After leaving Zambia, we moved to London, where we began our city life, which was quite different from our simple life in Zambia. I am sure that everyone visits the British Museum first. There was an Egypt special on display, which was very interesting. I was very impressed to see the Rosetta Stone in real.( photo)
While living in a hotel, we first looked for housing. Our priority was to find an apartment in the Saint John's Wood neighborhood, close to our children's American school.
After several apartments, we visited an apartment with the owner, a white-haired lady, who was preparing to move. She had gorgeous furniture in her living room.
She said that if we made the contract she would leave all the furniture with us. The rooms were just the right size for five people, and I loved elegant rooms.
My husband got off the bus in front of the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street to go to the university and transferred to the tube (subway), so he did not need a car. The church was also near Abbey Road, which was ideal, as the school and church were within walking distance of the apartment. I thought, "This is the place," and signed the lease. ( photo)
My oldest son was satisfied with his school life in London. He had started running Cross country in Zambia. He participated in London, too. He joined a competition in Belgium, which gave him an opportunity to cultivate his independence to go abroad by himself.
On the other hand, my third son had been bullied by a student and missed his life in Zambia.
I learned that there was a two-week program entitled "Anesthesiologist's Palliative Medicine Seminar" and had the opportunity to attend St. Christopher's Hospice. This hospice was founded in 1967 by Dr. Cicily Saunders and is considered the first modern hospice. We had a cocktail party on the last day. She participated in the party. Dr. C.Saunders was old and was on a walking stick. I did not have a chance to talk to her personally, but I was very fortunate to catch a glimpse of her. After that, I visited two children's hospices in the suburbs of London.
In Japan, hospices for terminal cancer and AIDS are still limited in capcity. The children's hospice I visited was for children with neurological diseases.
The hospices were usually operated through donations by the Royal Family and various charities. It has not only provided specialized palliative care for children but also end-of-life and bereavement care.
It was heartbreaking to see a lovely small stone with the child's name engraved in the pond.
At the time, my father was in the final stages of sigmoid colon cancer. My mother and elder brother had cared for my father, but finally, my father had his terminal stage.
My sister lived been in the USA and I took turns helping with his care. I took care of him twice leaving my husband and children behind.
I had the desire to work in home palliative care in the future because of this experience. I left my family, inconveniencing my husband and children.
I was very grateful because my family backed me up wholeheartedly. Michio is now a good cook, but he did not his repertoire at that time. He had to study hard and be a homemaker as well. He did make due by going for pizza or McDonald's hamburgers after church on Sundays.
I was also surprised to hear that my husband and children sang hymns with drums at Christmas in the church.
When a medical officer invited my family, Michio and my children had played handbells and they enjoyed it. I was so grateful to hear that they would do it without me!
There was a fine cake shop about 15 minutes walk from our home. The carrot cake and chocolate cake were outstanding. Even though I tried to imitate their taste, I could not reach their taste, but it became my goal to bake cakes.
We had a prayer meeting every other Wednesday at our home. The pastor and his wife were young, and his wife was in the final year of medical school.
A few times I fell asleep in the middle of the Sunday message. I could have just meekly closed my eyes, but eventually, I would lean over and feel like I was about to fall over, so after the service, the pastor was concerned if I was okay. I was so rude.
I blush now at how embarrassing it must have been for my husband and children. Because of this, I make my messages 15 minutes at the most. (photo)
London had beautiful seasonal flowers planted everywhere. There is even a park within a 2-3 minute walk, where I could sometimes take a walk and enjoy the scent of the flowers.
But I missed visiting Queen Mary's Rose Gardens, which I wanted. ( Photo.)
Some people visited us in London, and we had dinner together at our home. When a young couple who was a member of the Japanese Embassy in Zambia came to London to do some shopping, we attended a ballet performance of "The Nutcracker" together.
