This is our first Christmas as a family divided by geography, country, one deep ocean.
Our college-grad daughter is living, working, and thriving in Japan, while the rest of us live, work, and thrive in Texas. We would love to have the means to be a jet-setting family, dropping work and school obligations to hop over the Pacific and spend a Japanese holiday with our daughter, but that is not within our reach at this moment. So we have spent the last two weeks deciding what to send to her to make her winter comfortable and connect the Christmas dots between Choshi-shi and Austin.
This is not a simple care package project. Not only is it expensive to ship boxes to Japan, but we have to think about the time when she will return. The airlines allow two suitcases of fifty pounds or less for free; any more luggage carries a hefty price tag, and we're already anticipating an extra suitcase will be needed. We don't want to bog her down with fragile items that she will worry about packing, or aren't really useful. It's already assumed that like many JET employees before her, she will be selling or giving away many of her household items when she prepares to return to the U.S.
There's a pre-Christmas box heading her way right now, and we'll be sending gift-wrapped items next. There won't be as many presents as are usually found under the tree, but our love will be packed in tight with the parcels.
And lucky her, she'll get to open them fifteen hours before we arise for our Christmas coffee.