CATCHING UP

A lot has happened since I last was in the mood for blogging. Life at our new house has been wonderful but super hectic. So, let me get a bit up to date with things.

 

 

ME:

JOB-WISE, I’ve stepped in as an Okami, or small hotel owner, which comes with no little dose of trouble but it keeps me busy and gives me a sense of purpose (on top of paying the bulk of our bills). We currently have four to six tenants in the rooms up front in any given moment (there’s an iron gate to separate their side of the property from ours) and I’ve already learned the basics like don’t believe lies like “my dad is in his death bed” unless the other person is crying their heart out, and tell them everything important in advance, especially that while deposits are refundable, reserves aren’t.

At the beginning of the year I became one of the head parents for Hotaru’s year, so I go to delegate meetings and then tell the other parents what was said and then inform the school of what 1B parents thought of it. My co-worker is Kurokawa-san. She’s extremely competitive but her heart is in the right place and she’s very supportive of me and my family in general. There’s other two head parents (Aranda-san and this other woman whose name I can never remember).

I’ve also volunteered to help 母の会 with the school events, so I’ve been running all over Mugen Gakuen like crazy helping Mariera-san and the other 母の会 members with the preparations for Karaoke, Bazaa and NM, the three main yearly events at Hotaru’s school. I love feeling useful without the pressure of responsibility over my shoulders. Still, it’s been rather taxing physically. I’ll try to take it easier next year.

Writing has been slow, then uber fast, then slow again… like always, but I think it’s been more constant and consistent than before. I’m hoping to make the most of this summer to finish my first book once and for all. I’ve been focusing mostly on the sequels lately.

Mugen Gakuen is opening a brand new Japanese Studies career in 2019 and I’d like to give it a try, since it’s the dream career I’ve been wanting to study since I was like 14. I mean… besides genetic engineering. The thing is, by 2019 we’re gonna have a brand new baby in the house, so I don’t think those two goals are really compatible if you’re hoping for a stress free life like I am.

 

HEALTH WISE, (and let’s start with my mental health), I’ve dumped my therapist the second the judge said it wasn’t mandatory anymore, and it’s made me feel MARVELOUS. I felt I weighted a ton less the second I decided not to see her anymore.

Also, on mental health: I came out as a trans man to my friends and family. My mom has had a bit of a hard time accepting this in the beginning and still struggles a bit and my dad doesn’t acknowledge the fact that I’m a man (but he doesn’t contradict or correct me either and we even celebrated father’s day together), but it looks like we’ll get there. Aunt Grace wasn’t on board until I explained to her that it hurt me when she misgendered me and now she’s the one who never does and who constantly comes to me with the latest bit of trans news or gossip in our city.

Mom was difficult, but then again she was struggling with Leo’s death and her own retirement (she retired on July the 1st) and her move into a new apartment (they demolished the house I grew up in after all…). But we’ve talked and talked and then talked some more and even though she didn’t want me to transition in the beginning, mostly because my lawyer told me to wait for a while before doing that, mom has finally come on board with it and offered to come with me to the state office when I decide to get a legal name/gender change.

Luckily for me, last time we went to see my lawyer I asked him a million questions and he had to admit that me transitioning won’t affect the trial we’re about to face for the next few years, so yay!

My doc said I’m physically wonderful, but that I should go to the gym and start lifting weight to avoid constantly pulling my muscles, but mainly because it’ll help me fight gender dysphoria while I wait for the chance to begin my HRT treatment. I did join a gym about a month ago and it’s been magical. My trainer came up with a routine specially for me, so it meets my needs. Proof of that is the fact that my body is starting to look more androgynous, even without hormones.

I’m looking forward to starting HRT soon. I still need to finish my treatment at the fertility clinic and then get some tests done before that, so it’ll probably be around February, but it’ll most definitely help me pass. My only fear is that I might be unable to sing once my voice is done settling in its new pitch, as some other trans men have declared, but I’ve already sung in a (quite famous!) band, so if I can never sing again it won’t be super terrible. Well, there’s also the health safety concern, of course, but that’s more like a general fear of the unknown rather than a specific thing. In the end, I’m gonna go with whatever turns out to be the safest option (probably gel), as my desire to pass isn’t big enough for me to want to risk my well being in the process.

