You know that feeling when you’ve been away for a while. Perhaps you’ve been on vacation or a business trip of some sort. You can’t wait to return and share with your friends all that you’ve experienced. That’s how it’s been with me lately.
I didn’t take a trip. Instead, I spent some much needed time with my family. Since we have a new daughter from Japan, our family dynamics have changed a bit—mostly for the good. As we get to know Hitomi and her us, we spend a lot more time together at the dinner table, talking, and laughing. We eat more rice and tuna than we did before, and life feels like an unending field trip as we learn about the Japanese culture. Did you know it was bad manners to stack your dinner plates at the table? We didn’t until Hito let out a loud scream as Dad began stacking the dishes to make room at the table. It’s considered bad manners in Japan to stack your dishes. It’s worse to clear the table before your dinner guest get up to leave. Doing so is like saying, “Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?”
While Htio speaks great English, she wakes up in Japanese. It’s a hoot! Once her brain is fully awake, she’s all American again until she sits down for breakfast to her rice bowl and tuna. I’m gonna do my best to have her eating Fruit-loops, milk, and cheese grits like normal Americans before she returns home.
We’re doing our best to teach Hito about American culture as well. Since we live in the south, we started with southern traditions. We taught her to hug instead of bow. We’ve taken her to a football game, to church (Which she loves! Can I get an a-men!) and shopping. Most important, we taught her to say, “Yes” when the waiter asks if she’d like the house wine—which is known to all southerners as sweet tea.
It’s fun to watch Hito try new foods and new experiences such as birthday parties. Yes, they have them in Japan, but not like we do in America.
Just last week, Peyton and Hitomi were invited to a birthday party where they teamed-up and went on a Scavenger hunt. If you’ve never been on a Scavenger hunt, you’re missing out!
Each team is given the same list of instructions to follow. Once your list is completed, you returned to your starting place as fast as you can. The first team back, and who completed the list, wins. Their list included playing Duck, duck, goose inside of a GameStop store. They had to return with a 50-cent gas receipt, bring back a bird feather, and video tape themselves in a shopping-buggy race. Hitomi wanted to document the entire adventure with her camera. Even though this slowed down the race, they were still the first team to return and won the game!
This past Saturday night was the best. Peyton had to work. As she stocked the shelves of Walgreens with a new shipment of Beanie-Babies, she decided to purchase one for Hitomi, her new sister. When Hitomi opened the gift, she squealed with excitement! Then, as she caressed the doll with her hand, she told us a sad but tender story about her deceased Dad.
Whenever her Dad took her shopping, he always brought her a Beanie-Baby. Before she knew it, Hito had a room full. Her Dad built her a shelf that went around the top of her room in which to display the dolls. After his death, Hitomi, her mom, the twins, and her brother moved to the Island. There was no room for her Beanie-babies at the new house, so she gave them to her friends.
When she was finished with her story, she said, “Thank you, Peyton. I love my Beanie-baby. It makes me very happy.”
If you’re like me, I want to buy all the Beanie-babies there are for her. Sadly, her American Dad is an accountant. He only knows numbers. Therefore, he wouldn’t be able to build her a shelf. He could, however, tell her how many would fit on her bed before collapsing to the floor!
It’s not the amount of beanie-babies she has that matters. What matters most is the love she felt here and now and the love she remembered then. Isn’t God good?!!!!
By the way, I’m in the process of changing my blog to a website. I’ll still post but there will also be some neat new features for you too! I can’t wait! Be sure and check back often. It should be up and running in a few weeks or so!
Big Southern Squeeze to each of you!