Today we had to say Goodbye to the Gastauers. Amy got to play all day with Peter and Rosa, then they had a farewell party in the afternoon. Birgit also went, but I was unable to go as I had to go to Wakachan's for the cooking lesson (bamboo shoot today).
But I saw her in the morning, and said goodbye, and please come back to Japan to visit. And I gave her a hug, and cried a little, because it really was very sad, we've been friends for five years now, been through many of the same frustrations raising our children in a country we often don't understand, plus all the little joys and triumphs of parenting. I do hope they can come back to visit.
We made them a little Sayonara book. I just folded a sheet of A3 size paper into a booklet. On the front were the names Peter, Rosa, Amy, Lena, Emily and Masaki, and drawings of decorations by Amy. The first page was 2000, with Welcome to Nakatsu, a drawing of Nakatsu by Amy, photos of the castle and Yukichi Fukuzawa, a baby photo of Amy and drawings of Peter and Rosa as babies by Amy.
Second page was 2001, with a rare photo of all three one-year olds looking at the camera at the same time, and photos from Amy's First Birthday Party in Osada Park. Amy added drawings of them all playing at our house.
Third page was 2002, with a baby photo of Lena, and photos from Peter and Rosa's 2nd birthday party at their house, and a drawing of Amy playing with the Lego at Gastauer's house.
The middle page was a colorful drawing by Amy of me, her and Lena on one side and Birgit, Peter and Rosa on the other.
The next page was 2003, with a drawing of the kids playing in the sandpit in Hoyo Park, a photo of them playing in Nabeshima Park, and a photo of Kanji and the girls at the 7-5-3 festival, dressed in their kimonos.
The next page was 2004, with a drawing of everyone playing together at Tomookas in Yamaga, and photos of Emily's 4th birthday party there.
The next page was 2005, with a drawing of Grace Hoikuen, a note 'This year we started going to kindy together', a photo from the picnic, and photos of Peter, Rosa, Birgit and one of all the kids together from our Farewell party last week
And on the back page was a photo of Amy and Lena in their PrettyCure outfits, and a final one of me and them on a broomstick, with a note that we would fly over to see them soon.
I had the idea to do it this way on the weekend, but never got around to it until Tuesday, so I ended up staying up until 1am yesterday doing the lettering and printing or copying the photos to paste in. Yes, it was done by hand, not computer, and came out looking very unpolished but, I think, a little more charming as a result.