We enjoyed concerts and musicals in New York, but the musicals in London were even more spectacular. Cats, Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, and so on. We also had the pleasure of seeing an opera by Madame Butterfly, which was a unique experience in London.
The doctor and his wife were in Zambia as a specialist of JICA and stopped by on their way to Tanzania, and we had a good time talking with them.
I was so happy to welcome the late Dr. Shosuke Watanabe and his wife. Dr. Watanabe graduated from Okayama University and was a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Kawasaki University. I was very much comforted and encouraged by reading his books. It is not often that medical books give healing, even though we gain knowledge, but I could feel his empathy and kindness toward those who are mentally ill. He and I had exchanged letters in Zambia. I had been consulted about my medical conditions by him. After we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, we enjoyed tea in a lovely English tea room. The doctor was so happy to see that I was doing well. It was a precious fellowship, but this was the first and last time I met him. ( photo)
London was so expensive, and we had only been to restaurants twice. Once we ordered cow tongue at a barbecue restaurant, but we were surprised to find it was so thin and small that it would flutter away when the wind blew. The other time, on my birthday, we went to a Japanese restaurant because I suddenly couldn't stand up due to back pain and couldn't cook anymore on my birthday, but I have no memory of what I ate or what it tasted. London is famous for its fish and chips, but I had little pleasure in eating out.
Mrs. Kiyoko Kuroda (Princess Norinomiya) came to London and greeted the Embassy staff and their wives. The ambassador's wife gathered the museum staff and told them, "Princess Norinimiya is humble, so please dress in navy blue or black." But I was too modest to wear black. However, I, unfortunately, did not have any frugal clothes with me, so I was at a loss. I thought better of it and wore a red suit and white heels with the image of "Hinomaru" (the Japanese flag). But the ambassador's wife was also wearing an old-style navy blue suit, and everyone wore dark colors as if it were a funeral. Fortunately, I was not blamed for being the only one in red among them. Princess Norinimiya greeted each of us politely with a smile. The attendant first gave a brief explanation about us. The Princess said to me, "I imagine you must have had a hard time in Africa with your three children." But her voice was so gentle and low-pitched that I couldn't hear what she was saying. I thought she had stammered and I was so nervous that I could only give a pathetic response, "Not really.” Next, my husband spoke to her about Zambia. Her Highness and attendant were interested in what he said. I was surprised because my husband could show his hidden sociability in such a situation.
The day of my husband’s master's examination was approaching.
We felt his nervousness. He told us to take a three-day trip to France. So we went on the silver super express with joy. My children wanted to go to Disneyland, so we went there first.
But we were disappointed with that. Because it was on a smaller scale than we had ever experienced.
On the train on the way back, we met an English-speaking traveler who told me that the South of France was so wonderful.
I could not enjoy my dream of Paris and wanted to go home as soon as possible. The hotel was good on the Champs Elysées. We could see the Arc de Triomphe nearby. We found delicious croissants for breakfast, so we ate a lot of them, but we needed to pay for them, and they were expensive. My eldest son told me we should buy outside stores from now on. I expected there must be a good restaurant, but we could not find a suitable one.
On our last day, walking along a small street, we finally found a Chinese restaurant and had a decent meal.
We also went to the Louvre, but it was so large that we got tired and left after seeing the Mona Lisa.
Thank God, my husband passed his exams, and we celebrated. ( photo)
We got informed that my husband's next assignment would be in Ethiopia. We had felt that our lives as medical officers at the Embassy would not be conducive to being medical missionaries in some way.
I also read in a book that Ethiopia is at a high altitude and that sports can cause acid deprivation, which can be detrimental to children's growth. We could not return to Japan because our children had not received a Japanese education. We were praying for God's guidance on what to do.
We wanted to study the Bible intensively someday, so we tried to take this opportunity to go to an American seminary.
Our income was nothing, but we thought we could make it if we used free public schools in the U.S.
So, my husband submitted his resignation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and began the process of enrolling in Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.