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Saya’s first longhaul flight to the West Coast was a dream. Maybe she’s got Bay Area chill in her genes? It tickles me to imagine this being the reason she took to the BA baby seat, and why she played quietly for hours sitting between us.

I’m organizing our September tour into three buckets:

  1. Family love in Cali with Corey
  2. Family love in Washington
  3. Friend love back in Cali

Family love in Cali with Corey

Saya met SO many people on this trip. On that first Sunday, Saya met her Bachan for the first time. We gathered at Brian, Meggie, and Paxton’s house with Auntie Marlene and Gary to kick off our West Coast tour. How nice to see the next generation of Kozono/Tonai/Kawakami/Forrest babies meet. Paxton and Saya will be in the same grade once they start school just like Brian and me.

There was a lunch time feast to welcome Saya into the Nishi/Diamant Clan on the following Monday. Barbara (Auntie Grandma), Uncle Corey, Auntie Er, and Takeo hung out in the garden with home grown tomatoes, and then the kitchen playing with ‘honey bears’.

On Tuesday, Uncle Roy, Auntie Marian, and Kristi visited with us at Auntie Jo’s house. Saya was showered with love, clothing and books from her Fresno family. Aburaya lunch was a hit for Auntie Jo’s birthday, and though Kristi had to get back for work the next day, we were glad for their overnight visit.

Uncle Jim swung by Grandad’s next. He said he wanted to make sure to give her a little squeeze before flying out that morning. Auntie Lisa and Uncle Gary also cuddled with Saya on a relaxed afternoon on the back patio.

Grandad and Mamo entertained my day trip to UC Berkeley so that we could show Saya some of the campus, including the Faculty Club where we married a few years prior. We took some family portraits with our new baby bear cub. Then, Auntie Jamie, and Matt, were reunited with Saya-bear to celebrate Mamo’s birthday.

Family love in Washington

Bachan, Auntie Jo, Saya and I flew to Washington while Corey made the journey back to Londontown. We landed in Renton and were whisked away to cheer on Daisuke in his first futbol match. Jose was coaching, too, so it was a family affair!

On Saturday, Miya and Jose hosted a mega-birthday party for Emiko, Auntie Jo, and Livingston- the September babies! My heart was soaring when Tracy’s family, and Auntie Bev joined as well. Cousins were running around one another, and at times, into one another with all the excitement and happiness this day brought.

Arts and crafts with Auntie Jo and Bachan was a daily activity for Daisuke. Miya’s kitchen was flowing like the Streganona cauldron even with all the kids circling her knees. And Emiko continued to be skeptical of her new cousin who might be usurping her position as the baby girl!

On one of the days, we ventured to visit Eula at Auntie Bev’s house so the kids could have a play date outside of Miya’s house. Another evening, Saya was honored with a special bathtime with her Aunties. I did my best not to turn into a sobbing mess when Daisuke held his cousin for the first time. Each day of this trip made me implore someone to invent teleportation so that the next generation could be together 300+ days of the year!

Friend love back in Cali

Back in the Bay, Ja-Yung caught us at the cafe down the block from my mom’s house. Norio and Liz came by my dad’s house for a quick pre-bedtime cuddle, and then the SL crew spent an afternoon showering Saya with lots of love and attention.

I don’t think I quite understood how important babies are in our lives until this trip. I thought I couldn’t stop staring at Saya because she is my own daughter, but each person she met was also so careful and curious in their own way. Babies bring a fresh hope to our days, and our lives, and we can’t help but have slight sense of awe about them.