21 November 2013

Navigating my landscape.

If you'll forgive me for a second, I'm going to start with banana bread: it's a thick ol' piece, from Cafe Solstice up on University Way. The secret is that it is studded with chunks of white chocolate. Not chips. CHUNKS. Before I moved to Japan, years ago when I lived here, I loved that bread. I would get it every Sunday morning as I passed the coffee shop. It was my jam.

I passed by the coffee shop just the other Sunday and saw the banana bread. Of course, I ordered it. And... meh. Just not the same. Too rich. Too thick. Too studded, and I can't believe I'm saying that. It just wasn't right. It wasn't what it used to be to me.

It's not just the banana bread. There's other things: my yoga studio. Wait, were the classes always this fast paced? Formerly favorite coffee shops, restaurants I remember liking, shops that used to be exactly my style.  It's akin to putting on a pair of jeans that used to fit like a glove. Now I try them on and stare in the mirror. I like these? I liked this?

Growing, I guess. Evolving, I'm told. Culture shock, someone said last week, though that sounds a little extreme for a change in banana bread preference.

Last night, as we fell asleep, Amos and I were talking. I asked him if he thought that repatriation would be easier if we moved to an entire new city, a new state. "Absolutely." His conviction was reassuring. Moving back to our old home has been surprisingly hard. My mind skips over Japan and tries to convince me that it didn't happen, but I keep reaching for things I used to love and finding them not quite right. Do I like this? It's a navigation of a landscape I assumed would be completely familiar. It is my home, after all. I like it?

As I walked up to the new house after yoga earlier this week (the class was meh), I saw Amos cooking dinner through the window. He was in his red flannel shirt and the steam from the food was rising above him. I think he was using the bright blue plastic colander from my college days. He was backlight in the window and the house and trees darkly framed him. The simple beauty of the scene snapped me awake. My partner, my job, my house, my life. I can't believe that I get to live this. That's what I keep focusing on as we trudge through this readjustment, this repatriation, this evolution. The fact that I'm facing it speaks more to my luck, speaks more to the joy and the opportunities I've had. Acknowledging that things aren't fitting right now will open the doors to things that are more right. I think? I know. To this, for this, I'm navigating.


  1. Sarah, you're writing continues to amaze me. Wonderful post.

  2. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog and read a few posts. I really enjoy your writing and insights:-) I wish I had discovered this blog while you were still in Japan! Good luck on your repatriation, I know how hard it can be. It took me a loooong time to adjust to Tokyo after living in the U.S. for 8 years. I love Seattle!

    1. Yumiko - what a nice comment! It makes me feel so good (and so NORMAL) to hear how long others took to adjust. It's surprisingly hard, in subtle ways.

      ... And I love Tokyo!


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