I just had to contrast the photo of mine and Hannah’s last hug this past August with a picture we took yesterday upon arriving home from picking up Hannah at the airport (when we finally had a decent camera). Ah, what a difference ten months makes. And, in the end, it did go fast. And now that she is here, it hardly seems like she was gone. Except when she was sitting on the floor playing with Josh last night, chattering to him in a constant stream of Japanese. She so sounds Japanese. The capacity of the young for absorbing languages. It really is amazing and gives me great hope for Josh and his ability to develop communication skills, even with decreased hearing abilities. Before Hannah left for Japan, we both had to attend three days of Rotary training. In one, a linguistics professor from the University of Minnesota spoke to us. Apparently, everyone’s capacity to learn languages is at its best prior to age 18. It actually gets harder the closer you get to 18 and is at its best from 0-5 (hence, early intervention for hearing loss) but some sort of hard wire system in our brain turns off towards language development after that point. Anyway, Hannah will turn 18 this fall, so I guess she benefited from going to Japan as a junior (rather than doing a gap year after her last year of high school, as so many others do). Her Japanese language skills are truly impressive. Here is the sad and happy photo contrast.