, and museums all around the outer edges. I would definitely take kids there.
Abbasgirl - I second what Lori said. After raising 5 of them, we look at each other and wonder how we survived. We're not too sure if we've survived with our sanity intact, either. We're just breathing a sigh of relief that they are all happy, healthy productive adults (and we keep hoping for more grandchildren, so we can watch the kids go through what we did!).
Lori is going through the hard part right now - teenagers.
Thanks,
Marla