2015年3月1日日曜日

February- a month of change!!

February is the month of the Chinese New Year, and seems that it's often a month that brings good changes for us, starting with February 25, 2005.

February 25, 2005 was the day that Yasushi and I met for the first time in Hawaii on after 6 months of chatting online. He spent 3 magical days here and we went on a sunset cruise, stayed in a hotel, and promised to see each other again. 6 months later, he came to Pennsylvania for another very short vacation, 3 days, but this time we knew it would only be another few months or so before we could see each other again, because I would be going to Japan for study abroad. 

February 25, 2006, he proposed to me. I use the term loosely, because we both knew that we had found "the one" and that we would get married after I graduated. 

February 24, 2008 was our wedding day. We had a lavish ceremony at a venue my mother chose, with over half of the 80+ guests in attendance her friends+coworkers, a good number of them people I had never even met. Nevertheless, it was our day, and I designed my dress and we had a Unitarian Universalist do the ceremony for us as we are not very religious, and I had a great time with my friends dancing to music I chose at the very end of the party. 

Then in February of 2012, we moved to Hawaii after spending some time in the Mainland because we had to wait for my husband's green card to be completed....and also because I had found out that I was pregnant and had to wait until at least the 2nd trimester to fly safely. That month we also got a 4-D ultrasound and saw our daughter's face, and learned she would be a girl (to Yasushi's disappointment, but since she is now the most badass+fearless 2 year old girl anyone has ever seen with keen interest in Daddy's tools and motorcycle, there isn't anything to be disappointed about!) That was also the time I started "no-poo", a.k.a. made a decision to not use shampoo anymore. I am still going strong 3 years later with my sporadic "washes" of baking soda and ACV and occasional dab of coconut or argan oil.

February of 2013 was the official time I cut ties with my parents. From around the time I moved to Hawaii, I started this blog and used it to reflect on my own experience and write about my new experiences becoming a mother. However, my parents took offense to the descriptions of their verbal abuse and emotional neglect and then the following entries in which I described my current struggles with my CPTSD (which had not yet been diagnosed at the time, all I knew was it was depression, anxiety, and I had attempted suicide and spent a few days in the hospital.) Like my pregnancy, it was all about them and their image. After deciding for themselves that I had ASD and was a difficult child anyway, they told me they would never contact me again, and ignored me when I asked for help in getting professionally diagnosed by a psychologist specializing in ASD.
After that, my mother continued to stalk me and attempt to passively-aggressively harass me via her Twitter account. She deleted any tweet that mentioned me by name 1-2 days after posting it, but the rest of them are still alive. She kept this up for almost 2 years, actually, and I mostly ignored it except for one tweet in February of 2013 where she posted our home address, which I had never told her and took precautions so she wouldn't find out. So posting the address was clearly an act of spite, and harassment, and also an act that would put our family in danger. I wasted no time, contacted Twitter and an attorney and had it removed and sent a cease-and-desist letter within a few days. Again, never heard back, and now I have a new address which is a secure building, so it's very safe. 

And so, now it is February 2015. It has officially been 10 years since Yasushi and I first met at Honolulu International Airport and couple of weeks before our anniversary, Yasushi found out that he would be promoted to Head Chef at his workplace. So instead of a usual dinner in a nice restaurant, we decided to do something a little more special for our anniversary and celebrate his promotion at the same time by going on a cruise. We had gone on a cruise on the day we met 10 years ago, but we were so nervous at the time and so much time had passed that neither of us remembered very many details of the cruise or the name of the ship.
However, using my knowledge of the travel industry here, I narrowed it down to two cruises, and then compared the two pictures I have of us on the cruise with pictures on Yelp, and found our boat. It was the Navatek. I called the number and spoke to a person that I spoke with regularly at work, but this time as a customer, not a business partner. However since I still am a business partner I did get some nice discounts and perks. The 3 of us had a great time on our sunset cruise and Chinami was the little Ambassador of Aloha and also gained a fan following and was busy taking pictures with everyone at the end of the night.

It has been an amazing 10 years, I am healthier and empowered with all kinds of knowledge and confidence that I didn't have 10 years ago. I wonder what things will be like after another 10 years? I know we will be living in the same place (hopefully with not too much mortgage left), and that will be the first time in my life for that to happen, and I hope we will have at least one more adorable, awesome child to share our love and our life with! 




2015年2月24日火曜日

Great memories of 2014- Home for the holidays.


The holiday season has officially started, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am truly home for the holidays. Things are falling into place and I feel more and more relaxed. And there is also the fact that the holidays are just so, so much fun!!! 

