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Overseas Life

Our International Love Story

July 31, 2021

In honor of our 5th wedding anniversary on July 30th, it seems like the perfect opportunity to share our love story with our readers!

The post below was originally written in February 2017, and appeared at a previous blog that is no longer in use. The title then was “Raindrops and Shared Umbrellas: On an anniversary and the story of a year’s happiness”.

Now firmly out of “newlywed” territory, I can say that marrying Masashi is something I would choose again and again a thousand times, and all of the challenges we have faced together have made our marriage even stronger and more beautiful than it was in the beginning.

Our love story is no longer just a story of a year’s happiness, but five years of numerous experiences and emotions, sickness and health, grounded firmly in love.

I enjoy revisiting what it was like at the beginning, and am thankful for how God brought us together.

To reminisce with us, please read below!

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Baby Stations & Breastfeeding in Japan

June 9, 2021

Our son Jamie is EBF, which means exclusively breastfed.

Although you might not see a lot of people breastfeed publicly in Japan, many public spaces are supportive of breastfeeding. The building where we grocery shop includes a breastfeeding area on the third floor, which can be easily accessed via elevator.

I have taken advantage of a few of these public “baby stations”, and they are very convenient!!

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2020: Suffering and Abundance

January 5, 2021

Everyone experienced last year differently.. and despite the popular narrative that 2020 is a year to “throw out” like curbside trash, it is also one for which I am deeply grateful. 

In 2020, we experienced many hardships. I lost three of my grandparents, and in June we miscarried our third child. Less than two weeks later, I became pregnant with our fourth child, Jamie. After 3 years of losses, secondary infertility, and barely holding on to hope, it is still hard to believe that I am nearly 31 weeks pregnant with our beautiful rainbow baby!

Last year we practiced flexibility and shifted the direction of branches of our business. We temporarily shut down some of our locations during the spring, and increased our online workload. We survived, even while many local businesses shut down (including several of my favorite restaurants!!).

We experienced distance from family and friends due to the pandemic, and canceled plans. 

I experienced the constraints of a pregnancy during COVID19-restrictions: more isolation, and void of a lot of the celebration that usually comes with preparing to welcome an unborn child.

Yet, intermingled with the challenges, it has been a year of abundance.

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Maternity Clothes: Best Brands

December 7, 2020

Now that I am nearing week 27 and have almost hit the third trimester, there is no hiding my baby bump! As a result, I invested in multiple maternity and nursing-friendly wardrobe pieces.

However, it has not always been easy to find clothes that fit my body in Japan! I have tried out a variety of different brands in the search for the best maternity clothes, and made purchases in-store, as well as on the internet and from overseas.

It is also crazy to me just how expensive maternity clothes tend to be in Japan, so if you are pregnant, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what brands work well for immigrants with bigger or more shapely bodies.

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Japan’s Pregnancy Freebies: A How-To Guide

October 6, 2020

One of the most fun things about pregnancy is signing up for maternity and baby freebies.. and there are so many available in Japan!

Through signing up for free in-store point cards and online registrations, we were able to collect 25 free diapers of various sizes, as well as sample packs of baby wipes, cookies, soap, laundry detergent, toilet cleaning wipes, disposable nursing pads, lotion, supplements, and more!

Following are some of my favorite freebies that we signed up for so far on our pregnancy journey:

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We’re Expecting! – Pregnancy in Japan

September 24, 2020

We are happy to announce that the Haruna family is expecting a baby! The due date is March 10th, 2021.

This is our rainbow baby, a term that is used for a baby that is born after an infant or pregnancy loss. Before conceiving this child, we experienced 3 miscarriages, as well as secondary infertility, over the course of about 3 years.

Getting here has been a long, difficult road.. and pregnancy after loss can be so much harder than one with no previous losses. Add onto that the uncertainties of a pandemic, and it has the potential to be even more challenging.

Yet, I am so thankful that God has blessed us with this child, and slowly the excitement has been growing.

In addition to new medical restrictions due to the pandemic, there are also many differences between giving birth in Japan vs. the U.S. If you are pregnant in Japan or just interested in the process and differences, please read more below!

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Isolation or Opportunity?

May 18, 2020

These days Masashi and I discovered the show Win the Wilderness on Netflix, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The TV mini-series is about a survival-based competition between 6 couples for the right to inherit the property and legacy of a husband and wife in rural Alaska.

The Ose family was the last to stake and successfully file a homestead claim in the U.S. in 1986, under the Federal Homestead Act. They moved to the Alaskan wilderness over 30 years ago and built a homestead by hand, where they lived until finalizing their retirement in 2019.

While watching the Win the Wilderness program, it was interesting to consider about what it must be like to live in such an isolated location. Particularly during this time of mandated social distancing, the concept of thriving in conditions of isolation is intriguing.

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Create Social Distance Without Boredom

March 15, 2020

The new phrase of the month seems to be social distancing.

As school closures and event cancellations increase, communities are implementing “social distancing” as a means to reduce the rate of the spread of COVID-19.

Last week cases of the coronavirus were found in a city where we work (a 1.6 hour drive from our home), prompting us to shut down the classes we teach there on Saturdays for at least one month. Services at a church we attend in the same city are now available only through internet streaming.

See here: Simulations of Quarantine vs. Social Distancing

For some, the idea of reduced crowds and fewer social obligations is a welcome one. For others, it might feel just the opposite! Precautionary measures may seem drastic or inconvenient, but one of the biggest complaints I have heard from others is boredom.

However, regardless of whether you are outgoing or withdrawn, there are ways to make the most of time at home, as well as to prioritize mental health.

Below I have shared a list of fun and practical ideas of things you can do this spring while practicing social distancing.. without binging on Netflix!

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The Coronavirus: Wisdom & Fear

March 5, 2020

What was previously described in Japan as the year of the Tokyo Olympics is quickly becoming defined as the year of the Coronavirus!

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a contagious respiratory illness that is spreading across the globe. As of the writing of this post, more than 95,000 people have been infected, and for thousands, it has been lethal. Although estimates differ regarding just how deadly the virus can be, some hover around 3.4 to 4%, which is higher than influenza and the common cold. 

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Creating a Routine That Works

February 6, 2020

Those who know me well know that I like “doing all the things”, maintaining a healthy life, being organized, and making the most out of time.

Since Masashi and I run our own business, finding a balance between work and home is absolutely essential! We want to create and maintain a home culture based on our values and beliefs – and we believe that with the right amount of planning, any family can choose to do this!

The way we do this is through creating a routine that works.

Do you desire to create a routine that will keep your home organized? If so, let’s get started!

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