so much has happened, so much to blog about, so much to say that will go unsaid.
at the end of february, we set up our hina matsuri (girl's day) set for the first time in about 6 years. the length of time is mostly due to noah's little fingers, and, we accidentally left it in utah when we moved. it took some time and planning to get it here with us.
this is a vintage set of the japanese imperial court that was given to us by a friend of a friend whose daughters were grown and didn't want it any more. we were thrilled to receive it.
it was such a delight to have it up that we didn't take it down after girl's day on the 3rd, even though it can supposedly curse your daughters with not being able to get married if you leave it up. we decided we were willing to take the risk...
and then the earthquake hit, and none of us has had the heart to take it down until today. tashi is diligently dis-assembling it now, which is seriously as much work as taking down a christmas tree, or more.
we are different now because of the earthquake, in better ways i believe, and in painful ways.
our last neighborhood in japan, maihama san chome in urayasu city, recieved a lot of damage from the earthquake, but not the tsunami, thankfully.
in the midst of my heartbreak, i prayed to know what i was meant to learn from the experience, and the answer was that we are all connected, much more than we realize. and that what happens to any one of us in this world affects us all, whether we realize it or not. it has been a powerful lesson that was reinforced by my father's passing on april 6th, which i will write about in another post.
this is a photo of our neighborhood near the home we lived in for 4.5 years. i took it from the urayasu city home page (click for link)
we are grateful the damage here wasn't worse, and our hearts break for the greater devastation and loss farther north.
a list of facebook posts i made during the first week or two:
March 11 ~ I couldn't sleep last night, and kept thinking about our friends in Japan. I didn't know why. It wasn't until this morning that we heard about the earthquake. It's been an emotional morning at our house.
The same thing happened with 9/11 when we were in Japan. I couldn't sleep all night and had images of devastation in New York. In the morning we got the news.
March 13 ~ Hoping to feel more peace about Japan, but the pain just grows....
"Death toll likely to top 10,000 in Japan"
I think I've been in shock for 2 days, and now I'm coming out of it.
Shock was less painful.
March 14 ~ The islands of Japan have shifted 8 feet.
The axis of the earth has moved 10 cm.
The world is different than it was before.
March 16 ~ I have no fears for Japan as a nation. They will move forward in positive ways and continue to amaze and inspire us all.
It 's the horrific amount of personal/family tragedy that has me overwhelmed.
Things I have learned from the earthquake & its effects so far:
1. I love the people of Japan even more than I realized was possible.
2. We are all much more connected that we imagine.
3. Because we are connected, what happens to any one person in this world affects each of us, whether we realize it or not.
Gracie is playing with the "Sylvanian Families" sets we brought back from Japan, like she does most mornings while I work. She is setting up the little school with all the little Japanese school accessories at my feet, just like the schools where Lexi, Tashi, & Mia went, and just like the schools that were hit by Tsuanami. Everywhere I turn, I have reminders. Our big "Girl's Day" set (of the Japanese Imperial court) is still up, taking up much of our living room like a Christmas tree would, and none of us have the heart to take it down, but don't have the heart to look at it either. Mia is having trouble breathing (anxiety), and I occasionally am too. I don't want to eat. Noah is worried about his birth mother....all of this, and we aren't even in Japan, we are safe and sound here.... I almost feel guilty to be having this hard of a time when others are suffering so, and we are so blessed. But I don't feel blessed. I feel their pain. I know the Lord is in charge and has a plan. But it still hurts tremendously.
Inconceivable....this was a city that had made extensive tsunami preparations. The entire city is gone. The tsunami engulfed 4 story buildings. Tsunami shelters built high on the mountain are gone.
March 17 ~ Deeply touching and inspiring
homes burn while they drift at sea
March 20 ~ I have counted at least 20 cities (a city of 15 to 20,000 is not a village in my mind) in northern Japan that have been mostly or completely washed away by tsunami, and that is only what I have heard/read about. What is the actual count?