Looking at these two pictures has put me in a very reflective mood ... the modern reflected in the old. Layers of reflections on still water with gnarly roots at the bottom. Reflections of things you can't see above the bridge. Reflections of new things being built ...
At this point of my journey teaching in Japan, I'm reflecting on the difficulty of being at home in two worlds. It's hard to believe but I've been in Japan for nearly seven weeks already. I am finishing week 5 of classes. I am enjoying the teaching despite the technology challenges. The students are fun and engaged. They answer questions. Ask questions. Argue with me and each other. The multidisciplinary environment suits me well.
I am comfortable in the apartment. My OCD has finally calmed down so I've stopped rearranging and reorganizing. I'm content with the kitchen tools, I know where to shop, where to eat. I've had guests stay with me.
I am meeting friends and colleagues I known from my years of coming to Japan for lunches, dinners, coffees, ... have planned an adventure with a friend in Kobe. Maybe I'll even get to ride the Hello Kitty Shinkansen. Love being able to see Shoko frequently.
I feel very comfortable here.
And yet ...
I miss my critters. I am restraining myself from buying every book about cats and every item decorated with cats that I see. And there are almost as many of those things as there are panda goodies.
A friend posted a picture of her first tomato from the garden on Facebook and I started to tear up. I miss having a garden, getting my hands in the dirt. Picking dinner.
Friends in my brunch group posted pictures from their recent garden brunch and I missed them all.
I talk about coming home. But I feel like I am home. I think I'm having an existential crisis --- and having written that I wondered off and spent a half an hour on Wikipedia reading about existentialism. And that in itself is funny because in class last week one of the students said that every Wikipedia wander eventually leads to philosophy. Whatever. It seems like the right word to use. Who is the authentic me? Both of us I think.