Speaking of passing, I started using Minoxidil for the past six months and got quite a decent beard and mustache (again, considering I’m not taking hormones yet). It helps me pass 90% of the time, but I only pass as a thirteen year old… but I still love it. Sometimes they think I’m Hotaru’s older brother and take Michiru for our mother. It’s been hilarious =P

 

HOTARU:

The kid has been blooming nonstop since the move. =D Even with Lana’s passing, she’s been doing great. She’s the best student in her Spanish, Japanese and English classes (#proudad). Her last report card had 24 “A+” in it… out of 28 school subjects. The other four were “only” A’s, and it’s not like we’re driving her up the walls so she will study. The kid comes back home hooting in delight whenever they give her homework and has worked hard of her own volition to improve her grades in the subjects where she doesn’t have top marks (she had only 20 “A+”s in her first report card). Let me clarify that her lower grades are in less important subjects like PE, music, technology, etc).

In the extracurricular category, Hotaru has been taking roller skating lessons and even though she came home crying the first few classes because she fell a lot and the other (much older) girls didn’t, now she has gotten the hang of it and enjoys the activity thoroughly. She’s also taking swimming lessons at school (so, technically it’s curricular), but she already knows how to swim, so this is no news. The kid wanted to take acting lessons as well, but the school recommended for 一年生 to avoid having more than one extracurricular activities, so we’ve put that on hold until next year. She’s a bit impatient on this regard.

Socially, Hotaru broke up with her boyfriend and had a fleeting crush on her friend Lulu-chan but I think she’s now over it, though she still admires Lulu-chan a lot. Rami-kun is her other close friend since she was three years old and the three of them have adapted to the new school wonderfully. They spend a lot of time together, but have also made new friends like Mercedes-chan, Matsu-chan, Emma-chan and Phillip-kun. She’s particularly close with a girl named Megumi-chan whose mother used to work with my mom and who regularly comes over for after school play dates.

Megumi-chan is very well mannered although a bit tantrum prone. She eats a lot and loves my hotcakes so I often make them for the girls whenever she comes over. Now that the weather is getting warmer, we just buy a ton of strawberries and eat them with fruit juices and shakes. Hotaru likes a fruit mix, while Megumi-chan favours apple juice. Call me old school, but I usually go with orange juice… or pear/peach smoothie, depending on what’s available at home. The girls love the smoothies as well.

Emma-chan is the shy Japanese girl Hotaru threw her birthday party with. She’s beautiful like a delicate porcelain doll and Hotaru loves her like a little sister, although we’ve explained to her that she shouldn’t be condescending.

Michiru and I suspect that Rami-kun might be gay because of the way he moves and the things he says and how he always prefers to play with the girls rather than the boys. He’s super sweet and keeps giving everyone hugs and writes things like Love ❤ on his hands all the time. Also, we fear Phillip might be a trans girl, because he keeps saying “Oh, mom, look! I’m Rapunzel!” or some other Disney princess and keeps consistently picking princess costumes and masks whenever we (or somebody else) organizes a themed birthday or costume party. He even cried when he wasn’t allowed to wear a skirt and dance with the girls at a recent birthday party and refused to play soccer with the other boys.

This worries us a bit because his mother is… well. She isn’t particularly open minded and keeps insulting him and degrading him in public in very humiliating ways every time he does something “gay” or girly. She would tell anyone who’d listen that her son is a huge faggot and that he’s a crybaby because he cries all the time if something upset him and such. The kid is very sensitive, he and Rami-kun draw all the time and are great at it. Rami-kun even won the first prize at the school drawing competition this year!

Michiru and I fear for the future of Hotaru’s friends because they have these not quite understanding parents supposedly looking after their needs, only they couldn’t see their real needs if they slapped them in the face. Lulu-chan is the same. Her parents got divorced a year and a half ago. She’s Hotaru’s BFF and her mother can’t stand us. She’d greet everyone but us and if we do greet her she’d mumble something under her breath and move on. I’ve tried talking to her in the past, asking for a play date for Hotaru and she not only told me to ask her ex, she also was rude to me (well, she almost always is), which is unsurprising, considering she was in good terms with Dr. Tomoe.

Michiru can’t stand her for it and neither can I, although for a different reason: she’s denying Hotaru the chance to have fun with her friend outside school. Lulu-chan has told her “my mom won’t let me go to your house” in the past, so we know it’s not just our imagination. Still, the rest of the parents are nice and respectful to us, so yeah.

There’s been a school camp and Hotaru enjoyed every second of it with her friends. It was everything she had expected and more. We’re happy that she could attend, because of what her old school pulled on us at the last minute last year.

Hotaru is still very allergic to chocolate, but she has ceased to have asthma attacks… at least for now, but the weather has been mild in spite of the sudden temperature drops, so it might be seasonal. We’ll have to wait and see.

