Sunday, July 12, 2009

begin the begin

it's the beginning of the end: the last week in what has become my japanese hometown. my classes are finished (anticlimactically), so i will spend the rest of my work days cleaning out my desk, trying to say goodbye to people, and turning my pepsi nex bearbrick into emo bear.

From i eat dirt

sunday i will drive up to my new home. crazy! i don't even know how to get there.

yesterday i returned from a momentous and miraculous journey to nagoya--to get my new visa and re-entry permit!!--which means i actually DO get to go home for the summer and won't be stuck in japan due to a bureaucratic detail. the turnaround was a record 2 weeks (it's supposed to take 1-3 months). everyone i know was praying about this, and i feel so blessed to have these prayers answered. thanks everyone! after i got them, i just sat and pored over those two stamps in my passport, scarcely believing it was true.
i think i was SO relieved that i had a ridiculously clumsy rest of the day: i spaced out and almost missed getting off the train at the right place, i got home and went to the hardware store and couldn't find my wallet (left it on the table at home), forgot to take a picture of the gorgeous green rice fields that i drove by four times, thought i didn't have enough money for my purchase at the convenience store until i found the money in my pocket, and then got home and realized i had bought the wrong thing! phew. i was glad to call it a night.

i'm going to work at a small private eikaiwa (english conversation school), where i will teach people of all ages. i got the apartment i wanted; i found a used washer, fridge, and stove for a good price; and though i've yet to find an air conditioner, i probably won't die of sweatloss.
right now i feel like i'm just waiting for it all to begin. my house is half-packed, i have about 265 things i need to remember to do, in a certain order, or the moving process will screech to a halt and i'll be stuck somewhere without something important like electricity or clothes or money.
as is typical for a big move like this, i've been so busy planning it, i haven't had time to actually absorb it. my first year here, just after i had decided to stay for a second, i had the strong conviction i would feel nostalgic for this place. i got to enjoy two more years after that realization, and i often took the time to enjoy that honey-sweetness in the summer air, the incredible lushness and variety of the flowers, the smoky fires of plant clippings, the ever-changing face of the ocean, the fresh vegetables from my neighbor. i know there are so many people and things i will miss, but since i have tried to enjoy them all along, i hope i won't regret my sudden departure too much.
however, there are some things i certainly won't miss, and here are a few:
the smell of my neighbor's very ripe outhouse (yes, they still have them in the countryside),
accidentally walking through one of the spiderwebs built across the path to school overnight,
having to drive two and a half hours to get tortillas,
killing mukade,
avoiding wearing high heels lest i break my neck walking up or down the steep path to my car,
paying $50 for a one-way ticket to civilization,
wondering where my youth has gone (aka: In-Bed-by-10-On-Weekends Syndrome).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

thegirl and the self-timer: old friends

i've been doing weird self-portraits for years, usually only for lack of a companion. this set of photos was particularly challenging, and i have plenty of shots of just my butt in the camera to prove it. ten seconds just isn't quite enough to hurl yourself down some steps and into a balanced handstand, but i did get one good shot.

my facial expressions are positively tragic with visible effort. i don't think many breakdancers aspire to look like hungry jackals.

and later in the locker room of my gym, i decided to try some tricks in a dress.

i've been packing all day. i have a mere two weeks left in my dear little bug-infested paradise. i've lived here longer than i've lived anywhere alone, so it will be strange, strange to leave it in someone else's hands.

the lushness makes a leafy cave on the path up to my house. goodbye falling-down house.