I awakened from my sleeping pill slumber as we were an hour out of LA. Relief that the long flight was nearly over flooded my consciousness. Awareness dawned that I hadn’t eaten dinner or breakfast, falling asleep early in the flight and blessedly remaining asleep for most of it. Gratitude. I’d eaten more than enough while in Japan to tide me over. I was returning to the land of my birth, the seemingly now crazy, angry and often chaotic place that I hardly recognize is my real home. I am returning home to take the next steps in my new role as retiree. I like it!
After stumbling in and out of bed for two days, waking to help celebrate my granddaughter’ s 7th birthday, and then losing myself in slumber again, today I seem to have my wits about me. Small blessing! Life can resume.
Kyoto has truly become a second home to me. Familiarity has bred comfort in this case. I no longer walk around like other tourists I see, looking as if I’d landed on the moon unprepared. In fact, I generally now know where I’m going, secure in the fact that I’m not going to fall off the edge of the earth. Secure in the fact that people are kind in Kyoto and if a problem occurs, they’re only too happy to help me. musing: I wonder if Kyotoites identify me as simply “other” or as “other” with a quality of belonging somehow to their culture rather than just a passing tourist.
Not as much seems surprising anymore. When I first came to Japan I couldn’t take more than three steps without stopping to gape at something that I’d never see at home. No longer. I’ve upped the ante I guess and become more discriminating. The cutsey stuff has become cliché. The bakeries and food quality remain at the top rung of the ladder. As do the temples and nature. The fear of being rejected when making a dinner reservation has dimmed. Of course the fact that my husband does this, is quite helpful. Nothing much from fear of the unknown deters me anymore, except large crowds.
We have a marital division of labor that works pretty well. I run the washing machine and my husband does the scheduling, which I’ve not done well at (to put it mildly). I find the intriguing places and events to track down, he finds the way to get us there. Generally good-naturedly.
So now I’m back, newly retired. I’m loving the new found freedom to make it up as I go along. I’m also loving that it’s a sure thing I’ll be back in Japan come Spring!
In review, I’m posting a few of my favorite things from this trip. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me.