Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Off we go...!


On your mark... get set...

I have packed for 2 days straight, now. Tomorrow morning we fly to Japan! I have become so disconnected from "regular" life & "blog" life that I'm no longer sure what I've posted or when, but it's all been a necessary part of getting this family off on the trip of our lives :)

Last Friday was the last day of school for Brendan, although he chose not to go on the class trip to an amusement park the day before, so it was an interrupted end of the week & year. The week started off on a really rocky note- Brendan's anxiety went right through the roof & he's needed a lot of assistance getting through his days, but things eased-up as the week went by, thankfully. We did go to school on Thursday for his last OT session, first thing in the morning, & so he could give his OT, Ann, her end-of year gift (this year I tie-&-indigo-dyed scarves for everyone). It helped to keep a sort of schedule on this day off school. After OT we went grocery shopping together & had a very mellow day. I think it set him up nicely for a good last day, which can be a bit hairy with it's very different schedule. Cherie, Brendan's consultant teacher, & I planned things carefully in advance so I'd know when to get him each day last week, & I was "on call" for an early pick-up if necessary. He made it right through to 1:45 on Friday which was stellar :) Cherie gave Brendan the bubble-blower in the picture above & he finds it delightful :) All of his teachers liked their scarves & the place had a decided 60's-era look with them all wearing their tie-dyes in various ways. There's a new bubble-tea place that's opened right on the way home, so we stopped for tea as a treat after school. (We tried it out earlier in the week, for a bubble-tea & sushi snack after school, so we were ready to go back :) Brendan has developed a taste for the gooey, tapioca-based bubbles (I have loved them for quite some time) so it's another fun thing we can share.

Over the weekend I started-in with pre-packing activities: gathering things & making lists. One major thing that has happened in our lives over the past couple of weeks is that there was a small fire in Charlie's office early on the morning of June 1st. He happened to be the doctor on call & so got the message at 2:15 am that the building was on fire (!) & a request to come & help the firefighters navigate any hazardous wastes in the aftermath. That was quite a day... Although the fire was nicely contained to the room it was in by the sprinkler system, & no medical records were lost (& very little actual damage done to anything, really) the fire smouldered for a few hours before igniting, so the smoke damage was pretty extensive, & of course, there was water damage from the sprinklers. So 10 doctors have been office-less ever since, practicing out of various offices in the community where someone's on their day off or sick. They've been meeting every morning to get assignments, & only seeing the patients with the most need, while the university found them a temporary site. Saturday morning Charlie spent a few hours shifting things from his smoly office to the temporary space. Yesterday was the first day at the temporary offices & things were predictably chaotic. On one hand, it's made things much busier for Charlie right now (as he's trying to pack & get ready for Japan) but on the other, he's soooo ready to get the heck out of the country :)

On Sunday we had our annual Religious Education Sunday, where the kids & teachers do the service. My Sr. High kids usually do the sermon, since they're the oldest of the bunch, & this year we also had a "bridging" ceremony, where we acknowledge a graduating senior & wish them well on their way to college. It was a fair amount to put together, especially with Japan on my mind, but it was absolutely wonderful. I had warned my graduate, Chaz, that I would get emotional during the ceremony, but wasn't prepared to be moved to tears by what he said in his part of the sermon, where he talked about the important place the church & congregation has had in his life & how much he'll miss us. It's such a joy & honour to be part of the lives of our children & youth... My goddaughter was the other Sr. High participant, & we'll be doing her bridging next year. It's pretty amazing...

Yesterday I really revved-up into packing mode. There is so much to bring/document when you leave the country & do it for 3 weeks! I realised that I've never been away for so long on vacation... We had to have all of Brendan's & my prescription meds in labelled bottles with back-up copies of the scripts just in case. I had to clean out my purse so I could pack it, & take unnecessary stuff out of my wallet. I put together diverting activities (books, small legos, some sweets) in Brendan's carry-bag, which will be a surprise for him tomorrow. Then there's gathering computer games & movies to take. We decided to download a few more InuYasha episodes to my hard drive, too. InuYasha has been what's mainly holding Brendan together these days. Yesterday he was absolutely bedeviled by the intrusive OCD thoughts & things got very freaky at times. He watched one of the InuYasha movies & lots of episodes, too, for distraction. Good friends invited us over for dinner, which I was really looking forward to, but it was touch & go getting Brendan de-ticced enough to get in the car. We persevered, though, & he had a great time with his best buddy, & Charlie & I had a very relaxing meal & conversation. An much-needed bit of sanity...

This morning I got hard-core about the packling & preparing the house for our absence. I also called Tomoko, our japanese teacher, in Tokyo, in the morning (she left for Japan last Thursday). She had emailed me to see if we would like to go to the Studio Ghibli museum with her on Friday morning, worried that it would be too soon after arriving the day before. Our understanding is that you wake up really early for a few days until adjusting to a 13-hour time difference (I called her at 9:30 am & it was 10:30 pm Tokyo time) so Charlie & I thought we should go for it. It's not easy to get tickets to this museum & it's supposed to be wonderful. For us it will be a sort of pilgrimage, since it was the Studio Ghibli film "My Neighbour Totoro" that sparked Brendan's interest in Japan in the first place, 7 years ago, & here we are- going to Japan! About mid-morning, after working on my duffel bag & carry-on bag simultaneously, I realised that I would not be getting away with just one carry-on bag. Not with a laptop, a change of clothes, diverting activities & snacks, all of the prescription meds, wipes, & my japanese "cheat" book (useful words, phrases, & kanji that I've collected & pasted into a small binder). Plus, although literally half of my duffel is loaded with presents for Tomoko's family, I really do need room for my own clothes & stuff. Sigh. And then there's the overflow of presents still looking for a place to go...

Brendan & I took a break after lunch & watched a couple of InuYasha episodes. He watched another movie while I continued preparations... but after the movie the tics returned big time, so he's back with another movie & a snack. I can't help but think that the increased anxiety is directly related to our travelling tomorrow. He's been doing a great job of working on the mindfulness practise when the anxiety isn't too intense, but so far it isn't helping at all when he's in real difficulty. I really think that getting on the plane tomorrow will relieve everyone's anxiety quite a bit.

So- that's all from here! Next time I post it will be from Tokyo!!

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4 Comments:

At 10:04 PM, Blogger kristina said...

I can hardly wait---hoping for photos too! I would be full of anxiety ---- just thinking of the long trip and being in a foreign place and more. And the fire, as if there were not enough to prepare for or around.

Travel safe!

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger Club 166 said...

Ja mata. Gokouun o inorimasu!

(See you. Good luck!)

At least that's what I found online. Have a good time.

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger AnneC said...

I know how long you've been preparing for this trip...best wishes and hopefully you and your family come back with lots of fascinating memories. :)

 
At 3:26 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

This is so exciting for you all.
I do hopw you have a fabulous and memorable time.

 

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