The kid has adapted brilliantly to her new routines and responsibilities. Her therapist, Helga-san, is happy with her development and adores her… though not quite as much as her English teacher, who is fighting fiercely for the #1 fan spot. LOL. The woman worships Hotaru and her ability with languages. She can efficiently communicate in Spanish, Japanese and English if she needs to, though most of the talking at home is done in either Japanese or Spanish.

Hotaru still has some trouble with particles, but can hold a normal talk in Japanese as long as you stick to the subjects she already knows (which is around 3rd grade level). I teach her a lot at home and she understands even more than she can speak, which never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes I throw a very long, complex sentence her way and she gets it all. We found a lovely app by PIBO named  えほん, which we use to listen to illustrated stories in Japanese every night. We also go to the 図書室 weekly to interact with real books in Japanese, so her current level is rather high. She still recognizes about a hundred kanji and enough words to play shiritori for hours with Michiru and me. Michiru fears her English might be getting a little stale because she’s shy about it, but Hotaru can still watch full age appropriate movies in English with no subs and understand all of it, so yeah… there’s also that.

Also, on a social note, Hotaru has met Michiru’s grandparents and they absolutely love each other. She adores going over there for dinner and Michiru’s Ojiisan absolutely worships her. They play games and tease one another over dinner and Hotaru has said she’s happy to have great-grandparents once again. I do get along with them beautifully myself, but that’s besides the point. Michiru’s mother and sister also adore Hotaru and she sometimes spends the day (or the night) at their place, where the lot of them organizes Disney movie marathons, indulge in karaoke, or paint mandalas for hours at a time.

 

MICHIRU:

The crisis she underwent upon moving in with us seems to have calmed down somehow. She now helps around the house and doesn’t get anxiety for not having as much me-time as she did living with her mother and sister. I still do most of the cooking and shopping, but she does most of the cleaning, so it’s rather fair, I think. Things at her workplace were horrible, but there’s been a change in hierarchy recently that evened things out quite a bit between Michiru and her co-workers. Now she’s happier and less stressed out. She never comes home in a crying outrage anymore, which is a relief, because it was having a deep negative impact in her health, which I didn’t know how to counter on my own.

Her relationship with her mother went through a rough patch as well, but it now seems to be improving slightly. I think that, if she keeps setting healthy boundaries, things between her and Kaioh-san will continue to go down a much healthier path.

Our relationship has improved quite a bit as well, particularly since Lana’s passing. Michiru’s support became undeniably evident at that point and I felt I could truly trust her to get my back whenever I can’t handle something and I stopped feeling like I had to be able to deal with everything on my own for everyone’s sake. Now I feel this is more of a partnership and loving every second of it.

Oh, and, since we’re on the subject… We’re getting married next November ^^ and plan on start trying for a baby since September (2018). Hotaru is even more excited than Michiru and I which is saying something. She just can’t wait to be an older sister and keeps pushing Michiru and I to hurry up. LOL. Patience has never been anyone’s strongest suit in this family. Michiru still has to get a bunch of tests done, but at least on my end, things are ready to go. All I need to do is get my Health Insurance Company to approve the budget and freeze the eggs. Easy enough, right? Well, getting there took forever, even if it now seems simple.

Michiru hasn’t celebrated her birthday in ages but, as we were organizing Hotaru’s party, she asked me if she could have a Frozen piñata for hers, so I agreed under the condition that she had to let me throw her a party. I’ve recruited her sister Miki-chan to help with the prepping. Hotaru has several ideas for the party and we’re all super excited about this (except for Michiru herself, but that can’t be helped =P).

This semester has been particularly calm for Michiru at college. She’s only two or three courses shy of graduation and then she’ll have an art teacher degree. Her idea is to continue working as a sales rep for robotic companies, but who knows… perhaps she’ll change her mind someday. The important thing is that she will have an option to fall back on if something unexpected happens. She’s been toying with the idea of changing companies or perhaps getting a job as a teacher at Mugen Gakuen, but she needs her degree first… and the next semester promises to be a tough one. The few courses she needs to take are very demanding and she gets insanely upset and suffers from anxiety attacks whenever she has to sit a final or present an essay… but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes. In the meanwhile, life has been kind with us.

 

THE HOUSE:

There’s been lots of things to repair, buy, upgrade, organize, tidy up, replace and other verbs I can’t even remember right now. But it’s starting to look more and more like a home. We’re planning on setting a pool in the upstairs terrace this summer and put lots of plants all around its border to give it a more outdoorsy feeling. The tomatoes my mom planted last year have come out in our downstairs pots recently and are in full bloom. We’re hoping for bees 😉

Hotaru’s room is the best looking one. The three of us are slowly painting a sakura tree on one of the walls and she has her own pink mirror (it used to be mine, not that I’d miss it! =P) and last weekend we’ve installed a canopy over her bed so the mosquitoes won’t bother her this summer. It was a project where the three of us worked together and the final result was amazing. She loves it and Michiru and I are super proud of how it turned out.

