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Sunday, July 22

The Paper Anniversary

So. Here we are. One year later.

I’m not sure what there is to say about that. Should I be honest and tell you that there were times I wept and begged to go home? Should I mention the other times where I felt like pinching myself out of disbelief for how far I have come in this life and how blessed I felt for these new experiences? Should I tell you about the mistakes I have made along the way and the looks I sometimes get that make me want to curl into a ball and hide? Should I tell you about how I sometimes want to smother in kisses those that have made me feel so welcome in this strange land? Should I discuss how it seems impossible to make friends like those I have back home because you just know that everyone leaves eventually so what is the point of aiming at closeness? Should I tell you about the friends I have found that have made this experience so much more wonderful and joyful? Should I tell you that my heart continues in its mixed up state of happiness and sadness even now? One year later?

I guess I am still not ready to define my time in Japan.

My mom, aunt and uncle just spent the past two weeks with me. With the reality of their departure on Friday morning, being reluctantly pulled back into my every day life of studying and papers and this paper anniversary, one could speculate that I remain in a state of melancholy. The sound of quiet has resumed itself in the walls of our home which makes it hard for me to embrace this anniversary achievement when all I can think about is my dear family and friends that I have missed for one whole year. It seems I do so much better in the interim when I am ensconced in daily activities. In those long times between when I see then, I can welcome the newness that still remains here in Japan for me to see and experience. It’s just those rough patches right after someone leaves which compound to me the fact of how very important they are in my life. The words from an old friend still linger in my ear… is it true that out of sight is out of mind? Perhaps so. But never out of heart.

Every year back home my family headed to the beach. It is one of those things I look forward to every year. It was never some place fancy. Just a week in Ocean City or Chincoteague spending time together, laughing and playing in the sand. As my mom returned to the states, the beach trip was to begin. They are all there now and I can’t begin to put into words how much I loathe that I can’t be there without sounding like a selfish brat for not remembering where I am and what I have gotten to do.

Trying to stop my tearyness, a group of our friends rallied to my side and dragged me out last night. To the beach of all places. In Japan, they build up restaurants and bars along the beach which open on July 1st and close on September 1st. It seems a ridiculously short amount of time for all of the work that goes into building these places only to tear them down before the weather even gets its fall chill. We ended up in the beachside shacks on Kamakura beach in a restaurant serving my favorite Thai cuisine. The walk there took us along the shoreline where I kicked of my sandals and wadded in a bit, not caring that my jeans got soaked and my hair frazzled. I just wanted to touch a bit of the same ocean and feel a little closer to my family back home. But while I stood there staring out over the water, I only felt further away from them than ever. In the immensity of the sea, it made me think about the enormity of time until I may see any one of them again. Of course it didn’t help that my mind quickly did the math with me standing on the Kamakura beach, a stretch attached to the Pacific Ocean, which is obviously blocked by a whole continent. This certainly doesn’t allow the same water to reach the Atlantic shores where they would be standing. Stupid mind. The voices just won’t ever shut up.

Forgive me for my moping. Just this once. I promise to get my act together and return in a brighter capacity on another day.

If you are interested, I did spend my weekend not only catching up on homework and papers that I neglected while my family was in town but I also finally uploaded all of my Thailand pictures into the sidebar Flick link. Perhaps you will consider this a worthwhile small token of appreciation for your reading and suffering through the spouting of pouting that this post has subjected you to. To brighter days tomorrow…


Mike S said...

Just think how bad it would feel if you were one of those who despise everything about Japan and spend their time wallowing in their own misery. You're doing great for a one year ex-pat:):)

Anonymous said...

Some things are just bittersweet - no two ways about it. This is one of those things. Don't beat yourself up over your feelings.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should think more about those family fights (every family has them!) and the teenage times when you wanted to be off with your friends? Anything you can't go to always has a rosy glow I find.

Still, I'm sorry you are sad!