Tuesday, March 24, 2009

heeeeeeeee's back!!!!!!!

Wearing the same clothes he left in. Just looks a little more haggard. Thinner. Taller. Definately stinkier! LOL He is soooo glad to be home and I'm so glad to have him home!

First thing out of his mouth "I'm hungry! Can we stop and get some food?" He wants pizza, cheese burgers, ice cream. He missed American food!

Next thing out of his mouth "Is Simba in the car?" He was very happy to see Simba and vice versa.

So we stopped at the airport Starbucks and got him a cinnamon roll and an icetea/lemonade. Then we stopped and got him an oreo shake! It's cheeseburgers for lunch and pizza for dinner! I guess he's been living off of Sushi and noodles. He looks thin to me! Gotta fatten him up!

He's now had a long, hot shower, washed his hair and put on clean, fresh jammies. He's sitting on the couch, playing video games. Tired, but not wanting to go to bed. I think he's happy to be home. Of course he's tired, it's tomorrow in Japan! It's like 4am there or something. He's been up all night traveling. Long flight!

We went through his bag and he got out all of the souveneirs and goodies from his backpack. He was very excited to give Kaelin her stuff. So sweet of him. He's being very extra sweet to me, telling me "thanks for picking me up mom. Thanks for the cinnamon roll. Thanks for this, for that." It's so nice to have my baby boy home and in a good mood, not all teenagery!!! Remind me of this when I start complaining about his attitude again in a few days!! ;)

Thanks again to all who helped make this trip possible and who gifted him spending money. He had a wonderful time and wonderful memories and he's made some good friends with kids in his class that he wasn't as close to before. He's come back a changed boy and we are so glad to have him back!!!!


P.S. On a sad note, Kaelin's gymnastics coach, Irina, died yesterday of cancer. She deserves her own post, so I will save that for tomorrow to honor her, as tomorrow is her memorial service. She is up with the angels now but she will forever be in our hearts and souls. xoxoxo

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Baby Comes Home Tomorrow!!!!

Here is the latest update on their trip:

PHEW! Boy have we been busy between sick kids, traveling, and wonderful adventures! Dealing with sickness has been an additional stressor but through it all your kids have proven themselves to be amazing, resilient, generous and flexible troopers! We have not had internet access for the past couple of days while we have been staying at the outdoor school in Takeo and now the catlin website is not working so i am trying to send this thru gmail. I can hardly believe that we have already passed the halfway point in the trip and are actually down to the last couple of days! I told the kids on day 2 that it would seem like the trip was going slowly at the beginning and then suddenly it would be over! Sure enough we have all found that to be true! I will try to give you some quick updates of the activites you have missed!
The monkeys and the aquarium were a highlight for me in Beppu. And I am sure that the trained walrus knew more japanese than I do! On our last day in Beppu We were lucky enough to have clear weather on the day we took the tram up to the caldera of Mt Aso. It looked like a steaming caldron of blue/green/yellow broth and Andy had us all sit and write a tanka (a haiku but with more lines and syllables) while we were on the volcano. We also had a chance to visit with Kate Yonezawa (the previous Japanese instructor at catlin) and her husband who is a bamboo artist in the area. We visited the bamboo museum and made a small bamboo key chain.
Next came our reception in Takeo which even included a large american flag! The schools we visited were most welcoming hosts and the kids enjoyed having a chance to interact with the Japanese students. We were entertained by kendo and koto demonstrations and the kids wished they had had more time to perfect their song and dance performance. Staying at the outdoor school site was certainly not luxury accomodations and I am sure your kids will have lots of complaints about the food but this was never designed to be a 5 star trip and the accomodations were more than adequate. On our last day in Takeo, we visited their local science museum. I was amazed at how well designed the exhibits were. It definitely rivaled OMSI! We went in a bungee-type aparatus that was designed to give us the feel of what it is like to walk on the moon, and we also got to sit in the middle of a gyroscope-type contraption that whirled us in every direction while spinning 360 degrees! Some of us even got to stand inside a giant soap bubble! We also went to a site which was reputed to have the largest kiln in the world! We were taught how to make a clay bowl and true to form for catlin students, everyone's turned out different (not sure if that was what the instructor expected!). These will be glazed and then shipped to us in Oregon. They will make for a precious sourvenir of our time in Takeo which is known for its pottery. On the final evening at the camp, student volunteers from the local school put on an unusal candle ceremony which included silly dances, and songs with hand-motions. To reciprocate, we taught them a few of our own as well! It was a delightful evening and send off.
We have finally arrived in Hiroshima. The boys are in one youth hostel and the girls are in another a short distance apart since neither site was going to be able to take all 20 of us. Both are very new facilities and the kids are really happy with these sites. It has been an important goal of ours for the kids to learn that there are ways to make traveling less expensive. We were hopeful that the last of the illnesses were over, but it looks like a cold may have followed us here. We are crossing our fingers that it does not turn into the flu but we are thankful that tomorrow is really our last day of big adventures as we travel to the Peace Park and then take a short ferry ride to Miyajima where they will see deer walking the streets. The other night we in a circle and reflected on the differences the students have observed in Japan. It is surprising to me how insightful, perceptive and throughtful middle schoolers can be! Your kids are truly impressive! We are all learning alot - mostly about how to work together as a group and how to put the needs of the group ahead of our personal needs. As we all get tired and start to long for home we know that this will get tougher for all the kids. But we feel so fortunate to have this particular group of students with us. Luckily, there is not much that a warm bed and some pizza can't cure!
Wish I had the cables to download pictures onto this computer. Andy is working on setting up some photo albums on Picassa coz the kids have taken SO many pictures!!! Hopefully a link to that is coming soon! Well, we will be home before you know it!
See you soon!
Pongi, Andy and Ann