Our bedroom still needs tons of work, as in truly separating it from our creative studio and decorating the wall behind our headboard, but we’re in no hurry there, as it’s a place where we only go to sleep, when we’re too tired to notice the decor. LOL.

The kitchen is perfect and the living room was looking great (mom gave us the long table Leo and her had bought together so we could remember him… it was his death’s anniversary last week and I miss him a lot!). The only problem there is the past two storms there were severe leaks all over the living room ceiling and now we need to put some membrane in place in order to keep it from further acting as a sieve… which Santi-san has promised to do soon. That’d be our handyman.

Speaking of the devil, he’s divided one of the two shared dorms up front into two singles and we’re not talking about doing the same with the remaining one, because the girls stopping there keep laughing in the middle of the night and being loud in general. Better to divide and conquer, I guess. =P It’s gonna be a bit taxing on our economy during the summer, but it will also mean a better income and more stability in the long run, so I know it’s the right call.

Our tiny japanese garden is still a work in progress. No koi fish pond or fountain yet, but we’ve gotten a nice Furin for it at the last event at Hotaru’s school and mom brought us a bamboo plant (together with some palms and dozens other cute things) so it’s starting to look up and quite eye-catching as it is.

The back patio between the kitchen and the bathroom still hasn’t been enclosed in glass, which turned out to be a real problem during winter. However, milder weather has arrived and now we’re in no hurry to fix it. There were a few bumps in this particular road and we had to take off a roof that threatened to fall down on us, and ask for the glass guy to redo the budget to include those extra meters… but it will happen at some point, we just don’t know exactly when… especially because this summer we’re going on vacation for the first time in like five years. I’m actually excited about it, though a little apprehensive where my mental health is concerned. We’ll see…

 

SETSUNA:

My dearest friend had a big argument with her boyfriend over whether to have a baby soon or not. They lived separately for a while and decided to stay together in the end, but wait for a bit before trying for a baby. They got a cute gray cat instead and named it after a LOL character, though we all keep giving it funny nicknames because the name is odd and honestly not nice. So, yeah. Mini-cat is the newest thing in town, he’s uber cute, but bit me viciously last time we went over for a visit.

 

ODANGO ATAMA-TACHI

This is a particularly touchy subject. Things with Usagi have been complicated… meaning that she asked me to introduce her to a friend of mine she fancied, and she acted like a crazy person with him by treating the guy like a lifelong boyfriend a week into their tentative relationship, then called him a stalker. About a month later, she desperately needed a job, so Michiru pulled a few strings and got her one as an assistant to one of her high school friends. Thing is Odango Atama messed it up, lost the job and then called the guy who hired her a stalker… when she clearly has a crazy psychopath soon to be ex-husband who PERSISTENTLY stalks her. I mean, any sane person would have blamed the usual stalker, not people who really didn’t have access to her home landline to begin with, as I’m pretty sure neither my friend nor Michiru’s is capable of that much digging to get to a phone number.

Well, Usagi kept calling me to complain about the people we introduced to her and generally acting like a maniac (I mean, she’s always been eccentric, but this goes WAY beyond that and into the land of wacko). And I got tired of it so I told her that I hated to get caught in the middle when I’ve been trying to help, that she should solve these issues by talking to the right people…

I saw her a couple of times after these incidents (which happened about a month ago) and then she appeared in our front steps one morning unannounced and rang the bell persistently until I went down (initially thought one of the tenants had called for delivery) and then told me she was worried about my safety because I failed to immediately answer a text she had sent me the previous night. I was on my way out and told her so… she then invited herself to escort me to a tattoo parlor and made me late for my appointment (won’t be getting a tattoo after all, but not because of her).

So I sort of ghosted her for a while and now got a new text from her last night that I haven’t checked yet. To be honest, she’s ben acting strange ever since starting Zumba lessons at a nearby gym, although I fail to see the connection there. My guess is she got a new group of friends and that somehow destabilized her on some level… or perhaps she’s always like this and that’s why her mom keeps checking up on her at all times when she’s alone as if she were an irresponsible 14 year old… which she sometimes resembles.

My only regret is that this might hurt Hotaru’s relationship with Chibi-Usa-Chan, but what can I do if this woman keeps bringing us problems whenever we try to help her out? I mean, I don’t feel inclined to see her and spending time together has become extremely awkward. I won’t cut her out of our lives altogether, though. Thought that perhaps if I gave her some space she might chill out a bit.

