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My Baby Girl is Headed to Japan and I am Ready for a Vacation!


My youngest child leaves today for Japan. Wow, my 16-year-old baby girl leaves to see the world... such a strange feeling. She went to Australia last summer and had a blast. This is Japan though and she does not speak Japanese... She could speak Australian. She will be staying with host families and be completely submerged in the culture. The traditions and customs are so different from ours and so rich in ceremony that I worry one of these brilliant beautiful kids may do something to insult without realizing it. I am sure these host families have been given a list just, as we have, of things that our kids may do differently so they may not be so shocked or upset at the way these kids may act.

We have been told that public bath houses are a custom and a beautiful thing to be shared with a visitor... um these kids have no desire to go naked bathing with a bunch of people, same sex or not. This is one of the things they are most concerned about, because of their own body image mostly. But we have been told that it is often acceptable for outsiders to wear swimsuits, the whole room of kids let out a big sigh of relief at hearing that.

They will perform in a school, at some kind of shopping center and the music festival they were originally asked to sing at. This organization has maintained a close relationship with Japan over the years and has traveled with kids over there eight times, I am pretty sure that the kids will be fine... but it's way over there.

To maintain unity and focus the kids are not allowed to use their phones to text, call or Wi-Fi anything, they can only use them as cameras. So, they have to carry international calling cards and they will have a 'call home day' about midway on the trip. As a parent that is hard. But the director is really great about sending daily emails to the parents with updates every night and even group photos on several. We have a detailed itinerary and they stick to the plan so you as a parent always feel like you know what your kid is doing... if you compensate for the difference in time and that they are in another country across an ocean where people do not speak the same language... ah, but they each have a Japanese American dictionary... that makes it all better...

I had to print up some photos of her to carry to share about her family, home, and life here in Colorado. Looking at all those old photos I got so reminiscent and teary eyed about how our family has grown, changed and shrunk. I looked at how my children grew up and watched on that computer screen, my kids get potty trained, have their first bath, and their first bit of birthday cake... Now my youngest is going to go to the bathroom with a whole new spin on it, in a sense be potty trained again. Things are different over there as far as that is concerned. Now she will learn how to bathe a whole new way as well... in public and in the privacy of her host family home... the bath water is shared even in private residents, but as a guest our kids get to go first. Now she will maybe not eat cake over there but certainly some different food and she is fully prepared to eat something that may very well crawl off of her plate she said, her life for ten days is going to be so extremely different. I know she will come back more versed at life and at acceptance than ever before and may very well age a bit, too.

I do know she will probably get her exercise in trying to speak to people using charades and a dictionary.

All these months of planning for this trip and learning songs in Japanese and the crazy schedule and pressure and saving of money and oh my word even the pressure, did I mention pressure to get everything done? Most of all this anticipation the kids have, they are so excited and nervous but what an opportunity and they all are so aware of how much this is a gift to have.

So, my daughter is trying to get ready for her final rehearsal yesterday because they leave today, and she falls, very awkwardly I might add, and is hurt. Her ribs are hurting, her head is pounding, she fell head first and sort of power drove her body on top of herself. So, you can imagine all of her back hurts, too... she cried and did not want to try to stand back up... Did I mention she leaves today for Japan? Freaking out, we were! She said, "just need to lay here for a minute."

I left and waited and when she came out, she could not take a full breath as her ribs were so sore... off to after hours clinic, the ER is way too dramatic. She leaves for Japan today... remember?

Well, after about 10 x-rays and some poking about she has a mild concussion and some seriously bruised ribs and a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, to take to Japan with her so she can sing... in Japan!... I am ready for a vacation!


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