Last November, my experience of ‘waiting for something’ became so strong, that I decided it was time for me to move. Rather than having living in another country be a ‘some day’ (which very well had the potential to turn into a ‘never’), I declared that, two months after I finished my current work commitment, I would move out of the US, exact destination TBD.
Now, eleven-ish months later, I find myself in a small suburb of Tokyo, fulfilling the role of an English Language Assistant in two nearby senior high schools. That being said, let’s look at the locations of the people dearest to me in my life. One person is about 5 hours and $200 (each way) south of me; another is halfway across the world; and everyone else is all the way across the world, back in the US. And I’m a big hugger and lover of physical contact. What exactly was I thinking, here? (Haha I know, right?)
If I don’t have physical contact with others, I can grow really rather sad and depressed (Yes, it’s happened.). And yet, I still decided to come be on my lonesome in a foreign land I can hardly understand. But that’s not quite the point, so I’ll move past it for now…
The point is, I miss my loved ones. And, I miss having around everything that they brought to the table. But something happened yesterday that surprised me.
Walking to the trash bin (Yes, we actually had trash bins!), I caught myself doing something I don’t typically do. As I made the final fold in the wrapper of my snack bar, looking down to begin the twist, which would turn this folded plastic wrapper into a knot… I couldn’t figure out why on Earth I was doing it. Or why I wasn’t totally agitated at my doing it(!).
You see, my mom does this with her trash in the car. She keeps all sorts of candies and snacks in her car, because she has to drive so often for work and life in general. Whenever she finishes a package of whatever candy or snack, she folds it up longways, twists it into a knot, pulls it tight, and tosses to the floor (to be picked up later when she arrives home). It always would drive me nuts for two reasons: 1) My OCD analysis was that she was twisting up and knotting something that is designed to be flat, and 2) She always tossed it to the floor where my feet and bag were sitting (so as to have it out of the way of the gas and break pedals, but not out of sight to where she would forget about it in the back). It just totally irked me every time I saw her twisting up the wrapper to whatever food she’d just had, knowing that she was about to toss it at my feet. Even if we weren’t in the car – especially then, actually – and she did it, it would drive me slightly crazy.
And here I was, not only doing it myself, but enjoying it.
It instantly reminded me of how I started using phrases one of my best friends uses. When we ended up living in different states and all a couple years ago, I found myself using her words. “Let’s be real…” (e.g. Let’s be real: I’m only going to the party, because I’m addicted to gelato.), “lulz”, and “Kay-love-you-bye!” have become regular additions to my everyday conversation. I even have a few texting habits that keep trying to surface (and which I keep erasing and rewriting in my own words)!
And I realized: As I did these things, it was just like having them here with me. No, my mom wasn’t here next to me, talking to me or hugging me or anything. But she was here. She was here, because she was in me- in who I was being, my mom was present. Thus the total calm and delight. I had my mom with me in the most loving, intimate way I could as I tied that silly piece of trash into a knot. My girlfriend was with me as I used her words just the way she would use them. And I couldn’t have felt less alone at those times.
The tradition goes that we want to have children carry us on in them, in who they are; that the world will remember us so long as people still carry bits of us with them. Right here and now, I am carrying my loved ones with me. I am remembering them and keeping them alive in my daily life – even though they are still alive elsewhere in the world – by expressing little bits of them in all that I do and say.
And even though I did pick up these formerly annoying habits of theirs, I find it beautiful. This allows me to appreciate all that these people are for me, as opposed to remembering only the best parts of who they are, and ignoring the rest. They’re only human. But I love them for just that fact, and for how I get to be human when I am with them. 🙂 So, thanks for the new annoyances, you guys – I really love y’all. ;D