Happy, Healthy, Safe and Free 愛 

私はレイちゃんです。

私はひまわりが好きです

Do you know I prefer to go by RayChan

レイちゃん

Instead of RachelSan

レイチェルさん

Sounds more like LayChan. Chan ちゃんhere is used for children. San さんis used for adults. Of course I prefer Chan. It’s only natural. I even got it on my new dentist card after insisting it was what I like to be called and convincing the staff to put it on 🙂

Happy OCTOBER! 10

OCTOBER?! What in the world. The past month has been adventure filled and fun packed. I’ve been to one Oktoberfest (in September…I’ll never understand that). I’ve been to the dentist 歯医者…three times and I’ve spent more than 24 hours in bed on several occasions. My friend, Pamela, and I went to 鳥取 Tottori, Japan. This has been on my to do list for the past few months. We got to swim in the Japan sea and see Sand Dunes in JAPAN! Thanks Pam-for helping me get out and about and check things off my list that I’ve been wanting to do. What I love most about our adventures, is the amount of time we spend laughing. Appreciate you.

I rode my bicycle to Costco which was an hour+ ride. I did it mostly for the hotdog.

A beautiful woman made her debut in Heaven and I’ve been keeping busy since.

We had sports day, which I wrote about a YEAR AGO!! The entire school participates in an entire day filled with sports. It is an incredible sight to see. This year I understood what was happening, so it was more exciting, fun and meaningful than last year. Last year I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening it was so foreign and new to me.

I spent a day walking around Kobe by myself. I went there to go shopping and didn’t buy a thing…not even a coffee or lunch.

jrSeptember 29th, I did an old rail road hike with some wonderful friends. My favorite days are the ones I get to spend finding bugs/creatures with friends and their children.

I’m going to be traveling to my THIRD country in a few days!! Isn’t that something. 29 years old and just now going to the 2nd country outside of my own. Taipei, Taiwan! I’m excited.

I’ve got a stomach bug right now which I am trying my best to pass before the flight on Thursday! It will be gone by tomorrow because I’m going to Taipei, WOOOHOOO.

学校 I start a new school next week. Once again,

I’m not afraid of where I’m going…I’m just sad about what I’m leaving.

Every school here has become a special place in my heart. I’ve grown close with students and staff and it will be hard to leave. I hate leaving…But I love arriving.

Life…生活

It’s a weird one.

I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit on taking care of myself. I’m going to get back on though and get back to it.

10/16/2019 Back from Taiwan, my last day at my current school is tomorrow and I’ve had a battle with a stomach bug, Aleve and been thinking about my next (possibly last) 9 months in Japan.

For starters, 5 days in Taiwan was enough me. I got to see some beautiful views, try new foods and explore a city (mostly by foot). We spent an entire day including the FOREVER LONG commute, in Jioufen. This is a famous destination location, mostly for people who have seen the movie Spirited Away, which I have not.

I enjoyed walking through the alley’s and seeing the treasure shops. We got to the bus stop around 11:00am where several people were waiting. Bus 1062. Don’t think I’ll ever forget that number. We were all excited and ready for this great hour adventure to a beautiful and infamous place…

The bus passed us. We laughed. As we generally do. 笑い Then some foreigners from Shanghai who were doing the same thing as us…luckily let us tag along with them to the main bus stop. The line for the bus…I can only describe with time. It would have taken at least 3 hours to get on the bus and take a 2-hour ride with traffic. We split a cap with 4 other people and took a two-hour cab ride. I’m spending time writing about this because it was memorable for me and hilarious. I got car sick…the roads are bigger than Japan but the number of mopeds is NUTS. The amount of people that ride on one moped was a huge surprise for me. We decided to head home after a couple hours…we waited in line for a bus at least an hour…and proceeded on a three-hour journey back to town…

My world is expanding. Everywhere I go I see and learn so many new things.

