The past few days have been incredibly busy with meeting loads of friends in Tokyo. I am very thankful to have so many friends to meet, but it’s been quite a packed, exhausting schedule. It’s been fun introducing Matthias to lots of friends. I am so glad I have a husband who is so full of energy and can keep talking (in Japanese) with our friends long after I am ready for bed. I have to admit, I LOVE TOKYO. Despite the crowds, the noise, and hustle and bustle, I truly love big city life!

However, it feels so, so incredibly far from the disaster area. My heart longs to be back in northern Japan very much…maybe we’ll wind up there for a few years in the future. (There is a real possibility that might happen but we don’t know anything yet.) Here is a map showing how far Minami-sanriku (not far from where we were volunteering) is from Tokyo:

A quick fact I learned today on msnbc.com:

In Japan, more than 270,000 cars were ruined in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami….The cars will go to good use. They plan to scrap them and use the steel for rebuilding.” Twisted cars like this were something we saw EVERYWHERE in the disaster area:

Click here to watch a quick NBC News video showing a drive through the disaster area in Kesennuma. “If you were a first time visitor to the region and you didn’t know that the country had recently suffered a massive natural catastrophe, for most of the drive there would be little indication that one had taken place.  Even as we enter Kesennuma, the town we’ve been reporting from for the past couple of days, there’s  no real indication.  But when the road turns downhill and we lose just a little bit of elevation near the coast, you can suddenly see the devastation. The massive wave that swept over the land here destroyed almost everything in its path.  Boats and houses and cars and highways were all reduced to rubble.  Everything’s wrecked, everything’s brown.

This video captures almost exactly what we saw during our time up north:

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/07/6804353-in-japan-a-drive-into-destruction

We will spend a few days here in Nagoya catching up with old friends (I used to live here from 2008-2009).  On Monday, we’ll go back to Tokyo for a night and then fly back to Germany on Wednesday.

Today Matthias and I spoke German for a full 30 minutes…we hadn’t done that in over a month. I can hardly believe that in one week we’ll be back in Germany! I also can’t believe that in only three weeks I’ll be back in NJ with my parents. How I miss them! We can hardly wait to spend the summer in Philadelphia. Besides catching up with tons of friends, we have a lot of fun plans for the summer including a U2 concert in July, a trip to San Diego to see friends, 4th of July fireworks in Philadelphia, trips to the Jersey shore, day trips to New York City and Washington D.C., etc. The main focus will be taking care of my dear parents, but we’ll also have time for some fun trips as well. We are so amazingly blessed to be able to travel around the world and have friends on so many continents.

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