Life with Baby · Travel · Uncategorized

Excuse the mess!

The final countdown is on: less than two weeks until we pack up our (many) bags and haul ourselves to another country! We’ve made the move back and forth from Michigan and Japan several times, but this will be the first time making the journey with a sweet baby in tow (who also happens to get pretty fussy whenever she’s away from home!). I’m a little nervous about a lot of different things, but I just keep telling myself we can make it through anything if we’re all together! Let the packing begin! Messy, messy…!

In the meantime, we’ve been trying our best to get ready for the move in between making sure our little sweet pea’s needs are met. This may be the last time living in Japan for us (at least for a while), so we’re been doing our best to get a fill of some of the things we’ll miss the most! My top three? Friends, food and pastries! (Specifically yakiniku, ramen & rice balls for food, and amazing cakes & cream puffs from our favorite bakery for pastries!).

Wait, can I add a couple more? I’ll also really miss cute Japanese gardens and cherry blossom season! And barley tea! And…well, I guess I’ll miss a lot…!

What would you miss the most about where you’re living if you had to pick up and move? Wish us luck–things are getting a little messy around here!! 😉

xx Caitlyn

Food & Cooking

Epicurean Baristas Presents…!

Hello everyone! Sorry for the week hiatus–Chad’s cousin came to visit, and we were very busy sightseeing and eating delicious food. Hope you were able to see a few pictures on instagram in the meantime, though! To make up for the short break, I’ve got exciting news for you: Epicurean Baristas is up and running! In case you didn’t read about the vlog here before, Epicurean Baristas is a youtube channel created by myself and a close friend consisting of video letters that share our adventures in the world of food and drink. We’ve already got five videos posted, which I’ll include below. More should be coming weekly!

Hiroshima Style Chips
About: In this first video letter between the Epicurean Baristas, Caitlyn talks late at night without makeup on, but with a buzz. Classy, or bold and daring? Or perhaps just silly? You can decide and let us know.

A Pretty Piece of Cake
About: Caitlyn starts off going to a chocolate celebration, and ends up getting distracted by pretty cakes. She tries a pear-shaped cake that is subtly sweet with just a hint of pear flavor.

Pizza in My Hood
About: Tia and her son JJ have lunch at a new pizza spot in their neighborhood.

Taiyaki
About: Caitlyn tries a new version of one of her all-time favorite Japanese sweets: Taiyaki. Watch how they’re made and drool!

Karumeyaki
About: Caitlyn discovers a unique traditional Japanese sweet called Karumeyaki. It sort of resembles sea foam or honeycomb toffee. Caitlyn has a lot of fun watching it being made!!

I think the videos are already improving, but please let us know what you think of our videos so far in the comments!

Enjoy your weekend!
xx Caitlyn

Travel

Comforts After Moving Far from Home

The first morning we woke up in our temporary apartment in Tokyo, there were some things that really made me feel happy despite being so far from home. These things continue to help me feel comforted, even when I get super homesick!COMFORTS

1. Trinkets I brought along give me a lot of comfort. For Christmas, my mom made me a charm bracelet that had a little coffee charm, an “I love my cat” charm, and more. That, along with some other precious gifts, makes me feel special from miles away.

2. Chad gave me a calendar for Christmas that has pictures of our kitties for each month. My friend Timothy took the pictures, and although I get really sad because I miss my kitties so much, I am really glad I can look at sweet photos of them all year long.

3. My French Press has been AMAZING since we’ve moved here. That first morning in Tokyo, I felt completely comforted by the smell of high-quality coffee poured into my cup, fresh from the press.

4. When we lived in Japan the last time around, I remember not wanting to hang up too many pictures or anything because I figured our living situation wasn’t permanent. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with me–having pictures all over our apartment makes me feel tons of love. This time around we’ve got plenty of pictures up around our apartment.

5. I know this may sound silly, but I am so happy to have Starbucks no matter where I go! I really found my third place when I was working for Starbucks (even though it was also my second place…!).

6. I love catching little glimpses of Michigan goods around our apartment. I have a sweet little pillow made for us by a friend, as well as the travel pillow pictured above, to list a couple items.

