And in the blink of an eye, three years have passed and it's time to leave Japan. How do you say goodbye to a place that has become such a part of you? I started this blog to document our adventures for my girls, so they might always remember our time here. And now, these blogs and the memories contained in them are my most treasured and priceless souvenir.
Living overseas was always a dream of mine and every expectation was exceeded one hundred fold! I'm leaving Japan a different person than the one who arrived three years ago. It really is a small world after all, and there is so much good to be found.
I'll miss so much about Japan, I don't even know where to begin. So, here are just a few of the many moments I've loved.
The view of Mt. Fuji from 10,000 feet.
Karaoke-ing the night away, with good friends.
Singing in the rain with a cousin, at the Imperial Palace.
Random character sightings that have become so normal to me now.
And finding that those characters come in many shapes and sizes!
AMAZING city parks!
Tranquil and serene Japanese gardens.
The warm, friendly and gracious Japanese people.
Walking through the rustling bamboo forest in Kyoto.
The beauty made from brokenness at Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Roaming the streets of Tokyo under the world's BEST light displays!
Conquering the majestic Mt. Fuji not once,
Hanging out with the snow monkeys in Nagano.
Cruising the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart, in costume, of course.
Brushing up on our sumo skills at the stable.
The food. And the exquisite presentation of, well, just about everything!
Skiing the Japanese Alps.
The spectacular and unparalleled beauty of a Japanese springtime.
And sharing that beauty with my mom.
Playing dress up with family on a gorgeous fall day, near Mt. Fuji.
Coordinating our 2016 Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) retreat.
The careful Japanese planning of each and every season, in order to showcase the most beauty.
Taking selfie's at Matsumoto castle.
Proclaiming Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, in a swimming pool on Yokota Air Base.
The vibrant color of festival season.
Navigating streets so small they look like one-way streets, but aren't.
The excitement of a train ride into the city.
"Adventure Friday's" with my two favorite gals.
Soaking in a hot tub while gazing at the Tokyo Bay.
Wandering the picturesque streets of Kyoto.
And checking out the shrines, too many to count.
Learning lots about Japanese history and culture.
Sharing our beautiful home away from home with grandma and grandpa on their very first trip outside of the United States.
But, I just might miss the heated toilet seats the most! And also the pristine cleanliness of a Japanese public restroom. (This is a souvenir that will be coming home with me.)
We were also so blessed with some pretty amazing Asian adventures outside of Japan, as well. Such as, bathing with elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Cruising Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Learning traditional dance, in costume, in Bali.
Taking in the view from atop Victoria Peak, Hong Kong.
Smiling for Petronas Tower selfie's, Kuala Lumpur.
Finding a tree climbers dream in Ho Chi Minh City.
Swimming with the long tail boats in Phuket, Thailand.
Taking in the exotic city skyline at night, in Singapore.
Braving the Forbidden City in Beijing.
And the Demilitarized Zone, in South Korea.
Strolling The Bund in Shanghai.
Learning the meaning of propaganda firsthand, at the "Hanoi Hilton" prison, Vietnam.
Finding out that train travel experiences vary greatly between countries.
Cartwheeling across the Great Wall of China.
Experiencing more beautiful Asian beaches than we can even count....
But even as amazing as all of these adventures were, it was the people who truly made this assignment spectacular. The Lord put the most wonderful and genuine people in our lives, even on the other side of the world. Here are just a few of those special people, but there are also so many more who impacted our lives for the better.
We will never forget these special friends, or the countless others!
My time in Japan can best be described using a favorite Bible verse;
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."- James 1:17
That is exactly what the past three years have been to me. A good and most perfect gift, and one for which I am unworthy. I'm brokenhearted to say sayonara to this chapter of my life, but I am forever grateful to the Lord for giving us this life-changing and most extraordinary adventure. Although it is time to move on, I trust in His sovereign and perfect plan for our lives- wherever that leads.
With that being said, stay tuned for our upcoming adventures on the "Last Frontier"....Alaska!