Monday, December 9, 2013

To Completion

In her post, A journaling fool, this fellow blogger is nothing but awe-inspiring with her insightful words and lovely images. Her post was also featured on BlogHer - congratulations, Shawna!

A journaling fool or a wise girl...


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mautumn


I was told I could be his girl in every port. But I didn't think it would actually happen for us, that naval port calls could be as good as they sounded coming from the mouths of seasoned or retired navy blues.

Movember was all fall for us.
Japan was a dream most of our people heard too much about and didn't fully understand. We agreed - being stationed on this slice in the Pacific was forward deployment and meant missed faces, laughs, celebrations and comforts. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Right? We oscillated between confidence and doubt. We wanted to see more of planet Earth and push ourselves in doing so. But did we really? Yikes, who knows.

I guess we did. When Cary deployed in September, it began a series of port calls that really turned out to be everything the military romancers crack it up to be.

Our broken record hopes were now right-smack-dab-in-reality.

Two rock star spouses and I flew to South Korea for free. On the whole, Space-A is the coolest resource since peanut butter and Excel. Yeah, you gotta be flexible. Yeah, your blood pressure is on the high side 'til you're on the runway. Getting to your destination is hit or miss, yet you know going in if it's more likely going to be a sunk battleship or not. We did spend an extra four typhoon days splitting a hotel room, watching movies, playing Cards Against Humanity and eating fried chicken - but we did save money, and we did actually fly Space-A. Now I just wanna get on one of the cargo planes next time so I can see if stretching out on a camping mat (albeit in a cavernous cabin) is a nice way to travel far.

Seoul sits clean, modern and snug between green hills, oddly just 35 miles from the desolate north. We devoured Korean barbecue, put our hands up to The Killers, and looked through stores like North Face and Esprit, all a short drive from a different world. While Seoul pops up American-looking, new age, strip malls that include Coffee Beans and fro yo, the nearby, ironically touristy DMZ is the gateway to a pressing fear. Southern cities have nail shops and leather jacket bartering, Brazilian buffets with warm, brown sugary pineapple carvings and friendly, quiet Portuguese men who'll bring you as much meat on a stick as you desire. But across the North Korean border, the villages are fake, empty or petty, with few cars and tricky ideologies. As a journalist who doesn't follow the news, I'm a Korean conflict rookie; if it wasn't for book club and a DMZ tour, what they're going through might never have soaked in. And like all political situations, left me more more aware and confused than ever.

Korean BBQ spread -
the only thing not pictured is the crunchy rice/veggie/egg bowl bibimbap.

Girl and the world

Cinemagia
We chased the boys to Thailand. Mieh. I used to tease my mom for toting Hawaii bar none. 'But we can get burritos in Cabo... Shouldn't the water be bluer and sand whiter in an unspoiled spot in the Caribbean? What about Pensacola?' My brother and I would laugh, watching her face turn to worried disgust if we mentioned Mexico over Hawaii for the family vacation. Then I went to the beach in Pattaya, and I had to check my face. The girls and I were expecting Brokedown Palace before the prison camp. Oh. Everything was good for cheap - hotel, food, drinks, wares - but the seawater, the smells, and the human factor made it seem like what we got served up was a third world Vegas-Bourbon Street mashup.

These were the best parts.

video

video

Then came Hong Kong. Dunt-dun-da-da. From the currency to the tips of the skyscrapers, it's a city at it's best. There was more peking duck to be had and views to make our way to. Unexpectedly, one of my fave times was the last day, taking the liberty ferry out to the Mustin, where Cary's been living for weeks and was on duty. The first tour of something with his job is always the best, when I'm the only one and everything's new to me, before family and friends are kind enough to take part with more interesting professional lives to compare and better questions.

The Ting Kau Bridge at night with more mist in the air than this is the cat's pajamas.

Panoramio

Tour peek. (Does anyone else think the Romeo packed up looks like Rudolph?)



