Sunday, July 14, 2013


So I guess this week begins the hot and humid season.  With Shawn and Becca and family here, this is was our only relief:

Yup sitting on the sofa under the air conditioner next to the fan eating popsicles (actually watermelon bars).  At night it became so hot that we pulled all of the beds out of the second bedroom into the livingroom-kitchen to stay a little cooler.  But the last night Shawn braved the heat because he didn't like the sun coming up at 4:30 a.m.

Around and About with the Baxters

Of course, no trip to Ishinomaki is complete without going to Matsushima and feeding the seagulls:

McKell wasn't a big fan of handing the gulls some shrimp chips so she settled with tossing the chips to them on the ground:

But Brayden loved it:

And of course they had to ring the bell to wake up the Gods:

And the (constant) rain didn't stop us:

Another day we went to Akiu Falls which is always beautiful.  Before heading down the trail there is this sign that reminds us NOT to feed the monkeys (although we have never seen any):

This time of year the falls and the surrounding area are particularly beautiful because it is so green--probably all of that heat and humidity.  (Whose arm is that?!):

Ta da!  We made it!  The kids even went wading in the water.

Here is a family photo looking downstream:

And Shawn climbed up the cliffs to get a better snapshot:

Good Reminder

On our way home we stopped at our favorite India curry restaurant in Izumi.  Yes, we have eaten there about five times in the past month and we probably keep the place afloat.  We walked in to find out that we weren't the only ones enjoying the food.  There were six of our elders and five of our sisters there also eating--including the sisters from our area!:

Sister Johnson on the left just got there a couple of weeks ago and I think she was glad to hear some English.  She is from Denver and is in a threesome in Izumi.  This is the first time they have had sisters in Izumi so all of them are working hard to get some new investigators. 

It was so good to see all of them and a good reminder that we were still missionaries for two more weeks!  AND in the kids' words, "The food was NOT just good but AWESOME!  We stuffed ourselves as usual.

Melissa and Company

We dropped the Baxters off in Sendai around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and came back to Ishinomaki and taught our English class.  Immediately following, my niece Melissa and three of her co-workers came!  We picked them up at the station and they got a small taste of the people in the English class.

While they were here we went out to eat a couple of times:

Pictured are Albert, Tony, Melissa, me, and Andrew.  That night we had all-you-can-eat Japanese food.  It was delicious of course.  Also all of us appreciated the fact that the dessert bar featured a chocolate fountain and soft ice cream among other things!

While in Ishinomaki, the foursome went to Sendai, the Pokémon center, a Rakuten baseball game, the mall, cartoon museum,  Matsushima, and played ping pong with the branch members on their regular Friday night tournament night.  They had rail/bus passes so it was easy for them to go wherever whenever.

We had a great time with them.  And no, they didn't win the ping pong tournament.  The kids (12 and 13 years old) have become really good so they probably took the whole thing. 

Our apartment seems really big now that all of our company has left!

Did Someone Say Square?

Recently someone (can't remember who) asked me if I had seen a SQUARE watermelon in Japan.  They had read (and I did too) that there are square watermelons here--the Japanese like to conserve space.  I had to admit I hadn't one until this past week we spotted one at the Sendai station:

I told the kids (Brayden and McKell) to stand back because I didn't want to see it fall off the box:  it cost $126!  Really it wasn't much bigger than the other round watermelons . . . So how did they do that?  Get the stripes so even and such?!

Home Stretch

I guess it is safe to say we are on the home stretch now.  We have 10 more days left on our mission.  We will definitely leave with mixed emotions.  But this next week looks like this:  Skype our kids, institute class, English class, lunch with the stake patriarch and his wife (Calvin knew him on his first mission to Japan), birthday party for 6-year-old Souta, two service projects at temporary housing units, teach a sewing class, linger longer meal after Church, speak in Church, transport company (like UPS or FedEx) picks up our bags and takes them to the airport, gas company coming for some reason (don't know why but they insisted they needed to install something), pack suitcases, clean apartment, have our Japanese teacher from the MTC here for one day and show her around and take her to the mission home, go to a Young Men's activity, go out to dinner with Takie and Sister Date, AND cook to the wazoo for these activities with the ingredients we still have on our shelves!

Pretty crazy . . . but we'll savor every moment like it was our last time . . . because it will be.   (already crying!)

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