First, there was Halloween. 


Chinami's first Halloween, she was just under 5mos and we sat outside our complex and handed out candy,  her in a leopard print diaper and me in a matching dress with ears and makeup. Her second Halloween, we were dressed up, her as a little angel and me as a devil, however we couldn't go anywhere because she had chicken pox (which, in true Chinami fashion, she got over in a few days with no complaint.) So this year, I was determined to show her how fun this day could be. I had started watching Sailor Moon with her as hulu was streaming both the original series (remastered!) and the remake, Sailor Moon Crystal. She really took to it, and now loves to sing along and do the various poses and catchphrases! (yay, more Japanese influence!)









 So this year I decided I would be Sailor Moon, and she would be Luna, as she loves cats and the color purple, I could make her a costume she would really be comfortable in. (Toddlers don't usually do well with costumes with lots of accessories and complex hairstyles) So, working on a budget, I bought a Sailor Moon lingerie set, and a purple Luna hat, and went to the thrift stores and raided my closet and scraps bag for a white tank, blue shorts, red sleeves to make "boots" and then went to the craft store and bought netting, ribbons and plastic tablecloths in several colors and made tutus. A red one and a blue one for me, and a purple one with yellow ribbons interspersed for Chinami, and attached a black tail to hers. I made a crescent shape for Chinami's shirt and a tiara for myself from yellow duct tape. Chinami wore a black or purple dress, as she wore hers several times. We had trick-or-treating at our local shopping center the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and then a party at a dear friend (our doula who helped me when I gave birth to Chinami) 's house with an unexpected detour through the "Hallowbaloo" block party in Chinatown. Then on the day of Halloween, we went to Ala Moana Center for trick-or-treating. My original plan was to go to Ala Moana, then Ward, then Hilton Hawaiian  Village. However, I underestimated the crowds and decided to keep it simple for Chinami, so after a dinner break at Subway (I had a BOGO free coupon for 6 inch sandwiches) we headed over to Hilton for the tail end of their trick-or-treating (Honolulu Cookie Company FTW) then walked through the Hilton, admiring the  Friday night luau show as we headed over to the Great Lawn for fireworks and an outdoor showing of the Charlie Brown Halloween special. As we waited for the movie to start, Chinami decided to go around to all the other families there and show off her costume. She was so proud of herself, so friendly and so much confidence! As we watched the movie, we snacked on some of the candy we had gotten, and then walked home, going to sleep past 9 pm. Safe to say it was the best Halloween both of us had had in years! 

Then in November, there was another important event for our family. We finally rented out our 2nd bedroom to a lovely young couple who are honest, courteous and Chinami loves them! So our household went from 3 people to 5! It's so nice to have extra people in the house. They watch Chinami once a week or so and it's such a great help to have them around!


So because of that, for Thanksgiving, not only did we have a lot of delicious food, we had more people to share it with! We had our roommates, their friend, and a friend of a friend of ours who was staying in Hawaii over for dinner, a total of 6 adults and Chinami.

The dinner itself was decadent-a turkey stuffed with onion, garlic, lil' smokies sausages and loaded with bacon on top with brussels sprouts thrown in the pan near the end, my wild rice and quinoa "stuffing" made with chicken broth and vegetables in the rice cooker, and my kabocha/sweet potato pie, and a salad, and we had some mashed potatoes with gravy, a spicy broccoli casserole, and fried rice contributed for a delicious spread.
The day after Thanksgiving, Chinami and I made some sandwiches with leftover sliced turkey breast, salad, and an avocado, and took a picnic dinner to Waikiki and ate under the stars before watching the Waikiki Holiday Parade. After the parade was over, we zipped over to the beach to watch the Friday Night Fireworks. The holiday season was officially here and I was so ready for it!

During the holiday season, Chinami and I watched more parades, Christmas kiddy events, met Santa, and we bought a proper Christmas tree for our home. On Christmas Eve, Chinami and I watched "Elf" on an outdoor screen at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.


 Then on Christmas Day, after I played Santa and delivered tiny bottles of homemade mulled wine to my coworker's desks, Chinami and I watched Christmas movies and ate cookies, red and green pancakes, and made a "gingerbread house" out of cinnamon sugar Pop-tarts, graham crackers, and red cookie icing with marshmallow fluff. When Yasushi woke up, we opened presents, and went out to a Christmas brunch at the Willows Restaurant, which was delicious.
After that, Yasushi had to go to work, and Chinami and I spent the rest of the day at home, enjoying her Christmas presents and the food coma.

