Wow. I've been looking foward to moving to Japan for months. And, to be honest, I knew that if anyone could move with two kids to a foreign country, it would be me and The Hubs. We don't mind being out of our comfort zones. But we grossly underestimated just how far out of our comfort zones we would be.
For one thing, we probably shouldn't have gone to visit our family for a month before our move. We were already exhausted and out-of-sorts by being misplaced for a month before we ever arrived in Japan. We also waited until the last minute to report to Japan, meaning that THE DAY AFTER we got here, The Hubs had to start working. So in addition to having jetlag, living in a hotel room, and having a ginormous list of things to do, my husband had to start figuring out his responsibilities for his new job.
Things are rough. Let's just get it out in the open. We are living a hotel room that is no bigger than any other hotel we'd stay in - and we're here for at least a month. It's extremely hot and humid - even with our A/C turned up all the way and left on 24/7. The hotel room came with a fan and that's on all day and night too. I just to the room next door to see if it's the same in their room and they were all covered in sweat and have 3 fans. We do have a kitchenette, but it's got a tiny mini-fridge and no oven. So, I'm not sure what the heck I can actually cook here. It's not like I can go to the commissary anyway.... we don't have an opportunity to get our driver's licenses until next Friday and though we could walk to the commissary, it's a little farther away than most other shopping places on base and it's so humid and hot here that my kids start complaining after about 2 minutes of being outside. We are quite stuck in the hotel room.
As for our housing situation, The Hubs will attend the mandatory housing briefing on Monday morning, while I head over and sign us in to our week-long orientation. I walked over to the Child Development Center last night to fill out all the paperwork needed for both of our girls to go to childcare during our orientation classes next week. Apparently, Thursday will be a field-trip day for orientation (we are going to Kamakura - home of the giant Buddha!!) and we have the option to take the kids with us. However, it took about 5 seconds for The Hubs and I to decide that we wanted a day to ourselves. Being in a hotel room all day, we get to see our kids pleeeeenty.
Ya know, we had assumed that living off-base would be a viable option because the waiting lists for on-base are so long AND, because living out in town would immerse us in Japanese culture. But now that we're here, I can TOTALLY see why someone would want to live on-base. Base feels safe and comfortable. I mean, we still feel a little out of our element on base because everything is so new and things are in Japanese (though most everything has English writing under it), but at this moment, thinking of being out in town is just overwhelming. We wouldn't know ANYTHING. However, I still have reservations about being on-base. I understand, now, how people living on base would never leave. It's nice to feel safe and comfortable. We have everything here that we could need. If we do stay on base, I want to make sure that we don't completely miss out on the Japanese experience.
We did manage to acquire another comfort of home yesterday... cell phones! We got iPhones and one nice thing about cell phone companies here is that you don't have to buy the phones AND pay for your plan. We got the phones free as part of the plan itself. I know we have unlimited data, but that's about all I know. And, I don't think The Hubs knows much more than that either. He said that he couldn't understand a thing the girl was telling him (she was Japanese) and so he was just nodding and saying, "ok." I think our bill is supposed to be between $150-$190. I don't know where The Hubs has put the contract/paperwork, but when he gets home, I'd like to look through it and see if I can make sense of anything. We still haven't figured out how to make calls to home, but I need to do some investigating into things like Skype and Google Voice. I think I can make calls from my computer with those services, but I'm not sure about their fees.
We also need to set up an APO mailing address, get our passports stamped by some office on base, get registered in some computer system, and a bunch of other things that we'll learn about in orientation next week.
The girls are playing a little better today, though I'm no opposed to buying them some new toys at the Exchange if the going gets tough. I'm sure that once we're past the jetlag, we'll all feel better too. Right now, the girls are still waking up around 3:00am and having trouble going back to bed. It will also be nice to have the weekend right around the corner and have The Hubs around during the day. I'm really liking his work hours here. They are more normal - no 16 hour shifts and rotations changing every month. And weekends! Oh, how I love free weekends.
So, keep sending us the good vibes and positive energy. We have heard that the first two months are tough, but after that, everyone loves being here. We shall see....