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So it’s been since October since I last posted.  Let’s see…

I was home in the states from the weekend before Thanksgiving and won’t leave until this Sunday (the 12th).  It’s been really great to be home around my family and friends… but I have to be honest that I’m also beginning to feel a bit ready to get to back to Asia!  More of that later…

Christmas and New Year’s had a tremendous amount of driving associated, which was pretty interesting.  Across 10 days, I drove around 28 hours… which I guess is about 1800 miles?  No… that seems excessive… but is apparently pretty close to accurate when I start checking the map.  For around 1100 of those miles, Olivia was with me and she was an excellent travel partner!  She spent lots of time doing crafts in the back seat.  She always impresses me with how good she draws.  Once the sun went down, she switched to watching Star Wars on the iPad.  Oh, if you didn’t know, she’s a huge Star Wars fan.  I would wager she’s probably seen movies 2-6 around 4 or 5 times each!

Part of the all the driving was a trip to northern Indiana so Olivia could experience a white (after) Christmas.  Unfortunately we hit the slightly wrong moment in their weather cycle – we’d missed 8 inches the week before and tons more the week after!  Nevertheless, she had a blast playing in the most snow she’s had the opportunity to play in.  Along with the snow we went to Chicago for a quick visit to the Museum of Science and Industry.  It was a pretty impressive museum and we had a lot of fun there.  Olivia really enjoyed visiting the German U-boat even if it was a bit scary as they described (with realistic sounds) the time of the capture.

Just to make sure the trip was especially memorable, there was a bit of an accident.  Olivia was enjoying a bit of frozen yogurt with M&Ms and along the way, she mentioned that it seemed really crunchy.  We agreed that the M&Ms were just really frozen and crunchy.  A little later, I noticed that her plastic spoon was broken… and sometimes, 1 plus 1 is 2.  She had eaten it.  After the museum was an ER visit where the doctor told me that since she had no complaints of pain, I’ll just have to watch for it to make it’s way out of her system.  It also just so happens that we were driving 7 hours home the very next day, allowing me the opportunity to ‘watch’ for it to come out in 3 states!

New Year’s Eve didn’t hold any amazing parties for me, but the first day of the year offered a chance to catch up with old friends.  I hadn’t see them since I left for Japan which would have been 2.5 years ago!  It was such a wonderful time, getting to see all of them after such a long time away.  I have to make sure that I don’t let such a long time pass in the future.

As far as Asian travel goes, I’m making a few adjustments to that.  First, I’m going to do 4 week trips instead of 3 week trips most of the time.  I’m hoping this will give me a chance to be slightly more focused on both sides of the ocean.  The other thing that will change is my primary destination.  Instead of Tokyo, it will be Hong Kong most of the time.  In fact, unfortunately, I’m going to be packing up my apartment in Japan early next month.  After this trip I’m not so sure about when exactly I’ll be back to Japan, so I will be treating it like it’s my last.

My hope is that I’ll post a little more often.  In an effort to keep Olivia a little better connected, I’ll be sending her photos pretty often so she can have a better idea of what is happening while she’s asleep.  Along with that I’m going to aim to write a few postcards during each visit.  If there is anyone that would like to get a postcard from Asia, let me know!

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