Other things that have made me feel at home right away? Books and crafty supplies, though I had to be quite picky about what I brought due to luggage constraints. We also brought quite a bit of–you guessed it!–coffee and chocolate.

What are some things that make you feel comforted or “at home” no matter where you are?

xx Caitlyn

Travel

From Michigan to Japan

Hi everyone! We’re starting to settle in as we start the New Year, though I’ll be honest: yesterday we fell asleep at about 3:30 PM and…um…slept until about 5:00 AM this morning. Oh jet-lag, you sneaky, sneaky disposition. We’ve been spending our time exploring the area we’ve been placed for the time being on foot, so nice big bowls of ramen for lunch and Asahi beer at night have been nice rewards. In case you’re interested, I’ve succumbed to my usual geekery and made an infographic about our transportation journey to Tokyo. Be sure to let me know if you’ve ever had a similar journey, or if you have any questions in the comments below.

Michigan to JapanNote: I don’t know why the arrows got all wonky, but I don’t have the patience to figure it out at the moment. Thank you for letting it go 😉

Sending love!
xx Caitlyn

Learning

Moving

So everyone knows that living abroad is an amazing experience that gives you completely new insights into other cultures while teaching you about yourself and where you came from, too. The actual process of moving can be overwhelming, especially if speaking a foreign language is necessary (I remember when we moved from Yokkaichi to Kobe we handled getting an apartment all by ourselves, relying completely on our Japanese…). Despite the stress that moving of any sort (whether moving abroad or just to another state) brings, there are a few good things that come from moving as well. So, without further adieu, my list of three things good about the process of moving abroad.

travel

1. You are forced to organize and clean
Nothing like moving to another country to get you to go through ALLTHETHINGS. It can be overwhelming (believe me, we’re going crazy cleaning and packing our house right now!), but at the same time it feels so good to have everything packed up in an efficient, organized manner. (I’ll post some packing tips in the near future, too!) Moving abroad is an excellent chance to get rid of a bunch of stuff you don’t need as well, which brings me to the second thing on my list.

2. You realize how much you don’t actually need.
You really have to learn to let go of material attachments when you move abroad. Shipping rates are insane, so all we’re bringing with us to Japan is what we can fit in our checked and carry-on luggage. A lot of people have asked about this, shocked that we’re pretty much only bringing clothes and a few books and random supplies. But when it comes down to it, what more do you need? Oh, wait, that brings me to the next thing on my list.

3. You realize how much you need your loved ones.
Obviously, you probably know that you love your family and your buddies and Comet and Curry. I mean, your cats or dogs or whatever. But you probably love my cats too, even if you don’t know it yet. Anyway, when you move abroad, you take the time to tell people how much you care about them in a way you don’t tend to do on a regular basis otherwise. I’ve had some experiences where I had no idea I had impacted someone’s life in an extreme way and vice versa, as well as times where I just fell apart crying all over the place because it was so important for me to show how vehemently I cared about and would miss everyone (get ready for that fun time in about two weeks, folks).

There are probably a bunch of other difficult parts of moving abroad that are also positive in a way, but these three have been sticking out to me lately. Have you ever made a big move that taught you something you could add to the list?

xx Caitlyn

Autumn Bucket List

Sleeping Bear Dunes & Leelanau State Park in pictures

Chad and I went up north a couple weekends ago and were able to enjoy a very beautiful weekend (and a check off my autumn bucket list!). I hope you enjoy these pictures from our mini getaway 🙂

IMG_1123Sleeping Bear Dunes, MIIMG_1124IMG_1125Stacked stonesIMG_1129Incredibly clear waterIMG_1130IMG_1134IMG_1137Chad was crazy and jumped in the super cold water!IMG_1140Here we are after finishing the hike.IMG_1148Leelanau State ParkIMG_1149Couldn’t ask for a better camping weekend!IMG_1153I thought this was such a neat idea!IMG_1155IMG_1156IMG_1158We tried a new brewing company.IMG_1166We also went to a couple of wineries. (Click for a larger image.) I could relate to the last two haha

IMG_1171 This wall in Traverse City was part of a poetry project. IMG_1168

We had such a nice time 🙂 Enjoy your day, lovelies!
xx Caitlyn