 Every year, the McCully Shopping Center runs a free "holiday trolley" that goes on a loop ride through the Downtown area to see the Christmas displays there and at the Capitol and Honolulu Hale. It's a fun event, a guide/MC hosts and we sing carols and he makes jokes. However, it's very popular due to the reasonable price and convenient starting/drop off point., and there are only a few days a year they run it. So we went before Christmas but were too late to get any tickets for rides before 7:45. Our last chance was a couple days after Christmas, we went and it was the same deal, all of them were full until the 7:45 ride. So, rather than miss out, I took the tickets, and we went up to Long's and the park to kill time. Long's was getting rid of all their Christmas stuff so we scored some super-cheap ornaments, and a singing elf hat and a Nutcracker which Chinami loved as we had watched the movie version of the Nutcracker Ballet together. We enjoyed our trolley ride and again, went straight to bed afterwards.



















New Year's Eve, unfortunately due to Chinami's lack of staying power and my work schedule, we had to turn in early again. We went to Hilton Hawaiian Village again to watch "Frozen" and went straight home to bed afterwards. I woke up briefly at midnight and Yasushi came home, and we watched the fireworks from our bedroom window. We could see parts of both the Waikiki and Kakaako displays along with several amateur displays as well. It was a pretty magical way to say goodbye to 2014.

And then, it was 2015. New Year's Day, I worked, which meant I had to miss the Gagaku New Year Celebration, but since I was lucky enough to have been able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family this year, I couldn't really complain that much. Plus, on New Year's day, being a Japanese company, we shared a celebratory drink and had delicious lunchboxes for everyone, which was a really nice perk and I was glad to be able to share in that.




Our Christmas tree was temporarily made over into a New Year's tree, adorned with bamboo, plum, mandarin orange, and red and white themed ornaments, and we enjoyed my bento from work along with an assortment of traditional goods bought from our local Japanese market down the street, and mochi soup and stewed vegetables I made, in the afternoon after I got home from work.
I tried to watch the first sunrise of the New Year while at work from the airport, but because of the clouds the sun didn't actually come out until almost 8 am! However, I usually watch the sunrise on the way to my 2nd job- working at the honey stand at KCC Farmer's Market a few Saturdays per month. Compared to my regular job, I can sleep in a few hours or so, and still leave with enough time to take the longer, more exerting, more scenic route riding my bicycle around Diamond Head, taking a break at the lookout point to get a perfect view of the sun rising. The first sunrise I saw there this year didn't disappoint.

 

Having CPTSD means that not every day is going to be a good one, I accept that. But I can only hope that 2015 holds some good days like these.

2015年2月18日水曜日

Seeing a light...(finally)


2014 has become 2015, and now I can't believe it's already February. Happy Year of the Sheep everyone, because well, a bit too late for the "regular" New Year's greetings now.
I spent the end of 2014 enjoying the holidays but also dealing with my anxiety and depression.
Therapy, getting a diagnosis, and exploring the various aspects of what had happened to me and how it was affecting me helped a lot, but I was still having occasional panic attacks and days where I lacked motivation to do much of anything. The techniques and affirmations I was learning were useless if I was unable to actually apply them, and I didn't have enough support around me to really be able to get by with just learning about grounding and breathing. I gradually accepted the idea that cognitive therapy would not be enough to undo all the bad habits, coping mechanisms, and other damage. I hated the idea of taking medication after my experience with Paxil around 2009-2010. While it had helped a lot, the physical withdrawal symptoms after going off it were too scary to justify putting that kind of drug in my body daily for however many months or years I would need it. St. John's Wort and other natural therapies needed time and steady doses to be effective. So I kept looking around for other ideas.
After much deliberation, I bought some SAM-E from Costco and started taking it a couple of weeks ago. In a few days, I already felt better. Since I have started taking it I have been feeling more energetic, motivated, and best thing--no panic attacks. Of course it will take a couple of months at least to make a judgement, but things are really looking up now. Before, I would have great days, and always feel fearful that the next day would be another hard one. Now, I feel a little more confident and "normal". I am also considering trying MSM supplements as well, but so far SAM-E is pretty good.
Of course, I know this is no such thing as a cure for C-PTSD, that I will have to spend my life in and out of therapy, practicing yoga, meditation, I have also planned to add acupuncture treatments if needed, and I always have the suicide hotline on speed-dial in my phone.
The reality of it sucks especially because CPTSD is not an illness you are born with--it is directly caused by injury and neglect and a bad environment. I wish my mother had properly come to terms with her own past and her own injuries and gotten adequate treatment and therapy before choosing to procreate, but at least I was able to learn from her mistakes and break the cycle.
Hopefully supplements and more aggressive treatments will be the key to a truly happy, healthy 2015 for me and my family. I will do my best.



