24 August 2008

12 billion light years from the edge

We, the wife and baby and I, are much closer to our own edge. This time next week we will be on a boat (not a ferry, as my sister will tell you) to the south. And before we know it, we will be leaving. Everyone Yoko tells about going to England (and today noting that we may go to Holland after we finish), responds in a chorus of いいな〜!, which just means, 'That's great!' but also implies that the person hearing the good news wishes the good news was happening to them. This happened a couple of weeks ago when Yoko and I saw some of her students in the cafeteria of her school. These 19 year-old girls broke into a chorus of いいな〜! that would drive any sane man crazy. Yoko just smiled, but smiled in a way that said, 'You don't have a clue, man.'

Yes, going to live abroad is romantic and exciting and full of wonder, but that is only about 10% of it. The other 90% of it is bullshit, trying to move all your things, attaching and detaching and re-attaching, finding an apartment, learning the customs, plane tickets, luggage, baby... it goes on and on. It seems to me that when people think about living abroad (in this case in Europe), they see beautiful gardens and high tea and old buildings and the Queen.

I was mocking this reaction in the car today, when Yoko mentioned that we all do this about different things. A nice car, for example, she said, that you want, but don't want to do what it takes to get. The world is full of these things that we want, but aren't willing to sacrifice for.

And having a foreign husband/ boyfriend? Well, coo-ing Japanese women, it is like have a puppy, that is cute at first, but pees on everything and tears up your shoes and grows up to be ugly.

The moral of the story, I think, is to know what you want, but to also know what it costs.
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