Mopeds, wandering dogs and cats, people, smelly foods and treasures. The money took me a bit to figure out. I say that like I figured it out…I just multiplied the price by 3 to get an approximate amount of what the item would be in USD. Spending a 100-dollar bill there was like spending three US dollars. In Japan a one-dollar bill is like a 100-yen coin. The money is MUCH easier to convert in Japan.

10/18/19

Yesterday, I finished at my 3rd school. It was a hard one to leave for me. Each school I leave, I think…it can’t get harder than this. But each school…it gets harder.

10/25/19 I have been at my new school for a week. Once again, students are brave. This school is much smaller than the other schools I have been at. There are about 34 students in each class. The schools before have always had 40 or so students.

おやすみねさいThe past two nights I’ve been sleeping by 9:30. My new commute is about an hour door to door. I take the bus with high school students in the morning. By the time all the students get on, the bus is so full you almost don’t have to hold on.  The buses here are all MANUAL. I think that is the coolest.img_2345

I have to start planning at least one trip a month. A trip where I go stay somewhere over night. Last year I started going somewhere each weekend. I hope to get back to that.

誕生日おめでとう

My brother turned 38 yesterday! Happy birthday Tom. I always say, I wonder why so many people “grow up” and I never did. When I say grow up…I mean grow old. People stop looking for bugs, wild animals, exploring nature, laughing at little things and appreciating the small stuff. I love that I never lost that. Yesterday I realized…you never lost that sparkle either. I don’t know how I never saw this similarity between us. We love armadillo hunting, looking for animals, buying bug spray and…you know…

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こどもIf a 6-10 year old would enjoy it…we would enjoy it too. I LOVE THIS. I love being like you. I’ve looked up to you since I can remember. You were my first hero. I love you TB. Happy birthday to you.

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I’ve been teaching the art of hugs. Many people give hugs where they give your back a half ass pat…those hugs make me think of insincere actions. I know that is not what people mean by them but I have been showing people how I like to embrace.

Embrace. 擁する

I’m going to a Halloween party tonight. I sure miss the spark that Halloween carries with it. Most kids here haven’t been trick or treating. When I explain it to them and make the “ding dong” sound for the doorbell, we all giggle. Here the sound for a doorbell is “pin pon”. Love it!

The Halloween party was SO FUN! I played games with children as young as 2 and up to university students. I am excited to join in on more of their games.

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Guess what? It’s now November 5, 2019. That means a few things.

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  1. My best friends’ birthday is in 20 days and my other best friends/moms birthday is in a month and 21 days! 勇敢なThanksgiving and Christmas will come and go here in Japan, nearly unacknowledged with the preparation of new year’s, starting.cropped-img_7698-1.jpg
  2. I’m headed to Tokyo in a few weeks!
  3. A friend is coming to visit from America, next week!
  4. I made my first bag. It was about a half hour project. Took me 3+ hours. Hah.
  5. I tried puffer fish. Poisonous fish that you must have a permit to prepare because if it is prepared wrong, it is fatal. I will never try it again. It melts in your mouth. The only thing I want melting in my mouth is pralines and cream, ice cream.img_2454

Ok, let me dig back in my calendar to see what I want to get down, so that I never forget.

I stargazed in Sasayama. The stars never let me down.

I made a new friend. 友だち

I have watched three Storks basketball games this season!

I watched the chorus contest for the second year. It was AMAZING. It blows my mind that students here learn how to sing and draw. I always wanted to feel the music. My mom was a music teacher and a flute player. She felt the music. I wanted to be like her but I just never felt the music other than the lyrics. I finally felt the music. 音楽

I watched Yuko’s son play basketball. バスケットボール

Sports day is next week. Wahoo!

I’m going to get to Kyoto to see the fall leaves changing.

冬 I got my winter clothing out. It was 55 degrees last night and it felt like FREEZING. When Spokane gets the first 55 degree day its like paradise. I guess I’m acclimated to Japan weather now.

本 I’m about finished with the book The Power of your Subconscious Mind. I’m learning the power of our thoughts and how we are what we think.

I always tell my students…if you think you can or can’t, you’re right. I think Henry Ford spoke the original quote. I spend a reasonable amount of time teaching this lesson to students…I knew it to be true but now I can see the extent of this truth.

