I meant to write this post ages ago, but just hadn’t found the time. So here I am over a month since I went back to work.
In case some of you didn’t know, I took off 3 months of work as paternity leave. And I am so glad that I was given an opportunity to do so. With the commute to and from work, I am gone about 12 hours a day. Sometimes there would be a day that I wouldn’t get to see my daughter at all because she would be asleep when I went to work and be in bed for the night when I get home. Those days always make me a bit sad.
So I decided that something needed to change, and I filled out the form to take 3 months of paternity leave, got my boss to sign it (actually stamp it, signatures aren’t used in Japan) and took it down to HR.
Shortly after that I found myself waking up on a Wednesday morning and didn’t have anything to do, so I spent extra time playing with Leah that morning. From then on, I would get to spend the time I wanted to with her and it was great — she is such an angel, in case you didn’t realize that ;)
Now with all that spare time, I did get to spend some of it on a new venture. I really wanted to spend more time with Yukari and Leah, but felt that I had a good opportunity to create some passive income which would allow more freedom in the future. That is still ongoing, but looks to be promising.
In those 3 months we went to America for nearly 1 month. We actually traveled so much in that short time period. Since it was our first trip on an airplane with Leah we were a bit nervous about how she would handle the flight. It turned out that she slept almost the entire way! First we flew into San Francisco and stayed there for 3 nights. In San Francisco we got to go to many popular areas: Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, Napa Valley, and downtown SF. There were more places I wanted to go, but we didn’t have enough time… So perhaps next time! Oh, and we also swung by Yahoo! and Leah was a big hit there!
After that we flew into Minneapolis to visit with my cousin Chanda and her family. They have a nice sized house and let us spend the night in their spare bedroom. She also got all the baby things ready for us like car seat, baby bath, crib, toys and just helped out so much to make Yukari feel relaxed and safe for her first trip abroad with Leah. The next day my aunt and uncle drove over and we went to the mall of america for a little bit, then it was off to Wisconsin.
Staying at their new house on the lake was so nice, albeit the weather was a bit colder than we expected. We stayed there for a few days and got to see my grandmother and show her Leah for the first time. Leah had lots of fun while there, she got to play with a dog for the first time and thought it was so cool. Before we knew it, it was time to drive to Indiana for my dad’s wedding. My aunt was very kind to lend us her car for the rest of the time we were in the US, so we borrowed her car and left early on a Friday morning.
In Indiana my dad got to see Leah and he was very happy to see his granddaughter. He was a bit busy with the wedding, so we didn’t get to spend much time together. Travis was there and it was good to see him, since we didn’t get a chance to meet up the last time I was there. Of course he also enjoyed Leah. After a spending a few more days there after the wedding, we drove to see my mom and my uncle and his family in Ohio. We spent one night there and the next day we decided on the spur of the moment to drive out to Niagara Falls. I had never been there so it was something new for all 3 of us! We drove to the Canadian side and it was worth it! The next day we drove back to Ohio and spent some time with my mom and her boyfriend at the zoo and then we all went to my uncle’s house.
The next day, we were back on the road back to Indiana. We spent some time with my dad and had fun there. One day we drove down to Indianapolis and went to the zoo there with Travis and his girlfriend. Then Travis “took” us out for dinner. By the time we got to my dad’s house it was around midnight. By then I was getting pretty tired of driving. We spent a couple nights there and then we drive back to Wisconsin for a few more days. Then finally gave the car back to my aunt and my cousin drove us back to Minneapolis. After a night at her house, we were on the flight back to Japan.
It was great to be able to visit the US for so long and see all of family, even though they are spread out pretty far. Overall we stayed in 5 states, visited 2 countries and spent more than 50 hours in the car. And Leah was sooooo good the entire time! Of course she would cry at times, but it was much easier an either of us imagined.
The rest of my paternity leave was spent in Japan, just staying in the area and getting some rest after that long trip. The only regret I have is that I didn’t take 6 months off instead!