Life in Japan often felt like Betsy and I were living two different lives. I tended to travel quite a bit for work and Betsy engaged fully in a community of trailing spouses who created a network of support for each other because many of the working spouses tended to travel more or work longer hours as part of the global nature of our job descriptions.
This led to me visiting a number of destinations that Betsy has yet to see (Istanbul, Berlin, Sao Paulo, etc) and to Betsy learning and experiencing things about Japan that I completely missed (Takoyaki, onigiri, and parts of Tokyo that I never saw).
Both of us felt like the experience was a time of growth and fulfillment, and both of us were sad to see it come to a close. Despite my frequent travel, we found great friends in the Perrys, the Wares, the Kartchners, and many others that helped us to have a wonderful experience in Tokyo.
We ended up sharing in each others’ lives through selfies and text messages a lot. Betsy tended to return to America for the summers, reconnecting with family and friends while I remained in Japan to work, and take time for personal adventures. I was running a lot at during this time, and would commonly run in the cities I traveled to and send Betsy a selfie in front of a building or monument of particular interest. Betsy would capture moments in the children’s lives, like Reid praying for his sisters’ safety, Porter having a birthday party, or the entire extended family going on an outing.
One might think the time apart would make us feel disconnected, but this was also when Betsy and I were able to consistently schedule a weekly date with each other, and the challenges we faced were not such that our separation was debilitating.