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Travel Tip – staying connected for cheap

My adventures in Japan included walking about town in Asakusa where locals ride bikes everywhere.

Vending machines were abundant.

You could even buy BEER from vending machines. Hmmm…

Needless to say, I saw a lot of different customs.  To combat the culture shock, I was happy to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

I played Draw Something … on the bullet train en route to Hiroshima, Japan.

I introduced my host Japanese family in Toyota City, Japan…to my family back home in Michigan.  They even got a tour of my home (thanks to my daughter) and watched a YouTube video of my son’s garage band gig. How cool is that?

I kept up my blog posts, including pictures, during early jet lagged mornings and airport layovers…in Japan and later Seattle, Washington.  Writing as I went helped keep things fresh.

I exchanged texts with my teenagers in the U.S…while I was in Tokyo, Toyota City, Hiroshima and Kyoto.  I loved seeing what they were up to and they knew they could text me any time. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Update: Summer Travels

Ahh… Summer!  I missed you, my dear dear friend.  I’ve looked forward to your visit for several reasons: of course, the SUN – the SUN!!!  If that wasn’t enough, there’s also my trip to Japan and my wedding anniversary. Alas, one wasn’t to be…*sigh*, but the other is TOTALLY ON.

JAPAN:  Postponed! *sob* It wasn’t meant to be this year. Actually, it was my decision. Otherwise, I’d be there right now, in fact. Thing is – after the horrific tsunami and subsequent nuclear explosion, the U.S. issued a travel alert to avoid travel to Japan. This was back in May. Frankly, the radiation threat scared me — I’m a mom and can’t take the chance that I’d get cancer.  Also, part of my trip would’ve been a home stay and I just didn’t feel right about burdening a Japanese family, who had other things to worry about.  The U.S. travel alert says it’s safe now, outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

So – in the spirit of traveling to Japan NEXT YEAR, I’ve compiled 10 interesting facts and figures about Japan:

  • Japan has vending machines that dispense BEER;
  • Literacy rate is about 100% — ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!;
  • A musk melon (like a cantaloupe) can sell for about 31,473 yen (that’s $300.00!);
  • About 70% of Japan consists of mountains and there’s about 200 volcanoes;
  • Japan consists of over 6,800 islands;
  • The unemployment rate is less than 4%;
  • Has the highest proportion of elderly in the world: 21%;
  • Central Tokyo has a population of 12 MILLION people — the Greater Tokyo Area is about 35 million;
  • Japan is slightly smaller in land mass than California;
  • The most popular pizza topping in Japan is squid, followed by mayonnaise, corn and seaweed.

So, Japan wasn’t to be — YET. I look forward to next year, minus the pizza toppings. Squid? Oh boy! But, the good news is that I have new summer plans.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: To celebrate our 25th, the hubby and I are heading to….VEGAS! It’s my first time to the Entertainment Capital of the World and I can’t wait to soak it all in.

Here are just ten fascinating facts and figures about the Sin City, Las Vegas:

  • There’s more than 15,000 MILES of neon tubing in the Strip and Downtown;
  • The neon cowboy (Vegas Vic over Fremont street) is the world’s largest mechanical sign;
  • There’s an average of 315 weddings PER DAY;
  • Marriage license costs $35;
  • It has one of the highest divorce rates in the U.S.;
  • Average cost for filing divorce papers is $450;
  • There’s about 200,000 slot machines;
  • Of the 20 biggest hotels in the U.S. – 17 of them are in Vegas;
  • About 37 MILLION people visit each year;
  • 1,700 licensed gambling places.

I’ve been researching what to see, where to go and what to do. In a word: overwhelming!  There’s retail therapy, hotel hopping, strolling the 13-block Strip, eating at fabulous restaurants, taking in a spectacular show, or two, and soaking up the pulsating nightlife scene. *sigh* So many places to go, people to see! Viva Las Vegas and all that!

If you have any tips for our Vegas trip, please POST them. I’d greatly appreciate it!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Family, marriage, news, travel

 

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25 tips to staying (happily) married for 25 years

I  know, I know, you ask: how can you stay happily married to the same person for 25 years? Well, one thing is certain: it takes hard work by both partners.  Here’s a tip list of things that have worked for us, but of course, I’m sure there are more. PLEASE post your tips too.

Happy Anniversary to my honey!

  1. Know that your partner is not responsible for your happiness; if you seek happiness from someone else, you will likely get disappointed as it’s too much to ask from anyone. Happiness comes from within;
  2. Learn what is your partner’s love language, since that is how s/he feels loved. It could be a good back scratch or cuddle that does the trick;
  3. Speak up as to what is your love language – what makes you feel loved. No one can read your mind, even your partner of many years;
  4. Look at the big picture to decide when something is worth arguing about. Compromise does not have to be giving in – just decide what’s important to you;
  5. Make time for each other daily, even when busy with work or raising kids. You could stay up a little later after the kids are in bed and catch up on TV shows or take an evening stroll;
  6. Support each other, even when it may be silly to you. It could be something important to him/her;
  7. Respect each other, even during an argument. Just like the popular toothpaste analogy, ugly words can’t be taken back;
  8. Go on date nights to a favorite restaurant or event. Try not to talk about the kids or work and instead, focus on each other;
  9. Talk to each other about money issues. This one can be tough, but it’s important because not talking about it could lead to resentment, distrust or even divorce;
  10. Trust each other completely as trust goes hand in hand with love. You can’t have a successful marriage without trust;
  11. Accept him/her just the way s/he is. Remember, you can’t change others, only yourself;
  12. Seek therapy if needed. No relationship is perfect and we bring into our marriage a history of our own;
  13. Always tell each other the good news and the bad news. Keeping bad news bottled up inside because you’re afraid of your partner’s reaction is unhealthy and it will all come out eventually;
  14. Know that life will be messy sometimes, like a family illness or a child’s problems. Staying together during a rough patch will strengthen your marriage;
  15. Talk, talk, talk! Did I mention, talk? Communication is so vital to staying happily married because, again, no one can read minds and everyone needs validation;
  16. Remember that it’s a two-way street and you both have to work at it. Don’t feel like it’s all up to you – you can’t change others, only yourself;
  17. Make time for your friends and your own hobbies, even when you’re a mom/dad. This gives you individuality and contributes to your wellbeing, since your partner can’t be all things to you;
  18. Decide early on what each other’s pet peeves are – it could be that the kitchen sink must be cleared of dishes every night or that dirty socks are not strewn everywhere;
  19. Go away just the two of you and leave daily stresses behind;
  20. Rediscover each other in the bedroom by exploring new toys or techniques. Yes – even after 25 years!
  21. Allow him/her to have nights out with his/her friends for the same reason it’s good for you. Also, this lets them see what their friends’ home lives are like and they realize the grass is not greener on the other side;
  22. Watch movies together, whether on DVD or theatre, since it sometimes opens up discussions on issues you wouldn’t normally talk about. Again, talk, talk ,talk!
  23. Remember that we are all human and make mistakes. We can learn from our mistakes and grow as a couple too;
  24. Love each other, even when the wrinkles start and the hair starts to go silver. Hopefully, we will all eventually grow old and accepting it gracefully, together, eases the transition into the next 25 years;
  25. Go for frequent talk-walks together. Use that time to listen or unload the day’s stresses (in a non-accusatory way). By the end of the walk, you’ll both feel much better with the natural high from the exercise and from releasing the stress.
 
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Posted by on July 3, 2011 in Aging, Family, kids, marriage, travel

 

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