Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Memories of a Life Past, Part I

I have had the fortunate experience of living in many different cities and countries on several continents. There are many places where I feel comfortable and know well enough to call home. Sometimes I think this is a blessing; sometimes I think it is a curse. While it is wonderful to have so many places to “fit in,” it also leaves me with no true place to call home. There is always something missing in each place I go. Whenever I think about someplace I have lived and my friends there, it is difficult to imagine how things are different in my absence. For me, time has stopped. Despite that it is completely illogical, I feel that time shouldn’t start up again until I go back. When I go back and see friends, it doesn’t seem like time has passed. They are still the same people; I am still the same person.

Just before leaving for Gifu for the weekend, I hit the section of my current book called, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” It’s somewhat ironic. While I loved living in Gifu and it feels like home, I know that it is not where I belong in spite of the friends and the familiarity. My apartment building was condemned and torn down shortly after I left. Despite things in Gifu being more or less the same, my home is gone. However, my friendships have endured. The biggest difference for me lies in my friends’ children. H. has two daughters. When I first met them, the eldest was in sixth grade and the younger in third. Now the younger one is in her second year at university, and the older one has just graduated university. When I saw photos of the older daughter after she had started college, she looked like a grown-up, and I could still see her as a sixth-grader. I felt like crying.
Nagara River, Gifu City

Ju and I went to a Japanese bath near her house on Saturday night. As we approached the entrance, I noticed a Seventeen Ice vending machine. A million memories flashed through my head: bike trips throughout Japan with Tea, So in Nagano, working at Gifu City Hall, Japanese friends, their children, other foreigner friends, conferences, parties, adventures, millions of Japanese sceneries and cultural events, and on, and on, and on. I guess everyone feels like this at times in their life. You must give up certain things to have others, but at what cost? It is not an answer that can be measured on a scale. I know that I am infinitely better off today with the choices I have made than had I chosen to stay in Japan and/or Gifu. However, I will always feel that there is a bit of me left there. I hope my friends feel that bit and are glad for it.
Tea, this photo is for you.


Post a Comment

<< Home