I'm back! And boy, is this jet lag really kicking my butt. In fact, I'm writing this post at 3 AM after several hours of trying to go to sleep. I ain't as young as I once was, I guess. And can we talk about how I will not be flying American Airlines ever again? Flew from Orlando to Chicago and was ready for a good 4-hour layover. Was not prepared for that 4-hour layover to turn into a million hour layover because the plane broke and they had to find us a new one. Finally got into Tokyo and couldn't access the airport's wifi so caught the last bus out on faith that someone would eventually find me. Got dropped off under a bridge near midnight and realized just how foreign kanji actually is and waited in an increasingly panicked state until my blessed brother finally called out my name. I don't think I've ever been more relieved and grateful to see him in my entire life. Over 30 hours of hard traveling, totally worth it for this precious moment:
Let me tell you something: I can not get enough of this sweet thing. And for those of you that may not know, she was born just two days after my other perfect niece. I got adorable nieces comin' out of my ears, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now if my brother would just move his little family in next door to me, life would be about as close to perfect as it can get this side of Heaven. I mean, just look at this baby, y'all.
I can't even.
Today is the day to bless the PhotoGrid app because if it were not in existence, this post would be a mile long with the pictures. I had to use all my powers of selectivity as it was just to create these little gems for your viewing pleasure so you're welcome. In the two weeks I spent in Japan, we managed to fit in a little sightseeing like visiting Kamakura and seeing the second largest bronze Buddha in Japan, trying green tea ice cream, taking the train to Shibuya Crossing and getting a picture with the Hachi statue and the colorful Hachi mosaic/mural, and exploring Camp Zama.
I also was able to go to church with my brother and sister and niece and meet some of the sweetest brothers and sisters in Christ, and I was even able to be there for my niece's dedication. I can't even describe how truly thankful I am for the Body of Christ and this particular arm that has unreservedly drawn Oakie and Caroline in close and loved them with the love of Jesus. It was really hard to keep the tears in check as I sat back and watched these beautiful people pour out their love on my family, and it's hard to keep the tears in check even now writing about it. God's love is so big and so real, and it shatters my heart in the best possible way to be a part of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Tokyo Horizon Chapel for your faithfulness to God and His Word.
We played a lot of Yahtzee, Golf, and Phase 10, hit up the pool a couple times, spent a lot of quality quiet time reading (I finished 3 books off my list!), and of course, I snuggled that sweet new niece of mine every second I could. She is, after all, the whole reason I went.
It was hard leaving her behind, but I was more than ready to get back to my sweetheart and these crazy dogs.
And after another 30+ hours of traveling, I finally made it back. When I arrived in Chicago from Tokyo, I was delayed for another million hours while they once again had to find a new plane. Hence, my breakup with American Airlines. This was Strike Three with them as they once lost my luggage for 3 days on a trip I took to Brasil. But that's another story for another day. Suffice it to say: they're out.
I'm missing my niece and her parents pretty fiercely, but I'm glad to be back home, and I'm hoping my body will catch up soon. How has your July been so far? Any big trips planned? Feel free to gush excessively about how adorable my niece is in the comments, and have a fantastic weekend. Stay cool out there!