Tag Archives: family

The Long Road Home

Today I will fly seven thousand miles to my home, but it won’t be my home for very much longer.

I spent a little time yesterday firming up my travel calendar for November.  I probably should have done this sooner, as November starts in two and a half weeks, but there are always so many places to go and people to see that I like to make the list as late as possible so I can try to fit everything in. Yes. I know this makes me a certain kind of crazy. But in looking at my travel schedule for the month, and really the rest of the year, I realized that I only have five weeks left in Japan. This is wonderful and sad-making and exciting and terrifying.

I cannot wait to be back living in the States. In fact, dear reader, you may have noticed that I spent a significant amount of time as a Japanese resident coming back to the US to see friends and traveling in Europe. Some of you may think that’s a waste of the wonderful opportunity that I’ve had to live here and that’s cool. Move to a different country on three months notice where you don’t speak the language and live in a community where you are ostracized and then let me know what you think. Until then, please don’t be offended if I don’t take your opinion too seriously. Also, living in a country where you are 99% illiterate does not for a good time make.

All of that said, I will miss parts of living in Japan and I will always appreciate the fact that we were given this opportunity. There are perspectives that can only be gained by living like we have this year. I would not trade those for anything. I will miss the strange beauty of this country that you can only find here. It is clean here, and they value natural beauty which reminds me a lot of living in the Midwest – it is very green. And while I wasn’t crazy about the quarantine rules that ended with my cat living with my in-laws for the year, being able to pet the deer in Nara and go to an owl cafe pretty much made up for that. I will also dearly miss the bathing culture. Our bathing room with a not even standard soaking tub is a million times better than a standard bathtub in the States. I will miss the shit out of the trains here. I’ve always loved traveling by train and Japan has spoiled me with its efficiency in this area. Amtrak, get your shit together.

I’m looking forward to finding our next home. In both of the places that Will and I have lived together the living situation wasn’t a decision that we made together, it was a matter of circumstance. In the first, I moved in with him to an apartment that I learned to love but never would have picked for myself or us. The Financial District of New York has some amazing apartments, but not much of a community around it. In Japan neither of us had any say in our living arrangements. Panasonic has for years, rented the same place in Mikage. It’s a beautiful residence very close to a train line that can easily deliver their liaison to work, and also potential children to some of the international schools somewhat close-by. It was perfect for the family they originally rented it for. Not so much for us. I cannot wait to find a place for us to live that will work for us, instead of finding ways for us to work with the space that we have.

However, for the second year in a row, I find myself not knowing where I’ll be living in three months. I don’t mean which neighborhood I’ll be in, I mean which time zone. I asked Will to look around at other cities he’d like to look in and we’re now waiting to hear back from a great firm that interviewed him in San Francisco. Will really wants this job. I really want him to get this job. Waiting to hear back on a job is hard. Waiting to hear back on a job that is keeping your from planning your immediate future is really hard. If Will doesn’t get that job, we go back to New York. To be clear, here, New York is a perfectly acceptable option. I have a great collection of friends on the East Coast that I will be happy to see on a semiregular basis. If we do end up in San Francisco, well…at least the flight back to see them won’t be as rough as it is now.

For now, a day of trains, planes and automobiles.

Going The Distance

I feel like I’ve been going about 100mph for the last month and a half. This certainly isn’t a complaint, as I’ve been having an absolutely wonderful time going places and seeing people, but I’m very glad to be in the middle of a recovering week in Chicago. 

I love traveling and I always have. I think there is a little bit of personal magic in traveling. Yes, I know how corny that sounds. You get to learn more about yourself when you travel. How much of you is you and how much is your situation or your location? And of course, this things that are dear to you become immediately apparent. For instance, it isn’t my computer that I need, but more the ability to easily communicate with my friends around the world, and the ability to create. Of course, those things pretty much require a computer, but details and all…

I’ll admit that while traveling is awesome, being away from Will isn’t all that great. We haven’t spent this much time apart since before we were dating and it sucks. The major difference in the time zones wasn’t something we could really have prepared for. Our daily schedules have very little overlap, and we’re only awake at the same time for about nine hours. It’s more like having a long distance co-worker than anything else. 

I’m also missing New York, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Going back to the city brought great relief even though not having an apartment of my own was weird. Not having a home base is weird, in general. I had gotten used to the pace of the city even if I wasn’t going as fast as everyone around me. Now every place I go – except conventions – seems a little slow. Everything and everyone is so much closer, there. I used to hate being packed so closely, but now I feel lonely when I’m in the big empty house that I’m staying in. And how could you not love the convenience? Having three Duane Reades on our street was pretty nice. Especially since one looked sorta like a gutted, gold cathedral. 

