Monday, August 15, 2011

Back in Japan

I have made it back to Japan. It took me 22 hours from my parent's house to my house. My wonderful roommate helped me lots, we ate, and then I crashed and slept for about 22 hours I think. My roommate kindly moved the table from the living room so I could sleep in the only room in the apartment with AC.

I'm being spoiled rotten. :-D

Today I need to go to the doctor and have him look at my foot so I can find out what treatment and such will look like. Then I'm going to need to figure out how much money I have left after all the traveling I've done, and then figure out what the rest of my summer looks like.

While it's good to be back in Japan, I'm not happy about the high temps and the HUMIDITY. Oh how I hate humidity, esp when I don't have a car or central AC. I miss sleeping in a bed, and not being the largest person around. It was easy to be in America. Now I have to work a little harder again.

I'm going to have to work on building up my stamina, because it takes a lot more energy to get around with my foot, and add the heat/humidity to that and the fact that I have to walk everywhere... I'll have to do my best to not get dehydrated.

But it's good being back in Japan. One of my friends happened to be at the train station when I came in, so she met me and my roommate when I got in on the bus from the airport. It's nice to come back to people waiting for you.

I'm home again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Refreshment Window

Tonight is my last night in Texas. In about 4 hours, I will start my journey back to Japan. And I don't know when I will be back again.

Previous times I have returned to America, I have always had a divided heart. I was happy to be back in my hometown, with my family and familiar things, but I had always felt torn away from the place I loved, Japan. I always went back to Japan with great joy and anticipation.

This time has been different. This time I have accepted that Japan is my home. Before, I guess I was always afraid, and I didn't want to leave it, even for a little bit. But now, it's ok to leave for a while.

This time I was blessed with a chance to rest. Rest my body, thanks to a broken foot. Rest my mind. Rest my heart. It's been good.

The time with my family has been refreshing. My niece and nephew loved me unconditionally. I saw family members I haven't seen in years. I visited my home church and was encouraged and supported by familiar faces who knew me since I was a child, and by faces who where new, and had only heard of this Amber person who lived and worked in Japan.

I have been blessed.

And I find myself thinking, it might be nice if I could stay a little longer...

But I know it's time to go back, face the humidity and lack of convenient transportation. Go to the doctor and check on my foot. And eventually, get back into the thick of things.

But I am so thankful for this time of refreshment that I have been given.

It's good to feel... peaceful.

Next stop, Japan.

Monday, August 01, 2011

When a door is shut, God opens a window...

Saturday, I woke up, feeling as if somehow I was cursed. It was the day before I was to go to America. I woke up with a headache. As I attempted to get up off my futon, I found there is just no good way to get up off the floor when you have a foot you are not supposed to put weight on. I managed to get up, but not without hurting myself a bit.

I spent the majority of the day on the couch in the living room, with my roommates getting me food and other things I needed. I slept on and off through the day, trying to get rid of my headache. And the whole time I'm thinking... "Maybe God just doesn't want me to go to America..." And then I would think... "Or maybe Satan doesn't..." So stubbornly I decided to pursue my goal to the end.

By about 9 in the evening, my head started feeling good enough for me to start moving around. My ever considerate roommates helped me get my suitcases out, and helped with packing and such.
A friend offered to drive me to the airport. I was a little nervous about this friend's navigation abilities, but since I needed to get there with as little movement as possible, I decided to take him up on the offer.

Finally I was packed and ready to go. I decided to sleep on the couch, since getting up off the floor was too difficult and a bit risky. Only our couch isn't so comfortable to sleep on. I ended up with about 4 and a half hours of sleep until my ride came to pick me up.

I had moved the meeting time ahead to 7:30, because I was worried he would get lost. I was right. He finally made it to our apartment at around 8:15. I thought the hard part was done, I mean how hard is it to find a famous airport, right???


