"" Writer's Wanderings: November 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019

An Amazing Light Show, Odaiba, Tokyo

What in the world is borderless art, I wondered as we approached the entrance to Teamlab in Odaiba. We had waited all day to go to see it. The lines were so long earlier in the day that we found a few other things to do since it was raining and none of us wanted to stand out in the rain waiting to get in.

The show was worth the wait. The best way to describe it is that there were rooms full of video art that flowed from one room to the other. You were not supposed to follow any particular path as it was said that it all flowed together.

As we went from room to room it was like stepping into a piece of artwork and becoming a part of it. The kids loved the interaction especially in the room that had a slight hill that they could climb and become a part of a "waterfall".

My favorite areas were the rooms with butterflies flying all over the walls and the room with thousands of LED lights strung from the ceiling and flickering in sync to create the effect of being in a waterfall of lights. (Be sure to watch the video below)

I think it was a perfect ending to our last full day in Tokyo with the family. We finished the day with pizza--or at least the Japanese idea of pizza which was nothing like Pizza Hut or even the real pizza of Italy. It was good though and the kids enjoyed it as well.

The morning would find us packing and cleaning out our things from the little house we had stayed in.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Oedo Onsen

A long line out in the rain at the entrance to the Teamlab in Odaiba where we had planned to spend some time made us decide to put that visit off until later and find our way to the Oedo Onsen. An onsen is a Japanese bath usually fed by a hot spring. We had been to one after our Mt. Fuji climb but neither Bob or I had participated in the bath. Why you ask? Because we didn't feel comfortable shedding all clothing and showing off seventy-something year old bodies. I had briefly considered it until I saw a bunch of twenty-somethings running around with nothing on in the dressing room.

This onsen is said to be a favorite of foreigners. I can see why. It is a neat place to just walk around. When you first enter and pay, you choose a yukata from a display on the wall. There are designs for men and women and children. The girls went their way and the boys theirs and we all came back out and regrouped a few minutes later in our yukatas. Thankfully Bob left his jeans on under his as the first thing he did when he sat down was spread his legs. Whew!

We had left our shoes at the entrance in lockers but we left our socks on to walk around. You could have gone barefoot if you wanted.

The inside of the place was huge and was decorated like an old traditional village of sorts only instead of houses, there were booths with carnival type games and lots of places to get drinks and/or food. The center of the largest room had lots of tables with benches and chairs. where you could bring your food and drinks.

We claimed a table and the kids were immediately off to try their luck with the games. The most popular, and I might add the one they were quite practiced at, was a pool of floating plastic balls. The object was to net as many as you could before the thin paper net totally dissolved. Several other booths had games of chance and another that was popular was the ninja stars you could throw at a target. It didn't take long for our table to fill up with rubber balls and other toys and a grand prize of a drone.

The kids and their parents went off to the baths while Bob and I walked around and enjoyed a drink. We were also the guardians of the loot they'd won. When they returned they made another round for all the games. Each time they played their wristband was scanned and a charge was made to our son's account which he would pay when we were done. He laughed and said no matter how much they did he was still saving money over a Disney trip.

It was late afternoon when we decided to see if the line at the Teamlab was shorter. When we got outside, we found it had finally stopped raining. We found there was almost no line so we were excited. This was supposed to be quite an unusual show of artwork that moves from room to room with light displays and. . .well, I'll show you Thursday.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Modern Motor Show in Tokyo

Our original plan was to spend our last day of the kids' fall break at Disney Sea which is an off shoot of Disneyland and features rides and attractions for a little older child/adult. I was interested to see it since I think this is the only one Disney has. Instead of theme parks, it has theme ports, But alas, it was predicted to rain all day and rain it did.

Bob and I grabbed an umbrella and while the kids still slept, we walked over to a very nice grocery store we'd found around the corner the day before. It was pouring rain and when we got to the door, we found that we were too early The store hadn't opened yet. The lady we had spoken with the day before (she spoke very good English) smiled at us, opened the door and told us we had ten minutes to wait. But, she said, come in and wait in the little cafe area.

We watched as the staff quickly prepared all the stations and wiped off counters and display cases. This place was really immaculate. Finally a buzzer sounded and they all took their places as our friend unlocked the door. We went to the donut case and gathered our dozen donuts to take back to the house. They were all the incentive needed to get bodies out of bed.

