14 May 2013

A Quiet Life

And I'm back!

I didn't really go anywhere, see; I just lost the writing "itch" for awhile. Can we shrug that off to a creative, artistic temperament, even though I most definitely do not have said temperament? (I also have zero interest in doing the introspection required to find out my temperament, other than to say that I am one hundred percent lovely, always.)

My days have settled into a nice routine of sorts, and I'm feeling myself more accepting of "life on life's terms" in Japan and decidedly less worried about the future. I think that my worry-wartness seems to fade as we approach the end of our assignment. Right now, we are here through the end of the year, and it's just so nice to know. Well, know-ish, which I'll count as knowing. It's rather fantastic that we've been in Japan long enough that I wouldn't be devastated if we left early, but there's enough to keep me busy. There are less adventures and WTF-ery (which sometimes means less to write about). I have more moments in the calm pulse of a quiet life, which is, really, what I think I was missing. I know the return to my "normal" life -- with constant email, frantic works calls, and back-to-back meetings -- is on the horizon, and with that in mind, I can relax into my life here. Vacations and sabbaticals are better, I've found, when you know they have a time limit. At least for me. It's easier to sink in and not worry about the ability to one day get up.

I've joined a swanky gym by the big train station here. It has yoga and Pilates, spin classes and Megadanz (with a Z), which is like a hip-hop class where the instructor is super cool with her clothes and her hair and her nails that match her sneaker colors. I look at her and pretend, intently, that it's exactly what I look like, and I ignore, steadfastly, everything in the mirror that says otherwise. For the record, I do not look like a Japanese hip-hop godess. I look like a woman who grew up in small town Colorado and studied accounting in college, who is now trying, desperately, to find the beat. Yeesh.

I've made a couple friends at the gym, including the most darling obasan, a woman who is 68 with two children and three grandchildren and will try so, so, so hard to speak to me in English, even though she has every right to ask me to speak in Japanese (I live in her country, for pete's sake!). She is as small as a bird and wears pink legging to work out, and on my first day, she turned around in the middle of class to give me a thumbs up and "Good Job" call out. If I miss a class, she'll asks where I was; she asks me how my day is going and isn't it so hot outside? It's nice to be in, to have a place where you're wanted and missed. Amos calls it my social-club-minus-the-cigars, and he's absolutely right.

Back home, I had answers. I knew things. (Not everything, mind you. But some things.) When I first landed in Nagoya, I didn't know anything. I was the one always asking, and when I made inevitable mistake after mistake, I knew so little that I didn't know how to fix it. Now, I'm more knowing and less earnest. I know what makes me happy (gym, coffee, hiking, exploring new things), and what doesn't really work for me (arts and crafts, long lunches, television, anything too historical... sorry about that last one).  I've been feeling in-the-know lately: new grocery stores that let me buy meat big enough for my crockpot and new online stores that let me find the calcium magnesium that I have been lying to my doctor about taking. (Sorry, Dr. McCarty! Now I'm taking it for real!). I'll clarify that these aren't new stores to Nagoya; they are just new to me. I don't know everything about living in Japan. But I know some things.

Amos has been working mega-hours lately, and right now he's over in the US for two weeks for work. I'm solo'ing it up. It's not my favorite thing, and it's certainly easier to do if -- you know -- I had a job where I had to leave the house, but it's not bad. It's made me realize that I've slowly, painstakingly, created a life where I like my days. I get my endorphine and caffeine fix routinely, and that does wonders for my mood. I have a list of not-fun-but-needing-to-be-done projects that I'm working through: organizing photos and records, making home inventories, cleaning out closets and drawers. I, once again, have friends that are squarely in the "we're friends" category and not in the "we're becoming friends" category. I might get to say sayonara to some of them before they say it to me, and that, selfishly, feels pretty good.

My life is quieter here, with less pictures being taken of things I see and more taken with friends I'm seeing. Less shinkansen-ing and more jetensha-ing. It's a really nice life, and maybe a more sustanable and fulfilling one. I dunno. I'll think on it while I hit the Zumba class this afternoon.
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