We worked hard to get here. Meetings and conversations in Japanese, enlisting friends who speak English and Japanese, filling out about 15 pages of forms, getting denied at two preschools because they are full, taking her temperature, marking her face color down (good or bad? good!), labeling all of her clothes, diapers and plastic bags with her name in Japanese, lots of prayer, and emotions! But the day has come and Sophia didn’t even cry when I dropped her off with big bag of clothes and towels in tow. I stopped by a friend’s house – she lives right near the preschool and then headed to Starbucks, our “office” away from home. (I’d prefer to support a local business, but we haven’t found a cafe with a pleasant atmosphere. They all have a smoking section and usually there is only a short dividing wall, so the smoke permeates the entire store. Starbucks is the only cafe we’ve found in Japan that is non-smoking – and they even have a sign explaining why – “…it affects the taste of the coffee”).
Funny how something you want so badly (free time!) is hard to adjust to. The first couple hours after I dropped her off, I felt distracted and listless. Then, I made a list so I didn’t feel listless anymore. 🙂 No, seriously, making the list did truly help:
Devo, Yancy, Blog post, Japanese, emails, sermon…
You can guess how far I’ve gotten… but I’m exactly where I should be considering only half my time has been used. While Sophia plays, I stop and check in with myself. There’s not a lot of time to do this when a 2-year-old is within 10 feet at any given moment. I reassure myself that she is strong and outgoing, social and ready for the extra stimulation that preschool will provide her. And she’ll learn new games, meet lots of new people, try new foods and begin to develop her Japanese, which will only enhance her ability to adjust to this country and play with more kids. Fabio and I will have lunch together in a couple hours and I will adapt to this new rhythm of having more than a couple hours at a time to rest, reflect, read, pray, write.