Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Moving, Still Moving...

It started back in mid-March. Many of you know the story. My family and I left our apartment, then our hometown, and soon our country – my wife’s own, my adopted. We landed in New Jersey and tried to relax.
For a while it seemed to work.
I was home – yet I wasn’t. As with every other place I’d occupied for the last twenty years, this wasn’t where I lived, it was only where I was staying. For my wife…a place she felt eminently welcome. A place she could feel her kids were safe and loved, a place they could thrive…for a while, until it was time to move again.
We visited people. Family, friends. We stayed over, told to make ourselves at home. We were blessed, for this was a time to take time and relish our good fortune in having so many people, in so many places, who cared enough to invite us in and see, though we already knew, that we were loved. And we stayed for a time, watching, remembering what it was like to go about the business of being a family living at home.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good bye, for now - tohoku earthquake part eight

On Tuesday morning all I cared about was getting my family out of Fukushima, far away from the radioactive mess that was percolating down along the coast. We didn’t know where we might end up when we jumped into Jun’s car. Maybe we’d go to Akita, I thought, or Yamagata – put some more miles and mountains between us and the reactors. If we really thought it necessary we could probably get to Osaka, or even Kyushu, where people had gas in their cars and the supermarket shelves were stocked and kids could play in the park without their parents worrying about what might be falling out of the sky. No place could be too far, really. We just needed to find a corner of Japan, a place we could go to be safe, where we could breathe the air and let our kids run around outside, and wait until things settled down. Then we could return home and get on with living our lives.

The long ride to Morioka – the stretches of quiet thinking time along a road through a country that seemed much more dead than alive – those four hours in Jun’s car changed all that.