The kids and I went on a nice walk today. There's a big apartment complex off base, not too far from our gate, it has a really nice, brick bike path winding through the middle that has five different playgrounds along it's length. Ethan and I walk there a lot but it was the girls' first time. It was pretty cold, I think it's supposed to snow again this weekend!
After we got back the girls rode the shuttle bus to the library. I love that they're able to have so much freedom here, I have to worry more about their behavior when they're out alone than I do about their safety, they can take themselves to the movies and the indoor pool too, both are in walking distance of our house. And best of all they're able to get themselves to and from all their activities thanks to the shuttle bus, which frees up our schedule so much! And Megan rides her bike to school, we lived within walking distance of her school in Florida, but I NEVER would have felt safe with her going on her own. The down side though, which I really had a hard time with myself as I grew up, is that when you grow up in a cocoon like this it's really hard to make the transition back to being vigilant and cautious when you move back to the states, and it's pretty disheartening to realize that the world just isn't a safe place and it's filled with mean, selfish people who can and will hurt you if given half a chance. It took me years after moving back before I started becoming wary and careful and not automatically trusting of every person I came in contact with. But I wouldn't trade my childhood in Japan for anything and am thrilled at the chance for my kids to experience it all too!