Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Recap of Japan!!

I'm currently sitting in the middle of the Reynolda trails thinking back on my amazing journey through Vietnam. You would think that after being back in the States for a week and a half I would at least halfway processed all that experienced on my trip. You would also think that I have had plenty of time to write my reflections down and post them to my blog. Truth be told, I don't know that I will ever be able to process all that has happened to me over the past month. I don't want to just close this chapter in my life and move on; I want to continue reliving those wonderful moments with even better friends. This is something I will never forget and will still be telling my grandchildren about some day!

Now, let's get back to that recap...

When I last posted during my trip, I was hanging out in my hotel in Japan. I got an awesome night's rest; I mean that was one of the best beds I've ever slept in! I woke up ready to take on my 8 hour tour of Narita. I met Katsumi, my tour guide, at 8 o'clock to begin the tour with a family traveling to Hong Kong. We visited many wonderful places, and Katsumi was so informative about Japanese history and current events. We began by visiting the Narita fish market. It was strange, but it didn't even smell all that bad there; it was pretty cool! We then walked along a small street to the Nartisan Shinshoji Temple. Along the way we made a pit stop at a very popular Japanese sweets shop. Katsumi explained the sweet making process, involving seaweed, and pointed out the best selections. I'm not sure what I ate, but coupled with the complementary green tea, it was quite tasty!
Next up, we went to the actual temple! According to Katsumi, the temple grounds cover over 50 acres, and it is one of the most important Buddhist temples in all of Japan. This was easily the best part of the tour. Everything was so well-kept and absolutely beautiful! I was even able to sit in on a real Buddhist fire ceremony!
Katsumi then drove us around rice fields and explained the Japanese rice farming system. We then had the privilege to visit a remake of the old Tokyo during the days of the Samurai. This museum type area is what you see in most Samurai movies. It is also super educational as it is very hands-on.
Sadly, the tour soon came to end, but Katsumi was nice enough to drop me off right at my terminal so that I wouldn't get lost using the rail system again!

Here are a few photos from Japan. Most of these are lost in cloud, and "No one understands the cloud!"

Next up on the recap, Ho Chi Minh City. Fair warning, as I progress further in talking about Vietnam, I will become more and more emotional. I hope to show you why! God made big moves in my life on this trip y'all! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Few Long Awaited Entries!

So, I failed pretty miserably in terms of blogging throughout my time in Vietnam. I do, however, have a great explanation for that, not an excuse, I'm not big on those, but an explanation.

Here goes....Vietnam stole my heart. That is all; that's why I didn't blog like I said I would.

Seriously, I feel in love with a place I never before imagined I would travel to and a people I never dreamed I would meet. Each day was filled new adventures, challenges, weird foods, crazy bus rides, and really hard lesson plans (more on that later). It was AMAZING, but it was also supa dupa (more on this later too) exhausting!

So, here's what it boils down to. I was normally far too tired to even think of opening my tablet to write out the day's events and my whirlwind emotions, but even when I did have the energy to write, I didn't want to. I didn't want to, because I didn't want to miss a thing. I wanted to soak up as much of Vietnam, my kids, my new friends, and this awesome culture as I possibly could in three short weeks. Therefore, the blog was pushed to the side.

You know what? I'm so glad I pushed it to the side! God had really awesome things for me to experience and be a part of at all times of the day! I didn't miss them, and now, I can sit here with a heart full of joy and mind full of reflection prepared to tell you my story.

I will tell you, that I will probably never be able to express what I experienced over the past month just how I really want to. I think you just have to be there. It's one of those things that really impacts your life in an incredibly awesome way. I'll do my best to tell you all about it though, because this is a story worth telling a million times over!

Here are some links to videos with our pictures from the trip in them. The first one was made by our American director, Oyuki, and it contains photos of all the coaches. The next one is one I made myself. I am missing some photos from Japan and Ho Chi Minh City, including the war museum; so, that's quite disappointing (you can ask my mom). They are lost somewhere in the cloud, and "No one understands the cloud!" Maybe they'll come back someday. I don't know, but in the meantime, enjoy!