Thursday, May 16
Home is such a strange term for expats and travelers. Is it where you are from or where you are going? In this house we have multiple definitions for the term, multiple places that qualify. For the kids, Japan is home. Where they were born, learned to walk and talk, learned how to handle chopsticks. Even the oldest two with Florida printed on their birth certificates only really know Japan.
Japan is my adulthood, where I have given birth to two kids and raised the whole lot of them in a tiny apartment. Where I have overcome personal reservations for the good of the whole. Where I came to value precision as much as innovation. Japan suits me in many ways, the wabi sabi aesthetics, the quiet, the appreciation for nature.
Our time in Japan, five years this time, has come to a close. After losing one lackluster job and refusing a few others, I came to the realization that we have outgrown Japan. For now at least. For the way we have been here. Jason and I have figured out the work we need to do in this life and are no longer to delay or sacrifice for a petty security. I cannot justify it any longer. The distractions of being an immigrant are too severe. We need a true stability, a place where we can work on our projects and provide a healthy, loving environment for our kids.
Next month, a few days before Sebastian turns ten, we will fly home. It is to a home that I associate with childhood, a home my children will now include in their memories. We go home to family and friends, to a space large enough to contain us. We go back knowing there is a recession and determined to work and support ourselves by our own wits and hands. Frankly, as much as we love Japan, it is a relief. Jason and I are creatives with four children. Having to worry about visas and language barriers when we just want to get our work done has become frustrating. And the kids are a bit relieved too. They are relieved because we will be homeschooling them so their time will be less regimented. They are sad to lose their friends, sad to leave what they know. They are also excited about the adventure that they consider America to be. They look forward to the strange wilds of Florida, the diversity of people, the chance to play soccer and learn how to surf.
It is a huge change but it feels really right. We are ready to get on with our next chapter. Home is, after all, where the heart is. Home is my family, my work, my friends. These things are not anchored to place. Japan is home, Florida is home, this whole beautiful messed up planet is home. As we progress, humanity will eventually cease to insist on so many boundaries of perceived space. Already many of us consider ourselves to be global citizens, sharing an internationality. For our kids, I have no doubt that they will benefit from a freer world but in the end, I bet they will realize that it is not where you are but what you do while you are there that matters.