Sunday, November 28, 2010

fugue state

i sat down to write this first blog from the other side and the song iTunes chose started, “I'm coming apart at the seams.” that's pretty close to how i feel. what’s wrong with me? the song continues, “Doc, there's a hole where something was. Doc, there’s a hole where something was.” i feel i’ve been stripped of something, a very identity, that’s been part of me for four and a half years, every fiber still raw and painful from having it torn away.

moving back from japan is way hard, guys.

the first day was great. woke up late, hung out with mom, went out with some friends who were in town for thanksgiving, dressed up, had fun. the second day mom and i had a very small conflict which precipitated an hour-long cry as i faced the “what the hell am i doing here/will i ever be happy in america” monster. extreme, i know. but it feels extreme.
going to a country where i was conspicuously different was weird enough, but i expected it to be unfamiliar. no one else expected me to know what was going on either. over time i acclimated and forgot what i was used to before. coming back, everything is familiar but no less strange. i feel the need to preserve a distance from strangers, store clerks, waitresses. people act too familiar and i don’t understand why; i don’t know them. i really feel like an alien who has been on another planet, and while people recognize my face, it feels like there’s a very different person in there.

i thought my hometown would feel safe, not too stressful--a good place to figure out the next step. it still may be, but while i’m overwhelmed by my emotions, i feel totally under-stimulated. this place is beautiful, but it doesn’t have what i need. i need real japanese food, a cheap mobile phone with email, and fit grannies laughing raucously outside the window. i need people speaking in languages i can’t understand, clean subway trains, and conbinis with onigiri. i need unsweetened bottled green tea, karaoke, and onsens.

i do have an awesome housesitting situation, but it’s freezing cold and i don’t have a car. so what do i do? ride my mom’s bicycle until my face falls off? buy a car? that’s kind of a big deal. i don’t know what i really expected, but it’s my practical problem of the moment: how to become independent again ASAP.

it’s not all bad. i did some laundry and used the dryer. things are so soft, unwrinkled, and you know, dry. i had some mexican food and two martinis. the house is warm and so is the water in all the public bathrooms. those things take the edge off.
i’m trying not to lose sight of the things i wanted to do when i came back. i’m trying to hold on to the girl i was there, so i can be her here too and not this mess, but it’ll take a little time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

new life ahead

everything is finally done, and i'm waiting in the airport for my flight to be called. i was sent off by six wonderful friends and made it through security in a flash and then stumbled down the carpeted ramp to the gates with my eyes blurred by tears. i don't know what's ahead, and i'm definitely feeling kinda unsure about it, but i've had an incredible life here in japan for four years and four months. i'll miss it more than i can fathom right now, i know. thank you to everyone who made my time here so incredible and special: students, friends, church members, and polite service people! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

goodbye kumano

listening to the waves from matsumoto toge one last time.

the sayonara post

my move from japan is coming loud and fast like an express train, leaving me little time to process my departure from this home of four years. i leave in a week! however, i knew i had to see kumano again, so in the midst of my frantic hurricane of getting rid of things and saying goodbyes, i drove down today. kumano is almost like a person to me, someone i need to see and smell and touch before we part for what i can only imagine will be quite a few years. i spent the end of my 20s here, learned how to teach, watched the seasons ripen and fade. it's a place that didn't look like much to me when i arrived but held treasures that sound cliche to list but are no less amazing: the people, the golden evening light, the smell of the air, the dramatic mountains. i'm trying to soak it all up and take it with me, this second home.
thanks for coming on the journey! big spiders, little victories; it's all been exciting. i will certainly continue to write, though i may not get another chance before i'm back on colorado soil, so keep the light on for me.