Settling back into our lives here in Nobeoka has been refreshing and seamless. The overwhelming heat, beautiful green rice paddies, and meeting new foreigners all give us nostalgic feelings of our arrival here in Nobeoka now over a year ago. However, this time is different. We feel at home. We no longer feel the pressure to figure things out or to find where we belong. We are settled and this is where we belong for now. Together.
We thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the States and we are so thankful for everyone who made it so special. It was wonderful to know that even after a long absence, we will always be close to our loved ones. And our loved food… There’s nothing that can break our love for the abundance of fruit, Mexican (everything), heaping plates of hummus and lamb, the cheesiest pizzas or giant bowls of peanut butter chocolate ice cream. We took complete advantage of the diversity in cuisines that are hard to find here in Nobeoka. Here are some pictures from the trip! Click to enlarge.
As we get back in the swing of things at our schools, we cannot believe that this is our second time. From events like Sports Day and Culture Festival to everyday lessons, everything seems as if we did it only a month ago. And the seasonal weather is also Nostalgic. We remember how we adapted to this humidity, and then as if overnight, the wind picked up and sent us into the cold winter months. Sitting in this heat, we eagerly await the fall for its refreshing air and bright red and yellow leaves. We will also be able to finally leave the only room in our apartment with AC!
One thing we are excited about is the abundance of festivals during this season. Last year, we regretted missing many of them so we are definitely making them a priority. First on the list: Cape Toi Fire Festival. Along with several other foreigners, we travelled south to see men attempt to light a 40 meter-high pole with fire nunchucks (sort of). An obvious fire hazard but entertaining to say the least. After Kaya ate the best sweet potato fries she has ever had, we spent the night camping by the beach and enjoyed a morning swim. It was a long weekend with lots of time in the car, but with the company of good friends, lots of conbini (convenient stores) stops, and beautiful scenery, it was well worth the drive.
And as always, we are planning our next trip. This time we are going to the Philippines! We will spend the majority of our time on Palawan, an island located in the Mimaropa region east of Manila. It has been featured on many “top island” lists and still manages to preserve an underrated status. It seems like a perfect place for two young budget travelers who want to experience scarcely disturbed beauty both on land and under the sea! Kaya is also in the process of getting her Open Water Diving Certification and will finish her course during our trip. Once she is finished, we will be able to dive together!
Before all that though we have several holidays coming up! We look forward to the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities we have the opportunity to host and take part in. It is also an exciting time at our schools because it gives us a chance to share some pieces of our culture with our students. It’s so cute to see the little ones in their costumes for Halloween. They really get into it! Christmas and Thanksgiving also offer us an opportunity to share about the love of Jesus and the hope we have in Him! It is a tough topic to get into due to various cultural/language barriers. For example, Japanese people aren’t usually against any Christian beliefs, but they believe it’s just a part of our foreign culture and therefore they don’t realize that they too can have a relationship with the same Creator. Because of this assumption, they don’t realize that the fact Jesus died to save all of us applies to them too. And their misconception is totally understandable since they have grown up in a culture with such deep spiritual roots of their own.
We would love for you to pray with us that God can use us in any way possible to help share His love and truth with these amazing people!
Lots of love,
Kaya and Jon