Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Literal Bathroom

This is our bathroom. That thing on the right is about a meter deep tub. That thing on the left is the shower.

In our house we have two restrooms with one toilet each. This is our bathroom. There is no combined room. The Japanese do not do that, probably to save space or something, but I think it's strange to not have the shower and tub combined.

The monitor above the tub faucet controls the temperature of the water in the tub. You can't see it, but there is a circle underneath the tub faucet that takes in water from the tub and circulates it to maintain the temperature that is set on the monitor. That monitor also talks to me, but like everything else, I don't know what it is saying to me. Pictures help.

The shower is basically a rubber floor mat, a temperature control, and the faucet goes either there or another one just like it but higher.

Don't worry, the bathroom window is frosted and the door is like a school bus door and seals the water in, so what gets wet in the bathroom, stay in the bathroom.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So I need to make a quick post and get to sleep here.

If only Okinawa was like that...

ANYWHO... I recently attended SWOS ASAT, which stands for Surface Warfare Officer School Advance Shiphandling and Tactics. Now you see why the military loves acronyms. Basically it is to put all Ensigns on a level playing field in terms of being OOD (Officer of the Deck) and getting SWO qualified. It was cool. Alot of simulators that were something like this:
But not as cool. And telling the computer what to do tend to go like this.
"Right full rudder."
"Right full rudder"
Yay, technology! At least I don't have to worry about a Terminator scenario any time soon if the most technologically advanced military in the world can get a computer to listen to me correctly for $75,000.

While there I got to spend some time with my Mom in Boston, and we visited the USS Constitution and walked the freedom trail, which goes by a lot of revolutionary sites, like Bunker Hill and Paul Revere's house. Then I got to go again next weekend and hang out with some of my good college friends.

Once back in Sasebo, Jennifer and I went to the Sasebo Biopark, which is like this:
Except without a babbling fool and with interactive exhibits with animals. Essentially a super awesome petting zoo with Capabara and Kangaroos.

Then we went to Kumamoto. This was a cool experience, because it meant we got to experience the Japanese Expressway system. It only costs you an arm and a leg in tolls to do it, but whatever.

Kumamoto is really cool. Well, we specifically went to the Castle, though  I want to go back and check out Mt. Aso and the city. The castle was awesome and was something like this (at least in my mind):
 Well, not really, but can you at least see how I confuse it with this
Pure Awesome.

We also went to a scare crow festival and I met the President:
 So yeah, pretty cool all in all. Also got to see Gadaffy Duck
And this guy:
Well that is all for now. I really need to go to sleep. Check FB for more photos!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Japanese Addresses

More like "wtf is this?" or "how am I supposed to know how to get there?"

That above is our house address. I don't know what it says. I don't know what it means. The neighbors' plates look completely different, so it's not as if they change slightly because of the number differentiation. Nope, I have no clue what they tell natives about our house.

Our address is 1146-22 Yamato-cho. Yamato-cho is the neighborhood in which we live. I don't know what the numbers correspond to. Thankfully the taxi drivers know how the number translate to where to go. Someone else who lives in our cho, but in a different part, has totally different numbers-before and after the dash. I wouldn't know how to tell people what our Japanese address looks like if they want to write a letter (you could just send it to the numerical address above). Some houses have these a few don't...I don't know.

I think it would be great to find out what the heck that means, but really it's not that big of a deal so long as we know where we live and I don't have to try to say the above characters. I wouldn't know where to start.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I miss my chicken sandwich friend. Anytime I craved something from the chicken champion, I could take a short drive (or walk if I was desperate enough, though I never did) to get a chargrilled chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a sweet tea. I would get an ice dream if I dared or a milkshake to finish it off.

