YES, we are now in Japan. In the week we have been here, I have had more free time than ever, but it has taken me this long to do a post on the blog.
The main reason is that I haven’t felt that inspired to write anything for a while. Honestly, it felt a bit hard for me to start up writing again after my last post, and realistically, having been separated from the laptop the whole summer and spending so much worthwhile time with family, it just hasn’t been a priority.
However I know that many are anxious to see how we are doing way over here, and I think that is why I have been reticent to post anything yet….we really don’t have anything that interesting to report on Japan yet! I have been homebound for a week, due to the typhoon and not being able to drive. When Rijen is not working, our time has been spent doing necessary errands to set us up appropriately here, and our one venture off base was to look at used cars on a different base!
On Sunday church was cancelled and then today (Monday) Rijen’s work was cancelled due to the elevated TCCOR1 status. June to November here is typhoon season, and the default condition is TCCOR4. From what we hear, the typhoon had passed us by, but then it came back around and we are now in
TCCOR 1: Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.
What this means for us is just to secure the trash cans outside, and to stay indoors. So I have even more time to start up the blog again!
*At the time of writing, it was windy, raining heavily and had been for the past few days. At night Rijen commented that it felt like our bedroom was going through a car wash! That is probably the most accurate description of what the typhoon passing through was like. We didn’t experience or hear of any major damage caused by the typhoon after it passed, and the rest of the week has been lovely*
Even though I am not that inspired to write about our current life, when I uploaded all of the pictures from the past few months, there are so many fun memories from spending time with family that I would love to post about. So perhaps I can use my extra free time to work on some of that to fill the space until I have something interesting to write about again!
So, I guess I can just start from the beginning of our trip- After leaving family and friends in Utah, we flew to Virginia for a short evening and then flew to Tokyo out of Dulles. The most memorable event was our celebrity encounter after going through security. I guess I can say this was the first time that having to have all the baby liquids checked worked out in my favor.
Earlier, waiting in line, Rijen leaned over to me and said casually, “Hey, that’s Rob Schneider.” I looked up and saw someone who kind of looked like Rob Schneider putting his things on the conveyor belt. I think that is probably how it is whenever one sees a celebrity when there isn’t a lot of fanfare- I wasn’t sure if it was him or not. But then I saw the couple next to him eagerly talking to him and he was shaking the hands of the security guards, so then I thought, OK, that must really be him.
He seemed like he was being very cordial and pleasant with everyone, which of course is nice to see. One family shouted at him from a lane away and said, “We loved you in *****!!” When he responded and waved, they cheered. It added a bit of fun to the whole boring security ordeal.
HOWEVER, right when I got Leif situated in the front pack, my bags on both shoulders and Fiona in tow, Rob passed right by me, and said the same generic-type comment that I have heard from friendly passersby every single time I am in the airport with my two kids, (which has been often lately) “Looks like you have your hands full/have quite a load!”
I then responded in some sort of appropriate manner, and then he also saw Rijen carrying two bags and the big carseat. Somehow, instead of just walking awkwardly in the same direction, we all started carrying on a normal conversation. This lasted probably 20 minutes or more waiting for the shuttle, in the shuttle and all the way to our gate.
At one point, I was walking with Rob a bit ahead of Rijen, and then we heard a commotion and turned to see that a sippy cup had fallen out of Rijen’s backpack, causing a domino effect which Rijen was struggling to rectify. Rob offered to help carry something, and what I thought was funny was that he ended up carrying our camera bag and Fiona’s pink backpack. He was carrying two bags of his own, so for him to endure two more, and one a little pink backpack at that was an image I’ll never forget. It was really nice of him not to be “above” doing something like that.
He walked us all the way to our gate and then we parted ways after some “nice to meet you’s” and handshakes. I had thought about asking him to take a photo with us, but in some way after the long conversation and his help, that didn’t seem like the kind of thing I wanted to do to repay him for helping us. It seemed more polite not to ask, even though I imagine he would have been very gracious about it.
As I turned to watch him go, I’m glad we didn’t bother him because as soon as he turned around, he started jogging back in the other direction! He was flying back to LA, and I just assumed that he was going to the same gate area as us. I really hope that we didn’t inconvenience him too much. Its not like I ever have thought much about what preconceived notions I might have about celebrities, but I was really surprised and thankful that he went above and beyond just being polite to actually help us out.
So, we don’t have any tangible proof of this encounter, although he did tell us that he is expecting a child in 5 months (I think a girl), but when we asked if there was a name picked out, he said that that was up to his wife. So no big scoop on that front! Since I didn’t know anything about his personal life, I asked him if he has any other children, and he said his other child is 20. So that’s my inside info.
He was very outspoken on not vaccinating children though, and he and Rijen talked about that a bit. To Rob’s caution about not vaccinating children, Rijen even slyly commented, “I thought that was just crazy celebrity talk!” Rob didn’t crack a smile though, and in a quick search just now, (HuffPost article) it seems as though he is pretty passionate about it.
I stuck to safer topics such as what I like to feed my children at what ages. So that was my boring “mom” conversation with a celebrity- I’d never think that during my one shot to talk to a movie star I would be discussing pureeing organic sweet potatoes. I’d like to think it was way better than shouting, “Hey Rob, You Can DO it…..vaccinate!!” (Waterboy).
So that was our exciting airport experience. Aleida reminded me that I have great luck at airports. In November 2011, during a very post-9/11 security check in some loading area underneath the SLC airport, I was randomly selected to have myluggage searched. I was very taken by this extremely attractive and charismatic older man who flashed me a shiny smile and patted me affectionately on the shoulder while he handed me the sign-in clipboard. As I took the pen from him, I saw “Donny Osmond” on the line right above me. And that was that.
So I guess I can expect to have an interesting celebrity encounter every 10 years, right?
Ok, that anecdote was long enough. Here is the “Before” picture Rijen took before the long leg from D.C. to Tokyo.
As you can see Leif is ready to dive into his book (loaned to him by Steffan, complete with a dragon on the cover) and Fiona is going to peruse the Financial Times. The flight was unremarkable, with Leif being more difficult than I thought, but not awful by any means. We had little time in Tokyo and then got on a smaller plane to Okinawa on which we all fell asleep.
Ok, I wrote the above the Monday we were homebound, and now it is Friday. Now that I’m back in the writing groove, I wrote a bunch more, but then realized that instead of one really long post, I will just break this in half. So I will schedule the second half to be published tomorrow!
So, read on or check back to find out how our first week has been!