Now he's helping out in the Philippines with other spouses who are going to come home to impressed significant others and extended. What am I really getting out of all this? Inside jokes and Newbold three times over by the time we leave?

Back home as I rode the train, getting used to the commute to a copyediting gig, I thought, smack-dab-reality. It's more than a thumbtack on a map or Facebook posts; it's enjoying the music you're listening to, the mustache you've grown, the day you're breathing in feeling right as rain.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bye

Cody Lawson
There was a tropical feeling here. When you couldn't imagine ever not wanting to wear flip-flops and shorts and walk around like you were on a long vacation or just retired or so rich you didn't need to work and could spend the rest of your life pondering.

Then it was like swimming through each day the air was so full of water. Even your skin is too much coverage, and it's littered with mosquito bites in varying sizes and healing states. Hair inflates. Heat becomes worse than hunger. And the sky matches the cement, building to a burst that washes away the sins of humidity. If you live here, you know.

The cicada sound is likable at first; then it's as if you have dog ears. Their electronic chirping escalates for mating, or when you accidentally step on them and react maniacally (both you and them). In September, they seem to be replaced by crickets.

Paul England / Metropolis
But the Japanese handle summer with the dignity in which they handle everything else. The women are as regal in winter (when they don long, down coats and the latest Uggs) as they are in mid-August. Their hair straight and gleaming, maybe cropped short and gamine looking for all of them. They barely let on to their perspiration with a discrete handkerchief dab or fan. I look like book Hermione on a bad hair day, flapping my broken fan and smearing mascara.

Yet dipping down into Japan's marine layer on our flight back from China felt like coming home. The PC term is haze, but it was smog at its worst in the capital. I went to the hotel room window when I first woke up in Beijing, and the view only lasted a few city blocks. It was like nothing I've ever seen.

Easy Cooking
Same goes for the Wall. We climbed as far as we could out of the "fog" and along the oldest thing I've ever seen, touched, walked on and tripped over. (Yep.) And the peking duck was like nothing I've ever tasted. The first bite was the most delicious I've had since the first time I tasted sushi or maple syrup.

I tell an English student about all this over some kind of Tang and amid the clutter of an old woman who swears Amway breath freshener is the final answer to mosquito bite itch. As we sip our Tang served in ice cream parfait glasses and with straws - inside a house that looks as if it was plopped in the middle of the secret garden based on the window panes - I tell her this, too...

Cary, lil' bro-in-law and I all went to Kyoto after China. And after China, we were used to seeing ancient, really ancient, things. But we kept finding that the structures had been rebuilt due to something like fire. We scoffed. At the Toji Temple, the boys had spotted a plaque that said it was rebuilt in 2008; it was younger than my and Cary's marriage. After ranting about this for 15 minutes, they finally had to tell me they lied.

Zachary Voo
I don't know if the student really got it, but she laughed politely. I continue storytelling... Since we only had 24 hours in Kyoto, we speed-walked through the zillion torii gate shrine and downed green tea ice cream like it was water - it was scorchingly humid yet overcast and rainy with a chance of downpour. Bro-in-law was astounded at my hair under the influence of muggy.

"Did you know this when you married her?" he asked Cary. The student loved that.

A typhoon, er, tropical storm, passed through the day after Cary left. As he began his first deployment, I went through my first real Japanese storm. These things really are the perfect excuse to pretend it's 10 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. But curling up with the dog inside Howl's Moving Castle somehow helped me forget about saying goodbye to my better half, travel buddy and best friend.

And the next day, the whole kingdom was rinsed clean again like a new season and the alternate life of a pilot's wife was begging to say hello.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What my friend Erin's taught me

Everything is probably even.

Perfect isn't interesting in the good way but will never stop being desirable.

These are blogs.

Girl vs. Whale
the shipfitter's wife
fear is the wish

Don't we all just wanna be comfortable and enjoy the view from the top?