考える I realized at some point…the things I think usually manifest into reality. I’m learning to use that to my advantage to help me improve my life.

I’ve been thinking about what people are doing in life. If we are not making the world a better place…what exactly are we doing?

If somebody is not contributing positively to our life…why include them in it?

(Reading back through my blog…it’s interesting that I was thinking about this only in terms of people…you’ll see why).

戦い

I try my best to be good. A good person. Friend 友だち。Daughter娘. Sister 妹. I try to be better than the person I was yesterday.

It is normal to be happy and healthy. It’s not normal to be sick and unstable.

We come into this world for the most part, in perfect health, because that’s what is normal for a person and their body. Our bodies can heal themselves, but our thoughts get in the way of that.

My hair is growing. I can’t believe that I consider it LONG now! Sometimes I mohawk it or do a little combover. HAH. I have to do something with it everyday now or it is just a floppy fuzz puff. I found a sparkle or two growing in. Thought I might as well keep them. Never to young to sport a strand of glitter.白髪

Happy, healthy, beautiful, free.

The only way to get out of darkness, is with light.

To anyone in the darkest place of all.

世話をする

At what point did I start feeling sorry for you and start being afraid of you? At what point did I begin to see clearly? When was it exactly, that I knew I couldn’t heal your hurts with my love? With any amount of love…

Nobody wants to be filled with hurt. Nobody wants to feel anger take over their body…

I used to think…You choose to feed the monster within you…However, when you become so deep in addiction, you don’t make the choice to do the drug. It is like you locked yourself in jail and now you can’t figure out how to get out (how to stop). Of course, you don’t want to be there. But that “thing” is a part of your survival and you don’t just think it…you believe it.

No one wants to be an addict. But sometimes you are and when you don’t want to be anymore…you get up off the ground and build your life back up. You look for resources. They are out there. You look for the key to the cell and you let yourself out. The key is right there, in your back pocket.

Being in a dark place doesn’t make your self-worth go down. It doesn’t change others love for you even though maybe it should.

At what point will you realize you are killing the people that love you.

Why do people hurt those that are closest to them? Well I guess it’s because that’s the people that are still THERE. It’s the only people you really can hurt, those who have yet to leave.

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Speaking of beating dark with light…

I always wondered how I kept my “sparkle” …輝く

You know, my joy for catching bugs, looking for wild creatures, bubbles, rainbows and laughing. I cannot believe I EVER wondered that. Sometimes when I’m asked my hobby…I say, if an 8-year-old would enjoy it, I enjoy it. 心の子供

兄さん My brother, who just turned 38…his wife got him a toy for his birthday. The package said 8+ years old. It was the perfect gift. When she sent me the picture of it, she said she got him what she would get any overgrown 10-year-old…or something of that sort. At that time, I realized, this is US!

遺伝子

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Maybe it’s a gene. My other brother, he is like that too. We love going outside after a rainfall and looking for worms, playing games together and laughing so hard at jokes that kids would laugh at.

That’s what we do.

I didn’t just keep my sparkle…it’s a trait that runs in the family. I think this is the greatest trait a person could ever have. You know there are good things that “run in the family” too.

家族

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母と父 ありがとうございます

I just finished a week of meditations about self-esteem. I thought about what factors contribute to a person’s self-esteem and what particularly have contributed to mine. You see, your self-esteem is almost solely created before you have the choice to make up your mind about yourself. The biggest benefactor is the people who raise you, for me, my parents. Not everyone has the same support that I had as a child…and those people have to work at changing their thought patterns and challenge the negative things that have been pounded into their head their entire life.

I’m working on being present. It is easy for me to think about the future…and be filled with instant anxiety and worry.

不安 The future is not happening now. Pull it together, this is NOW. Day by day.

One of my favorite quotes that I’ve recently been reminded of is “Let go and let God”.