Our son had done some research and found some alternative activities for us. We started with the Tokyo Motor Show. It was amazing. So many futuristic tech advances. Self driving cars that looked like a fancy limousine only it was more like a capsule than a car with every creature comfort you could imagine that was electronic.
Car charging station.

There was a rescue drone that could carry a person to help with emergencies. And one of my favorites, a charging station for electric cars where you just drive over the top of it and it automatically charges the car. It would be like the new charging stations for phones where you just put it on top of a charging station. 

We watched a model demonstrate another self driving car that had a seat with so many different positions I lost count. I think that one had a TV screen in it as well. The fascinating thing I found was that she looked like a robot the way she was dressed and moved. Was she?

In the middle of all of the techy stuff was an enterprising group taking advantage of the youngsters who were there. They had what was called Miracle Paint for face painting and other surfaces. The paint dries sort of like acrylic but actually more rubbery. It wasn't like the usual face painting materials that wipe off. This you had to pinch and peel off. It was pretty neat. They had also painted flowers on a car as well. I guess if you don't leave it on there too long it would just peel off and not leave a mark.

Our grandson tried out the virtual reality racing they had there just before we decided to seek out some lunch. There was a nice mall right next to where we were and a large food court where we found some delicious rice bowls with chicken. Our afternoon adventure would take us to the Oedo Onsen, a Japanese bath but much more.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Japan Loves Bubble Tea!

Bubble Tea
Our morning this day started our with us going in different directions. The two older grandkids needed to get their passports renewed so Mom and Dad were off with them to the US Embassy for their passport appointment. That left us with our younger granddaughter who loves a chance to go to McDonald's.

That worked for us. We needed a fast food fix and so we were off to find the McDonald's a few blocks away where we enjoyed our favorite coffee and a breakfast meal.

Once we were back at the house, it wasn't long before everyone else met us. Our son had an event at work that afternoon so the rest of us decided to make a shopping excursion. Our DIL and our grandson went off to a mall where they needed to do some clothes shopping and the two girls took us on an adventure.

They still wanted us to try the bubble tea that is so popular there. Our teenager zeroed in on her phone to a cafe that specializes in it and we followed her to the prize. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea drink that has tea with flavored milk--lots of milk--and bubbles in the bottom which are usually tapioca balls. You have to drink it through a wide straw in order to get the chewy bubbles from the bottom. You could order it in different levels of sugar.  It was good but a little too filling and neither Bob or I finished our small sized orders.

The girls decided they needed a snack as well and ordered from a food booth that had Japanese style fried chicken bits very much like the chicken tenders or nuggets we get at home.

We caught up with our DIL and grandson for a short time on Takeshita Street which is a very popular street with brand name stores and also boutique stores featuring some very unusual fashions.

Our teen remembered a store in Harajuku that she wanted to show us. We were off again. She was very pleased to see that it was still there. It was actually a Samsung Galaxy phone store but it was also a museum that showed the evolution of the cell phone. Sad to say, Bob and I recognized all the stages.

The best part was the virtual reality experience that was offered (fee of charge). Our youngest wasn't old enough to participate but our teen and her grandfather enjoyed their sampling of outdoor activities such as kayaking and river rapids.

Along are sojourn we passed several establishments that offered an opportunity to interact with pets such as cats, tea cup dogs and our granddaughter's favorite, hedgehogs. Grandpa gave in. and took her for a half hour hedgehog petting experience.

Meanwhile our teen and I found a neat store that featured bath bombs of every sort you can imagine. The neat thing was that they would take a picture of the bomb and with their app, it would show a video of how the bath bomb looked in the tub as it dissolved. I chose a strawberry one as a birthday gift for someone. The video showed it melting with a creamy inside that was a moisturizer.

Altogether that afternoon my phone said I'd walked over seven miles. It was good to get back and put my feet up.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Our Little Tokyo House

The alley that led to our little house.
Arriving at the Ishigaki airport a bit early for our flight back to Tokyo, we settled into a few tables and spent some time with devices catching up on social media as well as playing games. Starbucks is a popular place in Japan as it is most anywhere and some of our group took advantage of its availability including one very interesting raspberry flavored Halloween drink.