The playground was entertaining, not for me of course, unless I brought a niece or nephew with me. A little anecdote to brighten up your day:
The first time I took Kenleigh and Aislynn to Chick-fil-a they darted to the playground while I ordered the food. No big deal, I'm used to being left to do the dirty work and pay for things for people who need to be chauffeured around because their feet can't reach the peddles OR because the law won't allow them to drive under the age. Either way, I didn't mind not fixing another pbj for the 12th day in a row. "No Chick-fil-a employee, it's my pleasure." I go to the booth in front of the playground so they can watch see me and I can keep an eye on them. I go into the playground room and tell them it's time to eat. Kenleigh looks at me with the brightest eyes and amazement, "Jennifer! Orphans!"
While indeed they were not orphans, they were children playing without their parents present. So in a way, they were orphans. Just later on after they had eaten a nugget or two, they went back to the playground. This time, Kenleigh followed a little boy up to through the maze of colored levels that should lead to the top of the slide. Well, it can be a bit confusing and challenging to find your way out if everything looks the same. So, it had been a while and Kenleigh hadn't come down the slide after climbing to the top. I go in there and she won't move. I try to tell the little boy to show her where the slide is and she still won't move (and I don't think she was willing to follow him anymore after he led her to the top where she was scared and confused). After hearing her little voice cry out for help and her determination to not get further into dispair, I bound up the playground designed for young people smaller than 42". Level after level I bend and twist until I get to where she was. A familiar face to her was the saving grace. "You saved me Jennifer! You saved me!" Yes, yes I did. And don't you forget that, dear one, when you are trying to figure out which of your aunts and uncles is your favorite.
So after I showed her where the entrance to the slide was, I let her go and climbed back down just to climb up part way to the slide so she could hear my echoing voice to guide her down to solid ground. She slid down the slide and she had had enough. The rest is a blur because I was still amused that I "saved" her and nothing as epic happened while putting on shoes.

Chicken sandwiches made with love and having an excuse to sit inside instead of the drive thru are what I've been missing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Printer!

It's Monday. And that means it's time for another episode of what I'm missing in America. This week's feature is my printer.

Yes, my printer. There are many like it, but that one was mine. I've had it since I was a freshman at GT. I miss it. It brought me many saves as I forgot something at the last minute and needed it before class. I was able to print reports in my room and run to class to turn it in before I was too late and the professor thought I was doing just what I had been doing: waiting to the last minute to perfect my once-looked-at paper with grammar mistakes and confusing syntax.

I was also able to scan pictures and documents, just like most other all-in-one printers these days. But this one has a special place in my heart. It could be because I don't like spending money. It could be because I was very familiar with it's functions and how it worked, including its temperament. I could just go to the NEX and buy a new one, but it just won't be the same... It will be shiny, new, and fingerprintless. It will have all the functionality of my last one, but with more features like wireless printing. It will be here in my house and not in some storage unit in Atlanta waiting on my paperwork to be completed so that it may join us in Sasebo. It would allow me to print off pictures and other sorts of decor for our bare-walled home.

One day printer of mine, we shall be reunited. Until then, brush the dust off your shoulders and know that I still want you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vending Machines

Yes, vending machines. You might be thinking, "How could vending machines really be any different than in America?" Well, I thought the same thing when I got here. It's a vending machine, you can't go much different than inserting money and receiving a drink after pushing a button. Well, that's the basic part of it.

What is so different here in Japan is that these vending machines are everywhere. That is not an exaggeration. I'm not kidding you one bit. These vending machines are placed everywhere like Subway Restaurants, McDonald's, or a Starbucks. Everywhere. Across the street from each other. Right down the block. On the same block. Yes everywhere.

See these vending machines here on the right? They are the same ones in the picture above. But did you catch the red square in the left of this photo? THAT is another drink machine. I am not kidding. You can see that they are just a few yards away from each other.

And down the hill, almost to the main road just around the corner is yet another set of vending machines just like the ones pictured here.

Also note that this is in my cho. It's not on some highly-trafficked area but on a hill in a neighborhood. I don't know how often these things get restocked but they typically always have enough drinks in them. They mostly have cold drinks in them, but occasionally they serve hot drinks. It all depends on which one you go to and what it happens to have in it. See, the white one on the right has mostly teas and coffees, while the red one has mostly sodas and fruity drinks.

Well, this has been the first of "WTF Wednesdays" (AKA "Yep, the Japanese have that" AKA "Whatever I feel like righting about on Wednesday that you might find interesting") I hope you've learned something about Japan and be sure to come back!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Missing You Monday

This post is dedicated to the ones I love who are stuck stranded in the States without me while I'm all the way without them on an Island Nation in the Pacific Ocean called Japan. Yes, that's right, I have loved ones. And you just might be one of them since you took the time to read something I wrote. In fact, I do love you for reading something I wrote.