Last time I saw her, she mentioned that Chibi-Usa-Chan was getting an eye operation on December. I wonder if it was true at all… she’s been lying to me a lot lately, especially when it comes to her kid’s health. Oh, and she has also had a fallout with our lawyer to the point where he had to ask her to leave his office, so yeah… she’s on a streak.

 

Anyway… we’re all alive and relatively OK, so that’s what I wanted to convey.

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Goodbye my sweet Lana

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Today our cat Lana passed away. Michiru went to the vet clinic (Ami was with her) and had her euthanized because she was suffering a lot and there was no chance of recovery. She had been deteriorating for two weeks, so it was for the best, as she was fifteen plus years, but still… we’re gonna miss her dearly.

My heart is broken for this furry bundle of love that’s been the light of my eye since February 2016. She was the best cat that ever was. Never bit or scratched people, greeted you upon arrival and slept curled by your feet all year long. Setsuna has been of great help and support to me these past few days and so have the girls. Michiru and Hotaru are both heartbroken and we only hope she didn’t suffer much.

 

Slowly settling down

2017-03-31 18.23.342017-04-01 20.00.462017-04-01 20.02.112017-04-03 18.24.352017-04-06 17.10.382017-04-13 15.37.472017-05-02 16.26.362017-05-02 23.44.302017-05-06 16.24.492017-05-09 11.35.502017-05-13 14.29.392017-05-13 16.40.242017-05-13 14.05.052017-05-13 16.40.242017-05-13 13.17.452017-05-13 13.22.442017-05-13 18.19.212017-05-15 22.45.27IMG-20170328-WA0042IMG-20170328-WA0043IMG-20170329-WA0029IMG-20170508-WA0031.jpgLife has been super hectic around here. Hotaru, Michiru and I moved into our dream house about three months ago on March the 24th. It was pretty crazy for the first month, with everything still packed in boxes and huge black bags that could have easily contained one or two of us inside.

Unpacking proved to be quite a challenge when you also need to come up with a definitive place for everything and haven’t bought half the furniture you need to place things. Mom gave us a few hand me downs and my whole family on both sides came to lend a hand with the move.

Hotaru is thoroughly enjoying her new school. She had no trouble adapting whatsoever, which is a huge relief. She made lots of new friends like Phillip, Sophi, Romi and Emma. The latter is almost an entire year younger than our little firefly, so she’s very protective of her, which is uber cute.

Romi was a bit creepy in the beginning, as she kept telling Hotaru that she was insane and sometimes killed people. It turns out she is only a compulsive liar, which isn’t much to worry about at age six, if you ask me. After talking to the kid and the parents for while, I’ve come to think she’s alright. Her dad kind of gives Michiru and I the creeps, though.

Our morning routine is sweet and helps us start the day with a smile. Hotaru gets up on her own when her alarm clock goes off. Then we get ready, have breakfast (or at least the kid and I do) and leave the house. We walk Hotaru to school and then I walk Michiru to her bus stop and come back home to get started on the HUGE pile of things to do.

I’ve fixed furniture, dealt with repairmen, technicians, neighbors, blackouts, running out of water and having our gas connection leak… among other more mundane things like domestic chores and grocery shopping. It’s all right, though. Michiru helps whenever she can. It’s a bit harder now that her college classes have started again, but it’s only for this one year.

She’s having a hardest time adapting to living here, used as she was to have her mother deal with most of the house work, but she’s a smart cookie, she’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Hotaru, on the other hand, felt this house as her own from the third day, so that made things a lot easier for us all.

Me? Well, I felt a bit lonely in the beginning, what with Hotaru gone for eight hours a day and all. But it had nothing to do with the house. I love the house and, honestly, I’ve gotten pretty used to being here alone all day, every day. I’ve always enjoyed spending time by myself, so that’s not a problem.

What is a problem, though is having too many items on my TO DO list. The damned thing is ever growing, no matter how much I try to tackle it. There’s always a lock that needs replacing, or a curtain that needs fixing or we’re out of power for like an entire week!

That’s been tough, the power blackouts. During our second and third months here we spent half the time dining by candlelight. That sounds a lot more romantic than it really was. I mean, it was fun the first two or so days, but then the glow stick games became old and Hotaru wasn’t the only one fed up with the situation. Throwing piles of food away every three or four days because they just couldn’t keep the power flowing was beyond frustrating and very depressing.

It seemed there was a problem with our phase, but then we paid an electrician to switch us to a different one and there were two more blackouts that lasted over two days each. In the end, the school around the corner was too outraged at this situation and complained to the power company who had to fix it ASAP since a public school was involved.