So Spencer flies in at 8:20am Tuesday/tomorrow!!! I can't wait to take him home, get him in the shower, with some CLEAN fresh clothes, stuff him with Pizza and ice cream, let him play video games and put him to bed in his own bed!!!! :) And hopefully between all of that stuff, hear about his trip! I'm sure knowing Spencer, his answer will be "It was fun." LOL I really think Kaelin has been missing him too. She and Simba have been sleeping in his bed. I know the bird misses Spencer and after cleaning the bird's cage yesterday myself, I miss Spencer! LOL But shhhhh.....don't tell him!!! He'll go all "teenager" on me! ;)

So Spring Break has officially started. Kaelin and I went to go see "Coraline" with Grannie and Grampa on Friday and then Kaelin stayed the night over at their house. I meant to get things done at home, but got caught up in talking/visiting with Paris at the bookstore and then catching up with a special childhood friend from when I was 10 via the phone! (Have I told you how much I LOVE Facebook lately? Thank you Facebook!) Suffice to say, there was a lot of catching up to do! Nice way to spend a Saturday, surrounded by friends near and far.

Kaelin was supposed to go to a Birthday party of one of her teammates, but I dropped the ball big time. I'm telling you, this stuff keeps happening to me. I used to be able to manage my family and their schedules so well. Like a CEO running a big huge corporation. I just can't seem to keep things together lately. We are late for everything. And half the time, I'm getting dates/weekends mixed up and we don't show up at all. Can I blame all of that on "Chemo Brain" I wonder? I feel terrible about missing this birthday party, especially since we RSVPed. And it was ice skating! I also dropped the ball and Kaelin missed going over to the head of the school's house to release Salmon into Salmon Creek. I feel HORRIBLE about those. Ugh.