Our flight to Tokyo was uneventful but after our landing the weather became cloudy threatening rain. We opted to take a couple of taxis to our Airbnb from the airport. It was quite a ride in my taxi. We seemed to go a long way in one direction and then it appeared we were making a left turn. The left turn became a u-turn which went across three lanes of traffic with our taxi beeping it's horn and waving to those who were forced to let him in. When I told our son later, he laughed and said, "Welcome to Tokyo."

Our taxi caught up with the other taxi on a very narrow road of apartment buildings and small houses that had little or no space between them. We unloaded our luggage and wandered down an alley barely wide enough for two people abreast. We stopped at the corner of another alley and our son tried the lock box that was attached to a pipe on the outside of the house. When it opened, we knew we were at the right place.

Stove top and fish grill/oven
We entered, removed our shoes and tried to fit our luggage inside the tiny kitchen which barely held the seven of us. Quickly we determined Bob and I would take the bedroom on the first floor off the kitchen and our youngest granddaughter would sleep on the futon in our room. The rest of our group made their way upstairs to where there was a little larger room with places to sleep. I never made it up the stairs so I can't say what it was like but since there was an outside balcony (we would discover the washing machine was out there) there couldn't have been much space for the four of them.

The kitchen table wasn't much bigger than 4X3 and had two chairs and two stools. In a little alcove there was a television which I don't believe we ever turned on. Perhaps some of the pictures tell how small this little house was. It's typical, especially in Tokyo since there is such a great population and little space for living unless you are wealthy enough to afford larger accommodations.

A little stove top sat above a small grill/oven that is usually used for cooking fish. Little if any baking is done at home. I've never seen ovens like we are used to in our kitchens. There was a small under-counter refrigerator. The bathroom was the usual Japanese style with a small room for the tub and shower. The shower is used primarily to get clean before using the tub. The toilet (toto seat included) was in a separate room but still connected to the shower room by a small area that could be closed off for privacy if you were showering. The sink was across the little foyer from the bath/toilet area and al of it just inside the entrance from the outside.

After we were settled we went to a restaurant we had been to once before. It's one of the kids favorite. The restaurant is near the area where they used to live in Tokyo before they moved to Sapporo. I believe what they feature is called Kushikatsu. Basically it's meat and vegetables on a stick dipped in flour, egg and panko and deep fried. They have fun with the kids. If the kids can win the paper, rock, scissors game they get their soft drink for free. There is also a self serve ice cream machine in the back corner of the very tiny restaurant that is on the second floor of the building it's in.

My oldest granddaughter does not like mushrooms (and she's half Japanese!) but she knows I do. She offered to order a stick of mushrooms for me. I eagerly agreed. When it came I noticed I was being watched but went ahead and took a bite anyway. It was extremely sweet but the texture almost seemed like a large mushroom. When she asked how I liked it, I commented that I never had a mushroom that tasted like chocolate.

Laughter erupted from all the kids. "She always does that to people," said our grandson. "It's a deep fried Oreo cookie!"

I laughed too and finished the Oreo. It was very good.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ishigaki to Taketomi Island

After breakfast this day, we packed our gear which included bathing suits and a couple of towels into our backpack and we all got in the van to go to the ferry dock in Ishigaki to take the ferry across to Taketomi Island. 

The island is about a fifteen minute ferry trip from Ishigaki and is the site of a beautifully preserved traditional village of Okinawan houses surrounded by stone (or coral) walls and with sandy streets. There are no rental cars on the island and those visiting get around by walking, taking a shuttle bus or renting bikes. There are several beaches on the island and it is a part of the Iriomote National Park. 

When we arrived we were offered a ride into the town on the shuttle bus but we opted to walk since it was such a short distance and it was a beautiful day. Everyone was excited about renting bikes for the day to explore the tiny island. I think my heart skipped a beat. I hadn't been on anything more than an exercise bike in physical therapy after my knee replacement and let's face it, it had been years before even that when I'd last ridden a bike. I was a little worried.

Our daughter-in-law assured both Bob and I that we could get electric bikes but when we got there only one was left. Somehow she managed to make sure that I at least got that one. (She takes good care of me.) I have to say, the electric bike was quite an experience. The first time I took off on it, I thought it had a mind of its own and after one minor scrape with a wall, I began to enjoy myself.

