I guess that if you are reading this blog you probably fall into one of the following categories:
- You know me (or Paul) personally.
- You receive our prayer newsletters and have followed the links here (Hi!).
- You are interested in Mission.
- You are interested in Japan.
- You LOVE vegemite and kimonos and how brilliant it is when they get together.
For those of you who fall into the first four categories then this blog post is for you! I thought that perhaps some of you might be interested in knowing what life actually looks like for us on a weekly basis, in a little more detail. Our schedule does change a little every few months with new teachers, class rotations etc but for the most part, this is what it looks like. Here we go!
Monday-Wednesday-Friday (aka days that Caity comes to help)
Paul usually wakes up a little before me with Heidi and Pippa some time around 6:30-7:00, as I’m still getting up usually once a night with Annelise. We are usually all up by 7:30, enjoying a yummy breakfast prepared lovingly by Paul each morning. We ALWAYS get Heidi and Pippa dressed before breakfast or else it’s a big issue that takes forever to get done!
Around 8:30 Caity, our superhero in disguise as a normal person – aka Clark Kent – comes to help with the kids and house chores etc so that Paul and I can both head to school. We jump on our bikes and ride the 5ish minute ride to JLCC – Japanese Language and Learning Centre. The day usually starts with a small prayer meeting from 8:45 – 9:00.
Heidi and Pippa usually do some English homeschooling in the morning – whether it’s ABC Reading Eggs, reading together, or some kind of literacy based activity, we try to do something each day if we can for about half an hour. Heidi also heads off to Japanese Kindergarten at around 9:30. She catches the kinder bus from the front of our apartment building, and gets home around 3pm.
I currently have classes first thing, and am on a slightly reduced load of 2 classes a day, rather than the typical 3. Because I began JLCC with some Japanese already, and have a baby and other small people to look after, we made the decision after returning from maternity leave for me to continue with 2 classes so as to prevent extra stress on the family.
The classes at JLCC are all one-on-one classes. This means we all progress through the set curriculum at our own pace, but it also means there is no slacking off in class!!
After class I stay for morning tea, perhaps an hour of study and a quiet time and then head home to breastfeed Annelise, have a chat with Caity, tickle Pippa, grab some lunch and head back to school for a bit more study.
I try to be home by around 3ish, to feed Annelise again and welcome Heidi home from Kinder. Most days the kids have afternoon tea, and then Heidi listens to an Audiobook on her bed for a good half hour or so, to try and wind down after an intense day at Kinder. This is a recent development and has really helped with our routine and calmness in family life.
Paul has afternoon classes at the moment, so can get a fair bit of study done on the days that Caity helps us, which is great, and usually gets home around 4:00.
Because the weather is nicer lately, we often try to go to a park around 4ish for a run around, which has been really good for us all.
Caity heads home around 5 and we begin the evening routine! Between 5 and 7 we make dinner, clean kids, dishes and the apartment (roughly), I feed Annie more and get her ready for bed, while Paul reads a Bible story and puts the two ‘big girls’ into bed.
Most days after the kids are in bed Paul and I try to pray together for a little bit, veg out for a bit and then from around 8ish we both do homework. Depending on what we need to do, it might be anything from 45minutes to a couple of hours. Sometimes we watch a Japanese drama or play Monopoly Deal together too!
Because we don’t EVER get a sleep in (hahaha) and I’m still up during the night we usually try to get to bed around 10:30. Much like our Japanese counterparts we too have our daily ‘Ofuro’ (bath) in the evening – although mostly not the bath, but the shower. And then it’s snooze o’clock!
Once a week Paul meets with his language helper for a couple of hours, and occasionally Heidi and Pippa go too, as they have two older daughters who love to play with them!! It’s a great time of Japanese conversation and friendship for Paul.
Often on a Wednesday Caity stays for dinner, and if we have no urgent homework, or if we can do it the next day, then we might play some board games together. We play Settlers of Catan mostly (that’s what we have), or Monopoly Deal, and occasionally Take Two. Or we watch a DVD cause that’s also awesome.
Oh and I nearly forgot the amazing essential information that Friday night is DESSERT NIGHT!!! Boy do we ALL look forward to that! Paul and I often watch a DVD on a Friday night – hello iTunes vouchers, hint hint… 😉
These are the days during the week that Caity goes and does other amazing things, so our days are somewhat similar, but also a whole lot different. Oh yeah, that makes sense! 😉
Basically I head into JLCC in the morning, and then we do a tag team at lunch time when Paul heads in after I get home. So it is much the same, but in terms of productivity relating to study – it’s quite a different picture. On these days if we have homework that needs to get done, we have to do it all in the evening. And because we are always SO fresh and energised after finally getting the kids into bed, we LOVE doing that… Can anyone detect my very subtle hint of sarcasm there? Anyone…?
Also, on Thursdays we have the weekly OMF Prayer Meeting. We meet at JLCC on the 3rd floor which has a bigger meeting room, and we sing a few songs, hear a few announcements, a short message or testimony and then spend time in prayer. It’s all in English, for the OMF missionaries in the Sapporo area. A lot of people head out for dinner afterwards too, but with the little kids, getting home after 6 and having to get dinner going is really about enough for us to manage most weeks!
We always look forward to Saturdays. We have pancakes every Saturday morning, and then have family time. Sometimes it’s a not so exciting quite day with a visit to a small local park, other times we go out for day trips, or to Costco, or to visit a friend – it’s the fun day of the week.
We have church on Sundays, which currently is quite enjoyable, but very tiring. We attend a nearby church, and if the weather is not bad (and if the wind is not strong – which it almost always is) we ride our bikes. My bike has a baby seat for Annie and a pre-schooler seat for Pippa, and Paul’s bike has a seat for Heidi. I might write a blog about our bikes another time!
It’s all in Japanese, with a congregation size somewhere between 30-50 depending on the week. There is no Kid’s Church, so most weeks Paul and I alternate with one of us staying in for the sermon and the other going out into the ‘Kid’s room’ with the kids. The kid’s room is quite small and stuffy, so when we can we like to stay in the service all together, but that depends on how the kids are going. We have been managing that the last few weeks.
We usually get home from church around 2pm, as there is inevitably some kind of activity after church each week – potluck, prayer groups, or other meetings. And we are nearly always the first to leave, but Annie is always desperately tired by then and so that means we are all tired by then!
Sunday afternoons are usually quite quiet, and Heidi and Pippa get to watch their weekly DVD then, which they always desperately look forward to!
What about all of the other stuff you do?
Like grocery shopping, hobbies and exercise? Oh yeah – shopping happens a couple of times a week as we need.Trolleys in Japan are generally too small to buy enough for one week. And hobbies and exercise – we try but mostly fail in these areas. And housework too! We do occasionally get out on a date night though, which is awesome! We also Skype with family a bit, and spend time sorting out rubbish for the amazing Japanese rubbish system, but that’s probably pretty much it!
So that’s a bit of a summary that can hopefully help you get a bit more of a picture of what life looks like for us here on a weekly basis. What does your life look like currently? Are you surprised by anything about mine?