2014年が2015年に変わって、もう2月に入っているなんて信じられない。普通の明けましておめでとうはもう遅いので、新年快楽~旧正月明けおめでとうございます。
2014年はいろんなホリデーを楽しく過ごせたけど、ずっと続いているパニック、鬱と戦いながらでした。カウンセリング、診断されて、どういう風にどうしてこうなったかを知るのはすごく力になったけど、それでもパニックと鬱が続いてた。カウンセリングで教わったパニックの止め方、鬱の時のポジティブな考えなどちゃんと実行できてなかった。回りに正しく対応できる人も少なくて、いくらカウンセリングで色々教えてもらってもそれでおそないころから躾けられたことや癖を治すのは無理とわかった。でも、薬を飲むのも嫌だった。2009年か2010年位に何かいかパクシルなどを飲んで、症状軽くなったけど、飲むのをやめたら急に副菜用などが激しくなったので、そういう薬は危ないと感じた。セントジョンズウォートや自然治療は大体効果に時間がかかるのばかりだった。
色々調べて、結局コスコでサムイーというサプリを買って飲むことにした。
2週間ぐらい前から飲んでいるけど、もう気分がよくなっている。色々やる気も出てきて、パニックも起きてない。もちろん、今の時点でまだ効果があるか正確に判断できないが、とにかく気分がいい。前は1日いい日が来れば、明日はまた辛くなるかなと不安だったけど、今は自信を持つようになった。他のサプリを飲むこと検討中だけど、サムイーはいいサプリだと思う。
しかし、C-PTSDは完治できないのはわかっている。カウンセリングに通ったり、ヨーガしたり、辛くなったら針の治療も考えている。そしていのちの電話の番号がいつも携帯の電話帳に入っている。
生まれつきのことではないので、今の私の事実が本当に最悪と思う。育てた環境の中の虐待、ネグレクト、悪い状況などでできた傷と同じようなものです。母が子供何か産む前に自分の中の過去、傷とちゃんと向かい合って適切な治療とセラピーに励んでいればよかったと思うけど、そっちの失敗から学ぶことができて、抜け出すことができた。
サプリと適切な治療で幸せで健康で2015年を過ごせるように頑張るよ~!

2014年10月3日金曜日

I am Kimberly Ong's son.

I think I'll copy a Huffpo writer by writing an article entirely about myself while attempting to link it to a relevant news story (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html)

In the beginning of September, a road rage video taken near a shopping center about 20-30 mins from where I currently live went viral worldwide and was featured in several local and national news sites. It involved a woman named Kimberly Ong driving erratically on the wrong side of traffic while shouting obscene language, and then leaving the car unlocked and running at a stop sign while she stepped out onto the road to confront the driver who was taking the video. The dangerous and hostile acts all took place with her young son strapped into the front seat (even though he was still obviously at an age/size where he needed to be in the back with a booster). He sat there listening to her violent verbal assaults before she left him alone in the running car on the road to confront a stranger in his car. Luckily for her, the man in the car, Ryan Arakaki, had incredible patience and restraint, and his only "weapon" was the cellphone he was using to film her public temper tantrum. In addition to being a viral sensation, the police were able to use the video to charge her charge her with  unauthorized entry into a vehicle from when she reaches into Arakaki's car and tries to hit the phone out of his hand.

Kimberly Ong was a military officer and nurse and apparently lived in the Diamond Head area according to news sites. People who knew her and lived near her said that this was not an isolated incident and she would regularly have these kind of tantrums, shouting obscenities and screaming at people when something wasn't going her way. (Someone in her complex said she shouted at a woman giving birth in her home to "shut the f**k up")

Kimberly stated later in an interview that her son was angry at Arakaki and agreed with her fully. I do not believe her for a second and that sounds like she is just engulfing and trying to control what her little boy says and thinks. If he agreed with her and supported her, then why did we all hear his voice shout "MOM!" with a mix of exasperation and fear when she left him in the running vehicle to confront a stranger.

The way she refers to Arakaki as "fatty" and "fat boy" is also very shameful behavior on her part. Especially as a nurse, she should know that people have different body types and that petty, immature insults and name calling does nothing more than hurt someone's feelings. I wonder how she treats her overweight patients suffering from heart disease or diabetes?