Yep, here I am in Japan by myself. "Where's Evan?" you might be asking yourself. Well, that's a good question. See, he had to go do this thing called Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) pronounced "swauce" like (bbq) sauce but minus the condiment and add a "w" after the first letter. Yeah, he's been there for two-and-a-half weeks in Rhode Island while I've been here coaching, playing, and quitting coaching soccer. I've also been working on some paperwork for me to actually stay here and all the privileges that come with living here, like driving and seeing a doctor. Well, that all ends on Saturday (or Sunday if he doesn't get an earlier flight) when I get to see him again because he'll be done with that swaucey school of his and endure roughly 14 hours on one flight to Tokyo and then another 6 hours to get through customs, wait on his next flight, and the ride the bus all the way to Sasebo to see me.

So, for the first in the series of What America Has That Japan Doesn't and I'm Currently Missing (AKA Missing You Monday AKA What I Miss Most), this one's about you Evan (mostly) and the rest of my family where there were two birthdays since I've left and mine's up next. I miss you all where ever we are stranded without each other...hopefully missing me, too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Series

When I decided to introduce the two new series that I'm going to be writing about (at least try to) weekly, I had to think to myself, "What if I'm talking about more than one series, what's the plural form of 'series'?" And it turns out there does not exist a word for multiple series. I would have thought "serieses" would work, but the annoying little red line appears underneath it. So I'll just try not to confuse you with saying "series" when I'm talking about introducing multiple ones and not just one series...

Anyway, the one I'm most excited about is going to be called "What I miss most" and it will feature whatever it is that I don't have access to here in Sasebo but is still in America. I've got plenty of these things just waiting to be written about all lined up. You can look for this weekly and maybe it will find out there waiting.

The other series that will be new is going to be called "Yep, the Japanese have that here" and I think it's one that you are going to be most excited about since it will feature crazy things that seem odd, different, unique, or any other thing I mind find at the last minute I think you might mind interesting.

Remember that I am 13 hours ahead of the East Coast so my Monday is not necessarily my Monday when I feel like posting something each week.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back on Monday for the first "What I miss most"!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm in Japan!

I've been in Japan for two weeks now and it's rather nice being here with Evan. It's nice not "just visiting" or seeing him over Skype. I'm actually here! I don't have a return plane ticket. I have my passport stamped designating me SOFA status. It says I am allowed to live here for longer than their 90 visa that tourists get.

So far I've coached one youth team (7-8 year olds) and got recruited to coach a second team (11-15 year olds) and to play for the women's 18+ soccer team for Sasebo's main base. The youth teams play the other team in the same age group within the Main Base and we also play the other base affiliated with Sasebo called Hario. The women's team, we play Hario and I think we also play a Japanese team.

For the last ten years I played soccer (I played for 13 years) I was mainly in the goal playing goalie. This team I'm playing on now may mean I'm on the field. We've got a few very skilled players, including myself, and we've got some good players, and some very fresh feet who have never played before. While I've got some theories on how I would field us, that may not be how the coach decides to play us. We'll see how it all goes. For all three teams, our first games are on Saturday. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Those damn Yankees!

Last week I wrapped up a show with the MilledgeVille Players called Damn Yankees. We started rehearsals in the beginning of July and went just about everyday singing, dancing, and passing the time backstage in between scenes.

I had a number of costume changes (5) and alternated genders each scene I was in. It was a challenge, but it was fun!

I started out as a housewife with my green dress, brown apron, and my gold jewelry...and black shoes.
After that was over I then quickly had to change to a baseball player.
That's right. I was a man, sans lipstick and blush. Well, at least I tried to pass it off. I know the people in the audience could tell (at least I hope so).  I sang a song, then had to change yet again to be female again.
I had to put back on the blush and lipstick, let my hair down, change my pants, and tie up my shirt. Though this wasn't my favorite part of the show, this was one of my favorites. This was a duet song and dance with one of the main characters, Lola. We were the "I love Joe fanclub" and sang a song that doesn't have anything to do with the show really. It's just a dance break to watch talented people dance as far as I know.

I went back to being a baseball player and sang "The Game" which is a song about women the game of baseball and not women. This was my favorite, because I got to be all googely-eyed during stories about women baseball.

Then I changed yet again to my least favorite costume that I didn't even take a picture of myself in it. I was a woman this time for a night club scene.

