Friday, May 30, 2014

Hold your tongue and let me whine.*

Oh hey. It's been a while. I am still alive. Just chilling here growing a baby.

I hit thirty weeks last week: THIRTY! And by now, it's thirty one. And just like that, a switch went off that has notified my body to make me miserable. I know I sound dramatic, but I feel like these upcoming months are payback for having such an easy first trimester, which is usually what everyone complains about.

Sure, the first trimester had its moments of struggle, but every time I wanted to complain or actually complained to people, or even this blog, I would get the same response. Something to the effect of "Oh, just wait until...." I appreciate the warning, but it makes me feel like I have no right to feel that way or that I'm being a baby.

So please indulge me for this blog post, while I straight up whine!

Don't tell me "oh, just you wait until you milk comes in" after I tell you that I am not liking how big my boobs are getting. Before I couldn't fit in pre pregnancy jeans, it was certain tops and swimming suits that wouldn't fit me in the chest area. It's seriously annoying (the big boobs part, and yes I know I sound ridiculous, but I don't care).

Don't tell me "just wait, you still have 10 weeks to get huge!" when I tell you that I am starting to feel like a whale lugging my stomach (and big boobs) around. The back pain has escalated ten fold, as well as the acid reflux. I now am taking a prescription for it, but man, it sucks. So much so that it was easier to take this picture in my living room rather than get in the car and go somewhere pretty because the car is easily what sets off the back pain the worst. Ugh.

By the end of the day my body just aches. And I've decided to stop teaching my English classes this month because they don't have a/c and it sucks, but more importantly, by the end of my teaching for two hours I am just in pain from bouncing up and down with those kiddos. I know, I know, "just wait til you're pregnant again and you still have to have energy for your other kid, blah blah blah."

I am feeling more anxiety with each passing week as my due date looms closer and closer. Nesting and stuff helps get me excited. But I don't think I will ever be completely ready to be a mother. It's just a leap of faith that I am having to take. And I confess, while I dread labor and delivery, I kind of am dreading the whole newborn package more: sleep deprivation, painful breast feeding, post labor healing, etc. This is when I hear some person in my head say, "oh but enjoy the beautiful newborn stage! Because just wait until they're a crazy toddler, crazy child, crazy teenager, blah blah blah." I know! Thus the whole statement that I am not ready to be a mother!

Well, that feels good to get off my chest.

But besides the complaints I currently have, my point is that the phrase "just wait until..." is not helpful. I think people are trying to be helpful, which I can't blame them for, but at this point, what good does it do? I'm in it for the long haul. Boarded the train and there's no getting off.**

So thanks for listening! Any advice or comfort appreciated, or do you feel like you can't, since all you want to say is what I told you not to say?? Ha. Well, go ahead if you must.  I'll still love you.

xoxo Annie

*blog post title from my favorite first line of a poem ever: The Canonization by John Donne
**taken from another favorite poem: Metaphors by Sylvia Plath

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hiroshima, A New City

Isn't it crazy to think that a bustling city full of life and people...

Once looked like this??

Visiting Hiroshima was such a unique and somber experience. The city now is a pleasant city with nice and happy people. In the center of the city is the Peace Memorial Park and museum that shows what happened to the city on a sunny day in 1945. The information and images in the museum are mind blowing. It was interesting to learn about why Hiroshima was the target that fateful day out of a list of a few cities (the weather was clear that day in Hiroshima, it hadn't been air raided at all yet, and the U.S. knew we had no P.O.W's in Hiroshima), and inspiring to see their resolve to rebuilding and promoting peace.

I loved the Children's Peace Monument, which was dedicated to Sadako, the 12 year old girl who died from leukemia but was determined to fold 1000 paper cranes in a hope that it would save her. The cranes in the photo above are some of Sadako's original cranes. Now everyone in the world can submit paper cranes to the monument in memory of Sadako and in hope of peace.

 My favorite place we visited in the city were the Shukkeien Gardens, which were originally built in the 1600s. After the a-bomb blast, the garden was pretty much obliterated, and the people doubted the standing trees would ever blossom again. Sure enough, a few of the ginkgo trees (now known as "the bearer of hope") blossomed the next year, and weren't completely killed by the blast and radiation.

