Well, since I have been neglecting you all, I suppose I should make up for it in divulging the details of various happenings from the past couple months. Such events might include the many adventures of traveling to the States through Japan, mal-adjustments in being Stateside, and Corinisms.
Let's start with the quakes in Japan.
Corin and I were headed to Texas to visit family and friends for about three weeks and had a four hour layover in Japan followed by a two hour layover in Houston. Combined with 18 hours of flight time, it was going to be a long trek to the States without Taylor.
Friday morning,on our first flight from Busan to Tokyo Japan, I decided to read the CNN newfeed rather than watch a movie. I browsed the headlines, one of which was entitled "Earthquake in Northern Japan" and decided to skim the contents. The article told of a quake hitting the northern areas of Japan on Wednesday of that week, but that it did little damage to the affect area. I really didn't think much of it as I moved on to the next article. Soon we had landed in the Narita airport, just northeast of Tokyo. Knowing we were there for the next four hours, I got our boarding passes, let Corin watch our plane get fueled up and the catering truck load up our flight with food, and then we headed to the children's play area. I sat down on one of the benches to watch Corin play with the few toys in the room. We'd been there for maybe 20-25 minutes when I felt a slight shake under me. I looked around and asked the other two moms if they had just felt that too, or if it was just me. One replied that it was probably just a plane taking off as the other mom nodded in agreement. Hmm. I found myself thinking that I prefer to never be in an airport that shook when planes took off, but before I could state that I thought it might have beena small earthquake instead, the room started swaying side to side. Well... poop. THIS was no small earthquake. I grabbed Corin and the carryon luggage and headed out of the playroom. There I pulled Corin under an internet connection desk and told him we were hiding from the earthquake monster who was currently shaking the building. The quake lasted maybe 1 1/2-2 minutes. I jammed my thumb as we were forced into the confines of the small desk by the quake. The ceiling tiles were rattling and debri was falling from around the tiles, lights and airducts on the ceiling. You could hear glass breaking far off and people were freaking out all around us. Once the quake ended, I took Corin to our departure terminal to see what the plan was for our flight. once we arrived in that terminal, another quake hit. Lesser than the last, but still threatening enough to temp Corin and I to seek shelter under the sturdy steel waiting benches. Once under the bench, Corin began instructing those around us to hide from the earthquake monster as well. They all thought he was cute, but very few accepted his invite. Soon after this quake, and announcement came on the entercom and we were all instructed to head to the nearest exit for evacuation. The staff lead us out to the tarmac, where we would spend the next 2 hours. It was chilly, but not too bad. The sun was out and luckily Corin and I had on our winter coats as well as long sleeves and pants. Others were not so lucky. Some were transfering through Japan to or from a tropical destination. Those poor t-shirt and shorts adorning travelers. Corin was quickly growing bored with standing around and so I was forced to sit down and pull out his coloring book and crayons. Just a few feet away, a little girl (1/2 Japanese & 1/2 Canadian) was hiding behind her dad as he talked on the phone with his Japanese wife. (As you can guess, he is the Canadian in the little girl's equation) Anyways, she longingly looked at Corins crayons and so I invited her to join in on the coloring. She was eager to join and Corin eager to share. Soon the two were inseperable buddies. The little girl, Raenna, was four and was very open and friendly. The two shared snacks, toys, coloring books, and lots of giggles over the next several hours. Soon we were herded back into one of the lower sections of the airport that was concluded to be safe. We awaited further details as everyone crammed in around the televisions to see the horrifying footage of not only the earthquake damage, but now the tsunami as well. The local Japanese were taking it hardest and foreigners soon made way for the loacls to have front row seats at the TVs. Each time they showed a different city or footage, you'd see three or four people pop up and start making phone calls with frightened expressions on thier faces. The Canadian dad, Josh, and I decided to team up so our kids would not be so bored and also to take shifts with bathroom duties and whatnot. Luckily, Josh living in Japan, had a cell phone and service. He let me send a few e-mails to Taylor before the airport staff announcing that we could expect no flights to go out for at least a day and a half. WHAT?!!!! My heart about sank into my shoes. I had just been looking out the window at the airplane I was to board and fly out on only a few hours before that. Why could we not just take off? I knew it was fueled up. It had food... which at this point they were handing out "rations" of Ritz crackers and bottled water. They told us the waterlines had been damaged and that we would have to use our bottled water wisely. They also told us all transportation and roads to and from Tokyo and the narita area were closed down. Great. So even if we had wanted to pay for a nice comfy bed to rest in while we awaited a rescheduled flight, we didn't have that option. Not to mention, they had turned off the heating system... which I assume is because it was feuled by gas.. and so we were now getting colder with each passing hour. Once the sun was down, most people were covered in the 4X4 thin fleece blankets they had been handing out. Around 10:30pm, now almost 10 hours after we first arrived in Japan, the airport announced that two flights would be taking off for thier destinations. These two flights were ones that the passengers had