Unfortunately, as I wrote in the title, I am her son. My mother never drove( A car accident when she was on her learner's permit made driving an impossibility for her),so she never had a road rage incident. However, there were tantrums. There were so many times I sat in the back seat listening to her scream and shout endlessly, using obscenities, flying into a rage, over trivial, pointless, insignificant things.
If someone had pointed a video camera into our car at that moment, I would have been making the same face as her son. "Why me? Why do I have to live with such an emotionally unstable person? Why is she screaming and shouting and turning red over nothing?"
And then of course, there were the times when  her lack of control over her own anger turned physical. I sincerely hope this boy is being spared of that, but I will never know for sure.
In addition to the tirades, verbal attacks, and physical attacks, were the immature, superficial blows to the self-esteem. "(My best friend, someone I care about) is so ugly/fat! Why on earth would they wear that/dance/participate in theatre?!?" She used insults like "nerd" "geek" "pig" to describe my friends often.

I only hope that someone, a teacher, school counselor, a friend, anyone, takes this boy aside and gives him some validation. I hope they tell him what he probably already knows: His mother's behavior is not just her being "loud" and it is never OK to verbally abuse someone. I hope they give him a phone number to call, and tell him to call if he ever feels threatened or afraid. He will really need someone for support, especially since his mom is probably spending a lot more time at home after this video went viral. I certainly wouldn't want an emotionally unstable, abusive woman working as a nurse in my hospital!
Stay strong, little guy!!

2014年9月28日日曜日

Ups and downs...

Life has been hectic. Yasushi got a new job which is so much better than his old job, I have been pulling 10 hour days at my current job due to 30,000 people coming from Japan to see Arashi in concert at Ko Olina Resort last weekend, and we moved into our new home but still have a lot to do before we are really settled in (and not enough money or tools to do it all at once).
Chinami has been talking little by little, and loves to count things. She can count up to 10 perfectly in English and almost as well in Japanese. She knows the alphabet, and is getting better at hiragana. When we walk outside, she loves to "read" random license plates to me.  Also, Chinami can swim. I put her in a swimsuit with the padding around it so she can float, and she swims around and around. When she turned 1, I had thought about enrolling in swim classes with her to teach her to swim, I am glad I didn't waste the money! All I needed to spend was $5 at the thrift store on her swimsuit and now she is a natural swimmer! She also loves to jump into the pool, and she doesn't even have to hold her nose like her Mommy (In my case, toddler swimming lessons definitely would have helped!!).

I turned 28 at the beginning of the month. Since we were strapped for cash, it was a low-key birthday, we had some nice dinner and wine from Costco the night before, and then on the following Saturday we used a meal coupon I had been holding on to since Christmas to have a fancy lunch at the Surf Lanai in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. 
28.....it's almost 30 which is a bit scary. I've always been the youngest one among my peers, and recently, I am not. However, there is still so much in my life that is brand new and so much to look forward to. I have my beautiful daughter to teach and learn from, I own a home, and with my husband's new job, I can look forward to spending time together as a family once or even twice a week, and we may even be able to have family vacations once a year!  

Also, for the first time in my life, I am starting to get the help I have desperately needed for the past 15 years. I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD and will start therapy as soon as I can find a babysitter for Chinami. Getting the diagnosis in itself was a relief. All these years wrestling with the symptoms, being screamed at by my mother that I had "psychological and emotional problems" and was a "nut", when I started to show signs of depression as a teen, then going to college and forming relationships with healthy, non-abusive people but still engaging in lots of risk behaviors in an attempt to fill the void and gain acceptance from someone, and then from there the depression, suicidal thoughts, emotional flashbacks, and panic attacks got progressively worse. 
I understand now that I usually start a stress response or a panic attack in reaction to very specific emotional triggers, namely, being shouted at, threatened, or if someone uses a statement towards me like "you are a moron" "nut" "crazy" "why can't you do anything right"  "you are a horrible person", basically the same kind of verbal abuse I grew up with. 
Some days are better than others. Some days I am up at 2am, work,  cook,  clean, go out, have fun, and other days it is an effort to drag myself around, and the times I am not at work I find it hard to muster up the effort to do anything. Sometimes if I am tired, and have a stress response, panic attack, I will actually black out. This past week I had one where I became dizzy and could not look at bright lights for the rest of the night. I know I have to take this one day at a time, and I also know that this will never be fully cured, for the rest of my life. I eat mostly fruits, vegetables and lean protein, don't smoke, rarely drink, I do moderate exercise for 30 minutes 3x/week and ride my bike to work 15 minutes one way 2x/day 5x/week. I drink lots of water and green tea and eat dark chocolate as a treat. I have been eating a large variety and quantity of fresh local vegetables as a main part of my diet since I lived in Japan (and discovered that there was more to food than meat, potatoes, and salad.) and since I came back to Hawaii I added superfoods, smoothies, and exercise. Plus with breastfeeding, I am now down to 110lbs, almost 20 lbs lighter than I was before I got pregnant. I do yoga, meditation, my spirituality is and has always (since I was about 13) been nature-based. 