But I had fun even though it was tough to sit through a very long show each night. And I'm pretty proud of myself because I had bever had such a featured singing and dancing part as I did in this one.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stars in a Jar

After seeing "stars in a jar" on Pinterest, I thought to myself, "That's a cute idea! And I have all the necessary equipment, all the way down to the glow-in-the-dark paint!" So, once we used up a jar and cleaned it out, I gathered the stuff I would need to put a galaxy into a glass container that would be placed on the bedside table next to the child staring at the wonderment of how stars were captured and given to them.

Anywho, here's the basic equipment that I used:
On a table I spread out paper so I would get any mess on the table and make it look like a landing strip at night. I, of course, used a mason jar (cleaned out) including the lid, though that's probably optional and I'm sure you could use whatever you want to normally cover a glass jar. I used a toothbrush to splatter the paint. And lastly, I used glow-in-the-dark paint.

After I stirred up the paint, I dipped the toothbrush in the paint and splattered away inside the jar. I didn't realize it was going to be difficult until I started but trying to get more coverage of the jar was limited to how far my hand could take the toothbrush and still splatter. So I took the paint stirrer stick and the toothbrush down further into the jar and used the stick like my thumb. It worked so well!
I'm quite enthused by it all! I can't wait to make more for the rest of my little ones in my life!
This last one was an attempt at a picture in the dark, but when it was in the dark there wasn't enough light to see anything. But the kids loved it sitting under the covers looking at the stars!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jessi Graduates!

Well, last week my sister, her two daughters, my brother, and our mom drove out to Ft. Sill Oklahoma to support my sister in her graduation from Army Basic Combat Training class 49-11. Jaime got in last weekend and then we left on Tuesday. We packed up the 15 passenger van which should have been a minivan and we left. We stopped in Conway, Arkansas Tuesday night and arrived to Ft. Sill Wednesday afternoon. We didn't get to see Jessi then because she wasn't released for Family Day until Thursday.

On Thursday, we saw the Bravo Battalion 40th Field Artillery do a little demonstration about what they had learned during their training, they went to change, and then we got her for almost the whole day.
Jessi was the guide for her platoon. She did us all very proud. She told us that she was the guide for the platoon, but we didn't remember until we saw her in front of the entire formation with the other guides and then we were so happy. We started the cheering by calling out her name. And we happened to be sitting right in front of where she was standing. When she caught a glimpse of us, she smiled.
I mean, who wouldn't be distracted by us? She got to go with us in her Class B uniform (I think). She looked really good!
The nest day was her graduation which took place indoors (thank goodness!). We were able to hear everything, see everything, and sit down without anyone in our way since we were sitting on the front row of the balcony.
We all had a great time and we were so proud of our sister/daughter/aunt!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Sisters,

To my sisters, Jaime and Jessi, this is about your children. No, it's not bad―well, your children have not been bad. But this serves as a notice you that I will gladly take your children at any time. They have been a blessing to me. I have loved watching them when you needed me to. I enjoy their vocabulary―words made up and those mispronounced. I love watching their faces for those unique expressions that make them individuals.
Sometimes things get a little gross and frustrating having to clean up peep and poop from the floor. But I know that one day I will be telling Aislynn all about the times where I had to clean up after her because she couldn't make it to the potty in time. She will be embarrassed because her aunt once saw her at a weak time in her life and will be revisiting those days. Aislynn will then duck her head as she blushes and wishes that I―once called "Bipper"―would just shut my mouth. But that is when I get my revenge. That is when I will be able to forgive her for making my hands dry from washing them so many times a day.

Sometimes they don't like to share with each other. But that's okay. For every cry, every tear, every tugging match where poor Princess Rapunzel bears the brunt, I can hear the echoes of their mothers and I screaming and pining for the toys to be ours. I don't cringe when I hear the whining, screaming, crying. I smile. I think back to when we were little girls (and our brothers were there, too), and though we did have our screaming matches and tugs of hairs on our heads, I do remember when we had fun and enjoyed playing with each other (or maybe that was just my imagination creating those memories because there were none). I know that one day your children will look back fondly to these days where playing with their cousins or sister is something they wish they could do more often.