Our first stop was a unique beach, Kaiji. It is famous for the stars in the sand that you can find there. Lots of people were sitting in the sand and sifting through it. The little stars are actually the skeletal remains of tiny sea creatures--I'm guessing starfish. The star sand is called hoshizuna and is said to bring happiness. The stars are so tiny that I had trouble finding them. The kids didn't though. They purchases a small vial that they could put their finds in and seal. (There were also a few tables set up for souvenirs and vials of stars that you could purchase.) We managed to garner a seat on a bench and watched the fun. Did I mention that it was a beautiful day?

Once we were done scavenging, we hopped back on our bikes and headed for the next beach. The Kondoi Beach is a long stretch of sand with beautiful blue waters. When the tide is low, there is a sand island that appears on one end and once the kids were into their suits, they were off to play on the sand island. This beach had tables and benches and was a great place to have lunch. Our son decided to venture out and find us some sandwiches. I think he just wanted to try out my electric bike.

Unfortunately since it was some sort of holiday, many of the places he found were closed. He did manage to come back with a bunch of snacks though and we  filled up on those before taking off again on our bikes. 

Bob had a great deal of trouble getting up a hill we encountered on our way back into town and discovered to our dismay that he had a flat tire. Our DIL volunteered to stay with the bike until the rental place brought another one. We made it back to the rental place and I let everyone have a try at the electric bike. I especially wanted Bob to try it. I thought that if he liked it we might consider a bike trip if an excursion in the future offered electric bikes. We'll keep that as a possibility.

Our DIL joined us shortly after everyone was done trying out the bike and we let her take her turn before we turned them in and walked back to the ferry dock. We had a short wait in line for our return trip as most everyone was ending their day as well on the island and I believe they were running a couple of extra ferries.

Our dinner later that evening was at another traditional restaurant that had a dinner table on a tatami mat. Once again I was offered a short chair to make it easier for me to sit and be able to get up again. 

Once back at the house, we started reorganizing our suitcases so we would be ready to fly back to Tokyo the next day. Of course our flight wouldn't be until the afternoon so we would have time, if we got up early, to finally get to have our fresh tofu breakfast that I told you about in an earlier post. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Beach TIme in Ishigaki and Japanese BBQ

Much like other places we have visited that have resorts and hotels on the beach, Ishigaki's offered day passes--sort of. We went to Fusaki Beach Resort and were able to rent from the hotel a couple of lounge chairs on the beach and beach towels as well as the use of the changing/shower area. We drew the line when they wanted $50/each to swim in the pool.

After a quick change into our swim suits, we were on the beach and enjoying the sun and surf. The kids were thrilled with a place to be able to get in the water and dig in the sand. The beach in front of our Airbnb wasn't conducive to swimming.

It didn't take long before they were terrorizing every hermit crab they could find and there were lots to be found. I have never seen a place with so many hermit crabs.

Bob and I walked the beach to where there was a pier from which several families were fishing. We were shown with pride some of the catches of the day.

Around four o'clock the sky started clouding over a bit again. The water sports crew began pulling in all the equipment just about the time our kids talked their dad into a banana boat ride. He still owes them one.

Back at the house, we readied for dinner and spent some time watching the sunset.

Dinner was at Yamamoto Restaurant. Again it was a bit traditional with removing your shoes but the tatami platform was built up so that you could sit with your legs beneath the table almost like being in chair or on a stool even though you were sitting on a mat.

This was classic yakiniku (Japanaese BBQ). Hot grills were brought to the tables and placed in the middle. Our kids ordered for us which is always an adventure. Sometimes I think they want to see just how far they can stretch Grandma and Grandpa's palate. The specialty was Ishigaki beef sliced very thin and lightly grilled before us by, who else, our grandkids.

At one point the girls got the flames going a bit too much and one of the servers came and helped calm it down before we set the restaurant on fire. It was all great fun and tasted good. I'm not sure of what all we ate and I think I don't want to know what some of it was. Sometimes that's best.

We spent the rest of the evening at the house playing Uno at Grandpa's request.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kabira Bay, Ishigaki, Japan

Kabira Bay is located on the north coast of Ishigaki Island. The bay is protected by a small island that blocks the bay from the open ocean. It is a place where they culture pearls and therefore there is no swimming allowed in the water. They do however allow for glass bottom boats.

