My parents have hosted 3 foreign exchange students over the years. Two were from Norway (Hi, Mari!) and one from Japan. Izumi came from a quiet area in Japan as a teenager and fit into our family very well. She was delightful, talented and as kind as the day is long. Her gifts to us were always very thoughtful and personal. I showed you the Christmas ornaments she made Hubby and I when she lived with my parents.
Over the years Izumi has visited several times. She brought her brother one time and her future husband another. Laurence and Izumi were married in a beautiful ceremony among a gazillion strawberries in Japan and then in a ceremony in California...her husband is an American. Izumi is very accomplished...she has her doctorate and teaches English. Her technique is simple and quite interesting.
As far as we know, her area of Japan was not adversely affected by the earthquake and tsunami, but my heart breaks for those families who have been. The sheer terror they must have felt is not something I can comprehend from my safe, little home. I feel helpless, as does much of the world, but there are ways we can offer assistance and show our support and compassion for a strong, proud and kind people. Here are just a few ideas.
The American Red Cross is collecting donations for its disaster relief efforts in Japan and throughout the Pacific.
Save the Children is collecting donations and has sent an international emergency team to help in Japan.
International Medical Corp is collecting donations and is preparing to send relief teams and supplies to Japan.
The Salvation Army is collecting donations in the U.S. while its counterpart in Japan responds to the needs of the victims.
GlobalGiving's Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund will be distributed to a variety of relief and emergency service agencies in Japan.
You can also find information here for more suggestions.
The news from Japan keeps coming and I fear over the next few days it will become more dire. I pray that those affected will find the peace and healing they need and I pray that our assistance will help.