I've been back in Tokyo a week and a half and it's a good, yet strange, mix of still being in backpacking, every thing's cool dude, mode. a mix of, bustle bustle, perfect make-up, perfectly pressed suit, ready go, mode. a mix of, staying with friends in unfamiliar neighborhoods and much like my first year teaching, wandering around a little lost and constantly discovering new things, day after day.
As today is *the* day to meditate on giving thanks, I've been wandering around, a bit lost or perhaps just directionless, forming a list of things to be thankful for. It turns out to be an immensely long list, in part because it's been an extremely lucky and good year.
To everyone who inspired me and encouraged me to travel to South America and try something different, challenging, scary. Yet again, after that experience, I feel I can handle anything and am a calmer, more independent, more flexible, more tolerant person for it. Thank you.
To everyone, here in Tokyo and in the Northwest, who took me back after my adventures.
To the friends and family who smile with open arms, say welcome back, you have a home here any time you're ready, we love you... but nonetheless accept that my life still leads me away. I love you, no matter how far away I am. Thank you for your love, acceptance, patience.
To the travelers I met who were really on the road to learn (about the place, the people, themselves). You were unfortunately the minority, but you always made my day and gave me food for thought. For us, the most important journey is within and taking the same picture as everyone else has little to do with that. You taught me to live my life less afraid, more open, less worried. Thank you.
To anyone who helped bring me to joyous conclusion of "fuck the paradigm." Age, relationships, status, jobs, stuff.... It's been a conclusion I've been working on a long time and many of you have been a part of that. Know the rules and expectations of where you are, what you're doing, but in the end, live by your own. For all of those heartfelt conversations: Thank you.
To not being in any debt and therefore able to chase the wind to South America, Italy, Japan... Not being tied to making monthly payments on anything has been incredibly freeing. Still, if I had the choice, I'd wish my mom back. It's a funny sort of being thankful.
To all those who I have reconnected with, proving that my extremely footloose life is still full of meaningful lasting relationships. It's good to see some of your history in the faces of your friends, lovers, coworkers. I'm glad to know that I am changed, having known you, and happy when you've found yourselves changed as well. I look forward to each of our paths crossing again. Thank you.
To Loopy. I will always love you and am so glad I had three weeks to know you and your little parrot heart. If only we could all chase those we love with such reckless abandon and lack of pride. If only seeking the things that bring us immense happiness (over-ripe papaya, a nap in someone's arms) could be that simple and we could all ask for it so simply (squaw!).
I cried my eyes out the day I heard that monkeys had raided the aviary looking for food one early morning and with no volunteers to protect you, you'd been killed. I'm sorry I wasn't there. Still, I'm glad I knew you and loved you for as much time as I had. You taught me so much about how, sometimes, love can be the simplest thing in the world. Thank you.
To Maggie and Sama, whose love was hard won and never to be taken for granted. The bruises and scratches were all worth that occasional friendly, "thank you, you're ok after all" lick at the end of the day or rub against the fence of your cage. You taught me that I am much stronger-- emotionally, physically, spiritually-- than I ever knew. You made me earn being good enough for you and the nights I woke up with nightmares or days my frustration brought me to tears were all worth it. Thank you. I miss you immensely.
(Pictures of the park)
And special special loves goes out to Dave and Katie and their new baby--any second now-- please don't name it "Gratitude" or "Turkey." I am at a constant lack of words to try and describe what you've meant in my life and how lucky I am to be so close to you. I'm so glad you finally get to meet your munchkin. Thank you. All my love.
To all of you who read my blog, keep in touch with letters, or drop me a line now and then. I never have as much time as I'd like to keep in touch but so often there is a beautiful sunset, a funny joke over beers, a ridiculous Tokyo scene, a small secret, that I wish I could share with you. I keep all of you with me. Thank you.
(Some of the prettiest pictures of the year)
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, whatever this holiday means to you, may you find it.
the adventures (and job interviews) continue...