16 April 2012

Welcome to 29, Amos.

I should be studying Katakana right now. That was the plan this morning, friends. Wake up, make myself coffee, and learn another Japanese alphabet. There were two things that was making this plan seem especially feasible: a celebration that I finally found non-ground, non-instant, coffee beans (three cheers to that) and I mastered Hiragana last week (please note, I'm using mastered extremely loosely). Japanese has not one, not two, but three distinct alphabets. Hiragana is used to phonetically spell Japanese words, Katakana is used to phonetically spell foreign words, and Kanji are the characters that you think of when you think of Japanese. Amos can read both Hiragana and Katakana and is beginning to learn Kanji. I need to catch up... and yet, I keep finding myself, sipping coffee, sitting on this blog instead of learning Japanese.

I hope you'll forgive me.

I hope the people of Japan forgive me.

I hope Amos forgives me, as we go around and I ask him to read everything.

I'm sitting here, and I do have so much to tell you: Amos' birthday weekend (awesome), hiking Mt. Yoro (so fun), hanami and sakura season (beautiful), my feelings on roles in marriage being an expat wife (complicated), on being here, sans my career (conflicted), on joining Twitter (wtf... so confused). I haven't even shown you our remote control toilet or our bathtub that you can fill up from the kitchen (I know!), and, for that, I sincerely apologize.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed, being here, with so much going on. I am blown away by the beauty of this country and so thankful and grateful for all that I get to experience while I'm here. I mean, you guys, I LIVE IN JAPAN. Holy hell, is that cool or what? I loved taking the train up and hiking a mountain this weekend that had botany like nothing I'd ever seen, then coming down and eating rice balls covered in miso before catching the train home. It's as if amazing, wonderful, exciting things are continually flowing, no rushing, towards me. Do this! Experience that! Now this! Make time for this... and that! I am, and constantly remind myself to be, very, very grateful. Profoundly grateful. I want to share all of this wonderfulness with you, and I seem to always have a list of things that I need to write about (that's why my draft folder has 15 as we speak I type).

There's another side that I want to share as well. It's a side that's harder to write, to put down in words. It deals with cultural values, and stereotypes, and what I thought my life would look like and what my life does look like and deeply held beliefs. I can't share it with you yet because I haven't successfully sussed out my feelings on it. But it's there, it's real, and it's complicated. Hopefully, if the writing gods are willing, I can share it with you one day. I'm working it out in my journal and doing my best to get it out in the open. I truly believe that things in the open are more real and infinitely less scary and less powerful then they are when they are alone in your soul.

This weekend was Amos' birthday and, if I do say so myself, we did a damn fine job of saying goodbye to 28 and hello to 29. We smoked Cuban cigars, ate tuna poke and hamburgers and egg sandwiches and Nachos (not all at the same time, thankfully). We drank whisky and caught up on Mad Men; we hiked Mt. Yoro and saw bonsai trees and met delightful older Japanese folk who take hiking lunches more seriously than anyone else I've ever met, complete with stoves, blankets, and beer for a day hike, and for that, they will hold a special place in my heart. His birthday gifts included a 3D dinosaur card, wishing him a Happy Birthday in Hiragana, which, thankfully, he can read.

We're extending the birthday weekend a day and having a nice dinner at home tonight, drinking a bottle of wine we got at his last birthday, when we were on Whidby Island, and he was running a half marathon and I was talking him into walking around Langley and wine tasting. Today is technically his birthday is the States, so it feels only right to celebrate it one more night.

You guys, this weekend was so good. Exploring a country with my new husband has to be one of the best things life has thrown my way. Turns out I really like him. I want to share the beauty of our life here and the funny stories that come our way (like, instead of explaining where we're from, we just say, Se-at-tle ... like Ichiro! because then every Japanese person instantly knows where we live and is so excited that THEIR guy is our cultural touchstone.) I want to share the flip side, like how, for as excited as I am about Fridays (Amos gets to come home and plaayyyyyy), Mondays are a far lonelier beast. Mondays I miss my husband and I miss my career, and I miss my life back home, and I wish there was a reason I have to bound out of bed because I HAVE THINGS TO DO. Because, as lovely as this place is, it's not the home-home-home that I find back in the States. I don't mean to whine or bitch, my life is really good and I wouldn't change it in a heartbeat, but for every ying there's a yang and for every good there is an equal and opposite bad. That's what I've found to be true in the world, a hippie dippy take on the laws of thermodynamics (yea, I took science class in college.) Doesn't mean you should stop doing what you do, just means you should be grateful and remember that neither the good moments, or the bad, last forever. Both are important; both are real, and the sum of the two, I guess, is what we call life. If I might be so bold to take a stab at defining life for you this morning.

Happy Monday, my friends. Or, perhaps more accurately, happy and not happy Monday, all rolled into one.


  1. How weird is it that I can say "I feel ya" on basically everything you said, and truly MEAN it? Like, I like in bed every Sunday night and dread Mondays for exactly the reasons you wrote about. And just yesterday I was musing over whether to share this fact with the world, lol. At least there's coffee, right?

    1. I know Meg. I'm always hesitant to share things like that because, in so many ways, my life is great. Really great. I mean, I woke up and studied this morning on a beautiful, sunny balcony! In my PJs! No work meetings, no stress, no craziness! I loved it. Then ten minutes later, I am reading about people finishing projects and wondering what Amos is up to and I'm dying to hop back in. If anything, this expat life is... well... unpredictable. Or at least my emotions are.

      Amen to coffee my friend. I have to ride my bike 3km to get it and it costs mega money, and it's so worth it. Sending lots of love your way to Germany.

  2. I'm supposed to be looking for a job, but I just had to take a self-imposed time out to say HELL YES about the coffee thing. Makes a huge difference in life. (Not joookiiiiing.)

    1. I never joke about a good cup of coffee :) Good luck with the job search.

  3. What truth, no matter where in the world you are! Miss you. Alexis and I were on Whidbey running that same half marathon -- in the car outside of your hotel after we said goodbye we made a pact to carry on your spirit here in Seattle by doing things you would do while you are gone. So far your activities have been pretty fun, but would be greatly enhanced with your presence!

    1. Stop making me tear up, please! Seriously, that is amazing. You two are great friends... and fast runners! Under two hours, what what. Way to go!


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