Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Bits and Pieces...

The couch arrived April 28th. We bought it, the week beforehand, but it couldn't be delivered until then.

So thrilled to have the couches.

I'm so thankful that Branden is just like his dad.... in the fact that he can put any piece of furniture together all by himself. He put this TV stand together like a boss! He did such a fantastic job. 

The living room coming together, little by little.
Long John Silver's and Taco Bell are inside 1 restaurant where we live. So you can order Taco Bell and your family could order LJS or go either way. One night, we went to Long John Silver's and Taco Bell. My kids had never eaten LJS before ever. And I used to have a LJS near me, when I was growing up. And we would go there once every 2 months. I don't like fish. LJS is an American fish and chips type place. I always ordered the "chicken planks" Which is basically just chicken strips. Anyway, knowing my kids had never eaten LJS before, I tried to steer them to Taco Bell that night. Only because I *know* my kids and know what they like to eat. I thought, I would order LJS chicken planks, for old times sake. But the kids wanted to try LJS too. And so, okay. So we 3 ordered the chicken planks meal. It came with 3 strips/planks, fries, 1 hushpuppie and coleslaw. My kids absolutely hated it. Didn't just mildly hate it.. but hated it times a thousand. They told me... it was the greasiest meal they have *ever* eaten in there life. It was extremely heavy for them. And I hate to admit it, but I completely agree with my kids. After living in Japan for 15-16 years. I can't handle LJS either anymore. In Japan, we would have karaage once a month and chicken katsu once a month. If cooked right, they're not greasy at all. In Japan, my family and I seldom, if ever ate tempura. Even at the deli, if we'd get 2 tempura breaded shrimps, after shrimp one, I felt completely greased out. My kids could never handle eating tempura in Japan either. And this meal at LJS was like 100 times worse than tempura. I know Noboru enjoys LJS. And when he comes here, I'll be picking something from Taco Bell instead. 

What else happened? Let's see in the US, Avengers came out on Thursday, 2 weeks ago? It's a school night here. So, I promised to take the kids to the movies on Sunday. I couldn't take them on Saturday, since Saturday we were waiting for the furniture store delivery people to deliver the couches. Also, I made a small mistake at the movies. Again, I'm getting adjusted back to living in my home country. And boy oh boy. So let me tell you the story. In Japan, when you go to the movies in Japan, you have to pick your seat. I actually really like this system of prepicking a seat. And I really love that about Japan. Now, every time I go to Guam or Hawaii or Denver, we always go to a few movies. And the system is a bit different, seats in the movie theater are first come, first serve. And I know that. I get that. I wrongly assumed that was the same system all over the US? So Sunday, morning, April 29th, we went to our nearest movie theater to where we live. I mentioned to the kids, "do you think it's like Japan, where we pick our seats in advance?" "Or like Hawaii, Guam and Denver?" Both the boys said, it's going to be first come, first serve type seating. I agreed. And so to the movies we went. The movie started at like 1pm, we got there like at 12 noon. I figured by the time we park the car, get our movie tickets, go to the bathroom and then hit the concession stand. We'd have enough time to find a good seat. Okay so, I am standing in line to get the movie tickets. And I said, "hi I'd like movie tickets to see Avenger's Infinity Wars for the 1pm showing please" The nice teenage boy looked at me a little bit like I was on crack. Because he looked surprised. And he said, you didn't pre-purchase your tickets and pick your seats? It's nearly sold out. Would you like to buy tickets for tomorrows showing instead? Insert complete shock face from me here. OMG, you guys, never have I felt... more like a freaking "out of the know" idiot! I would have liked to slink away. But, I am the mother to 2 boys. I must be strong. I asked the kids... what do you want to do. And they said see it anyways. So, Noah and I sat together and Branden sat alone, but right in front of us. And my dad sat way up front... 3 rows away from the screen. Why am I sharing this story with you? Because I have *always* been for real with you guys on my blog. The good, the bad, the totally embarrassing. The silver lining? Well, I learned 1 thing. My nearest movie theater is like Japan... in the fact, you must pick your seats in advance. And another silver lining? I will never make that mistake again. That, I know for darn sure. 
The movie tickets are $10. Which is basically considered "cheap day" for me since I'm coming from Japan. So while my fellow American might not care for the movie price, it's normal price for me. What I do love... is that the seats are super wide leather reclining seats. The thickest cushiest seats ever. And a tray table for your movie snacks. Both Branden and Noah got their own nachos. Branden got his own large soda and Noah and I shared a medium soda. I had a small popcorn, but I'm getting the nachos next time too. We also snuck in 1 movie candy or chocolate from Target. Noah brought in Hot Tamales. Branden had picked an Oreo mint chocolate bar and I picked M&M's. The seats are the best and there's only like 15 seats per row at the most, so you don't feel all cramped in this movie theater. 