So I'm going to go all "freakedoutcrazycancerlady" on you and share some fears. This is the curse of cancer BTW. Every little thing freaks you out. So I've had a pretty constant headache for the last 4-5 days. Not excruiating, but nagging. And I'm not a headachey kind of person. I also have been feeling this "whoosh" in a certain side of my head. Like pulsing. Like I can feel the blood flowing there. And I've been really tired. And stressed with my 13 year old away and all of this stuff that needs doing and I am so overwhelmed. Not to mention my forgetfulness. And lack of motivation. Lack of energy. Lack of get up and go. Blah Blah Blah. (normal chemo side effects by the way, worsening with time as the drugs build up in your system and accumulate). But what conclusion do I come to? I have a brain tumor! Now I can't stop thinking about that. What if it's spread to my brain, like what happens with so many women I see in my support group? Ugh! I hate the Cancer Curse! It just will NEVER leave you alone. I think I will bring this up with my doctor next visit and ask for an MRI. Just to be sure. BTW, I have my 6 week CT Scan on April 3rd. Good gracious, April is next week! My baby girl turns 10 on April 1st! I'm not ready!!!!!!

Dave has been running a shooting clinic/pick up games for youth kids on Sunday nights 6-8pm. Last night Kaelin went to her 2nd one, with some of her teammates, and you definately can see a difference in her shooting! She's improving in both shooting and in game play! Making cuts. Driving, etc! I love it! She's going to be a good player if she sticks with it. She can shoot and more importantly in girls hoops, she can JUMP!

This week she is attending one of Dave's Spring Break Hoop Camps M-TH 12-3pm with some of her teammates. This will really be good for her! I might sneak over and watch but it's so nice to be HOME ALL ALONE! What should I do first????? She's going to a playdate afterwards and Dave has Open Gym at Catlin and I have a fun dinner at Chevy's with ex-coworkers from HOTP. If I can remember to go that is!!

Better stop rambling and get to enjoying being home alone. That means laundry, cleaning, paperwork, etc! No fun! :(

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Writing Catch Up

3/17/09 Topic: Poetry

The Life Boat
by Shauna Berglund Immel

Life is like a Cruise Ship.
Like the Carnival Line.
Exciting and fun.
Sailing over the waters with ease.
Without a care in the world.

Dolphins jump in the wake.
Like a marching band
leading a float in a parade.

Waves break against the bough (bow?)
Turning water into mist
like confetti falling.
Dancing in the salty air
like fairies in flight.

I stand at the helm,
taking in the beauty of the beyond
and pondering the endless possibilities
as far as the eye can see
Like the ocean.
The places I can go.
The things I can see.

I breathe in the scent of the sea
Savoring the salty aroma

The salt air tickles my face
as we sail head on into the wind.
Full speed ahead.

But the ocean
and Mother Nature,
like life,
are unpredictable.

Clouds move in like shadows
as the solitude of the still blue sky
turns to chaos.

The wind,
once a soft, warm breeze,
picks up speed
and the wet sprinkles on your face,
which once felt like soft kisses
now sting like a swarm of bees.

The seas swell
and the ocean waves,
once like a steady, mesmerizing heartbeat
Slap the side of the ship with force
Tossing it around
like a toy ship at odds
with a raging, swirl of sea.
So small and fragile.

No match for the strenght of the sea,
The ship takes on water
Like the weight of the world.
Beginning to go under.
Sinking deeper into the abyss.

Until all that is left
is but a tiny rowboat
adrift in the storm.

3/10/09 Focus: Voice/Perspective
1. write a scene from "Cinderella" from the Step Mothers perspective
2. Write a scene from "The Three Little Pigs" from the Wolf's perspective.

Miss Step
by Shauna Berglund Immel

She's so pretty and sweet and nice. Why is she so beautiful and my own daugther's are so hideously ugly? It isn't fair. Why can't my daughter's be as pretty as her? I hate her. No one should be so sweet and fetching. It's a crime I tell ya.

Oooooh wait, is that the castle bell I hear? I wonder who it could be?

Just then a vision of pure innocence and beauty walks into the room. A hush falls over the air.

"Yes Stepmother?"

"Are you deaf child? Can you NOT hear the castle bell? Get the door!"

Fortunately for her, looks is all she seems to have. How stupid can she be?

Ooooh, who's this dashing man, strolling toward me with a scroll in his hand? He looks so royal. I wonder if he's connected to the prince?

I wonder if he has money?"