In other news, Chibi Usa had to change back to her old school last week because of severe bullying. She got slapped in the face by a kid seven years her senior, who kicked her and walked over her when she fell to the floor and then a teacher scolded her for laying there rather than helping her wash her bloody face. It was horrible. We’re all terribly sorry for her and hope it doesn’t leave too many emotional scars.

Hotaru was devastated to hear about it and, to be honest, so was I. It hits way too close to home for me. The poor child ended up in hospital as her blood pressure spiked up because of this.  I’ve lived through similar stuff so I know just how hard it must be for her. Glad Odango Atama was smart enough to change her to a different school right away. It took my mom six whole years to do the same thing.

Mom got her retirement notice last Friday and spent the entire weekend panicking. She just can’t fathom life without a job and doesn’t know what to work at now that she won’t be going back to the office, so it’s been a challenging six months for her. I trust she’ll find her way eventually. It must be tough after forty three years in the same place…

Dad is all right and so is the rest of the family on his side. We had them all over for a barbecue last Saturday. It was amazing. We all had a blast. I love my family… and speaking of family, a fortnight ago we had dinner with Michiru’s family and it was just as wonderful. I feared I might feel awkward or something and was a bit shy in the beginning, but then I realized they make me feel super comfortable. They’re all very approachable and we can speak on the same level, which is a first to me considering Dr. Tomoe’s relatives were cavemen.

I had to stop teaching because there was never enough quality time for Hotaru and I to spend together now that she goes to school morning and afternoon and we haven’t been able to work on our beloved crafts which makes me a bit sad, but at the same time, we’ve been reading books to each other (yes, she’s that good at reading already! SO PROUD!) and that’s very nice.

Michiru and her have bonded a lot and I try to remind myself to allow them space to have their own codes and things, to have a relationship outside of my presence. They just click, so I’ve had nothing to worry about so far.

Even Lana has perked up and is now happier than ever, coming and going all over the house as if she owned it. This is news to me, the fact that she can act like a real cat. LOL She’s even up to some mischief whenever we’re not paying close attention.

Oh, and we’ve made the most of these powerless nights by perusing my old telescope to gaze the moon and star clusters. It’s been really romantic in spite of the inconvenience. Hotaru has enjoyed herself thoroughly exploring the moon’s surface.

 

Chibi Usa and Odango Atama come over for tea often on the weekends and we talk for hours while the girls play on the terrace or in Hotaru’s room. Mom comes over after work, or, at least, she did until last Friday (wow, can’t believe she’s retiring!) and Aunt Grace sometimes comes over for tea during the week when she doesn’t feel like going to her dance class.

Michiru and I have been watching Battlestar Galactica together at night. I’ve been hung up with Outlander, which I enjoy during lunch, and the three of us enjoy Anne with an E during dinner now that we have power again. I love the fact that Hotaru can enjoy Anne of Green Gables with me. I loved those books. Lately, I had been thinking of just how much I’d love for her to read them and enjoy them as I did. So, when I saw it on Netflix, I forced the girls to sit down and watch it with me. They liked it =P don’t think I’d be so unreasonable as to force them to sit through it.

Oh, and I’ve been working HARD on editing my novel’s third draft and advancing my other writing projects whenever I have an hour or two to spare. There really is TOO MUCH to do here. Like putting up shelves and mirrors and lamps… and cleaning… the cleaning is never ending. But we love it here.

There’s no way I can condense three months of super hectic life experiences here, but we’re all thriving here. It lifts my heart to see Hotaru and Michiru (and Lana) so happy! Even the basil we’ve planted in the pots outside are thriving!

I mean, there has been some bad things, like my last wisdom tooth giving me a hard time and the UTI Michiru accidentally gave me… and her having constant migraines and back pain because her boss is an arse and her schedule totally insane, but other than that, we’re happy as you can be.

日本語

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Hotaru finally mastered the art of eating with chopsticks. She was thrilled and I was proud. Now she’s all grown up and ready to start elementary school at a Japanese Institute ^^

This week, she learned the days of the week; left, right, ahead, behind; new body parts like face, throat, bottom. And more complex sentences like “好き な 食べのも は なん です か?”.

The kid has also started to practice her hiragana in a notebook for that purpose. She loves to write them before bedtime. Only five letters a day, as not to overload her. The best part is she adores to practice this and says she’s proud of herself. I’m even prouder of her. She’s the most amazing person. EVER.