#haveyourcakeandeatittoo

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reset

"At some point, you have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close, but they never actually touch." - The Words

Repin

Saturday, June 1, 2013

After the Boom

Aber Student Media






GIRLS
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5








Hannah
Please don't tell anyone this, but...I wanna be happy.


Joshua
Of course you do...Of course you do. Everyone does.


Hannah
Yeah but I didn't think that I did.
I made a promise such a long time ago that I was gonna - take in experiences, all of them so that I could tell the people about them and maybe save them, but it gets, so tiring. I try to take in all the experiences for everybody, letting anyone say anything to me... 
Then I came here, and I see you, and you've got the fruit in the bowl, and the fridge with the stuff, and the robe, and you're touching me...And I realize I'm not different - you know? I want what everyone wants. I want what they all want. I want all the things.
I just wanna be happy.

She cries.

There's all these experience that I just feel like I've asked for. Things where it's like, who in their right mind would want that?
... 
You know I think what I didn't realize, before I met you, is that I was, like, lonely. In such a deep, deep way. You know I was reaching for all this stuff, but all I really needed was to look at someone and be, like, oh that person wants to be there after I'm dead - you know?

Joshua
Mm, hm.

Hannah
You think I'm a crazy girl?

Joshua
No, I don't think you're crazy at all. I wasn't thinking that.

Hannah continues in her honest yet selfish rant I picture being the shot heard 'round the world for young writers. She says how Fiona Apple told New York Magazine "Oh, everybody acts like I'm nuts; I'm not nuts, I just wanna feel it all."'





Hannah
It's like, that's what I'm like, I just wanna feel it all. 
You know?

Joshua
Yeah, I get it...I mean that's a, that's a, great goal. 
Um, I'm gonna go to sleep, I've gotta, gotta get up really early for work tomorrow. 

Hannah
You're going to work tomorrow?

Joshua
Well I gotta.

Hannah
D'you wanna kiss me?

Joshua
Yes.

I learned the early American historian and Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote a book called Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. Although Hannah Horvath is fictional, and she gets the "good" guy at the end of season 1, maybe next time on Lena Dunham and HBO's Girls, she'll succeed in the literal sense. All her misadventures will somehow get her book to go 'e'. Her hair will grow in, her ears will heal from the obsessive Q-tipping damage. And being herself will be enough.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introverts don't have party tricks

The Dawn Treader
Movie Cricket
In line at Disneyland, Ava said 'Waiting is a dumb thing ... Of all the things to do in life, waiting is the dumbest.'

But we're always waiting. To be done. To start. To grow up (very few 10-year-olds are actually like Peter Pan). Waiting for a partner, a kid, a dream to click into place. Waiting for the next social engagement or spouses to come home or new friends. For orders. For the apocalypse.

Being part of (er, a bench player in) the armed forces should mean waiting on things more than ever. Yet most moments I catch myself happy just thinking about what I'm gonna eat for lunch and which way to run up the river, what district in Tokyo to visit or Netflix series marathon to undertake.

But there are those times when nothing's pulling at me and the dumbness of waiting takes hold. I've got to slap my brain and swing out of bed - slam myself into a folding desk chair in a too warm room. At least bug a friend or Skype a parent to make me forget I've been missing Cary's face for weeks.

Seven little boys made me forget recently. Knowing .0000000000001% of Japanese and getting eaten alive by mosquitos in a cement courtyard on a summer-impending day did wonders for filling my mind with a different kind relatable self-deprication and amusement. I learned 6 to 9-year-old Japanese boys can learn decent volleyball skills as quick as the words "bump, set, spike." And they have more energy than my labrador retriever for twice as long. And their moms seem only to care about teacher being white and sweet and taking their kids off their hands so they can maybe enjoy some peace and a smoke.
Chinese finger trap
Gabrielle Maston

There's always a new opportunity or place. A way to get involved or a new food to try. It's hard to know when to say no and yes. When most of your work can be done at midnight as easily as at noon, and on a Sunday as easily as on a Monday, it's even harder. When your hobbies are apps and books, they'll never trump pick-up sports or running errands. It's damn near impossible to be an artist. Especially a bad one.

