Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Yes, less whiny, but still exhausted, and still definitely missing my boys! I am certainly NOT cut out to be a world traveler.

But I got to feel less a traveler and more at home this past week as we ventured down south from Tokyo to the area of Kyushu, Japan. Kyushu is where I spent a year teaching with the JET program after I graduated from college in the mid-90's (now if saying, "Mid-90's," when referring to an era, not a temperature, doesn't make you whiny, I don't know what will!).

Our first stop in Kyushu was to the city of Hakata/Fukuoka. We walked and walked and walked and walked, and saw lots of temples and shrines. Kind of like what we did when we were in Tokyo, only with fewer crowds.

Then we left the crowds all together and headed for the countryside.

Here we met up with my dear old friend Okamoto-sensei, with whom I worked at the Bungo Takada Junior High School in a decade long, long ago. The picture doesn't show it, but we were hugging and crying and hugging some more for quite some time after she came to pick us up at the Yanagigaura station (yeah, that's a tongue twister of a name!). It was pretty darn happy, and a bit louder, I'm sure, than the normal Japanese greeting at that station!

Okamoto-sensei took us to her home, where I found a painting of this beautiful geisha-girl that Okamoto-sensei had painted after I went home to America. Flattered, flabbergasted, flummoxed...I can't even begin to find a word that describes how it feels to be the subject of some body's artistry!

We spent the day hugging and laughing, sharing pictures and stories, and visiting some great sites. Usa shrine was first,

then the 500 stone Buddhas,

topped off with an evening trip to BungoTakada later that night. There we visited my old apartment building, the new "Showa Era" museum, and more friends, the Takakura family (for whatever reason, those pictures won't load onto the computer just yet...).

Sunday I got to visit my friends at church in the tiny little Nakatsu Branch, population 6. Our six visitors doubled the "congregation!" It touched my heart and strengthened my own testimony and desire to follow Christ, getting to see these beautiful, dedicated people coming to church week after week, year after year, despite their meager numbers.

It was all so very wonderful. Pretty much worth becoming a world traveller after all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So here I am in lovely Japan. We've run ourselves ragged seeing everything and anything possible in this amount of time. We've been to the fish market, a couple of high observatories, huge shopping centers, famous shrines and temples, our own Latter Day Saint Temple, parks, restaurants, and--of course--the subway, subway, subway. It's been an amazing experience for me to come back here.
Today we head south for Hakata, and a chance to see my friend Okamoto-sensei. That will be wonderful, as well.
Still and all, I am the biggest whiner. My darling husband has provided me the opportunity to be half way around the world, and all I really want to do is go back to the three wonders of my world. I miss my kids desperately. That's a good lesson to learn!
Ja, ne!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Lindsay, Dave, and I went to see Colin dance at BYU's annual "World of Dance" concert.

Ah, the memories. It used to be us, coming out and greeting the audience after a show!

Dave and Lindsay, who met through Folk Dance, make a great partnership--dancing through life (Awhhh...)

Now it's baby brother's turn.
Doesn't he look good in eyeliner (Yikes!)?

I had another most magical dancing moment!

I got to go to the SYTYCD concert with a bunch of my friends from the theater.

We had tickets in a VIP box, complete with waitresses and drinks and snacks and a full evening of sheer ecstasy. It was so very marvelous, I can't even begin to describe it! Absolute heaven for an absolute fan. For you fellow fans out there, know that Katee really was/is the best and should have won. Will was amazing to watch on stage. Twitch and Gev were quintessential entertainers. "Bleeding Love," the Bed Dance, "All By Myself," "No Air," and the pas de deux really were as wonderful live as on TV. "Five Guys Named Moe" was absolutely outstanding in real life, and Will absolutely stole the show on every group number. Gev's solo was standing ovation material--I think I lost my voice cheering for that one, and I am not a hip-hop fan! Jessica was blah, just like on TV. And even the Bollywood number looked cool that evening. I loved every moment of the experience. Happy Birthday to me!


The Homecoming Dance was last weekend and both Evan and Lane attended. It was, in fact, Lane's very first date (he doesn't actually turn 16, "legal" dating age in our household, until the end of October, but we okay-ed the dance at school and dinner at our house). Lane went with a lovely young woman named Alydia, and Evan went with one of her best friends, Kennedy. But did Evan and Lane double date? No way, Jose. Evan would have none of that double-dating with his younger brother stuff!

Hence, we only have single pictures of Evan.
He doesn't look very happy in these pictures, but his reports to us confirmed otherwise!

Luckily for us, Lane had dinner at our house, so we got to play fly-on-the-wall, as well as waiter/waitress (Michael, Joshua, Keri and our friends the Steck's all dressed up in oriental robes to serve Chinese food to the party go-ers), chauffeur (Michael), entertainer (Michael and Keri), and housekeeper (Keri, Keri, and Keri) for Lane's date. It was so much fun getting to be a part of it all!

And here the gorgeous couples are: Lane and Alydia, Kaitlyn and Cody.

And THEN...

I found this YouTube video:

Which reminded me of the fabulous places I will be visiting soon (as in, I'm leaving tomorrow morning at 6) as Michael and I travel with his parents to
I'll have to make my own video as I dance my dance, prance my prance, and be so happy to be Keri Vance!


There's a particular picture of my mom and dad when they were young and in love and in college (now they are slightly older and in love and not in college) in which I think my mom and I have the same exact hairdo! I am also pretty sure that we have the same shirt on. The only thing I'm missing, other than a handsome man with his arm around me, is the enormous tissue paper flowers in the background (any of you techno-savvy siblings of mine know the picture I'm talking about? Put it on here, will you?). I am my mother.

A few days after Retro-Keri made her appearance, she went in for another haircut. This haircut is short and a little spiky. This haircut made Joshua say, "You look like Grandma." I am, indeed, looking more and more like my mom all the time. Not a bad thing...just weird. In order to pull off short hair I have found that make up and earrings are imperative. And if I wear make up and earrings every day, then I really am my mother (and my mother would be so proud of me--as well as in shock!).

The other day Evan and I were having a conversation about his life. I heard my mother say--out of my very own mouth--"Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I don't understand you." I am my mother.

Michael and I went out on a date the other night, and this is what I walked outside and saw. Isn't it gorgeous?! I ran inside to get my camera, and Michael said, "You are turning into your Mom and sister!" Not a bad couple of people to be. My mom sees beauty everywhere--even in my short hair (I hope). I should be my mother!