To Be a Teen
by Shauna Berglund Immel

She's yelling at me again. I wonder what she wants me to do now. She always wants something. I swear that woman never shuts up. I just tune her out. I have this awesome technique of answering her without having to take my eyes off of my video game screen or stop reading my book.

She's always interrupting. Why can't she just leave me alone and let me be in peace? I KNOW I have homework. But I don't know WHY I have to do it BEFORE I can play video games.

Mom is always getting on me about something. Take my room for instance. I don't see anything wrong with it? What's a few wet towels and dirty socks on the floor? Makes it easier for me to get dressed in the morning.

And who cares if I have piles of books stacked everywhere, teetering in towers spilling onto the floor? She says she can't dust or vacuum if my shelves, dressers and floor are covered in piles. Who needs to dust? Who cares if I'm allergic to dust? I don't. Why does she? A little dust never hurt anyone. And I know this because I'm 13 years old and apparently I know everything. That's what people keep saying to mom to console her. Telling her to "Just wait, he'll come back to you when he's 21."

Where do they think I'm going? I'm not going anywhere. I like it here. This is the life; mom feeding me and cleaning up after me. Kind of like my own personal assistant, like Igor.

If only she'd stop yelling at me.

3/3/09 Focus: Imagery

1. Describe a sinister teacher skating inside a garage.
2. Describe a giant pumpkin running through the classroom

It looked like one of those big, huge, blow up balloons you see floating in big parades or advertising at car dealerships. It was big and round and orange! Plump, with ridges swelling around it's diameter. On top sprouted green vines, like tendrils falling down across it's face.

It loomed above me and I noticed it's vine like arms and legs as it ran past, disrupting Mr. Peter's algebra class. The class had been quiet as we struggled with today's math quiz, but like the welcome distraction of an unexpected fire drill, the class erupted in screams and cheers as he ran past.

1. I want to name myself... (using random words drawn out of a hat)
My words: daisy, patterning, onyx, buckle, enchanting

2. A man wakes up in the Indian Ocean, naked and clinging to a a boat, a hotel key card clenched in his teeth. What happens next???

I've always hated my name. "Shauna" just seemed so unusual growing up. I always wanted to have a more normal name, like all of the other Julie's, Jennifer's and Lisa's in my school. Maybe something more along the lines of "Daisy". Sassy like Daisy Dukes on TV. Daisy just feels so much more feminine, pretty and girlie to me than Shauna does.

Surely people would be more drawn to me like they are to the fresh, sweet scent of the flower itself, dancing happily along the flower beds parrelling the tree lined side walks on a sunny day. Unable to resist my enchanting aroma as they skip happily to school each day, being careful to not step on the cracks for fear of breaking their mother's back.

With a name like "Daisy" one would certainly feel more beautiful. There is just something so simple and poetic about the word. Like the simple joy that a single, round, yellow happy face symbolizes. Surely, if one's name were "Daisy", one would have to be happy and content.

More to come!! I'm soooo far behind!! Sorry!! Some of these are not my best work (the prompts are KILLING me!!!) but there are a few good ones. Enjoy.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Chemo Update and Japan Update

I met with my oncologist at 8am this morning, so I would have plenty of time to get the Oxcilliplatin put back into my chemo cocktail, all 6 hours of it! However, the doctor didn't have my CA125 blood marker test back yet and she asked how I've been feeling and I told her a lot better! So we decided to hold off on adding the Oxy today and waiting til the CA125 results came in. If they had gone up, I'd be coming back in for the Oxy later in the week. So I started my usual fluids and Avastin (8:30-1:15pm) and took home the 2 weeks worth of Oral chemo, the Zolata. I seem to be handling the Zolata really well and am able to drive and function while taking it without too many bad side effects. So I was relieved to hold off on the Oxy. That's the really agressive cocktail that I did in the beginning, every other Monday for 11 rounds. Had to stop before I got to 12 because I couldn't handle the side effects any more. The naropathy (numbness) in my hands and feet got so bad I could barely walk. With the Oxy came nausea. Diarreah. Constipation. Cold sensitivity (cold trigger = can't eat, drink, touch anything cold for 10 days! Like pins and needles. Throat closing up. Horrible!!!). Plus all of the pre meds (steroids) and pain meds and anti nausea and anti vomiting and anti diarreah and anti constipation really messes with ones sleep patterns etc! The Oxy would knock me out cold for 2-3 days. I'm talking not being able to lift my head from the pillow. It was like having the really bad flu every other week for a whole week. And then I'd start to feel better for a week, and then it was time to do it again! It was soooo draining and hard to keep up! Took so much out of me. I couldn't drive cause of all of the meds. Couldn't function. Couldn't manage family life at all. So you can imagine my relief when I didn't have to do it today as expected because my numbers have steadily been rising!!

