Friday, June 20, 2008

5 Years: A Retrospective

How quickly five years can past. From when I first discovered him...

Here he is, all blotchy and new. And so alert. Always so alert.

To Japan....

And back. His first encounter with real beach sand.

His last day of being an only child.

Sebastian opened up our lives and made it amazingly better. He is a constant joy.

He is passionate, stubborn, silly, hilarious, intelligent, and kind.

He has put up with us over and over and taught us how to be better parents and humans.

I am so utterly grateful to have such a person in my life. Thank you, Sebastian. Thank you for choosing us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

a week and a half?!

so what happened to the plan of celebrating florida here with regular pictures? i'll tell you what happened. sebastian, nico, and i spent a lovely morning at the beach playing with friends. though i failed to remember to take pictures (as often happens with two boys around the ocean) the sand did not fail to invade my new little camera. it's off to the shop with it today. please cross your fingers that it won't be terribly expensive.

and what's with this question that people keep asking us, "so do you have your bags packed yet?"? what? i mean, hey we have time. like a, week and a half.
a week and a half?!
it doesn't help that i was down for the count for the last 2.5 days due to a stomach virus that i wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (if i had one).
but we'll manage. i just didn't realize how quickly time was passing. i definitely didn't stick to my study schedule so i know less japanese than i had hoped to upon arrival. i'll just have to push along with my pimsleur cds and hope for the best.

this weekend is the big guy's 5th birthday. the grandmother suggested a popular kid pizza place where "a kid can be a kid" as sebastian always quotes from their commercial on pbs. sure, it's a little hooky but it's his birthday and what a fitting american experience: pizza, pitchers of soda, and a giant rat.

well, hopefully the camera will be fine and i can represent florida a little better in my next post. until then, take care.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come Together

First it was the 20th. Then the 25th. Now we'll be leaving on the 27th.
Unfortunately, we don't get to stop in Nara/Kyoto for a week. Jacksonville to Dallas to Narita to Fukuoka.
A very long flight. With two genki boys. And a six hour lay-over in Narita.
I admit I am a little exhausted from the process and that sometimes overwhelms the excitement about what is ahead.
It is hard to fathom what we are getting ourselves into sometimes but slowly all the pieces seem to be coming together.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sebastian's Weekend

Well, after all that talk about wildness and the sneering tone about central Florida, we spent Saturday at Sea World in Orlando. Since Sebastian's 5th birthday is quickly approaching, we suggested to the grandparents that the best gift for him would be to create memories. And since he is a future zoologist and marine biologist, Sea World was a great place for him. On Sunday, we headed north via Gainesville and stopped at the Florida Museum of Natural History to see the butterfly rainforest and fossils.
All in all, a very memorable weekend.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Enjoy Florida

While we prepare to leave (a process full of tedious details like visa applications) we are also making a point to enjoy our last days in Florida. Since it is our intention to remain in Japan as long as possible with the hope of becoming permanent residents, we don't plan to return anytime soon.

And yet, Florida is not a place that you can leave. It stays with you, revealing its permanence through your addiction to sunshine and disappointment in realizing that in other places, flowers don't bloom year round. My Florida, the northeastern part, has changed drastically in these past years. Condos mar the our coasts and riverbanks now, spreading north from their breeding ground on the southern tip. Locals are being replaced by Northerners and Californians flocking here in search of warm weather and no state income tax, bringing with them a homogenization of the culture. The great St. Johns River is in danger of being shared with over-developed central florida while the Apalachicola River is facing a flow reduction to serve the sprawl of Atlanta.

I know my story is not unique. Everyone's hometown is under assault. Part of it is chalked up to sentimentality and yet I feel compelled to voice my concern over the speed of this change and the apparent senselessness of it all. Many Floridians are actually grateful for the housing crash because we had no way of stopping the onslaught of developers, our local governments being so easily seduced by the promise of cash. It is probably the same where you grew up. Your favorite trees are maybe gone, that lazy river you spent summers in is perhaps too polluted to touch anymore.

Yet instead of remaining planted on a soap box, I decided to follow the advice of David Gessner from his "green manifesto". Let me share what inspired me:
"Part of the problem here is what I would call the nature calendar view of nature: there is spectacular untrammeled NATURE and then there’s what we’ve got. But I am here to say that what we’ve got ain’t so bad. We simply need to fall in love with what is left, with the limited wildness that remains."

So we set out everyday to love what is left. For the next few weeks, I'll share photos of My Florida. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

first, thank you for all your kind support.
there are many words to be written about this process of preparation but i just don't have the energy right now. and yet since i don't like leaving my little blog neglected i thought i would offer these pictures of the boys from a recent trip to the seashore.

take care.