How lucky am I to call Japan home and to also come "home" to LA for the holidays!!! Double blessing from the Lord- that's forsure. Now that i've done a good number of international flights, i'm quite used to it and I don't mind the 10hrs in the air. I've found a good pattern on how I go about flying like: what clothes are the comfiest (nice pants, no big coat), when to sleep (after 1 movie and 1st meal), what to bring in my bag (chewy candy, eye drops)...etc.
My goal this time around was to look as much like a Korean Pop star as possible...did I succeed?? HAHA just kidding...but I really did aim to be as comfy as possible while also wearing a mask to protect me from the dry airplane. I flew on JAL and the Lord had such grace on me because I was randomly selected to get booted UP to PREMIUM ECONOMY!! How good is that?? People usually pay $500 extra to get premium seats which are between Economy and business class...and I got it for free. Thank you Lord. Because of that, I had the easiest flight of my life and landed in sunny SOCAL in 8.5hrs...
First thing on the list...meet my niece TAYAH! As you know, Tayah made her grand entrance to the world in August this year, the exact moment I was on the plane back to Japan! I finally got to squeeze her cheeks at the airport. Love her. I chilled at home all day and hugged all my loved one...and mom even let me choose what was for dinner - Komae chicken and broccoli - my fav!
So far, i've been able to meet up with some of my high school besties! On Friday I went to Manhattan Beach to have lunch with Camryn and Kristen...both of whom live and work full time in NYC!!! It was so fun to catch up with them and chat all about big city life. We had lunch at MBpost and cruised the pier after. So blessed by my time with them *p.s 1 thing I will NEVER miss about CA is trying to find parking. It was a nightmare in MB and made me realize how much I love taking the train in Japan.*
Two amazing meals so far were...the PHANNYs burrito my good friend Naomi delivered to my house with really good, strong coffee! And also...when I ate brunch at GOOD STUFF with more of my high school besties, Kacy, Taryn and Yoko. I seriously miss breakfast food...like good greasy bacon and potatoes...and hot sauce on everything!!
I also spent some time in Abbot Kinney with my Russ, Jen, Hunty and Eden (Cam and Len were at preschool) and we ate really yummy food at GJUSTA (super trendy place) and looked at all the super hip shops around. I loved the murals on the walls and the sunshine shining down on us.
I thought this mailbox in Venice was cute! And another highlight so far has been seeing my cousins Karah and Caleb who live in CO. They're high schoolers and on Friday night we hung out and they helped me buy some things are the super market. Since I work with high schoolers every day in Japan, hanging out with them was a breeze and it felt like I was back with my Ichikashi kiddos!
And last but not least...my church homies!! I have been blessed to call GVBC my home church for my whole life and returning there is always so much fun. At church this morning I was able to see Traci, Grace and Tommy...all of whom I've known most of my life and also have worked, or are working at ESL institute (the tutoring center I worked at)! It was really cool passing the torch to them 2 years ago when I left that job to move to Japan, and it's a blessing seeing them still ministering to that place. These ppl are so special to me and I am blessed to call them sisters and brothers in Christ.
Well folks...i've only been home 4 days and a lot has happened thus far!! Life is good and God is so faithful. Merry Christmas!!!