My last CA125 after the first round had risen to 147, the highest it's been since diagnosis/surgery in June 06. I had gotten it down to 22 with surgery and chemo. Normal is 35 or less. I got a break and it began to rise again. So they tried the Carbo/taxol (lost all of my hair). Then I went to Reno. I came back from Reno and they started me on Oxy again, because that's the one that seems to work. Of course the chemo from hell is the one that works. Go figure. But then after only a few rounds I had an allergic reaction to it and had to stop it. So then I did the 5FU (pump) and Avastin for awhile, which got really old. She let me have a break over the holidays. Since stopping the oxy though, my numbers just kept going up and up and up.

Well, today I come home to an email from my doc and my CA125 went from 147 to 114 after my 2 cycles of Zolata!!! It's finally turned around and going back down for a change! So I don't have to do the Oxy just yet!!! I have been feeling so much better lately and told her that. I know my body well and I usually am right about things. My body knows! It's still a long ways from normal and 35, but it's at least going down!!! Which just made my day!!!! I soooo didn't want to do the oxy!! I am doing my 6 week CT Scan April 3rd and depending on those results, I may just get out of doing it altogether so far! That would be AWESOME! I HATE OXY!!!! So yeah! Go me!!! All of your thoughts/prayers help, so thank you for holding me in your heartS!!!!!!

Now for Spencer and Japan...

Here's an email I got from one of his teacher's last night, titled "Spencer's Trip So Far":

Hello from Japan! I have a little bit of time and wanted to update you on Spencer's trip so far. We hope to give them all some time when they get back from their hike to Mt. Aso today to email you, but I'll fill you in myself on what I'm seeing so far. Spencer, as always has really been a wonderful, caring addition to this group of travelers. He's being so positive and helpful in all kinds of ways. He regaled us last night at dinner with stories about the monkey park and ways to not look a monkey in the eye. Today all the kids are off to Mt. Aso, which you can see yourselves from google maps. I think he's doing wonderfully overall and really enjoying himself.

One unfortunate event is that the flu bug which was going through Catlin seems to have made its way onto the plane. A few kids have fallen prey, although-knock on wood-Spencer hasn't succumbed. The good news is that it seems to last at the most 48 hours, with only a low to moderate fever, sore throat and a few aches and pains - no runs or vomit. We're trying our best to keep those 3 children who came down with it separated and rested. And the rest, we are making sure to keep well fed with lots and lots of hand washing! We'll be sure to let you know if anything changes for Spencer, but for now rest assured that all the kids are being taken care of and no news is definitely good news. Be sure to take a look at the pictures which Andy will upload soon. They're impressive.
Take Care
And then Dave came home today to find this informative email from Spencer in his inbox:

Hi?dad, im having a really fun time in japan. say hi to everyone for me.
TELL simba i miss him. bye

Spencer Immel
LOL!! We laughed so hard at the story about the monkey park and about Spencer's email! So he misses the dog!!!! LOL That's my 13 year old boy for you!!! I can't shut my 9 year old girl up, but I can't get my 13 yr old boy to talk at all!!!!

Write Around Portland sent me this:

Hi Shauna -

We finally put up the videos on our website:


They are currently on our homepage, too. Thank you so much for doing this!


I made it to UTube!!! LOL

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Japan Trip Update #2 and misc.

I got this email this morning, and was so relieved! I've been so anxious to hear more!!!