Over the last few weeks, I gave up on my life's Chinese finger trap. Despite the germ that left me an invalid for 24 hours and sounding like Kathleen Turner for way too long, Harajuku, Yokohama's Chinatown, and Asakusa came calling. There's something to be said for places so fascinating all I can shop for is things to send home instead of things that would stay with me. In Harajuku, a giant 100 yen (dollar) store, dessert dives and living anime characters are beside H&M and the best earring boutique in Tokyo. In Chinatown, the dumplings explode and taste so good you don't mind burning your tongue on the water. And in Asakusa, you can feel like Harry Potter picking a wand in Diagon Alley as you scan this kitchen district's knife selection in shops constantly sharpening their wares.

Disney Parks Blog
Every place has a feature that surprises me. The croquette restaurant had a picture on the wall the spitting image of the Dawn Treader. The bathroom at a burger spot in Machida was like the inside of Br'er Rabbit's Splash Mountain meets the swampy southland of True Blood. I didn't even notice that the music at the Japanese Home Depot/Target mash-up was slowly driving me insane. It wasn't until I was outside with my shopping cart and the loudest person on the city block as I pushed the cart over cobblestone for a 1/4 mile, to load an oversize fan into my car, that I realized silence is platinum.

It's much easier to sit in the quiet after going out and hearing the river, the train, the conversation of happy weekenders. I guess an introvert's party trick can't happen until after lights out.

fear is the wish

Monday, April 29, 2013

Who is John Galt?

As my narcissistic eyeballs continue to see the shift from friends getting married to wives having kids, from Kristen Stewart stuttering to Jennifer Lawrence falling (albeit recovering), in the end, they're landing smack back on myself in the mirror, still finding excuses to put work on the back-burner, where things like studying Japanese and making our lives look less like Greek Row are already boiling over.

Food Babe
It's just that following Kobe's Achilles on Twitter, gay rights, missing my dog and wishing good people would just stop dying is so much easier to focus on. When the urge to accomplish something hit, instead of researching a black market Rosetta Stone, I watched 12, 21-minute episodes of anime, with character names that made me hungry. So I had to track down some onigiri. Then if cool new people invite me to yoga, I have to go, because I just ate three instead of one onigiri at three in the afternoon.

Our second week on this island, we had to attend a weeklong class called Intercultural Relations, or ICR, or AOB/ICR since this is a typical military acronym that took me a month to get down so I'm not gonna waste that knowledge which is now taking up residence in my brain. The Area Orientation Brief (AOB) was what any group of base friends could sum up for you in 60 seconds, but ICR was a decently mixed bag. It pendulum swung between a "get a hot or cold Japanese drink from the vending machine to make the morning go by faster" class and a "huh, I didn't realize that" class.

Ningin
For instance, I learned the Japanese wear masks not really to avoid getting sick so much as not wanting to get others sick if they're feeling even the slightest germ. How thoughtful. And they recycle like nobody's business. I was talking to a squadron wife who's a Japanese national, and she works for the Japanese recycling program and will help implement this in the States when her family moves there eventually. We laughed about how it's hard to get Americans to do anything if something's not directly, sometimes immediately in it for them. Yep.
But why stay in and write when I can karaoke under the influence of chu-hi's?
Why blog when I can walk through a bakery with tongs and select any freshly made item I want for my cafeteria tray?
Why search for freelance leads when I can go shopping for care packages - and find things like stuffed animals that look like they're on crack, T-shirts that say I Like Pancake and heated eyelash curlers? All at stores with names such as Cool Breeze Fresh, Jelly Bean (all shoes, no jelly beans) and America Beach...
Why do anything in front of a computer when I can jog by a small river and use the navy blue and orange coy as an excuse to rest under the low trees?
Why even try to avoid getting lost, when you can just join the strolling old ladies with pink, blue or purple-dyed hair?
I guess because I hear our neighborhood's cartoon-y chimes that go off at random hours and realize I'm no step closer to whatever it is my heart desires. It doesn't help that I see Cary the ship passing in the night, trying his ass off at work, and I can't do more than make him a PB&J that won't be as good by morning and queue up It's Always Sunny for 22 minutes of escape.

