Ink-Stained Scribe


The moments when homesickness hit are unpredictable. I had a very good day today: I got my paycheck a few days ago and it was almost double what the first one was, so I went shopping today and forced myself to pack away the inexplicable guilt I usually feel when spending money. Of course, at the end of the day, I was still looking at my bank book and in my wallet, calculating necessities and average daily needs trying to justify the money I'd spent. I was quite happy when I discovered that--including the 500$ I will send home and the $200 I am forcing myself to set aside every month--I could spend up to 3000 yen (about 25$) every day and still have a little left over. Of course, I rarely spend that much.

On top of that, I got a good bit of reading done on a fantastic book, finished another scene in my own novel, secured a let's-celebrate-our-birthdays-together dinner (date?) with Boy#4 (henceforth known as Mr. Victory), and finalized a meeting time and place with my friend Sawae for our day out tomorrow. Really good day, yes? Yes! So why did I spend the last fifteen minutes crying so hard my nose bled into my handkerchief?

Over a teacup. What the hell, right? Why would anyone in their right minds get started in on a fit of homesickness because of a teacup? I'm not sure, but it happened. I was making tea, as I always do in the evening, and decided to break open my new box of Ceylon tea to celebrate my good day, when I realized that my little 8oz mugs from home were not big enough for the teabag. Immediately, I started looking for my big white teacup with the curvy handle--it's bowl-shaped and perfectly proportioned for a cup of tea, one of those cups you can fit your hands around to warm on the porcelain. The moment I realized I didn't have it, images of home started flashing through my head: the cup hanging in my kitchen in my Greensboro apartment; three mugs of Earl Gray steeping on the counter by the copper sink in the farm's kitchen while mom and dad and I enjoy each other's company; that kitchen, and the way the sunlight slants through the windows in the early afternoon, making the green and caramel and copper all jewel bright; Mythral clumsily chasing butterflies; slices of firelight through the darkness, outlining my family on the porch as we talk and sing; Grandaddy walking through the garden arch as he left my goodbye party.

I miss the baby grand piano, I miss the cozy clutter of the Henards' house, I miss the feeling of holding onto my best friend while we slice through the autumn air on her motorcycle, high on energy and speed. I miss mornings at the farm with my mom, talking and drinking tea. I miss the random encounters with my brother where we are simultaneously very adult and very childish. I miss hearing my dad play the piano, the saxophone, hearing him sing. I miss the way the farm looks. I miss the brilliant fall foliage of the Appalachian mountains. I miss 3:00AM dinner dates with Scribbie and our cooking disasters.

I miss a lot about home. My life is finally settling in Japan, but there's a lot I'm lacking. I miss the strangest things, things that seemed either insignificant and important when they happened, objects or actions I remember as a collected whole, amalgamated events crystallized in memory as a single snapshot, slightly blurry.

It's hard. It's damn hard, and I was sure twenty minutes ago that I couldn't stay in Japan for more than one year. Now, after writing this all out, I know I will want to stay even if it doesn't feel that way just yet. My life is settling, but it's still only been two months. What will it be like after three? Five? Ten? After twelve months, will I stop meaning North Carolina when I say home? I'm not sure.

Julia Cameron--author of The Artist's Way--quotes in her book "jump and the net will appear." I have jumped, and I seem to have been caught and dropped and caught and dropped. I'm wondering if the analogy shouldn't read, "jump and the badminton rackets will appear and then you'll get *tangled* in the net and the game will start over; one point for player A." but ah, well.

All in all, I am happy. All in all, I'm homesick only in bouts of intensity that seem to be getting less and less frequent. I love and miss my family, and I wish I could see you all.

My apartment has a distinct lack of pictures of friends and family, and too much blank wall-space, so to anyone who is willing: please sent pictures of friends and family!