already boarded prior tot he quake and had been bunkered up in those planes now for almost 7 and a half hours. Both flights were originally only supposed to be 2-3 hour flights. At that point, I was thankful for being in the airport rather than an airplane. Soon after, the staff opened the second floor of the building to allow us to spread out. The staff had inspected the building and verified it as safe to move about it. Soon, the sardines were unpacking out of the lower level can and we were able to get out from under other people's feet. Whew. The only problem with freedom of movement, was that it was accompanied by colder temperatures. The second floor was more exposed to the wind, and with most of the perimeter structure boasting shatter proof glass, we were quite chilly in our new crash pad. By now it was 11 something and both myself and Josh were trying to get our toddlers to sleep. I covered Corin in all available cloth, including the wimpy fleece blankets and both our coats as I shivered in hopes of a new round of blankets that were announced to arrive. Soon Corin was out and I sat listening to the news from a nearby television and the occasional announcment of snacks in various areas of the airport. Then the long awaited news came, our flight, my flight to Houston, was to leave the next day. The airport staff wanted to verify the conditions of the runway early the next morning and then would announce a specific departure time from there. I was so happy! Finally the staff came around with thremals blankets and I was able to get a few hours of sleep before Corin woke me at 5am. This would be a long day. But I was thankful that most of it would be on a flight to Houston! :) Throughout the night I had been lifted from my sleep by several aftershocks, some more powerful than others, but none that compared to the initial quake I felt around 3 on Friday. Saturday morning we all stood around looking at each other as we waited for staff to open the restaurants and serve us coffee. Something that never happened... well not the coffee part anyways. There was an udon noodle shop that opened it's doors and charged people about $25 for a noodles soup meal. Yep, Corin and I ate Ritz crackers for breakfast. The aftershocks, or tremors as I called them, continued on through the morning Each one with the lingering fear that we would get a big one soon, much like Chile. Praise the Lord, that did not happen. Around 9am our flight was confirmed to head out at 1pm. By this time I was quite familiar witht he layout of the airport. Corin and I had been walking the halls in search of a place to eat lunch for several hours. Around 11 a small cafe opened up and so we ate sandwiches with contents of unknown origin, recognizable pretzel snacks, and a couple bottled beverages. I also got gummi bears for the next flight since Corin's ears had bothered him on the first landing. Soon it was 1:00 and we began boarding the plane. As we took off, I could only think of God's protection and provision for us during that time. I was thankful. And soon, Corin and I were napping and enjoying the plane ride(and the never ending orange juice!)
First and foremost, sleep was scattered at best. I never fully adjusted to a normal sleep pattern. I woke up every night at 3:30 and would start at the ceiling in hopes of those z's returning. They did... at 6:30. Of Course Corin would wake at 6:50, so it did little good. (I took multiple naps while back.)
Second, I got an upset stomach after every meal I ate. Not sure if it was the chlorine in the water... aka the Plano pool water... or if it had something to do with the actual food.
Third, I felt the compulsion to bow when I met someone. And when I thanked someone, and when I said goodbye to someone.
Fourth, for the first few days/week, Corin asked of each person we came in contact with;"Does he/she speak in English?"
Fifth, I felt compelled to run red lights as well. ( A common practice of many... scratch that... all Korean drivers.)
So, as most of you know, Corin is in the midst of potty training. He is currently house trained. :) Public outings are still a little worrisome... but time will heal that. Anyways, the other day I was sitting in my room reading while Corin was playing in his own room with his cars. Then I hear him run to the bathroom. Then I hear a grunt. "ERRR. UGH. Oh, Come on!!!" In my head, I was thinking.... oh dear, what is he doing, or trying to do? Then I hear him come out of the bathroom without having flushed. I kindly ask if he had pooped. He looked at me, sighed, and said "Nope. Mommy?,,, will you go poop for me so I can have some chocolate?!" I about died laughing. I then explained that he, Corin, had to be the one to poop in order to get the two m&ms. He sighed and walked back to his room, head hung low. "Okay mom."
When in the car, unable to spank Corin for his misbehavior, we've been known to ask him to spank himself. Corin grunts, then lifts a cheek off the seat and smacks his own bottom. Then he replies that he does not like spankings. :) (To which of course we reply that we don't like disobeying.) FYI: just because we spank, doesn't mean we abuse... so if you are opposed to spanking... read the Bible and search for "the rod." Thank you and good day.
Corin has had a year and half run with this phobia of haircuts. Yesterday, I talked him into a wide awake haircut... I say awake because up until now, I have been butchering his hair in his sleep. Anyways, with the promise of a family walk afterwards, Corin relented to the haircut. He whined of course. He mostly disliked the discomfort that arose when he tried to wipe the hair off his neck resulting in an itchy neck. He showered afterwards and happily took a walk with us and his new haircut. Hooray!
Corin has begun to quote movies... it makes life slightly scripted, but funny none the less. "Who's the cat, who's the cat, who's the cat?!" Favorite quote of the week... name that movie! oh and "I know all your tricks old man."
His Likes: Peanut butter sandwiches,baseball hats, motorcross anything, and car shows..
His Dislikes: "quiet times", dad leaving for work.