Our euphoria is now just a soundtrack. We get caught up in the maze of writing a flight schedule and the math of measuring for curtains, (since blinds don't come with homes here, and the windows are the size of walls).

Cary is learning more than he wants to know about Microsoft Office, while I look like an idiot trying to communicate to a salesperson that I need help lifting the giant standing mirror Cary likes. (Who's the narcissist now? WINK) Not knowing Excel formulas and using wild hand gestures makes us feel like our IQs have dropped several points - and they may not have very far to go. Meanwhile, our couches that we loved again when they arrived, are getting ugly once more. And as usual, we're still getting used to where all the light switches are. Attitudes have shifted, too.

DAY FOUR

Aly: "It's not that big a deal if you can't find something at the grocery store. I mean, at least it keeps you switching out your foods."
Cary: "That's a really positive way of looking at it."
Aly: "Thanks." [SMUG SMILE]

MONTH FOUR

Aly: "I JUST WANT SOME EFFING GREEK YOGURT!!!!!!!"
Cary: [SMUG SMILE]

Underground New York Public Library
Girl reading Atlas Shrugged
As not so usual, we can still only turn on one tiny stove burner due to the buttons being labeled in Japanese. Looks like that back burner is gonna be getting a lot more use. Which I suppose is what happens when you just don't wanna grow up. We often mention how we wish we could just say "uncle" in a way, or ask "Who is John Galt?" and go to where all the good people are disappearing.

We miss you Sonja. I wish you could have kept reading, since you and my mom were often the only ones who did (haha). This one's for you, Greg. Thought you could use an Atlas Shrugged shout-out.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Small World

Mamimi Surprised
Ayay.co.uk
What they don't tell you is that it's what they tell you. I don't really listen when people tell me what something's going to be like. Because when I do that myself I'm usually wrong. And you can't really trust movies and music or even books. Even people who've been some place before can drastically get it wrong, because they're not you. But this place is exactly like what you - any of you - would think.

Did you know Japan used to be called Nihon? Then Nippon? Well, both are still used - calm down, quick lesson - Nihon is more formal, Nippon less so. (You might see this on their Olympiads' uniforms.) As 'Ken' my interent pro kindly informed me when he brought wi-fi to my house and gave me a reason to live again, speakers just kept saying the word over time, as happens with words, and it evolved.

Nihon, Nippon, Jippon, Japan

There's a lot more to Japanese history than that and those words, but kinda like when I used the bathroom when I got off the plane in Narita, I didn't have time to explore everything with the toilet seat. Before leaving the states, my brother-in-law gave me a link to this article: A Game Developer's Take on Japan. Well over four weeks in, I feel like we've gone through every stage and back again.

Pinch me
HomeTone
From the toilets to the Japanese house I'm in right now, I still can't believe it. Wait, nope, it started even before that on the flight. Each meal was like Christmas morning. What's going to be inside this box?!?! Hmmm, it's so weird but good!! Sticky rice, sticky rice, sticky rice; I love sticky rice. Cold green noodles? Cold green tea? Oh... I like it! Nope, don't like the candied soy beans. Well there's always the itchy slippers from grandma under the tree.

The giant, comfy 777 and its sweet like a jelly bean flight attendants made it an easy ride - okay, the melatonin and 27 movies I could watch on the back of a fellow passenger's head didn't hurt either. Even customs was a breeze at that moment.