Hope all is well. We are now beginning our second full day in Japan. Yesterday, we traveled from Nagoya to Fukuoka, our last long train ride for a while. Once we got to Fukuoka, we visited a shrine, the students' first taste of ancient Japanese architecture. The students spent quite a deal of time there exploring the scenery and sharing paper fortunes with their classmates. After that, we went to Canal City, a huge outdoor shopping mall, where the kids were given a bit of freetime to view a fire juggler and other street performers, shop, and eat a great meal. Some of us went to the Fukuoka Grand Ramen Stadium which took up a whole floor of the mall and contained at least twenty ramen restaurants arranged by the region of ramen they were serving---quite an interesting experience.

Today, we arrived in Beppu, one of the hotsprings capitals of Japan. Today, we visited the 8 Hells, which are essentially huge hot springs and mudpits of various colors, reds, white, blues, and even green. They were spectacular! A few of us also ventured to eat hard-boiled eggs boiled in the hot springs we saw---turned brown from the water...they were perfectly safe and tasted quite good. Other than that, we went to a small zoo where the kids were able to feed elephants and a hippo.

Tomorrow, we will be going to two attractions...the Uminotamago (Ocean Egg) Aquarium, one of the hugest in Japan, and a huge monkey park called Takasaki Saru Koen. This is where we are going to see thousands of Japanese monkeys close up in their "natural" tourist-filled environment. There are no cages, and the monkeys are able to roam free. It is going to be great!!!

Anyways, I am working on collecting the first series of photos from our photo scavenger hunt and hope to upload them soon. We will have internet for a few days, so this should happen quite soon!
Have a wonderful day and will update you soon.

I can't believe the difference in the energy around the house, minus one kid. The dynamics are so different. It's been really peaceful actually. But I sure miss my little buddy! (don't tell him I said that!!!)

For those of you on Facebook, the following is probably a repeat....

Today we had the American Dance Awards at Parkrose High School. We had to be out there at 8:30am. That is just WRONG on a Sat!! Kaelin performed "Topsy Turvy" with her Elite Acro group.
And then we had a soccer game at Lakeridge High School to run off to, before we realized it had been changed/cancelled! So no game today! Tomorrow (Sun. March 15th) The Red Magic plays at 9:15am at Beaverton High School.

On Friday, it was 4th Grade Music and Poetry Sharing at School. The kids had to dress up, which means, and I quote Kaelin from previous years, "you have to wear a dress, a skirt or fancy pants AND I'M NOT WEARING A DRESS OR SKIRT." However, unlike previous years, she did!! She wore her outfit from last Spring Festival, minus the white low top Converse sneakers because she has grown 3 shoe sizes! LOL We did go out and buy her new "dress up shoes."
She read the poem "Behind the Redwood Curtain" and did a great job! She was a bit nervous because she went FIRST! :)

For those of you who don't know, the Southridge HS girls hoop team, the 4 time defending State Champs, got knocked out on their way to the Final 8 in State when they played #1, Oregon City. So the season ended a bit earlier than hoped.

Monday it's back to the mean, nasty, icky, aggressive chemo with the horrid side effects. Every other Monday schedule. Ugh. Still pretending it's NOT happening. I've been actually feeling really really really good lately compared to usual. I'm talking lately as in last 3 days :)

On a sad note, my heart is breaking for Kaelin's gymnastics coach (since age 4/5), Irina. She has been battling cancer for several years and was doing well for awhile and then as of December, it had spread to her stomach and liver etc. and she began to deteriorate and lose weight etc. She isn't doing well at all and has been placed on hospice. I am having guilt because I haven't been able to bring myself to go see her. Or to take Kaelin. It hits so close to home. I know everyone thinks I should be there for her, to give her strength etc. because I would be the one person to understand. But to be honest, that is precisely the reason I can't face her. I can't bear to see it. I want to remember her how she was, vibrant and radiant, and beautiful and healthy and alive with energy. I don't want to look at her now and see myself. It terrifies me. I don't think I can be strong for her. I'm not strong enough to face her. I know I should. I know it would mean a lot. I just know I can't be strong FOR her. I've seen what this disease does. What it takes. I lose women in my support group all of the time and I have to stay away for awhile because I'm just not strong enough to go and face the group without them. Another confession...Kaelin and I have been missing ALOT of gymnastics lately. A big reason is basketball and soccer and school projects, but one big reason is Irina. It's not the same going to the gym without her there. It feels empty. Sad. Wrong. It's haunting. It hurts. It's just so unfair. I HATE cancer. Sigh.