But in the end, these things are not a cure for C-PTSD, or any other mental health issue that is caused or intensified by childhood trauma. I try to "follow" these "healthy living" feeds on Twitter and I'm tired of seeing the same "inspirational" bullshit that if you "just think positive, you'll be happy" or advice to let painful things go and leave the past in the past, tomorrow is a beautiful day, etc. Even "depression/anxiety" feeds posting to "think positive" and "every choice you make is yours" etc.  Guess what: I would LOVE to be happy and rainbows and sunshine every day, and to just shrug off my panic attacks and bouts of depression. I would LOVE not having emotional flashbacks and painful traumatic memories, and I would LOVE to be able to cure all of it by just eating some kale, doing some yoga, and going "well I'm just going to think happy thoughts today!"  but that's not going to happen. I was raised by someone who hates me and is absolutely fine with the idea of me being dead. That doesn't go away too easily. But hopefully with therapy, I will finally be able to overcome the effects, so I can put even more energy into NEVER becoming the same type of non-parent to my own child(ren). 

2014年7月24日木曜日

Our new home!

This week has been a rough one for our family. On Sunday night, Chinami had a runny nose and I had a slightly red right eye before going to bed. Monday morning, I woke up and my eye was bright red and swollen half-shut. I went to Long's and bought some hand sanitizer and some eye patches before going to work. That night, Chinami had a high fever and a nasty cough. Tuesday, we took her to the doctor and she had a cold and ear infection. Wednesday, Yasushi had a fever, headache, and sore throat, and I was starting to have the same symptoms as well by the afternoon, and so he got me some medicine too when he went to the doctor. Thursday, I finally went to the doctor, and he told me my eye (which wasn't red anymore but still swollen half-shut) was not pinkeye, but likely connected to the other symptoms.

After the doctor's appointment, we all went to Shirokiya for a very important event--
the signing of our escrow and loan agreements. It was over an hour of signing things about flood zones, termites, loan rules, paying the loan directly out of the bank account, etc. Since our lender, real estate agent, and the escrow office representative/notary public were all Japanese ladies, the signing was conducted almost entirely in Japanese. (side note:I remember trying to get any kind of Japanese related service in Pennsylvania, what a joke that was! Just one of the many reasons I feel blessed to be able to live in Hawaii.) Chinami was so tired she fell asleep during the meeting. But we plowed through it all, and at the end, handed over a check for almost 125,000, or pretty much our entire life savings, sending our account into a dangerous state until the next paycheck. And from October, we start mortgage payments. But we will have our own home.

If I had to try by myself to purchase my own home in Hawaii, I wouldn't qualify for any kind of loan until at least 2016, and even then, I probably wouldn't be able to qualify for a big enough loan to actually buy anything, not even the 1 bedroom part of this shack we live in now. I have two people to thank for our dream finally coming true.

The first person to thank is Yasushi. In addition to working his fingers to the bone 15+ years to perfect his skill as a Japanese chef, he spent the last 2 years in a truly horrible work environment, and even though I told him to quit several times for the sake of his health, he refuses each time, insisting he would hang on so we could buy a home. I

The other person to thank is my grandfather, Max Kaplan, or "Poppy." He scrimped and saved and stayed frugal his whole life, at times wearing clothes or shoes with holes in them or living on cheap food to accumulate a savings that the unselfishly left behind so "his children and grandchildren could have a good life". When we first saw the condo, we fell in love with it. However, the price was 348,000 and the most we could offer was 320,000. Our offer was, of course, rejected, and I counter-offered with 335,000, adding an extra 15,000 to our downpayment that came from the account my grandfather had made for me. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have been able to make the counter-offer that got us our home. I like to think that this is what he had imagined when he set aside that money...using the money for my education, a permanent home for our family and his only great-grandchild. It's his birthday today, so Happy Birthday, Poppy, and thank you!

