Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The PCS Files: Japan!

I posted just a short message that we were moving to Japan when The Hubs called his detailer on December 14th and asked to be stationed overseas. We had received a list of possible openings several weeks in advance, so we had a lot of time to discuss where we might want to go. Options included California, Washington St., Virginia, Florida and Japan, among others. So why did we choose to try and move our family 6,956 miles away from where we are now? It wasn't an easy decision.

The Hubs and I have always loved to travel. I was blessed to travel to Mexico as a teenager, and when I got into college, I was blessed again to be able to travel to Paris. Both The Hubs and I went to Austria just a couple of months before we were married and we then honeymooned in Puerto Rico. The travel bug bit me hard when I went to Europe and since then, I've compiled a long list of places I'd like to visit before I die. If The Hubs and I didn't have children, we wouldn't have thought twice about moving overseas for a few years. We aren't scared of a new culture and different language. We're okay with getting lost and being on our own for a while. And the best thing about traveling to new places is that it opens even more doors for MORE travel. 

But, we DO have children. And, we have the only grandchildren on either side of our families. The thought of taking the only grandchildren so far away from their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles for three or four years was REALLY tough to think about. Even though we've always lived apart from them, our families are very important to us. I want my children to know their grandparents. I want them to know my brother- and sister-in-law. I want them to know my sisters. I don't want them to just put a name with a face. I want them to what wonderful people they are and how lucky we are to have such a close and supportive family. 

I miss not having some family around to take my kids when the day has been hard and my husband won't be home for hours. I miss not popping in to my mom's house to say hello. I miss Sunday afternoon dinners with all the family. I miss the opportunities to do things together, whether it's going on a motorcycle ride or helping with some home improvement. And I really, really miss the hugs. Kids are only little once and I hate that my family will miss out on a lot of the everyday moments. I feel guilty about the fact that my kids will probably be 6 and 8 years old before we move anywhere close to family again. So, why, WHY, did we ask to go to Japan?

I want my kids to see this: Mt. Fuji.

I want my kids to not only learn a new language early in life, but be totally immersed in it.

I want my kids to learn what it's like to be in the minority. 

I want my kids to learn about about a culture that is very different than their own. 

I want my kids to try new foods.

I want my kids to learn about different religions, up close and personal.

I want my kids to become more confident in who they are by being in situations where they might look different or be different than the other kids.  

I want my kids to learn that it's okay to change things up and do things that might be a little scary at first.

I want my kids to travel the world. 

And, of course, I want to do all of that too! Thankfully, we live in the age of Skype and instant communication. Time will go by quickly, I'm sure, and we'll be settled back in TN before we know. Until then, I'm going to take advantage of this amazing opportunity for myself and my girls. Afterall, you only live once.

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