So my heart and soul is going out to Irina, holding her in my heart with all I have. Hoping she knows we love her and miss her and that she has made a difference in our lives. If only I could face my fears and go see her and tell her in person....

Life is so unfair sometimes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Japan or Bust!

First of all, let me thank all of you who supported Spencer in this trip through your generous gifts! He/We appreciated it so very much and he will be sending Thank You's upon his return in 2 weeks! Your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity touched our hearts deeply. We have the best friends!!!!!

We've been busy with trip prep and packing lists and getting him ready to go. It's always so stressful for me to get my kids ready for one of their class trips or field trips, but this topped them all! Getting your 13 year old ready to go to Japan for 2 weeks just about killed me!! Such a relief to know he is gone and has landed safely in Japan and he still has his baggage and his passport in his possession! I can relax now because my part is done. There is nothing I can do for him now!
We dropped him off at PDX (Portland) at 11:30am yesterday to meet up with his 3 teachers and 17 classmates (6th, 7 th, 8th graders from the Middle School Japanese Program at Catlin Gabel). Spencer (8th) has been taking Japanese since he was in 3rd grade. How awesome to be immersed in the culture and to share this experience with his classmates!Ben and Jake, two of his 8th grade buddies, will be hanging with him, hopefully keeping him in check!! (and hopefully reminding him NOT to forget his luggage/passport/train pass etc!)The hardest part was watching him walk away....
There plane left PDX at 2:55pm Wed, March 12th. It arrived in Narita, Japan and then they flew to Nagoya about 3am our time Thurs. morning. Here is the email we got from the teachers:

I wanted to send you out a quick email telling you that we have arrived at our hotel. The flights were fairly long but the kids were happy with the movies on the plane, and immigration/customs took a whole 15 minutes...not bad for 20 people. We are now in Nagoya for one night and will be going down to Fukuoka via bullet train tomorrow, where we will begin all of the fun activities we have planned such as the photo-scavenger hunt,and many others.... No bags lost, no passports lost, (knock on wood), so a very good travel day.

By the way, your kids are awesome!!! Not only are they excited, but they have followed instructions excellently, considering that we are all tired. I will email you all again when I can with links to the picture/video gallery as soon as we have pictures.

It's really nice to know that my son listens to someone and follows instructions when given by someone else! LOL

On their agenda today:

Fukuoka: scavenger hunt will take them to Dazaifu Tenmongu (Temmongu Shrine, Koymyouzen-Ji, Kyushu Museum), Ohori Park, Fukuoka Castle, Hawk's Town,
Tenjin, Canal City, (Sega-Land?) Fukuoka Museum. They will have dinner in Tenjin or Canal Citym walk around and experience city-life. After dinner they will debrief, upload photos and have an early night. They may go see a pre-season professional baseball game!

Exciting huh???

I will share the link to their blog when I get it and I will keep you updated as I hear. We are not allowed to be in contact with our children individually. Only through the teacher, because they want them immersed in the culture! What a great experience! I am so excited for him!

And I hate to say this, but I miss him already????

I have so much to catch you all up on! Our trip to Seaside for the Hoop tourney etc!

My nasty chemo starts on Monday. Blech. Pretending that's not happening.

For any of you relatives/friends that are interested, there are some spectating opportunities this weekend!

Kaelin performs her "Topsy Turvy" Elite Acro Routine on SAt. March 14 at 9:30am at Parkrose High School.

Classic soccer games to watch:
12pm Sat. @ Lake Ridge High School
9:15am Sun. @ Beaverton High School

Have a great week!!!