Experiencing some major homesickness for Japan. I have loved all the things about being in America: reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, reading everything I can get my hands on in the library, going shopping with my mama, taking kids to the pool almost daily, getting some counseling, visiting old haunts, calling up Grandma for some free babysitting, worshipping at Zion, registering my Jonesy for his first English school experience, being in and among the familiarity of Nebraskan folk. All of these things have refreshed and revived me.
But I can sense a shift inside: I’m thinking of my house in Japan with longing, wishing I was sleeping between my own sheets on my own bed, reading a random book that just happened to be in the one-aisle English section of the library, bowing to people I pass on the street and chatting with all the moms at the neighborhood park while our kiddos play. I miss Giardino and its gelato, D&Department’s iced lattes, and even the McDonald’s we frequent. I miss breakfast dates with Bryan at Denny’s, the only place in town where we can get something resembling an American breakfast, and the way the sky looks when its about to rain, and the kids who have become our best friends at youchien. I miss using Japanese, and being enchanted by the uncovering of new words and phrases. I miss our Wednesday night gatherings, and the students who have become aunts and uncles, big brothers and sisters, amazingly compliant playmates to my children. I miss our staff family, and our Bible studies, and the way we pray for and support one another. I miss my friends. I miss the life we’ve spent time and tears and courage and guts to build.
It’s hard to type these things, knowing the sacrifice of our parents in sending us to live life in another nation. They want us to be here, and part of me wants to stay — to find a house with a cozy front porch and sink my roots deep, where I am accessible and knowledgable and relatively unnoticed by passersby. But an equal part of me wants to be there, in Japan, in our strange rented home with tatami floors, where I am not so accessible and know nothing and get stares from the old folks. I suppose this paradox was inevitable, but it has never been so noticeable to me as right now.
We’re living in the middle.