The condo itself is a 2 bedroom, in the same neighborhood we live in now, close enough to Waikiki for the 4am bike commute and Yasushi's work as well, a 5 minute walk from Chinami's preschool with elementary, middle, and high schools in close walking distance, it's not a "nice" neighborhood like Manoa or Makiki, but not seedy Waikiki or Ala Moana area either. The condo is 12 floors high and ours is on the 8th floor. We don't have our own washing machine, which was a minus for me until we went to the laundry room on the top floor, you can see the ocean and Diamond Head. There's a park and a pool on the grounds, which is pretty nice since we don't have to clean it ourselves and can use it all year round, and Chinami loves the water.

Since it is a 2 bedroom, renting out 1 bedroom is something we will probably have to do for a while. Since we are in such a good location, close to UH and Waikiki and bus lines, it should be easy to find someone to rent a room to.

More to come!

2014年7月14日月曜日

Chinami will be 2 years old. ちなみ2歳になる!



I can't believe it has already been two years since I carried Chinami in my belly, gave birth to her in this one-bedroom shack, and started my life as a mom.
In just those two years I have watched her amazing growth.
And here's what Chinami does now:
Chinami can run, jump, ride scooters and tricycles, climb up ladders, sofas, and my back. She has no fear and will try and jump off of my shoulders or the play structure. On the rare occasion we have gone to a park with swings, she tries to swing by herself. She also loves Daddy's moped and motorcycle and is not scared of the loud sound at all...if the key is in the ignition she can start the engine and rev it up herself.

She can say a handful of words, mostly in English.  She started saying "thank you" around her 1st birthday, which were her first words. Then, she said go, shoes, hello/hi, bye, ball, me,耳 ねんね、いないいないばあ、and recently, Daddy, bus and fish and she meows, barks, and quacks. She understands English and Japanese but if I ask her to say "shoes" or "go" or "thank you" in Japanese, she will reply in English....when I am talking to her or asking her if she understood me, sometimes she nods and goes "un" but I'm actually not sure if she really did understand...
Another thing that started happening a few months ago is I realized she knows most of her ABCs.  I was asking her which page of the ABC book she wanted to color, and I was pointing to the letters, and she named them correctly. I can go through the ABCs in order with her, or in random order, and she can name most of them if she really tries. Numbers, she can say "two" and "go" which is five in Japanese. so counting to 10 might be interesting for her. She also says in sequence if I say a letter of the alphabet, she will say the next one, or sometimes with numbers I say "1" and she says "2", etc. I like to think that she is confused with her languages and wants to learn the foundations before she really begins speaking. She still uses signs to convey "eat" "drink" and will do a "poop" sign or a "help" sign if asked. The help sign is important for her to know when she gets frustrated trying to do things on her own.
Speaking of doing things on her own.....she is starting to be able to put on her shoes and clothes on her own or with a little help. She knows when she goes outside she needs her shoes, and when she comes inside, they come off. She is very good at cleaning up after herself, sometimes it takes a little coaching but when she focuses she will make sure every last toy is in the bin.

Around her 1st birthday, she had just discovered Elmo. She still loves the furry red guy, but she enjoys watching Pocoyo, as well as Frozen, Wreck it Ralph, and she plays/watches Angry Birds on the iPad. We also watch Doraemon, Totoro, Ponyo, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon. She likes the opening song to Sailor Moon. I try and keep the English to a minimum and work on Japanese with her at home, but hiragana is more difficult to remember than the ABCs so it will take a little longer. She likes nursery rhymes in English and Japanese and has remembered little dances to several. She sings the "EIEIO" in "Old Macdonald" and tries to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" and "ABC" but stops after the first couple bars. She still likes Morning Musume and knows several of their newer songs and mimics the dances pretty well. There are a couple songs she likes to try and sing along to as well.

She still breastfeeds about 2-3 times/day and eats a variety of different foods....she likes cookies and ice cream but also stilll loves roasted asparagus, carrot sticks, avocado, and any and all fruit. She eats meat too, especially chicken, likes beans, chili, curry, and of course, rice and noodles. We are working on eating with a fork and spoon, drinking from a cup is no problem. When she is finished she will lift the plate up and delicately place it somewhere else before wrestling out of her chair+tray.


I love her silliness when it's the two of us. She is so sweet and funny and I love to tickle her just to hear that laugh. Sometimes she's mad at me, or wants something she can't have, and that's OK too. Yes, those times are stressful, but she is a person and she feels frustrated and angry at times too, and I need to show her that it's OK to have those feelings sometimes. It's my job as a parent to guide her, teach her, build her up, encourage her, not to hurt her and make her feel bad about herself.

