Saturday, July 27, 2013


Usually I would say that the days are long but the weeks are short BUT this week I think just the opposite.  It has been a VERY long week--maybe because we basically had eight days, not seven!

We began our week by saying goodbye to Japan and those we have grown to love.  First, goodbye to our branch president, President Onuma, and his family.  They are really amazing.  President Onuma has been the branch president for six years and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.  He was incredible during the tsunami and keeps going.  His wife is so supportive and his two boys have gone from boys to young men:

On Monday we finished up all the last minute things like cleaning, getting rid of our Japan insurance and our internet service.  On Monday night we went out with the Kikuchis one last time.  They took us to their favorite sushi place which is quite a treat.  It is the kind that the sushi goes around on a conveyor belt but there are different prices according to the type of sushi.  Each plate color has a different price assigned to it:

As you see it goes from 88 yen (88 cents) to 588 yen ($5.88).  That is for a small plate with two pieces on it!  Here is a sample:

Notice this is on the middle green plate which cost $2.28.  It had chopped salmon and salmon eggs on it.  At the end the plates looked like this:

And we were sad to say goodbye to our friends the Kikuchis:

On Tuesday morning we got up early and began our journey to the mission home first stopping to do some service:

There were hand massages, body massages, and some crafts which were quite labor intensive!  I took the last of the cookies we had baked last week and a few things that we didn't want that we thought they might like.  (We were right--they did enjoy the treats and other stuff!)  The best part was seeing all of the volunteers that we had worked with these past 19 months.  We will remember those service opportunities forever!

Next stop was the Miyato Community Center where we had done the children's English class.  We saw our friends:

And then ate at the little café-type place that they also run.  (It was delicious!):

After a brief stop in Sendai, we made it to the mission home to check out, talk to the mission president,  and spend the night.  We stayed in the "general authority" room as they call it because whenever a general authority comes that is the room they get to stay in:

Hey, I knew you would be impressed!  It really is a great treat to spend a night at the mission home and we have done so a few times so it has been really nice.  We went out to eat dinner at a KOREAN restaurant!  How's that for a FINAL dinner?!  It was really good though and we were not disappointed in the least.  PLUS we stopped off at Baskin Robbins afterwards for dessert!

Wednesday morning bright and early we were at the Sendai airport for our final journey home!

It was a LONG series of flights:  first to Tokyo, then 6 hour layover, then to Portland, Ore. (9+ hours), 4 hour layover, then 2 hours to Salt Lake City.  Yes, something like 22 hours!  At least we started out cheerful:

But it seemed a little long when we saw the sun rise for the SECOND TIME on the same day due to the international dateline!:

And FINALLY we got home!  And were welcomed warmly!:

AND since it was the 24th of July (Pioneer Day) it was a real celebration complete with BBQ:

And lots of grandkids:

And even fireworks:

It really was wonderful.  And on Friday we got our final release with our stake president:

So I haven't really figured out what to say now.  I could say it was wonderful, or hard, or exhausting, or amazing, or well worth it, or almost anything else and they would all be accurate. 

I guess maybe I can say we finished what we set forth to do.  It doesn't really seem like the END but more of a continuation of living.  Now more than ever life seems like a journey.  We try the best we can and sometimes we have to pick ourselves up but mostly we keep trying.  We are not perfect but really no one is. 

I did gain a stronger conviction that there really is a God and I appreciate so much that knowledge.  To me, it makes all the difference.  And I marvel at the love He has for each of us.  It makes me want to be a better person.

Thank you for following us on this part of our life's journey.  Knowing that you were there made it so much easier for me to write it each week!  My plan now is at some date in the future to close the blog and get it printed and bound as a book so we can remember, remember, remember. 

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