Sometimes I get tired of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But if it makes them happy, I'll do it. And it's simple enough that I can make it! The last thing I want to happen to your children is food poisoning from me experimenting with food creations. I wouldn't mind a failed creation as long as it tasted/looked/smelled/[insert other form of description for food here] good or as long as they were happy eating it. If they liked it, it would be one failure I was actually good at...if that makes sense. But what am I talking about? Failure? What is that? I'm the perfect one, remember? That's right, born ON my due date. It was destiny from the start.

What I hope to see in the future from my nieces and nephew:

  1. Kenleigh performing on stage. Center stage because she is going to be a fabulous dancer with that creative imagination, no-guidance-yet-naturally-talented moves, and she has fun dancing and moving around. Not to mention wearing those costumes!
  2. Cameron in an all-star game. Whether it is soccer or baseball, I don't care with an arm and a leg that that boy has already. But who can blame him when he's been running with a ball at his feet since he could recognize what a round thing was. Weren't his first two words when he'd come into the house were "Josh" and "ball"?
  3. Aislynn will be an innovator. She is constantly observing, irritating imitating others to the point where she knows what's going to happen next. She is smart, cunning, sly, and knows what's going on. I expect her to ask lots of questions beyond the normal whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how!
But please know that they do learn from you. I see you in each of them every time I see them. It's "tchüß" pronounced "choose" not "chooses." And when he picks up a marker with his index and middle finger, brings it to his mouth, then removes it, and pretends to blow out like he's smoking a cigarette, remember that he's 3. He emulates and idolizes you. How am I supposed to tell him that what mommy and daddy do is bad for his health and he shouldn't do that? Do I make you out to be the bad guy? No, you are the parent, but I don't want to see him being taught that being a victim of an addiction is okay. Biting is not okay, from anyone. I've seen 'em all do it, even to themselves. I don't really know if this reflects on anybody, unless you count tattoos as inflicting self-harm. (But then, again, so is joining the military...It's a catch 22)

I love your children. It has been a pleasure watching them during the summer and on the weekends. Unfortunately, this time is coming to an end. You do have wonderful children. I'm going to miss those BIG greetings I get from Cameron whenever he sees me. I'm going to miss being called "Jiffer." I'm going to miss those personal requests to be held. But I did have my camera with me for most of the time whenever we left the house, so I have those digital memories so long as the internet still works. Another note, your children are all photogenic and I've very much enjoyed looking at them through a 2 in screen while pushing a button when I think they are doing something cute.

Your Sister,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Reader's Guide to Children's Words

As you may know, I have been watching my nieces during the weekday and occasionally my nephew on the weekend in addition to the girls. What you don't know is the second language that is spoken at my house. These words are based on English, but to the outsider, we are using made up words or even misusing words that have been around for ages. Here you will be able to learn about these words and maybe even use them with a smile on your face because you know some very bright, adorable children helped create the new uses of these words.

fridgenator - noun. No, this is not a superhero to help you eat the healthiest foods. This is Kenleigh's word for the "refrigerator." "Jennifer, I can't open the fridgenator."

empy - adjective. The description of an object that was once full but is now empty. "Jennifer, my juice is empy."

peep - verb. The act of urinating. Past tense: peeped. "Jennifer, Aislynn peeped in the chair!" (We are trying to potty train her and she had a slight accident. You poop, why not peep?)

screwdriver - a cob knob. "Ducky, I can't eat this. I need that screwdriver." (With some context clues, we figured out to give the child something to hold on to.)

Propunzel - Princess Rapunzel.

perprize - interjection. That thing you yell when someone walks through the door to catch them off guard (surprise!). "Perprize!"

pappy - noun. a child's pacifier. "Oh, pappy? Where are you?"

posiple - noun. What Kenleigh calls a popsicle. "Jennifer, I want a posiple."

ogert - noun. A dairy product commonly called "yogurt" by most Americans. "I want a Spongebob ogert, Jennifer!"

color - noun. Any marker, crayon, pen, pencil, paint, etc. Anything that makes a mark and you can color with. "Bipper, I *grunt that sounds like want* color (while pointing to an Expo marker)."

baby - noun. Any small, stuffed animal or doll that can be held on to while either niece goes to sleep. "Here's your pappy, your blanket, and your baby. Now go to sleep."