After our soba noodle breakfast, we drove a little ways up the road to where we could park to arrange our glass bottom boat trip. This end of the little town was a bit more touristy with souvenir shops and small food booths. The entrance to the parking lot was automated. We had to sit and wait a couple of minutes for a car to exit so that it would let us in to park. It must keep count of the number of cars so that there is a parking space available before you can enter.

After we purchased our boat tickets, we went down on the beach for a bit to explore. There were about a half dozen different sized boats pulled up to shore--several different operators. We didn't have to wait long and we were invited to board one of the smaller boats. Now I've been on several glass bottom boat trips and usually they are a little disappointing since we are divers and know what the marine life looks like when we dive. This was a whole different experience.

Blue Staghorn Coral
The bottom of the boat was very clear and you could distinctly see the fish and coral which were spectacular. Our very skilled boat operator took us over several different types of coral and seaweed. All of it was very colorful. I was amazed and delighted. We spent about a half hour covering what seemed like a large area of the bay but I'm sure there was a big section we never covered where the pearls are grown.

Giant clams
Besides the colorful seaweed and corals, I was amazed at the large field of giant clams we passed over. They weren't as large as the ones we've seen in Papua New Guinea while diving but they were fascinating. So many.

After our boat ride, we walked around the area a bit and of course the kids spied a Blue Seal ice cream stand. While everyone got dips of their favorites, I went into the cafe and got a coffee to go. The girl at the counter spoke very good English. She said she had worked in a resort for a time and so learned English very well.

We took our time driving back to our beach house. It was threatening rain again but we passed by some really pretty areas and interesting hotel/resort complexes, one of which we would return to for beach time.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Fresh Tofu Breakfast, Ishigaki, Japan

Our morning began with a beautiful rainbow promising a good day ahead. Once everyone was up and dressed, we headed out to a restaurant on our list of things to try. It was definitely off the beaten track. We had to go down a gravel/dirt road to get to it and it was in the middle of farmland.

The restaurant, Tofu Higa, specialized in fresh tofu. It is actually a tofu factory that specializes in Okinawan Yushi-tofu. It is processed fresh right there and is a fluffy version of tofu unlike the hard packed cubes you see in the grocery. Behind the building are fields of soy.

They make the tofu fresh each day and the restaurant serves meals until the tofu runs out. There are recipes online for making Yushi-tofu which is basically just the tofu being scooped out of the water after it has coagulated instead of being packed tightly into a container. Tofu is made from soy beans ground and cooked in water. An ingredient called nigari is added that makes it coagulate into curds. The nigari is a magnesium chloride extract from sea salt. The curds are scooped out and the remaining liquid is strained to produce soy milk.
Tofu kitchen

We arrived to find a long line of people waiting to get into the restaurant area which consisted of a covered patio (although one review said there is also an indoor area where you can dine). Our daughter-in-law checked and found out that they would probably run out of tofu before we could get in so we opted for plan B--find a restaurant near Kabira Bay which is where we wanted to spend the day.

Tofu breakfast
When we did return the next morning much earlier, we still waited a bit but we enjoyed a breakfast of tofu, rice, an egg omelet accompanied by a couple of slices of pickled radish and a glass of warm soy milk. There were several condiments including miso, a local pepper, hot sauce and a few other things I didn't recognize entirely. The tofu was soft but had little taste aside from the condiments you added. I liked the texture better than the pressed tofu that you usually see. It was a very filling breakfast.

But I digress. Once we realized we weren't going to eat at Tofu Higa, we got back in the van and drove toward Kabira Bay. There was a restaurant nearby that featured the Ishigaki soba noodles that I had read about. On mainland Japan soba noodles are usually made from buckwheat. On Ishigaki, they make their noodles with flour. They are a little more chewy.
Soba noodle breakfast

So, our breakfast turned out to be soba noodles in broth with several chunks of tender tasty pork belly on top of it. I wouldn't have thought to have it for breakfast but it tasted really good. The restaurant was also on the shoreline near the bay and it was a very pretty setting. I couldn't imagine how Kabira Bay could be any nicer.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Things to Make You Smile in Japan

When you travel, you have to learn to adapt. Things in other countries that are different than yours can sometimes make you smile. In Japan, some of the English names of their drinks are one of those. There are vending machines everywhere mostly featuring drinks. In the summer you can get cold coffee in a can, in the winter it's hot coffee. Two of the drinks that are featured though make us smile.