Everything glowed. The airport, the highways, the bridges. We passed by Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Bay. Our sponsors - the people who adopt you for a while and do angelic things like pick you up at the airport with Vitamin Water in tow, lug your eight overweight bags around and leave a million goodies in your base hotel room kitchen - took us to a "sushi-go-round" on night one.

A conveyor belt of food, computerized ordering and a streamlined cash-out? Pinch. Then it was sukiyaki the first weekend. Basically Japanese fondu. Pinch. Gyoza the second weekend. Dumplings! Pinch.



The base feels slightly rural but cradled by city. Not skyscraper cities but tightly packed buildings with itty bitty mini-vans, mopeds, bicyclists and people scooting around. There's a train station about a 15-minute walk from base, and if you take that north and slightly east, you can hit Machida. This was the movie moment. Pedestrian, cobbled streets with colorful signs, banners and lamps. Hole-in-the-wall dining that becomes fine when you go in. Shops and pachinko arcades packed with things and people.

Or you can take the train south to Kamakura and feel like you've been Star Trek energized to San Diego or Huntington Beach, a sparkling sea and leafy green island just off the coast. And then proceed to eat Hawaiian pancakes. In Japan.

Eggs 'N Things. Eat here. Whether you're in Japan or Hawaii,
where it was established in 1974.

Weekend three was Nagano. Which was......powder. A love/hate relationship for intermediate riders. But on top of a mountain on an island in the Pacific, deliciously light and cool powder waiting for us in the back country, I pinched the black and blue spot in my mind once again. Some saw the ocean from one of the peaks. The town we stayed in was Hakuba. When you go to dinner - padding through the snow and lights - you feel like you're going to someone's cozy home, and that they've been waiting for you all along, ready to host a dinner party for you and your friends. All of a sudden it feels like you've known everyone and every place forever.

Ski Japan Holidays
The last evening I went to an onsen and saw a lot of naked Japanese women. But I was naked, too. And not a single person stares. It's as if we've all just been born, or reborn if we're talking cylons here, and are simply cleaning off and enjoying the warmth or coolness of each pool. The baths are filled with hot spring water pumped into the resort from somewhere probably at the end of a rainbow. There are saunas and sprinkling, steam rooms. A waterfall here, a view of the slopes there. Care for your own little sit-down shower first? Don't mind if I do. Oh, here's some shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, moisturizer, some kind of oil, Q-tips, tissue, hairbrushes, real hairdryers - oh my! Pinch me.

Intermission
Growing pains
Even though the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom and the temperature is warming - even though there are the most amazing vending machines on every city block - there's still responsibility. Find a vehicle. Find a home. Pay your bills. Do your work. I've never done so much paperwork in my life, for over three months now. More than 90 days of homelessness doesn't take as much of a toll on a girl as I would've thought, but it sure is nice to have a residence with walls again, a place to stockpile food, no maid service to coordinate and no people you feel you owe your life to for taking care of you for way too long.

The car is tinier than I thought, the house bigger. I'd only been to the house a couple times, driven by someone else, from different directions, day and night. So when I went to meet the express shipment movers, I took our one car, left with enough time to meander around my makeshift directions and promptly got lost. After what felt like a five-minute driving class for base newcomers, I was somehow handed a Japanese driver's license. Even scoring one point better than the naval aviator. But I knew that point would pop once I hit the left side of the street. So this is how the drive to my new home went...

"#@!$"
"#@!$"
"#@!$"
"#@!$"
"#@!$"
"#@!$"
"#@!$"

This is how parking in our parking spot went. (Note: Most cars here have a button to fold down the side mirrors.)

"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"
"&#$!"

But I made it. There and in. And now I'm in an empty house since Cary flew back to San Diego for some training in a simulator this base doesn't have. I don't think it has any sims. But they do have heated toilet seats, which is what matters.

