14 June 2012

On Eggs. And putting them all in one basket.

The eggs in Japan are different. I mean, they're normal chicken eggs and everything, but when you crack them open they are Bright Orange. (This is kind of color that needs to be capitalized. It's not bright orange so much as it's Bright mother-fuckin' Orange). Amos and I think it's because they are so much fresher then the standard Tyson-chicken-factory-produced US eggs, though we are not egg experts by any stretch of the imagination, and we have absolutely no scientific proof to back up that claim. (Confidential to Tyson: please don't sue us). The eggs here are bright and cheerful and the kind of color that makes you pause and ask yourself "Is that what an egg is supposed to look like? Or not?". (It's at this point that I try not to have an existential crisis on why I'm asking myself this as a 27 year old. Perhaps in my third decade, I'll figure it out. Fingers crossed.)

The upside of this whole thing is that Amos is slowly coming around to the reality that I will own chickens one day. In our backyard. We're based in Seattle, where hippie shit like that is total kosher. Bam! Excited!

Okay, enough about eggs. I swear to God I didn't think this introduction would be as rambly as it is. I think this post was supposed to be about marriage and depending on your spouse and being a team. But I got caught up in the orange-ness of Japanese chicken eggs. Sorry. Keep reading. I get to the point... eventually.  In the meantime, here's funny picture of Amos and I on our honeymoon, checking out cheesy souvenirs. It has nothing to do with eggs; I just like it.

Focusing: When we came to Japan, we were married less then 6 months. Like many newlyweds, I'd been asked if being married felt different. The answer before Japan was kind of. I mean, Amos and I had been dating for over six years by the time we got married. Living together for two. We'd combined bank accounts while planning the wedding (it had became obvious we needed to do it when I paid several deposits and then had to write on the white board: You owe me $5,000.) Some of these changes felt "bigger" then the marriage thing... well, if not bigger, requiring more adjustment. The living together thing: how do we divide up our time so that we balance quality time together and time with friends and time alone?* The money thing: how do we reconcile the fact that Amos' jeans cost $50 and mine, well, a lot more than $50? Marriage, while bigger, was less fraught.

Now that we're in Japan, marriage definitely feels different. How could it not? I would never have packed up and moved around the globe for a boyfriend, but I would for a husband (Call me old fashioned Sally). Back in the States, our incomes were about on par with each other. Here? Amos' job is the one paying all our bills. My freelance and small projects are a way to keep busy and looped in with my work back home, but it's not paying the rent. Heck, it's not paying for drinks on a night out. Let's be honest here. I am not rolling it in.

It's a Big Transition (capitalized, naturally. Actually, when you read it, infer big hand gestures, too. It's that kind of Big). I think it's been a more confounding transition then actually moving to and living in a non-English speaking country, though, perhaps, it's because no one really talked about it in all those preparatory 'culture seminars' we attended in anticipation of our move.  What we each are able to bring to the table fundamentally changed. Yet, I feel like we are more on the same team then ever before. I know; Stick with me here.

It's hard some days: our lives here follow pretty traditional gender roles in a way I never imaged my life would. I always thought that if one of us stayed home, there would be a little person or two needing care of said stay-at-home-person. Did I imagine myself a young trophy housewife? Nope, can't say I did. I take care of the heft of laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, trip-planning, and house maintaining. At times, when I get frustrated that Amos isn't jumping up to throw in a load of clothes, I remember that all I did today was calligraphy and take a run, and for the love of all things, it's only laundry. My day was calligraphy. And a workout. Then, I do the laundry. Because, Jesus, come on Shean.

But more then roles and housework and who-does-what, we are now tied to each other in a way that we weren't before. I am, at this point, financially dependent on my husband (For the record, still scary to type out). Yes, it's his job, but "we" accepted it because it affects me in a way that past positions never did. Before we were married, before we moved to Japan, I would never have thought on giving an opinion if he should transfer or switch positions, and I think it was true on his side as well. I never would have asked the questions I've asked, or weighed in with what I've weighted in on. Moving to Japan made me depend on him in a way that I've never had to before, and in turn, he's been more open and accessible on things that, prior to marriage, were just "his." It's scary, and at times cringe worthy when we have to employ the "we" language,** but it's working out. I think it's worth it, and I think, to a degree, it's telling of the intimacy that marriage entails. You are in it. Deep, man. (I know. Can you believe I wrote that last sentence? I should be a philosopher or something.)

Growing up, I was always really careful not to put all of my eggs in one basket (ah! the long introduction, making sense now! At this point all my writing teachers are collectively sighing... sadly). With boyfriends, with school, with jobs, I was a well diversified lady. If one thing fell through, I always had options. It made me feel secure. This is the first time in my life where I have gone against this instinct. I am in this thing, all the way, and so is my husband. We've got only one basket now. (That's the sounds of my writing teachers logging off from this post because of the overextended metaphor. Too painful.)

And I think, 10 months in, we're beginning to see what this marriage business is all about.

Now, for my David Foster Wallace-esque footnotes:

* Yeah, we both are introverts. Alone time is a Must Have. I now average 10 hours a day of it, and, to be honest, I don't hate it.

** For the record, still hate the couples that say "We" all the time instead of "I." Yes, I may have to be them, at certain times now, but come on. Little goes a long way. STFU already.

*** Confidential to Japan: your plastic eggs containers are terrible. I have broken more eggs in my 4 months here then I did my entire 27 years back in the US. Come on, please.

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