Hiding (updated)

On Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream that I couldn’t shake.  In it, Annie had taken a step and we discovered that she was standing on a landmine (we had just watched a war story the night before…).  I was standing about ten feet away with a growing crowd, and everyone kept telling me I couldn’t get near her.  I kept yelling, “stay still!  don’t move..” and hoping someone would come soon to rescue her.  Later in the day, I realized why I had probably had that dream…

After yochien (preschool), Annie came running over, hugged me, and told me the same thing she always tells me first upon greeting me:  “Mommy!  I didn’t cry today!”  On the way into yochien on the bike, we always pray for children who might be sad and who might cry when they leave their mom.  Owen and Annie try and comfort them.

Even though she didn’t cry, Annie’s teacher came to talk to me on the playground.  She said that again, like on Friday,(she had told me this on Friday as well) Annie would excuse herself frequently to go to the bathroom, but then – not come out.  After a while, her teacher would go looking for her and try and get her to return.  With her teacher there, I hugged Annie and asked her why she is hiding in the bathroom.  Her answer nearly broke my heart:  “Because I can’t understand. I hide in the bathroom because I feel sad.”

I translated this for her teacher, who told Annie it’s ok that she doesn’t understand everything yet, and she doesn’t have to worry.  She hugged Annie, and kept trying to reassure her that it’s ok. She said that Annie talks a lot in English and is quite verbal — in English.  I can picture her trying so hard to win friends and to be included and using what she does so well in her normal environment — talking!  But it’s not working…

Tonight Eric and I tried at different times to encourage her, and to remind her of the Japanese words that she has learned.  She seems to be fairly adept at language-learning, but we all know that language learning is a process.  I told her that I still feel sad sometimes when I go to a long meeting all in Japanese and don’t understand a lot of it… that I want to hide in the bathroom too.  But if I did, it wouldn’t help me to keep learning Japanese.

Would you pray for Annie and Owen?  We’re really proud of them for walking everyday into an environment that is completely Japanese.  It will get easier, but these first few days for Annie are probably going to continue to be a challenge.  And pray for her teacher, Aiko Sensei.  We want to love and encourage both of their teachers as well.

Thanks for your love and encouragement for us.  Even just reading the two blog entries below helps a lot.  We’re glad that we’re not in this alone!

4 thoughts on “Hiding (updated)

  1. Hi Sue – I will pray for Owen and Annie. I totally understand (as a preschool teacher myself) what is going on. We have had several children over the years from different countries with different languages in our preschool. The thing about kids is they are like sponges and soak up the language so much better than adults! We once had a little girl from Germany who did not know any English when she moved here in May and visited our preschool. All summer I worried about being able to talk with her and tried to learn some German (you know, the important words like – potty and vomit! LOL!) By the time she started school in September she spoke fluent English without a trace of an accent! I was amazed! The world is big when you are a preschooler, but I know Owen and Annie will do beautifully because they have such an awesome family loving them. Good luck!

    Blessings,
    Christine

  2. Hi, Sue! I have to echo Christine’s comments above. Before you know it, Annie will be fine and speaking tons of Japanese! But that doesn’t make today or tomorrow easier…
    We are all praying for her and for her little friends, that they will reach out to her and love her where she is. It sounds like her teacher is wonderful!! That is a huge praise.
    We love checking out your updates. And we LOVED the story about fixing the table. Classic!! Those pictures are priceless!
    We love you! Diane, Phil, Jackie and Jessie

  3. Sue, my heart just goes out to you and Annie. I am in tears because I know what Annie is going through and what you are going through as mom. Please tell her that Ellie totally understands how she feels, because she was just there 8 months ago. I get so emotional when I think of Ellie being such a trooper the first few days, weeks, and months, entering through that huge yochien gate, knowing full well that she wouldn’t understand a single word. Can you imagine the bravery it takes to walk into a room full of Japanese kids and teachers and spending the entire day there? I am SO very proud of our girls, Sue. Give Annie a big hug from us and let her know that Ellie KNOWS, and she will be praying. One time I asked her, “How do you do this (going to yochien) every day?” And she said, “I just look at everyone around me, and I copy, mom.” You just have to watch out that you choose the right person to copy, though:) Go, Annie girl! All for Jesus, my sweet friend. Otherwise I don’t think I could have let go of Ellie’s hand on that first day. All for Jesus.

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