It's starting to feel real here. That this is my life, and it's going to become home and something I get used to instead of just a landscape to cause shock and awe and drool and frustration. The trains can be empty or packed. The processes stupid or smooth. The food healthy or unhealthy. The people nice or not. (Blah, blah, blah.) But crime stats are in your favor. It's freezing but heaters are everywhere. It will be unbearably humid; just don't get bangs and wash your flight suits more often. There isn't always soap or towels. But there are decorations in unlikely spots and bullet trains. Ultimately, it's a small, balanced world.

Heart for Japan by Delphine Perrot
Dezeen Magazine
Doing this excitingly scary thing undeniably tied to Cary's coattails seems like the best thing I could've done for me. Because it's well, hard. It forces you to have faith in yourself in a lot of different ways. I choose to go on a second date, said yes, mulled over the military with him. Now I'm constantly learning things I don't always want to learn. Because it's just that, hard.

To be brave. To be flexible. To move. A lot. To live alone, sometimes in a foreign country, in the dark, in a house with giant storm shudders that shake with the wind. To bow to the singletons and the mothers, and sometimes the fathers, who do it all by their lonesome. To drive safely on the left-hand side of the road and car (knock hard on wood) - like every other American, flicking on the windshield wipers every time I want to make a turn. To turn down a mountain in thigh high powder.

To write words no one really reads.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Don't Ask What's Next

Web Designer Wall
Morrie said, when you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

We were a tad nervous to put Japan as our first choice for when Cary finished flight school. But we put it. Relishing in the risk and patting ourselves on the backs. Pinterest quotes floating in our heads. But then we didn't get it. Which was more disappointing I think than we let on to each other. So we looked on the bright side of getting stationed in San Diego for three years. Of course we found ourselves basking in the sun from nearly every side of it.

Hitherto! We got wind Japan might still be an option after the Romeo RAG (replacement air group, bah acronyms) training in sunny-side-up SD. So when Cary met the skipper and friends from NAF Atsugi who were in town - and we ended up having the chance to go to a Japan reunion dinner of sorts - and we were both drooling like Hooch at the possibility of still being able to live overseas on the government's dime, somehow got that dime flicked our way.

There's something about not being able to have something that makes you want it that much more. Moving to Japan became a craving instead of a challenge. I really wanted it more. I bugged Cary about it more. And when I got home from work one day, tired and irritable despite the sun and wondering why Cary chose to sit so close to me on the couch, he told me, "We're going to Japan."

After the squealing and hugging and that irrepressible smile that makes you feel like a bit of an idiot, I realized I was no longer all that nervous for the obvious reasons - just excited and eager to see what would happen. I was reading Tuesday's With Morrie, and the words of his philosophy keep echoing in my mind, reinforcing that living like you're dying is the way to go...

If we fall out of the sky - we're booked on one of those battery-melting Dreamliners ... Or I get swept away in a tsunami or smooshed in an earthquake ... If I get imprisoned for a mistake, or kidnapped and no one notices ... Or if I get pick-pocketed, lost, bored and can't find a job, have a kid and can't find my husband because he's out flying overpriced helicopters off little ships ... It won't matter, because I chose adventure over more of the same.
CNATT Detachment Atsugi
We leave this week, and even though we're fast approaching our departure from America, I feel a strange sense of calm though I have no idea how the below will pan out:

  • What will it be like without cell phones for a while?
  • Will I be so exhausted after a day-long flight and traffic-riddled drive that I kill Cary?
  • Will we find a cool (wait, warm) home with a patch of grass for Butters?
  • Will we be able to balance the pilot/writer lifestyle of too much work and not enough?
  • Will I be able to speak and write some Japanese after three frickin' years?
  • Will I keep running and flossing and pretending to be a good person?
  • Will I be able to stay in touch with beloved peeps?
  • Will I ever want to come back?
ArchDaily

I never thought I'd be this okay with not knowing the answers to questions like where will I live and what will I do. Maybe because I know we've come a long way since internet cafes, and narrow roads can be funsies not just death traps. It won't all be easy peasy Japanese-y, but it will be worth the story.