Speaking of Japanese, I went back to teaching after five years. Today was our first class and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It’s a six person class, so it’s not too big, but big enough to organize fun games to make the learning experience easier. Like dividing them in two teams to see which can name/write more hiragana or get more correct answers.

The guys are very dedicated though it’s harder for them at 25+ than it was for me and my friends in our elementary school years. Jazz, the only girl in the group, fares better than the rest, but then again, she’s the youngest at 19 years old and her brain is still more pliable.

Art out of control

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Hotaru and I have been doing some painting. The idea was to paint using forks, rulers, and other weird things instead of brushes, to create strange shapes and experiment with them. We did and it was fun, but getting paint all over ourselves was ten times funnier. We had a blast. I love these pictures. ❤

I’ve a very important announcement to make: maturity is WAY overrated 😉 this was insanely fun.We need more of this in our lives. We’ve been so busy lately.

Supervising the remodeling is taking so much of my time, I’m exhausted and mentally spent by the time Hotaru is back from Summer School. This means we haven’t had much fun together lately, except for the long walk the two of us and Michiru enjoyed yesterday. It was amazing. We had a night picnic at the park and then went window shopping because all the shops were closed LOL. I love my family. They make me immensely happy.

Back to Hotaru, we still did lots of things together this past week or so, but it was more along the lines of cleaning the house, cooking, tidying up, doing the dishes and watching anime from the sofa because that’s as much fun as my body had energy to do at night LOL.

Still, Hotaru has been learning LOTS of new Japanese words and sentence structures. I love that she loves it so much. We sing all the time during our cleaning activities. Oh, and whenever I have a tad of energy left, we play Just Dance, which leaves me panting after a song and a half. Usually, we dance Limbo or Albatroz or some of Hotaru’s favorites.

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I’ve decreed myself on holiday although we’re not going anywhere this year because there’s people working at the new house, doing some remodeling. In the spirit of truly disconnecting myself from everything, I spend my afternoons at the park, laying on the grass, reading or looking at the clouds. I absolutely love this peace and quiet while Hotaru is at Summer School. Makes me feel in contact with nature again, which I missed sorely this past year and a half.img-20170111-wa0011

 

 

Setsuna’s heartbreak

Setsuna’s cat Ramses passed away last night. He was at the vet hospital all day so it was a possibility but we had all been hoping for the best. She is utterly heart broken and I feel helpless. She’s my BFF and the need to do something to make her world right again is so strong it breaks my heart. I hate knowing nothing anyone says or does will really help. I did share some of my recent experiences with grief but it was a bried comfort.

Hotaru was equally heartbroken. That cat used to sleep in her baby carrier with her when she was a baby. I know he was sixteen years old but none of us ate comforted by that either. It’s not just that we loved him, which we did. But also the impact we know this will have in Setsuna long term. That pet was her entire life, her solace when everyone in her family wasn’t understanding.

I bought the dream house today and took Michiru and Hotaru to tour it after work/summer school. We were mildly excited. It was too hot and wet to be hyper about anyhing and this whole Setsuna thing was bringing us down.

Mom took two weeks off work to help clean the place which is full of old furniture and stuff. We’ll get started in that tomorrow morning. Also, her boss convinced her not to retire for at least another six months which is good news. She’s such a busy bee, I don’t think she’ll adapt easily to retirement.

So many news

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It’s been hectic over here. Hotaru started summer school for the fourth consecutive year and loves it more than ever. A bully tried to pick on her and pinched her at the pool but I talked to the teacher and also scared the kid. This bullying triggered an argument between Michiru and I but we talked it over.

Christmas was loads of fun. Mom and uncle George came over for dinner on Christmas Eve and dad picked Hotaru and I up after midnight. We gathered at my aunt’s as usual. Even my cousins came over with their SOs, so it was quite an atendance. We got together for dinner on the 25th as well because there was a ton of leftovers. Hotaru and i baked Christmas bread but no gingerbread cookies this year.

Michiru loved the seasonal greeting cards I came up with this year. New Year’s Eve was a different business. Hotaru and I went to my mom’s and I got to seat on Leo’s place at the table which set off my anxiety. It was a crappy night. We went to aunt Grace’s afterwards but I wasn’t in the mood. She and I had a long talk and that cheered me up a bit.

New Year’s day was a lot better. We had dinner at my aunt’s again and everyone was there again. We talked for hours. Jan the 6th was fun as well. Hotaru got TONS of gifts from the three wise men. Mostly Shopkins and Splashlings. She got Poppit for Christmas, along with a Betty Spaghetti doll, a popsicle maker set and a thousand beads for her crafting endevors. She was beyond happy.

