24 June 2008

Getting sentimental, Part 1

It's been almost five years since I moved to Japan, and now as I am packing up things little by little and trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away, I am going to wax a bit sentimental, hopefully to helping me accept that I'm actually leaving.

I'm actually leaving. Things have been settled at work, letters have been coming by courier from the University, and we have tickets to leave from Tokyo on September. I am not completely convinced it is going to happen as I still have to get visas for everyone in the family, get my own passport renewed, and actually get on the plane. But I suspect that will all happen in time and if I just relax, it will work it's way out.

Five years ago, just about this time Dan asked me if I was interested in going to Japan. I said yes without really thinking it would happen. I remember trying to envision it all, looking at pictures of Fukuoka and imaging what a Japanese apartment would look like. When we landed in Fukuoka and met everyone, it was completely not what I predicted. It's hard to remember exactly what it was. There were vending machines everywhere. There was seaweed in the spaghetti I ordered. I remember that I was so picky about what I ate when I first came — the pastor was worried and I remember him showing Dan and me this American food menu and asking what I liked for breakfast.

I suppose a lot of it was nerves and a disbelief in it having actually happened. I wrote emails with subject lines that read 'Now, I live in Japan' as though typing it would make it real. It was, especially in the first week and half, completely unreal, and I was expecting that eventually the plane would come and take us back.