That's Noah's legs all stretched out.. relaxing at the movies and that's Branden's head in front of Noah. 

Deadpool 2 is coming out soon. May 17th, I think. Comes out on a Thursday again. I have learned my lesson and so yes, I have already purchased our Deadpool 2 tickets for Saturday May 19th. I'm learning ya'll, I'm trying so hard.
What are the pros of living in the US again? The fact that at any given time, I have 3 different types and flavors of ice cream in my freezer for the kids. Peanut Butter ice-cream. Pumpkin pie ice-cream. And of course we have the old school, ice cream sandwiches too. The ice cream flavors in the US are just the best. And so plentiful with the flavors. Just yesterday, I saw a quart of Twinkie ice-cream and Hostess cupcake ice cream too. 

My favorite flavor of yogurt since I was a child, has always been coconut flavored yogurt. While, I loved living in Japan, it always seemed they had the teeniest tiny amount of cereal variety and the teeniest tiny variety of yogurt. In Japan, we had vanilla yogurt, strawberry and blueberry. Perhaps the seasonal sakura flavor, which just tastes like perfume to my tastebuds. But, I often would mention to Noboru, I sure miss coconut yogurt. And I miss the huge selection and flavor varieties. Also our yogurt in the US is thicker. Even after trying the Greek yogurt in Japan, our regular yogurt in the US is much thicker. I know, because I tried both. I have been trying every brand and type of coconut yogurt they make in the US. My faves so far are the Yoplait Pina Colada because it's very tropical, pineapple and coconut. I also like the Tillamook coconut too. It's so thick and divine. But, I have been buying new flavors too. For the kids to try. So many Girl Scout flavors available.

Noah enjoyed the Girl Scout caramel coconut.

So, like I said the pros of living here is having the pure and simple convenience of having American food at my finger tips 24/7 and available. And American food is native here... so it's so freaking cheap. Yogurts are 60 cents each. Japanese food is considered foreign food here, so it's expensive. I have not eaten rice since I left Japan. And neither my kids. Well, wait they have had rice when they go to Panda Express. But not Japanese or medium grain rice. I always pick noodles so I have not eaten rice though since I left Japan.

I'm also learning which grocery store I find the cheapest. I have been to Alebrtsons and Safeway and the local chain here. And also price compared at Target and Walmart too. I personally find Walmart grocery store cheaper on everything. And I love buying their 96 or 98% fat free ground beef.

What do I find the hardest about living here? Being without Noboru. We've been married for 20 years, this year marks year 21 for us. While some people have crap marriages or they fight all the time. I can honestly say, I married my best friend. We have just always gotten along so well. He knows me best and I know him best. I miss him so much, that at times when I am alone, I just want to burst out crying. We were like a pair of shoes. Two sneakers. And now I feel like just 1 lone sneaker, without the other one. We Line message everyday. We talk on Line, most days but not all days.  I'm trying so hard to keep it all under control. And I won't tell my kids how unbelievably grief stricken I am. Or how sad I am. Because again...I need to be their rock.  We're waiting on that green card. And I know that. And so, I have to be calm. And composed. But yes, I miss him so much, that I can't really even describe how sad that I am, without him. Noboru called me last week, asking, how long to cook one of those Costco frozen pizzas and what temperature to put it on. Why? Because he too is having a hard time without me too. As far as cooking pizzas are concerned or anything in the house....I frankly always handled it. And so he never had to think about such things. Because I always did it all. Now I'm not there. And yeah...he's feeling it too. And so am I.

The good news... is that as soon as the kids get out of school for summer break, we're going back to Japan for about 4 weeks. I can't wait. And I know Noboru can't wait either. So in June we're going back. So yes, there are pros and cons for living here. Living in Japan, I always felt like I had 1 leg in Japan and 1 leg in the US. And here...I too, feel like I have 1 leg in the US and 1 leg in Japan too. I think though... when Noboru moves to the US...then I can finally start to feel like I have 2 legs both firmly planted in the United States.