I started therapy again, as my therapist’s maternity leave came to an end. I’m not happy about it but it is what it is. Told her about my Dr saying I’m probably gluten intolerant (though I refuse to go through an endoscopy so we’ll never know for sure). Thing is I’ve been eating gluten free food only for a week and my “low blood pressure” spells and sizzy spells have completely disappeared. No more shaking and feeling tired and light headed. I’m happy with this change, although I really hated the idea when the Dr brought it up.

I was ready to jump on her throat and ow I’m thankful. I had lost a lot of weight for feeling so iffy after meals. Now I can eat again and have started to gain some weight back. Hotaru hates the idea of me having Celiac’s disease. She says she doesn’t want to give up wheat for me. I had to explain that’s only me who can’t eat wheat and such. That I’ll continue to bake regular treats for her. That seemed to ease her mind a bit.

My wisdom tooth is kiling me but I can’t have it removed before the move or I won’t be able to do any heavy lifting and woll have to let other people do that for me. I won’t have it. It was bad enough I was unable to help in any way the past two times I moved. I’m definitely doing most of the heavy lifting myself this time, as well as the packing and unpacking.

Aunt Grace, cousin Ruben and Sandra and uncle Angel are on vacation at their sea cottage. Dad and puli couldn’t go because Puli’s mom is in hospital for a hip replacement surgery. I miss aunt Grace but have fun with dad and Puli all the same. Hotaru, Michiru and I invited them over for dinner and they’ve invited us back as well. We sang and talked and all sorts of fun stuff as usual.

Hotaru has been so into drawing lately, she hasn’t been spending much time in front of a screen. Maybe an hour a day or less and it’s mostly watching anime with me during meals. She has started to recognize LOTS of words in Japanese these past few weeks and she makes me pause the shows during credits to name all the kanji she knows (which are A LOT).

We also do all the grocery shopping in Japanese, from the moment we ride the elevator downstairs to leave the building to naming products, prices and quantities. The guys working at the KONBINI absolutely ADORE her, which is no wonder considering she is such a sweet, nice mannered girl.

Agus and Francisco join Michiru, Hotaru and i for meditation and a dreawing session on Fridays now. I make Japanese food for dinner and we all draw until very late at night.

Franco, Agus, Jazz (Fran’s ex) and two of Franco’s friends will be taking japanese lessons on Thursdays, starting next week if everything goes smoothly. I’m thrilled.

Hotaru has BEGGED me to be a part of the class, but I was iffy about the idea. I mean, she already knows a great deal of words and would try to answer all the questions and interrupt to prove she knows the answers. Still, I think it would be good for the guys. In the end, I told her she can sit with us and listen if she wants, but she mustn’t talk unless talked to. That soubds like it will quite the challenge for her, so we’ll see how it goes.

The house I grew up in was officially sold today and I’ll definitely buy our dream house on Thursday. Can’t wait to get the keys! I’ve so many sweet plans for that house!

Hotaru and I spent an entire rainy afternoon planning and designing her room since she didn’t have summer school. We decided on a castle shaped bed with drawer stairs, curtains and a play area on top where her friends can sleep over. Then a carriage for her homework area and a giant mirror on the bathroom door and a vertical chess board on her wall, which is gonna be a chalkboard.

Michiru and I have been going over a ton of interior design magazines and webpages, discussing ideas and daydrraming and planning. It’s been so wonderful. We have very similar taste in decor, which is lucky. We’re both partial to dark wood, false rock walls and lots of sunlight and plants.

Mom has been lending a hand too, as she has great knowledge when it comes to architecture. She’s been looking at interior design inspiration for her own new flat. She’ll be moving next July, so there’s still time but she’s been helping me work on the hostel part of the dream house. I have to admit that her input on the nursery, master bathroom and art attelier has been priceless.

Speaking of dreams come true, I proposed to Michiru last Saturday at a Japanese restaurant. It wasn’t exactly how I planned it byt it was sweet and uber romantic and perfect. Then we got caught up in a storm on our way home, which was even more romantic. I still can’t believe she said yes! Oh, and she loved the ring, by the way.

There’s a funny long story avout our engagement and all the difficulties I had to overcome to get to this happy ending but I’m not in the mood to write about it.

All our friends were super excited to hear the news but our parents proved to be less romantic and choose a pragmatic approach. They were moderately happy for us. I still intend to talk to Michiru’s mother alone to ask for her blesing, though.

Hotaru and I have been playing Just Dance a lot these days. I spend my afternoons at the park, laying on the grass with my kindle for hours while she’s at summer school. It’s a delight and it’s brightened my mood. Good weather and sunny days keep my sadness at bay but I still miss Leo, of course.