Happy Birthday Chinami! <3 Yasushi and I will keep doing our best for you <3



ちなみがお腹の中にいて、そしてこのぼろい1BRアパートで出産してお母さんになった日からもう2年たちました。
その2年間で彼女の素晴らしい成長を見てきました。
そして今のちなみは:
走ったり、跳ねたり、スクーターや三輪車を乗ったり、はしご、ソファ、私の背中なども登ったりします。恐がることなく遊具や私の肩から飛んでみたりもします。たまにブランコのある公園に行くとき自分でブランコに乗ろうとします。そしてやすしのスクーターやバイクが大好きで大きい音にわくわくする様子です。鍵があれば自分でエンジンをかけることもできます。。。
少ししゃべれます。殆ど英語ですけど。。。初めての言葉は1歳位の時からThank youで、そのあと行こう?をいうとgoと答えたり、くつ?をいうとshoesと言って、くつをはいたりしますね。あと、ball, ミー(me? ちなみの「み」?どうかな。)耳、ねんね、いないいないばあ!,ball,  Daddy, bus (これはバスと言われてバスをいうではなく、Sをわざとはっきりだしてbus), fish, 猫、犬、アヒルの鳴き声のマネっこなど少しの言葉はしゃべれます。2歳児には少ない気がするけど。。。。手話で食べる、飲む、ウンチ、助けて、なども少しできます。日本語でも、英語でも話しかけられたらわかるらしい。特に、私が話かけたり、質問したり、わかった?と尋ねてみたりする時「うん」と一所懸命うなずいて答えることもありますけど。。。そういう時もなんか怪しいね。。。


そして数か月前からわかったことは、ちなみはABC結構覚えているらしい。クレヨンと遊んでた時、ABCの塗り絵どれにする?と聞いて、見せてたら、文字に指さすとちなみが頑張って言ってました。順番通りでも、ランダムに指さしてみても、4分の3位は答えられました。数字は、2は"two"と5は
「ご」でなんか滅茶苦茶ですけどまあいいか。
ちなみはまわりにトンガ語、サモア語、隣の子と遊んでいる時にマイクロネシアの言葉など、いろんな言葉があるから混乱しているのかなと思います。皆とコミュニケーションを少しずつとれるようになるかな?それともちゃんとABCなど覚えてから正式に言葉の勉強をしたいという気持ちなのかな?どうなってるのでしょうね、ちなみの頭のなか。
ちなみは2歳になって自分でしたい自分でできることも増えました。靴を履いたり、着替えたりすることも上手になってきました。おもちゃのお片付けもちゃんとしてくれて、最後の最後まで集中してする時もありますね。
1歳の誕生日位の時からエルモが大好きになりました。今でも大好きらしいですけど、ポコヨも最近大好きです。アナと雪の女王、シュガーラッシュ、アングリーバーズなどもよく見てます。一緒にドラえもん、トトロ、ポニョー、ポケモン、セーラームーンも見てます。ムーンライト伝説という歌が好きみたい。私はどうしても日本語を教えたいので、英語を控えめにしています。ひらがなはABCより
難しいみたいですので時間かかりそうです。
ちなみ歌が大好きです。英語と日本語の童謡の手遊びもいくつか覚えたり、ちょっと歌ってみたりします。あと、モーニング娘14のダンスのマネもよくします。

今でも一日2-3回位授乳します。食べ物はいろんなものを食べてくれます。もちろん、クッキー、アイスなど大好き、でも前と変わらず、アスパラ、人参、アボカド、ほとんどのフルーツ問題なく食べてくれます。卵、肉(特に鳥)が好きです。豆、チリ、カレー、ご飯、麺、全部好きです。丁寧にフォークとスプーンで食べることはまだ覚えてるところですが、コップから問題なく飲めます。そしてお腹いっぱいになったら丁寧にお皿をどこかにおいてから席を立つようになりました。

二人きりの時ちなみのユーモアと可笑しさが大好す!。かわいくて、面白くて、その笑い声を聞くためにごちょごちょするのが大好きです。時々私に怒ったり、持っちゃいけないものをどうしても欲しがったりしたりしますね。そういうのはやっぱりストレスがたまります。でもちなみは人間で、人間はだれでも怒ったりイライラする時がある、ということを覚えなくちゃいけないんです。そういう気持ちを無視したり、怒っちゃ、泣いちゃいけない!ではなく、時々そういう強い気持ちがあるということを教えます。親としての仕事です。傷つけたり、苦しい思いをさせたりではなく、優しく対応したり、指導したり、応援したりするのは私の仕事です。

ちなみ、誕生日おめでとう! 私とやすしはずっとがんばりますよ<3