Ebu - Proper noun. Pronunciation: EH•bu. It's what Aislynn calls Evan. Example: Whenever I am on the phone or Skype, Aislynn says, "I *grunt that sounds like want* talk to Ebu."

Eban - Proper noun. Pronunciation: EH•bin. Cameron's attempt to say Evan's name.

share - verb. Stop playing with something and give it to me. Example: Kenleigh was playing with a tape measure for a solid 20 minutes. Aislynn came into the room and thought that would be fun to play with, so she tries to take it. Kenleigh refuses. I say, "Kenleigh, let Aislynn play with it. You've played with it for a long time, it's time to share." About 30 seconds later, Aislynn is screaming because Kenleigh is trying to take it back. When I go to investigate, Kenleigh explains, "Aislynn won't share!"

That's about as many words as I can recall right now. But this is what I speak either daily or weekly. We add new words whenever a new experience occurs, so you might expect a second edition. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trip to Japan

After I found out I was medically disqualified, Evan and I booked me a plane ticket to visit him in Japan. So after I had my finals, my graduation, my best friend's wedding, I flew on a 22 hour trip over three planes and a train. I left on a Saturday morning and arrived midnight on Sunday, all at local time.

For my 24 day trip, the first two weeks were spent at the Navy Lodge because Evan and I did not have a house. So while we were hunting and figuring out bureaucratic, behind-the-scenes paperwork, we stayed in a hotel room. Evan did have to work some, but his boss was kind enough to let him go at lunch most of the days he had to work. He also got days of leave.

During the first two weeks, we went to three different houses over several days. We did find the house we wanted (and signed the lease on)!

It's quite large but, you'll hear more about that later.

We went on a hike up a mountain to Mt. Yumihari lookout point. We did not know how to best get up there. So we decided to wing it. We looked at the point from the base, and just started walking. As it turned out, we were pretty lucky and our path was exactly wear we were aiming for. It took a total of 5 hours for the trip. We spent close to an hour at the lookout. (Evan's got the pictures of that trip)

We did eat lots of sushi! Since we did not have a place of our own, we did not have a place to really, cook, prepare, or store food. So almost all of our meals were eating out at a restaurant. There were ordinary food choices as well as foreign-to-me food choices.

At the beginning of my trip, I felt like a visitor and like I didn't belong--I shouldn't be there. But as time went on (and we owned a piece of Japanese real estate) I felt more like a resident that I am and less like a foreigner.

Evan and I are both really excited for he and I to both be in Japan together! We'll see when that will be. Until next time...

Friday, June 17, 2011

That's not my name

What most people don't know when they read my name is that I have two last names. It's treated like a name with a hyphen, just without the hyphen. My maiden name did not become my middle name. I just leave out my middle name and write only my first and last names. So officially, my name reads Jennifer Allyn Thompson Valdyke. But because most people don't want to know your middle name, and it's not wrong to just write your first and last, I simply write Jennifer Thompson Valdyke.

I throw people way off when I say aloud my name because they can't see it. So, they just think I have four names, two of them being middle names. To help them out a little bit I make sure to give a longer pause between my first name (then my middle) and say my last names without a pause so they can hear my names are supposed to be together.

I learned that changing your name is not easy in America. To me it makes sense to officially change one's name with the Social Security Administration otherwise I could have multiple identities floating around and that can be chaotic. It turns out that is not the case. I found out after trying the logical way that I was supposed to go to the DMV to show them that I was married and they would change my name. And then I could take that ID to the SSA and show them that my name was changed. That doesn't make sense to me that it was too easy to change your identity by showing a marriage certificate to the DMV to get a new ID card. I feel like that is too easy to cheat the system or escape the government. Because even though I changed my DMV according to the DMV and all the police that might pull me over, according to the United States Government, my name is still Jennifer Allyn Thompson, making my my "name change" really just a joke.

The funny part about the DMV is that they cannot make a name hyphenated or anything like an amalgamation of names for some reason I don't know. (I think they were misinformed because according  to their website, as long as I had my marriage application that has my desired married name, then they could make it that. The SSA told me that they needed the application in addition to the certificate to legally change my name, but that was not what their website said. I had to show up in person to find that out.) But since I did not want a hyphen, she saw no problem with just adding another name to the end of mine.

