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.


JO said...

I just sent you a message on Facebook but I should have read your Blog first. I think we were typing at the same time!

Wow. What a great time Spencer is having. They are seeing and doing so much. What an experience for all of them.

Love the dance pictures of Kaelin. She is such a great looking gal. Also love her "dress up" picture. My kind of "dress up!" As you know, I have several pairs of Converse tennis shoes. You look fabulous in the picture with her!

You shouldn't feel bad about not going to see Kaelin's dance teacher. She knows that you care about her and knowing you, you have shown your love for her, many times.

Good luck with your chemo on Monday. So glad you have been feeling good lately. Sure miss seeing you. I think of you often.

Love you, JO

Paris said...

So glad to hear that Spencer is having a great time. Love the pics of K... congrats to her. So sorry to hear about Irina. Please do not feel bad about not going to see her. You have to follow your heart. Good luck on Monday. I will be thinking of you, and here for you... anything I can do, my friend. So proud of you for fighting the fight. Love you. xoxo

Molly McCarthy said...

Shauna - You have a beautiful gift with words. Write Irina a letter. It will mean just as much as what you and your daughter have/need to say to her in person. Besides she might not want anyone to see her that way. Enclose a photo for her to look at.

Also, you don't have time to wallow in guilt right now. It's hard enough going to see a dear friend when you yourself have been given the gift of health.

Chin up!

Nightscrapper said...

How fun for Spencer to be in Japan. So cool! Love Kaelin's converse. Just hearing about all she does wears me out. LOL

Sorry to hear about Kaelin's dance teacher. I don't think you should feel bad at all. But I will tell you, I think you are one of the strongest persons I know. Your strength and determination to fight just blows me away.

Hugs to you!!