One is called Calpis which is described as having a light, somewhat milky and slightly acidic taste. I've never tried it but if you say the name and think about the description--well, you'll get it. 

The other drink is Pocari Sweat. It is a sports drink with electrolytes. It is said to have a slight flavor of grapefruit. Now that sounds good despite the name of it. 

There are often signs in the restrooms to let the foreign traveler know the proper way to use the toilet. While we might smile at that, it is a problem. There are some foreign visitors that are used to squatting to relieve themselves where there are the squat toilets as in some areas of the world (basically a square hole in the floor of the restroom). Trying to do that on a Western-style toilet would be dangerous. 

Many European countries have areas where you are asked not to flush toilet paper because their systems can't take the backup of paper. So the explanation of what to do with it is understandable. We have been in places where a bus load of European visitors have left used toilet paper in the waste can because that's what they are used to doing.

Now, most toilets, private or public in Japan have all sorts of buttons you can push for cleansing, music (so no one can hear what you're doing), and several other functions that I haven't figured out yet. I don't like to do a lot of experimenting.

Now one of the more clever things that brought a smile to our faces wasn't because it was funny. This was serious as any coffee drinker would agree. Our son bought a product called Blendy coffee that came in little packets that you draped over the top of your cup and let hot water drip through. It made a great cup of coffee. Move over K-cups, Blendy packets are pretty great! You can order them online. I'm thinking it might be a good thing to travel with the next time we're not sure we'll get good coffee along the way.

And finally, translations are so much fun. Here's a picture of one we found while waiting for the ferry trip. Just remember that works both ways. I'm sure the Japanese get quite a chuckle when English is translated to Japanese.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ishigaki, Japan - Dinner and Music

Our first dinner in Ishigaki was at a restaurant, Funakura no Sato, just around the corner from our Airbnb. We could have walked but we still had a misty rain to contend with. The restaurant was spread out with several venues in which to eat. We were led to one that had a long table for all of us to gather around. When you get into the real Japan, you will find that there are restaurants that have the low traditional Zashiki seating.

When you arrive, you take off your shoes and step onto the tatami floor. The table is surrounded with mats to sit on. Most Japanese either kneel around the table or sit with their legs bent or crossed beneath them. Now we Westerners have some trouble with this especially if we have knee replacements. My sweet daughter-in-law made sure each time we were faced with this type of seating that there was a very short chair that I could sit in. It helped tremendously.

After being in several of these situations, I noticed that the attendants would make sure that our shoes were pointing away from the tatami floor so that when we left all we had to do was slip into them. I might mention that if you are planning to visit Japan, you might want to get a pair of shoes that are easy to get off and on as you will undoubtedly encounter many occasions where you will need to remove your shoes. All of the places we stayed asked for shoes to be removed as well,

Our meal was was a variety of Okinawan dishes including the sea grape seaweed that I had read about. It was a little like putting pop candy in your mouth.

As we were finishing our meal, a man stepped up to a raised platform and began to sing and play some traditional Okinawan songs. Here's a bit of what it sounded like.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Letters From Santa!

Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful. It's time to curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and a good Christmas story. Imagine a born and raised in Florida girl spending her first Christmas in the snowy cold North.

Letters From Santa is now available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. Here's a little about the story:

Chrissie has received a personal letter from Santa every year since she was five years old and lost her first responder father. Though they stopped coming when she turned eighteen, the encouraging letters touch her heart each year as she takes them from her memory box and rereads them. Now as a reporter for a Florida news magazine, she has decided to search out her letter writing Santa but unknown to Chrissie, a romance and a second family await her in Santaland, Minnesota.

Jack Hart meets Chrissie as they board a plane for Minnesota. He hates the idea of going home each year for Christmas because it usually means tension between himself and his father. This trip home though surprises him as he finds Chrissie is a guest at his parents’ farm, a B & B and camp for kids. Christmas becomes a more pleasant time as he grows fond of Chrissie and she helps him to reevaluate his parents’ mission of helping children of first responders.

If you get the opportunity to read it, please leave a review at Amazon. It truly helps others in their reading choices.
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