Wind map

Way Cool

My little butterfly

Happily standing in a cold wind watching the Eminent Child at swimming lessons. She’s working on the butterfly now and has passed crawl, backstroke, and breaststroke. Once she finishes this course she will then work on qualifying at 50 meters for all strokes. She’ll learn turns as part of that and her swimming education will be complete.

They started out with styrofoam floaties tied around their waists but now she is free and clear in the water. She is pretty strong in her legs and I’m watching her run over kids during warmups. She does need more upper body strength for gymnastics though and I have faith she will build that up once she gets enrolled there.

Last night she started the 3 day backflip course. For a rank beginner she did good. Ballet has helped with flexibility and the ability to do a bridge with her back arched and hands and feet on the floor.

The gym is great too with fun but disciplined coaches. A few of them will compete in Olympic qualifiers in a few weeks. One of them just joined the gym a couple weeks ago after finishing college. He went to school in Sendai, one of the closest cities to the earthquake last March. He mentioned that he lost 3 people in the tsunami. He’s from the greater Tokyo area so it wasn’t family and it sounded like classmates. I didn’t really know what to say to that.

Sweet Home Minamigaoka

It’s wonderful to be home again, almost 1 year exactly from when I left Japan and 3 months since I’ve seen my girls. I’d been in Nigeria for 8 months and a day and a break was needed. The trip was fairly uneventful, running about 32 hours door to door including travel to and from airports and the layover in Frankfurt. I was able to sleep for a couple hours on each end of both flights (6 hours from Abuja to Frankfurt and 11 hours from Frankfurt to Nagoya) and didn’t have any jetlag, surprisingly. I did get about 12 hours of sleep a night for the first 4 nights though.

Life here is great. It’s cold but not freezing, a welcome change for someone like me who appreciates all four seasons. The Eminent child finishes 2nd Grade tomorrow and has been on half days this week so I’ve seen a lot of her. She has been going to a short gymnastics class for the past few days and is probably going to start on a regular basis soon.

The food here is absolutely phenomenal, I have to say. The internet is stupefyingly fast and I geeked out the first few days just updating all the software that I wasn’t able to get downloaded in Abuja due to the slow speeds and frequent interruptions.

I am sensing that its going to be a tough transition back to Abuja life after this time home. I’m pretty good about dealing with the separation by distracting myself from it with friends, books, gaming, and so on, but life is just so good now, it’ll be hard to put it back in the box. The key for dealing with the distance is to not dwell on it, so hopefully I can get back into the swing of things quickly and not fall into a black hole of homesickness.

Unrelated but interesting note: With the weak dollar and effect of uncertainty in the global economy and Iranian sanctions, gas in Japan is about $8/ gallon.

I survived Lagos!

I have returned to Abuja!

My trip to Lagos was a good one. It would have been nice to have more time but I’ll get back there again some time. I got to see some old friends and made some new ones. Work there was nice. The facilities there are much bigger than Abuja which means it’s much quieter there. This makes the interviews easier to conduct and less tiring. I truly enjoyed the time there and am grateful for the opportunity.

I did have a brush with disaster on Wednesday night. I was focused on the oncoming traffic as I crossed the street and failed to notice the 2 foot deep, 18 inch wide gutters that run down the sides of the street. I was *this* close to stepping right into it but my foot brush the short curb around it just enough to get me to step over. Had I stepped in it, there’s no doubt I would have obliterated my knee, likely shattered my ankle, and broken leg bones. I probably would have messed up my arms too and maybe even broke my face. I likely would have ended up medevaced, I think, with surgery and weeks of rehab. Maybe I overplayed it in my mind but it really would have been terrible, a life defining and altering event, methinks. In any regard, I avoided it, but I couldn’t get it off my mind. Life is a game of inches, eh?

Thursday night I sat out with friends on the terrace overlooking the bay or lagoon when an impressive squall blew in. There was something quite enjoyable about watching a thunderstorm outside. I also discovered that a friend from the embassy was also in Lagos for a couple days and he and I enjoyed the waterslide and saline pool at the hotel. Good times.

It’s nice to be home and sleep in my own bed with my own pillows and the Eminet Pet is clearly happy to have me back. I hope she doesn’t get too upset when I move her to a friends when I travel home in a bit.

I’ll try to get pictures up soon.