When we first arrived we were all gung-ho on Rossetta Stone, and language books. Then, life started and we found our selves backing off while we got used to other things. I mean, it's hard enough learning how to not piss-off our new neighbors with what we are learning is the abrupt American way. Now we have to add a new language into it? So, safe to say concentration on the language has fallen to the wayside. Our free Japanese lessons came to an end quick-while minor, they did make a nice impact. Learning how to introduce ourselves, ask the time, count, learning what to say when we enter/exit. . .say "this is my cat", even though we don't own a cat. There was also a very lengthily conversation where we tried to explain the difference between saying, "I like a lot of coffee." and, "I like coffee a lot." Which I still don't understand the confusion over. Japanese is a fairly simple language but one word can mean up to 4 different things. That was the last class we had and we often wonder if our sensei ever really understood. Which brings up the other thing we do 40 times a day-"Smile and Nod" it's the universal sign for "I don't know what the F you are talking about." (sorry about the implied curse word dad).
Then, there is the art of communicating with those back home. Not only do we have to learn new communication skills that come with moving to a foreign country, but we also have to learn how to stay in touch with those we left behind. When we lived in Texas I never thought much about communicating with friends and family. Everyone was a call button away. Instant gratification and instant plans. Now though it all happens through a little miracle named Skype. While amazing, life is now about scheduling dates with those we love. And, with the time change and real life there is always the threat of being stood up. We call them Skype dates. Still, we are lucky that so many friends are keeping in touch with us, not to mention we talk to our parents more now then when we lived in Texas.