Additionally, when addressing a letter. It is incorrect to say "Mrs. Jennifer Thompson Valdyke." Since my last name is different from my husband's I would not be a "Mrs." I would be a "Ms." It is also incorrect to address it as "Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Valdyke" Because I'm not a Mrs. and he is not a Mrs., it doesn't make sense to write us a letter calling us by the wrong name or gender. If it is being addressed to both of us, it would be correct to formally address it as "Mr. C. E. Valdyke and Ms. Jennifer A. Thompson Valdyke."

Now that you know, please don't screw it up in the future; it really wil perturb me if you do. I will remember and just might "accidentally" call you by the wrong name.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


May came and went really fast.

It was completely full from beginning to end. The first week of May was finals week. I said in my last post that my computer crashed so I had to write the rest of my 20 page final paper on a netbook that did not have Microsoft Word. So I had to download a word processor to finish my paper in less than three days. But I did it. And I had my last final on that Friday. It was easier than I expected and I got out of there faster because of it.

My mom and two nieces came up to Atlanta on that Friday. On Saturday, we began to pack all my stuff and take it to the storage unit I got. It was no easy task with a 4 year old and a 19 month old running around, getting into stuff and undoing the progress. But luckily, Josh joined us after his soccer games in Kennesaw. One of us could watch the girls while the other two could move. We weren't moving long before it was time for dinner with the in-laws. We met at Six Feet Under for a nice break from packing (for us) and driving (for them). After dinner, everybody came back to the apartment to load the moving truck with all my stuff and unload it at the storage unit. That was a seriously big help they lent. I honestly couldn't have done it without everyone.

On Mother's Day, I graduated with honors (it turns out) from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in History, Technology, & Society.

Everybody went home and I continued to pack up the rest of the apartment for the next couple of days. I thought I Was going to be able to load the rest of my stuff that had to go to my mom's house into my car, but it turns out that it was twice as much stuff as expected. So fortunately, my sister came up to Atlanta and got the rest of my stuff.

The following Sunday, my friend had her wedding. It was absolutely gorgeous! There was a threat of rain, but it held off and was sunny for the ceremony. We all were so happy for her and I can't wait to see pictures! That day was also the day that Jessi left for Army boot camp. She graduates 10 weeks from then and we all will be so excited to see her on graduation day.

After that and before my trip to Japan, I was supposed to have that time to pack and do any sort of final preparations I needed to do. Well, my nephew was sick and needed to be picked up from day care because he had a fever. So as I was on my way back from Macon picking up my fixed computer and books for Evan, I had to make a trip to the day care to get Cameron. He was such a sweet boy the time that I had him. Even though he was sick, he was still energetic and mischievous but I still love to watch after him.

Lastly, I flew to Japan on the morning of the 21st and arrived in Sasebo midnight of the 22nd. Somehow a travel time of 22 hours turned into two whole days out of my life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

April Happened

April started out with Baron's birthday. He turned one year old on the 2nd of April! For his birthday, I got him a 10 pound box of treats, a new Kong toy, a new chew toy, and an itch relief spray since he's got his dermatitis.

I did a little rearranging of the living room in the apartment, just switching the table and the futon. The futon went under the window allowing Baron to have a boost when gazing out the window. He appreciated it.

Later that week was Naval Ball. That was very stressful seeing as how I was the BNCO and needed to know everything about everything that was going on. That included me going to a meeting everyday and making phones calls to each individual who had responsibilities and arranging last minute things that people failed to do when they were first told to do them.

The middle of the next week my sister arrived with my nieces from Germany. My mom drove up to Delaware where they flew into to get them. From Delaware, they drove back down to Milledgeville, GA.

After that, I went home on the weekend. We had a good ole time with both my sisters and my nieces and nephew all together. And of course, Josh and my mom were there too. The Monday following, my sister flew back to Germany and left the nieces behind.

The next weekend was Earth Day celebration stuff. So we went down to the river walk and walked around, played on the bouncy castle, and climbed GMC's obstacles. The next day was Easter. So we all went to church, all dressed up of course. It was very nice to see everyone at St. Stephen's again.

