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Wednesday, January 24

Are not diamonds the gift to give at the six month mark?

My sixth month anniversary of living here in Japan came and went quietly on Tuesday. I spent my day substituting at the elementary school and my night studying for finals while Kimono Hubby worked until well after midnight. I can’t help but think it should have been better acknowledged than it was. After all, these past six months have been some of the most eye-opening, frustrating, lonely, changing times of my life and I feel almost entirely like a different person from the person I was on the day our plane touched down at Narita.

I was told to expect a multitude of emotions. I braced myself for those emotions. However, no state of readiness could have prepared me for those first months. I was so supremely confident in our decision to move halfway around the world and all that lay waiting for me to experience. How incredibly naïve I was despite all of my planning and preparation both physically and mentally.

Our first days were filled with obvious and overwhelming excitement. Yet, it would only be a few weeks before denial firmly set in. Never had I been so disappointed in myself. My over-eagerness to experience this life has caused me to do some pretty spontaneously, stupid things before, but nothing on such a level as this. In the back of my head, I knew it had been a carefully thought out decision that KH and I had discussed for years but I couldn’t let go of the idea that somehow my impulsivity had let me down again. It would take many teary tantrums and then simply moving on to the next stage to remind myself of the reasons I had obscured in the deepest recesses of my thoughts as to why we chose to move so far away. This was not merely some faddish idea we had concocted.

Gratefully, I can say that no longer does that blue moon shine down on me as it first did. Only rarely do I revert back to those teary tantrums and even then they are more the voice of my frustrations at not being able to fulfill some silly perceived need. I am still frequently misunderstood and often misunderstand. But the fault is my own that I haven’t conquered more of the language. Even more importantly, I’ve learned to recognize the distinctions of a need versus a want. When I so often can’t get what I want, I just move on and do without. Because of this, my life has developed a straightforward quality, a much more effortless way of being.

The moments when tears do arise are often because I start thinking of someone. Not that I want to run home and be by their side anymore… I just miss them. The tears purely signify my love for them. But I can call or email every single person I love and miss on a daily basis if I wish to. Of course, that may be in the middle of the night for them, but keeping in contact is so marvelously easy in this age of computer technology. Even on my lonely days, I am never truly alone.

The one thing that I just cannot seem to fathom yet is the biggest change of all. Japan has truly become my home. The States will always be my true home, but Japan is where my heart is these days and I respect the credo that “home is where the heart is.” Startlingly, it is. We are making new roots every day that we wake up in the Land of the Rising Sun. Beyond all of the initial sadness, beyond my constant questioning of our decision to move here, I would never have imagined that life in Japan would ever feel so familiar. And so right.

In six months, I have soaked up the days spent here in many ways. Even sometimes in no way at all beyond what I viewed from my couch. As I keep evolving through the transition, Japan is a more and more beautiful place that has come to be a blessed with a new understanding of home.

I truly wish I could better express the feelings I have about the past six months but sadly words are failing me today.

Life has changed and shared with me both its highest ups and its lowest downs, bestowing invaluable lessons on me. What more could a girl ask for of a six month anniversary?


Mike S said...

That reminds me of the time we went to Disneyland and my son asked after the 2nd day there when we were gonna "go home", meaning back to Japan. Strange sentiment from a little blond gaijin kid, but he expressed what we were all feeling & we ended up coming "home" to Japan two weeks earlier than planned.:)

Anonymous said...

Miss Karen..
That warms my heart to hear :) Its amazing that six months has gone by already. I knew it would go fast, but it really has gone by. So glad that you are enjoying your awesome adventure. We miss you all the same and even more here..but so happy for you and KH..and can't wait to see you and give you a big hug! :)

kuroirodo said...

maybe, that your family went to japan and stay 1 day with you... or just love.
if i where on the same situation, i really like to see my family... but for a girl, love will do. i think...

Aime said...

Happy 6 month-iversary! It sounds like you have come a long way! I hope the next 6 months are just as eye-opening an wonderful for you!