手放す

Let go. Let go. Let go. Sometimes the hardest thing and the best thing you can do are the same. At this point for me, the hardest thing and the right thing for me, is walking away. Removing myself from everything I’ve ever known and figuring out who I really am aside from a sister, daughter, friend, and Binger. The person that I will be when all else around me falls to an end. The person I will be when I’m standing alone. 一人で The one thing I’ve never separated myself from before. The one thing I thought I’d never have to separate myself from.

Setting fire to yesterday -Eminem

NOVEMBER?! At that, the END of November?! Happy almost Thanksgiving.

[I have to go back to this idea of addiction.] 開発する

I thought alcoholism was something you were born with. You have it or you don’t. While that can be true, it isn’t always the case. Alcohol is addictive. The more you drink the more likely you are to become addicted. DUH. Why is that never talked about? Why do we learn about drugs and the danger of doing them, even once? ONE TIME. Why are we conditioned to fear illegal drugs…but if you choose not to drink, it means you are “recovering” or you are questioned about why you DON’T drink.

I have friends that do not drink. When they tell me they don’t drink…my response has always been, “Wow, you are SMART”. I’ve always thought the choice not to drink is the best choice.

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The past few years before Japan, I chose not to drink. I didn’t have the time to spend an entire day in bed the next day. I didn’t want to have to worry about how I would get home or where to leave my car. Most of all, if somebody needed me, somebody was drinking themselves, I wanted to be available to “save” them at any given moment.

When I got to Japan…I had the time to spend in bed. I don’t have a vehicle to drive and in case of an emergency, there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m across the globe.

I would call other people smart. I knew I could be smart like them…BUT going out on weekends and having a few drinks was fun for me. While I consider you smart for NOT drinking, I’d be ordering my next ビール.

I don’t like the taste. I never have.

I make stupid choices when drinking. You know why? Part of my brain SHUTS down. What in the hell.

MCRR-1-116-1brain-735x394

Why I drink:

Alcohol loosens me up…

The reality: The more I drink the less functional my brain becomes. The less brain function, the stupider the choices. Yep, I can do things I wouldn’t typically do because I’ve shut down the rational part of my brain. I wouldn’t typically do it because IT IS STUPID.

If I wouldn’t usually do it, there is a reason for it. It’s probably not healthy or safe for me.

I can be social:

I can go out and be around people that I don’t know and I’ll never see again.

Reality: I can be out for a few hours with people I don’t care about and will never see again…in exchange for an entire day in bed.

4.0 1063 AL Alcohol and Body Effects Graphic_Female Preview

Drinking makes me happy.

Reality: Yeah, okay Rachel.

You know what makes me happy? Kids. Armadillo hunting. A good cheeseburger. New experiences. Nature. Pralines and cream. Letters. Animals. Surprises and learning new things. Those are just a few things that make me genuinely happy. I wouldn’t even put drinking on my list of happies, EVER.

As I’m learning about alcohol and what it does to your brain, it supports the reality of all the reasons I thought I was drinking.

This Naked Mind- Annie Grace. If you want to control alcohol (instead of the other way around) or just be informed more…I highly suggest this. A friend suggested it to me. I think this may be the greatest gift you could give a friend. It is good knowledge to have. I don’t consider myself a person with a “problem”. I see how I went from alcohol free, to rarely drinking, to regular weekly drinking. I can see how my occasional drinking moved to more frequent binge drinking and how that could turn into a problem rather quickly.

Things I have always known to be true:

Alcohol is a dangerous monster. It ruins lives.

Alcohol doesn’t make anything better.

Alcohol takes more from me than it gives me. (Funny, if someone is not contributing to your life…why keep them in it…) If anything in life isn’t contributing good, Get. It. Out.

Things I’ve learned: Alcohol isn’t talked about as a “drug”. It’s not in the same class as heroine or meth. But why isn’t it? It kills as many people. It devastates as many families if not more. I was reading some statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism…Alcohol is the third leading PREVENTABLE cause of death in the United States. If you are reading this…you probably know somebody who alcohol has stolen from you. They might still be alive…but the person you know and love, that person isn’t. 88,000 people die a year from alcohol related deaths. Tobacco use and poor diet come before alcohol. In 2010, TWO THOUSAND TEN, a study was released by a group of scientists, that rated alcohol as the most harmful drug. More than 2x more harmful than cocaine or tobacco.

