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Home > Archive: March, 2015

Archive for March, 2015

The vacation that isn't your vacation....

March 11th, 2015 at 05:00 pm

Hello! Its been another busy week. I am still not great about adding new entries, but I'm going to continue to try to add occasionally!

The weather here in Japan has been quite chilly and really windy. Winters here feel very long, especially since the Pacific Northwest is very temperate without the major season shifts that I experience in Japan. I start to wonder if it will ever warm up here, but ask me again in August and I'll be longing for the days of cooler weather Smile

We did see some lovely early cherry blossoms. Hanami is the act of viewing cherry blossoms and is quite popular.

So, I've been saving up for a vacation, but its not my vacation. We have some family from the US coming to stay with us for a few weeks. During that time they want to see several sites with us as their tour guides. Now don't get me wrong, I love having people visit us. And I don't mind taking people to see things. But all this sight seeing and such isn't free. In fact, it gets pretty pricey pretty quickly. Our guests want us to take them to places they know we have gone or restaurants we like which is great, but for three weeks gets expensive. I'm paying for my family of four for things we space out over a year into a three week period. I find myself feverishly saving to make sure we don't go in hock to show our guests around. I've made suggestions that perhaps they select some places they can visit by themselves since I still have school obligations for my kids during the week that places major time restrictions on me showing them everything, but I've been kind of rebuffed as they prefer we show them around.

I feel quit conflicted as I would like to save for a summer vacation for my family to go to someplace we haven't seen/experienced before, but I'll be tapped out paying for our family to take our guests around on their vacation. I do enjoy that we will have visitors, but dread the financial cost and reworking our own financial plans around someone else's vacation.

Unfortunately, this blog entry isn't any sort of epiphany on how to deal with this or even fully a finance issue, but more of an emotional unloading and asking for suggestions on how to best manage this without offending my guests or breaking my bank account! Phew - I do feel a bit better writing down my conflicting feelings! Thanks for being patient with me and my woes! Smile

Hope you are having a great week!

Taxes done right? I dunno...

March 1st, 2015 at 05:49 pm

Hello! I hope everyone has had a great week/weekend. Early cherry blossoms are coming into full bloom and I had hoped to go view them yesterday, but it rained all....day...long! Ume (plum) blossoms are also coming into season. I'm hoping the weather is nice next weekend so we can go view them. Japan is quite hilly and the ume grove is up a ginormous hill making for a fun, exhausting hike! One of my friends referred to it as equivalent to walking up 50 flights of stairs. That's a pretty accurate description! LOL!

Ume blossoms from last year

My big money achievement for the week - my taxes are done! We are still required to file US taxes (my husband gets paid in US dollars here so we don't have nearly the tax complications that many ex-pats do). I have been using the same tax guy for several years and he kindly continues to do our taxes even though we have moved. But I digress...

This year is the smallest refund we've ever gotten. I was worried because I earned a commission check last year and failed to make any tax payments on it during the year and wasn't sure what to expect. But we came out okay and with a small refund. Even smaller once you subtract what I have to pay my tax guy. All I can think is my mother used to tell me that you don't want a huge refund at tax time because it means you have been giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan all year. I suppose she was right, but still - I can't help but feel a tiny twinge of disappointment that it isn't a big refund. I'll just have to plan carefully this year for all expenses and not rely on a big tax "windfall" next year.

How are you doing with your taxes? Not exactly the most exciting financial item for the week, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Smile