1 year

Today is my one-year anniversary in Japan. Needless to say, if you told me that this is what it would be like I never would have believed you. Never could I have conjured up such a situation, and I think if someone had suggested it as a plot for one of the worst apocalyptic movies ever I would have said, “Not believable.”

So we three are safe and sound in Okinawa. On Tuesday Rob, who thankfully is back in touch, e-mailed me very calmly and said it might be a good idea to go there. It’s far south, there are bases at which I can stay, and there is an American consulate who might be able to help with Pete’s passport (never did I think I would have an “anchor baby,” either!) since the Tokyo embassy is, understandably, overwhelmed. We got a flight and I was packing our bags when another earthquake hit Tuesday night–6.0 near Mt. Fuji, which is near us, and therefore resulted in some very noticeable shaking. Not waiting for the tsunami sirens this time (they ended up not sounding…) I bundled the boys up at 11:00 at night and took them over to my friend Lauren’s (who lives safely on the 9th floor on base) house. We caught the train to Haneda airport the next morning. It was crowded and quiet as usual; one would have never known anything was amiss. When Chip started fussing a businessman reached into his pocket and handed him grape candies. For the thousandth time in only a few days, I almost cried.

The boys were troopers and we made it to Okinawa, where out of the clear blue sky materialized a guardian angel/fairy godmother, albeit in a marine uniform. A friend of a friend of the Wattses is stationed here (until Sunday) and has been a godsend. He took us to get groceries and cash and has helped with getting Pete his passport. It’s the kind of generosity I can never repay, and for which I will be eternally grateful. His name is Pete (of course!) and he will live in family lore for a long time. He’s also a fellow Wahoo, so Wahoo-wah.

You might have seen on the news that they have begun the evacuations from all the Tokyo-area bases, including Yokosuka. I think I am going to try to get us out of Okinawa. We are staying on an air force base, so hopefully I can get a “Space A” flight out.

We are still very fine. Pete eats and sleeps, Chip continues to adapt like the good Navy baby he is, and we are so so so so fortunate to be in the circumstances in which we are. My heart breaks for all of the Japanese. If anyone can overcome this, though, they can.

Please keep Rob in your thoughts. He reassures me all is well at sea, and I trust him.

I just wanted to say that though I might not have been directly in touch with you lately, your e-mails, facebook posts, and comments on these posts have meant the world to me. I never dreamed I had such support, and it is what is getting me through all of this. I love you all.

We’ll keep you posted.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurance
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 12:14:45

    So glad to hear that you all are safe. Thanks for the updates! We’re keeping everyone in our thoughts!


  2. Elizabeth Marotta
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 12:27:12

    I haven’t stopped thinking about you all and praying for your family’s safety. This is just a tragedy beyond belief, and not suprisingly, you are handling it with poise and grace and you amaze me. You are such a strong woman.
    I am so thankful you all are well. Know that we are all with you in spirit!


  3. Susan Castle
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 13:27:07

    So glad you all are okay Alden! We are keeping you all in our thoughts daily.

    I have loved reading this over the past year – you are an amazing writer!


  4. Jennie
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 14:01:14

    Alden, I can hardly believe the events of the past week and that you have had to endure this hardship on your own with your boys. You are an incredibly strong woman. I pray that the rest of your time in Japan will be safe and that your travels home will be swift. Much love from Virginia!


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  6. Betsy
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 15:51:32

    Missing you! Great to hear your voice last night. Hope you’re sleeping soundly as I write. (And the boys are too!)


  7. Maggie Fieger
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 17:01:53


    Your mom gave me your blog – I am so glad you’re ok, and give congratulations on baby Pete. I (and all of Chapter JC, I’m sure I can say) are keeping you and Rob and the boys in our thoughts and prayers!

    Take care,
    Maggie Fieger


  8. Lyn
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 00:06:58

    I have been thinking about you so much. I’m very happy to hear you guys got out too. Take care. I hope you can make it to the states soon.


  9. mary bentley
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 01:24:45

    Dear Alden and Rob,
    I have been praying for your safety. God is so good. Reading your account of March 11, and following was just like being there. Your little Pete is so adorable, and Chip is such a brave boy. Thank you for letting us all know that you are doing well. Love to you, Rob, and the boys. Mary


  10. Katie Schofield
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 03:59:45

    Glad you three are in Okinawa. My thoughts are with you all.


  11. Geri
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 16:24:18

    Hi Alden – Thanks for letting us know you are all okay. I’m glad you’re moving to safer areas – maybe now would be a good time for a visit home? Dan & I are thinking of all of you – don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do from here.


  12. Anne Bland
    Mar 20, 2011 @ 21:08:35

    I am so proud of you and your strength. Your boys will do fine. Love you, Uncle Fudd and Annie


  13. Aunt Connie
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 01:32:07

    You guys are in my thoughts every minute. Stay so safe and come home soon. I think we have all figured out the only things that really matter. I know I have. All my love. Aunt Connie


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