Now the gardens are a beautiful and serene place to walk around in, and after learning about these surviving trees, it had me singing the song from The Secret Garden broadway musical the whole time: it's the part after Mary learns there is hope for the seemingly dead garden:

"When a thing is wick, it has a light around it
Maybe not a light that you can see
But hiding down below a spark's asleep inside it
Waiting for the right time to be seen
"Oh, somewhere there's single streak of green below
And all through the darkest nighttime
It's waiting for the right time
When a thing is wick, it will grow!"

You should listen to it, it's a great song. Anyway, that was definitely an inspiring moment for me from visiting Hiroshima: that there is always hope, even in the darkest times. It was a beautiful and memorable day. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Miyajima, Mainland Japan

 ^^from the ferry^^

This was my favorite day of our trip. This island near Hiroshima and Iwakuni was so beautiful and so charming. It's now on my list of most charming little places I've been to (which I should make a real list, because all I can think of right now is Annapolis, Maryland ha). Miyajima is a sacred island, said to be where the Gods live.

I loved the views and the shrines and temples on this island. I loved the little shops and food stands on this island. But, what I think I loved the most were the wild deer that freely wander through the town. They are calm and not afraid of people at all, especially if you have food. It was pretty hilarious to see unsuspecting people have deer come up all of a sudden and take a huge bite out of their map or paper bag.
^^he showed up right as Victor finished his oysters so he could lick the plate^^

^^I love this pic for so many reasons. It looks like we are besties, and the Japanese ladies' faces are the best^^

 The Daisho-In Buddhist temple was my favorite. I just loved all the little buddha statues everywhere. We learned that these baby buddhas can be "adopted" by people who have lost children of their own, and they take care of the buddha like a child (which is why they have the cute little knit hats). Sad, but sweet. The temple is at the base of the big mountain on the island, and the views were gorgeous. It was in such a serene place. I loved it.
 Oh, Miyajima. I loved it so. If you are traveling to Japan, you should visit here. After Kyoto, it is my favorite place so far in mainland.

Exploring Mainland Japan

Last weekend we hopped on a free flight and headed up to spend almost a week exploring the southern part of Mainland Japan. This trip was not like our other mainland trips at all, which are always go go go and leave us exhausted every day. That would not have worked for this pregnant girl. It was great. It is also great that Japan is nice and clean, and a place where the public restrooms are clean and plentiful. That definitely worked for this pregnant girl. We also chose to rent a car the first part of our trip (also so nice when you're 26 weeks pregnant) and we loved driving around this beautiful part of Japan. 

Our first day was spent in the city of Iwakuni. Iwakuni is home to the historic Kintai Bridge, built in the 1600s, and was for the exclusive use of nobility and Samurai to cross over to the part of the city they lived in. Way up on top of the mountain is Iwakuni Castle. We got up there by a cable car. 

^^^Japan is not Victor-sized. But for Annie, it's juuuust right ;)^^^
 That evening, we drove up into the mountains and ate at such a cool restaurant known as "the chicken shack." All the seating area was spread out through the trees lit up by the lanterns. Magical and memorable. And the food was delicious.
 Stay tuned for the rest of our adventures. We had a great time, and more importantly, we just got some uninterrupted time with each other doing our most favorite thing to do together: exploring and seeing new places. I'm feeling grateful we were able to go after our series of unfortunate events. We won't talk about how when we got back to Okinawa and went to pick up our car, it had a flat tire. Such a fun welcome home. Let's hope this little unlucky streak of ours is ending soon (knock on wood).

Hope you have a happy day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Golden Week, and Happy Third Trimester!

It's Golden Week here in Japan. This week is a combination of festivals and holidays, the big ones being Children's Day and the Dragon Boat Races that take place all week. My favorite part of Golden Week is all the carp streamers you see everywhere, which is in celebration of Children's Day. Today for our Sunday walk, we walked down to the Hija River, where all these carp streamers across the water are such a fun sight to see. 

Aaaaand my bump is definitely growing! I can't believe I am going into my third trimester. I try not to think about how in just three months I will be in charge of a baby, because if I did, I would probably give myself a panic attack. I just take it one day at a time, and in the meantime, I'll just enjoy the sweet kicks of baby boy. I'm not really enjoying the back aches and acid reflux, which have both flared up this week. Seriously, I pop tums like candy. It's kind of annoying feeling limited by my body. I'm not used to it. But then I remember that I am growing a whole new person, so that's pretty incredible.

So, Happy Golden Week! Love you all.