A two hour drive somehow turned into a 5 hour drive. I'm sitting in the car, wondering again, "Does God want me going to America?" But always inside, there was a voice insisting that I carry my plan through to the end. So I told my friend not to worry, keep going.

We finally arrived at the airport 30 mins after my original flight departed.

I went to the check in agent, who was very nice, and immediately put me on standby for the next flight to Dallas. Which happened to be the last of the day. My friend waited with me, carrying my bags (since I was on crutches, I can't carry my own bags.) I felt bad that he took his only day off to take me to the airport and then wait with me. We came back after some shopping and eating to find the agent running to meet us. She wore a triumphant smile. "We got you on!"

We checked my bag, and they brought a wheel chair to take me to the gate. And before I know it, I'm relaxing in first class. :-D

The flight was good. The weather was good, so I think it was a bit shorter than normal. I watched a movie, (Thor) while eating a HUGE dinner. I was so full after. Then I tried sleeping. I had to keep waking up to take my pain meds and to move my feet around. Elevating them too much, is bad, but keeping them down is also bad. I had some cramping in my calves and knee, but it got better after the pain meds. I did manage to get both legs rather painfully swollen.

I was met at the gate with another wheelchair who took me through Dallas security, helped me get my bag, took me to check in, and then watched my bags while I went to the bathroom, and even loaned me his iPhone so I could call home and check in. The employees were Amazingly nice.

I had about 5 hours at Dallas, waiting for the last flight to Midland. All the other flights of the day had been canceled, so there was worry that I wouldn't be able to board. (a non-revenue standby has least priority) But that was ok, since I had been prepared to wait at Narita for at least a day to get a flight, if I missed this one, I would find somewhere to stay in Dallas and fly out the next day. The important thing was I was in Texas!

When it was finally time for the Midland flight to be boarded, the standby list appeared on the screen. I was number 12 of 14. Wow. I was pretty confident I would not be getting on the flight. But it didn't stress me out. I just waited.

To my surprise, I got on the flight! Somehow I managed to get seats on TWO overbooked flights, with exactly the right seat for me. The flight attendants where kind and courteous and took good care of me. I had wheelchairs take me from the plane all the way to my brother's car.

And I sit back and look at all the adventure and think: Wow. My friend said right before we parted in Tokyo, "It's a miracle."

I think I have to agree.

I followed through, even when everything looked to be against me. I fought to the end, and then God provided for me in a big way. Everything was taken care of perfectly.

I am blessed. When God opens windows, he opens them wide.

After I write this, I will probably go back to bed for a while, and then sometime today I think we are going to go search for a walking boot for my foot. I hope to convince my doctor in Japan that I don't need a cast. (I'm prone to leg swelling, so I think a cast would be bad.)

It's good to see Texas skies, and to see my family after such a long time.

It's good to come back to my roots.

And it's good to have opportunties to have my misfortunes turn to blessings.

God is good to me.

Which reminds me. I guess earlier, even before I hurt my foot, I was asking God... "What exactly are you promising me?" I wanted to know what my promise was. If God promised me something, then I could wait and believe. But there are so many things that are not promised. There is no spoken promise that I will get married. There is no spoken promise that I will remain in Japan. There is no spoken promise for a lot of things. And it's hard to know what I should be doing sometimes. The line between what I want and what God wants to Give is hard to read. So I started praying and asking, "What is Your promise to me?" And the small whisper I heard was "I will always be with you."

Well, it's a good promise, and Biblical. Not exactly what I was looking for, but how can you complain with a promise like that. So when I broke my foot, I clung to that promise. When I am packing late night after a headache, I clung to the promise, when I walked into the airport late, not certain if I would be able to even continue to be on standby after I miss a flight, I clung to the promise. God was with me. If I didn't get on a plane, God was with me. If I got on a plane, God was with me. No matter what, God was with me.

And so He was.

It's a good promise to have.

I'm thinking windows might be better than doors sometimes. ;-)