The last week in April was "Dead Week" at GT. In the middle of the week, my computer's hard drive stops properly functioning. I still had two papers to get done (one of them was 20 pages) and then I still had to study for two finals the next week. Luckily, my mom let me use her netbook so I could get done what I needed to. But along with the hard drive, went all my pictures and music. So, I don't have pictures to imbed in this post but I will share with you the photo album on facebook.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You must not know about me

There are wives of military members. there are girlfriends, and then there is me. I'm a little different in that Evan and I are dual military. That means he's in the military and so am I. This means that while most couples are apart for 6 months due to deployment, we have the potential to be separated for years at a time.

People have told me, "I know it's hard when your husband is deployed," "I know how you feel," etc.

Truth is, you don't know. You don't know what it's like for us. You have never had your husband go away just shy of you two month wedding anniversary. Nor have you ever looked at the reality of not seeing your husband for another couple years. You haven't had to look at the unsureness of when you were going to have a family.

Just so you know, you don't know what it's like.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Signed, sealed, delivered

Okay, so I know it's been a while, but that's because nothing has really happened (at least in the states). Evan has done some exploring in Japan around Sasebo. While he's been away, I have been packing all his stuff. He doesn't need that much and didn't ask for much either. But I've gather most of what he's asked for.

The packers and movers came today and took away all his stuff that I laid out for them. They took everything I told them but they left behind the stench of cigarettes. Thankfully I've got a scented candle burning to get rid of that.

But...his stuff is gone and now the apartment is much cleaner.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Countless miles

This is our first long separation. We have spent summers apart doing school and camp as well as observing our brief, summer, military obligations. But this will last for twenty-seven months, and in case you haven't been staying up-to-date on these posts, that's how long Evan and I have been together.

This will not be easy for either of us. Nor will it be easy for either of our families. We do have a few strategies which we will try out while we are apart. One of which is sending emails to each other as frequently as we can. And we each have cameras and memory cards where we will video a message and mail it to the other so that we may see and hear each other. This should work fairly well up until one gets lost in the mail or goes overboard and finds Nemo.

I will have many more hours of free time, so I have come up with goals and things I want to do this semester. One big one is to train for a half-marathon. I will write more about these goals later as well as updates. So, check back later this week for more on that.

Friday, January 21, 2011

27 months

About three weeks ago was mine and Evan's one month wedding anniversary. Not long after, he got his orders to report to his first duty station to the USS Essex in Sasebo, Japan.

Tomorrow is his 23rd birthday. And we are both glad that we will be together for that. But what we realized as we talked about his orders to stay in Sasebo for 27 months is that we've been together since November 2008. And if you do that math, that's 27 months.

When he is done with his time in Sasebo, we would have spent half of our relationship (somewhat) geographically close (with the exception of holidays and summers) and half in two different countries.

This does not make either of us happy. In fact, it's really sad. Evan leaves sometime next week and then his ship goes on patrol not long after he arrives. Don't worry, he'll have fun playing in The Outback.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Almost one month!

Hey all! Almost a month ago Evan and I tied the knot in front of nearly 150 of our friends and family. We were so blessed to have them join us for that special day. Now that it is the new year, I'd like to take a quick look at all of the events that happened in December for us.

December 4th we got married.
Then we went on to finish the semester with "dead week" and finals week. At the end of finals week, December 17th, Evan got commissioned into the United States Navy.
The following day he graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor's of Science in Industrial Systems Engineering.
The next day we left for San Francisco for our week-long honeymoon. We visited Alcatraz, the aquarium in SF as well as another one on a trip to Monterey and Carmel. We saw the Yoda Fountain in front of Lucasfilms, Inc. We ate at many different restaurants while we were there including the oldest Italian restaurant in America. And of course we rode the historic and iconic cable cars.
When we got back from SF, we went to my mom's house where Baron had been staying since graduation day. While we were there, we decided to take our nephew Cameron to Zoo Atlanta. He is 2½ years old and has never experienced the zoo before, though he has been to the Georgia Aquarium.
He loved the zoo! He loved all of the long as they were kept at a distance. In the petting zoo, he would not get close to the goats and sheep. The animal statues throughout the zoo scared him so he wouldn't even touch them.
 He was literally running all over the zoo, so we came up with a game of him being able to run while still not get too far from us. He would run, then I'd stay "stop," and he would stop. I'd say, "go," and he would go. The funniest part was when I would say, "slow" and he would do a hilarious slow run! I do have a picture of it but it is best when seen in person.