怖い

Do you know why I’ve never done cocaine? I’m too scared. But I wasn’t too scared to open my first beer.

I should have been.

Why isn’t beer illegal?

I was never taught these things. I’m now looking for the research and the studies… and they are out there. The statistics aren’t out in the open for everyone to see. Not like the billboards in Montana that advertise the negative effects of meth and the lives it shatters.

Alcohol is an addictive substance. No if and or but’s about it. If you drink for long enough…you will be addicted.

Not everybody develops an addiction. The more you drink the more likely you will become addicted.

Many people suffer from alcohol use disorders but the thought that this could be them hasn’t occurred to them.

I am so proud of myself for never settling. For continuing to grow and find my happiness within myself. Settling would be staying in a relationship where I give more than the other. Anything in life where I am putting more time and energy into it than what I am getting in return.

Why is it okay to have that relationship with alcohol? Why was it so easy for me to give alcohol my Friday nights in exchange for my entire Saturday?! Why could I give alcohol my clear decision making in exchange for regret and shame. Stupid. Just stupid. I gave alcohol too much and it has given me, literally, nothing. I have given to it and it has taken from me.

成長

Finished. Done. This is not to say that I’ll never have another drink. I’m taking some time to evaluate my relationship with alcohol and I am happy that I am. This also isn’t to say anything about somebody else’s drinking. I’m sharing where I am at in my life.

I spent a day in Kyoto. It was wonderful. I found an artist that I love and I followed her to an art show the following weekend in Ashiya. I will go to one in Osaka in December. When I find things that I love…I really love them.

She does wood burning. Mina_co is what she goes by! I have sent many gifts out that are her work. I have gotten myself some treasures from her too.

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11/13 BBQ dinner in Osaka 🙂

11/16 I went to the cup of noodle museum! I got to make my own cup of noodles and later we took a class where we made our own NOODLES!!

友だち

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池田

When we got there, we got the cups-and we designed them 🙂

After, we got to choose what we put in. (I ate mine last night and it was the BEST)

It was a wonderful day.

I met another new friend. Her name is the same as mine.

趣味

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レイチェルRachel taught me a new craft…resin. So…new hobby means new obsession. This craft might be the one I enjoy most. I’m excited to do more with it. It’s funny…Rachel and I have a lot in common. When we get to crafting, we craft hard and we love animals. So happy to have met you, my friend.

It was really nice to have you girls here. I enjoyed laughing with you and getting to see new places. Most of all I enjoyed getting to know you more. Thank you for being you. ありがとう。

新幹線 I head to Tokyo in 2 days! YAY for adventures with Ayano!

This will be my first thanksgiving outside of the USA. Some very important birthdays have happened this month and are coming soon! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY NOVEMBER friends. Love you dearly. 愛

I have to get a quick little plug out there to some people that I appreciate so very much in my life. Office staff. No matter what school I’ve been at…as a student or a teacher, I’ve always gotten along well with the office staff. I’ve created some of the greatest friendships in my life with the office staff. I’m so thankful for these wonderful people. At my new school…My friend made me these pressed flower cards to send out and a calendar for myself. I’m still adventuring with my friend from my previous school. AND I’m in contact with the wonderful women in Spokane too. The office staff…Love um, always. I appreciate your friendship and the job that you do. 秘書

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A few last odds and ends of photos.

楽しい enjoy 健康 health

安全 safety 愛 love 幸運 fortune 運 luck

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I’ve sent out a bulk amount of happy in the past week. As I was going through my address book I came across the names of friends who have moved, Liz who I have lost and relationships that have ended. Check your mail! I’ll be getting more out when I return from Tokyo.

Spread Sparkle. Be kind. Give mean people grace, they need it most.

Life changes, ready or not.

Happy Healthy Free

illie

 

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