Friday, July 24, 2009

we interrupt this crafty blog for an introspective moment

I've been blogging mostly about crafty stuff lately for a couple of reasons. Mostly it's because I don't have much else to write about. I used to post a lot of one- and two-sentence entries, but those short thoughts get tweeted now. I've always had a tendency to be succinct, so Twitter is a good match for me. Plus it's a lot easier to tweet than to blog from my phone, and I'm often just too busy - or lazy - to sit down and type.

The other thing is that staying connected to my crafty side is keeping me sane. And I don't write much when I'm not particularly happy; this has always been true. What I'm implying here is that, to put it nicely, I'm not quite adjusted to living in Japan yet.

Now, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY who's lived here says something to the effect of, "We hated it at first, but that was just because we were closed-minded, but once we got over the culture shock and opened our minds we LOVED it." But I can say with all honesty that that's not it. Not at all. It isn't a closed-minded thing. And this really isn't a "methinks the lady doth protest too much" moment, either. Really. There's actually very little about the culture that's completely foreign, there's so much Japanese influence in Hawaii. I like leaving the base and seeing things. I like taking the train. I love Japanese food. It would be nice to be able to read signs, but really that doesn't bother me all that much. Not being able to talk to the locals doesn't bother me at all; let's face it, I'm not exactly the type to strike up a conversation with a stranger, anyway. The only thing that really bothers me is little things like not being able to find my favorite cereal, or get a decaf iced caramel macchiato. (Starbucks in Japan doesn't have decaf espresso.)

No, it isn't closed-mindedness, and it isn't culture shock - not really. It's just the simple fact that this isn't home. Spending time back in the States made it worse, because I had forgotten how completely at home I've always felt in Philadelphia. Even after seven years away, even with all of the things that have changed there, it still felt exactly the same. That is to say, it felt like home. This is not home. A month ago, I missed Hawaii, because it's beautiful and the weather is gorgeous and that's where I had my children - I have amazing memories there. Now, I miss Philadelphia, because I've remembered that it's where I belong.

When we were waiting in line at immigration in Chicago, I felt this incredible lightness; a kind of giddiness, almost, and I started singing "America, F*ck Yeah" under my breath. I thought I was just overtired from the flight and happy to be on the ground again. It wasn't until we stepped off the plane in Tokyo, two weeks later, that I recognized that lightness for what it was - the absence of the heavy, sinking feeling that I feel in my chest, always, while we're so, so far away from home.

Brandon is ecstatic to be back. He was beside himself with excitement as soon as we got back on base. To him, wherever we live is "home". Maybe what we've been trying to teach him has sunk in - wherever we all are, together, that's home. Maybe I should listen to my own advice.

Or maybe "home", to him, is where the Monster Trucks are.


Mother Hoodwink said...

Oh, Kerry. I totally get what you mean. You may not get all your comforts of home in Japan but you do get awesome Japanese things that you will one day miss. Until then, use your family and friends to send you care packages.

What was that cereal? Special K something, right? Seriously, anything you can think of and I'll just add it to my shopping list. I'll send you a package every few weeks so whatever little thing you need/want won't even be a big deal. I'm serious. Tell me what you want. Reece's Whips, right? Or was it one of Reece's many other concoctions?

Please don't hesitate. One day our roles will be reversed and I know you would do it for me.

Kerry said...

I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a good friend. I love you. :)

Mother Hoodwink said...

Oh please! You're an awesome friend to me. Definitely one of the best I've ever had. Oh and I love you too!!

EmilySullins said...

I'm glad your friend could send you cereal! And I know I'm late to read this entry, but I SO understand where you're coming from. When we first got here, we went to a movie on base and they play The Star Spangled Banner first, and I CRIED. From whence did this newfound patriotism come?! It gets a little better with time, my dear, and the car will help a lot.