I’m not nearly as prepared as I should be for living in Japan. I’ve been studying one of the read and point books that the wife of another liaison lent me, but until recently that had been it. Then the other night the friends I’m staying with brought me to get sushi. 

Previously I hadn’t been a fan of sushi. Until Wednesday, I had only ever had spectacularly bad rolls. I got quite the education on different types of sushi and how the different fish taste that I think will be enormously helpful for day to day life. I enjoyed most of what was ordered, but did actually have issues with the huge proportions which seemed to be specific to the place we were at.  The texture of raw fish doesn’t actually bother me, but too much of anything is a bad thing. 

In five days, I’ll be off to London for the week. Meetings with friends about Loncon and doing a bit of obligatory sight-seeing. If you’d like to live somewhat vicariously, email me about things that you’d like me to go check out. I’ve started a list of things to do, but more ideas will I think, make things better. 

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I’m back in NYC for a few days before I head back on the road and I feel very odd about being here. 

I’m staying with my in-laws, and while I love spending time with them, it’s very odd to not be heading back to my old place after dinner with them. It’s not like I haven’t stayed at their place before while living in NYC, but for this to be my home base…it’s just a little off. 

I’ve been having late second thoughts about all my traveling. It’s so much fun, but it’s so damn exhausting. I’m running pretty ragged after my fabulous weekend in Chicago and I’m wondering/worrying if I should try and keep this schedule up, but if I don’t what will I do with my time? Keeping busy and moving around helps me avoid the fact that Will is living on a continent that I’ve never even been to. If I stop, I will find a squishy bed to hole up in and not get out of it until Will gets back. This is pathetic. I know it is. But it’s also the truth. 

Jesus, it’s a good thing that I left the half case of Thin Mints in Chicago. 

Stutter

I am always a little bit in awe of my friend, John.

He is a writer, and he manages to post to his blog every single day. There are exceptions to this when he is traveling and taking a break from the internet, but for the most part, I get a notification every day from WordPress in my inbox letting me know that he has some thoughts that he’s dropped on the internet.

I know that this is something that John has spent years doing, and that because he is a writer it is something that he should be doing to hone his craft, but I always feel like a bit of a failure when I can’t string enough words together to make a post about where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s not that I don’t want to share, I post all the time on FB and Twitter, but I always feel that I have an obligation to put something better together for WordPress. Deeper thoughts. Things that will contribute to the conversation of society. When I am stuck in this cycle of self-doubt, I of course never manage to remember that one of the things that John is famous for is taping bacon to his cat and taking pictures of it.

It’s easy to waste words on social media. Why is a blog so sacred? I’m sure the lack of privacy is a part of it. I could lock down certain posts, but then why bother to type them? Why not keep them in the bound journal that I keep with me. It’s not like I have nothing to write about, either. I’m on the second leg of my two and a half month long bounce around the country.

I think one of the most frustrating parts of this struggle is that I don’t know where this goal comes from. I have no desire to be a writer, though I have occasionally daydreamed about winning a Hugo. There is no story that I feel the need to tell, just guilt when another day passes without a post. Writing helps keeps the mind sharp, but so does reading and being creative in other ways and it’s not like I’m skipping out on that.

I will say, that writing here helps me explore my thoughts, and that is always a good thing. I very rarely start with something specific to say, just a nebulous thought that I want to hammer out and writing seems like the best way to do that when Will isn’t around to talk to. Writing this post has helped me trace some of these feelings to my desire to be good at everything, so I’ll always be needed and always have a place. The fear of being useless or forgotten manifests in odd ways.

But my fingers are getting tired* and there is a consuite full of friends waiting for me. I think chatting with them will help much more with my fears than sitting alone in a semi-dark hotel room wondering what the internet will think of my word choice.

*Another reason I could never be a writer, my hands cramp up waaaaay to quickly for me to have a word count of any substance to hit.

Leaving on Jet Plane

Will left for Japan this morning. At 8:30am (EST) his car showed up, his driver helped him drop his giant suitcases in the back, and off he went.

I admit, I was a little worried about how sad I would or would not be after he left. Will and I have played the long distance game before and it sucked. And of course, no newlywed wants to split up only a few months in. Thankfully, I’ve got an intense travel schedule that will keep me on my toes and allow me to see almost everyone that I want to see before I start my adventure in Japan. I’m also really grateful that I’ll have the two flights home to use. Convergence and Detcon will allow me to see pretty me to see two-thirds of the people that I’ll be missing the most, and then Worldcon will allow me to see the rest. Smofcon at the end of the year will give me the highest concentration of friends that I’ll be missing, so all in all not a bad year planned out.

I’m digging deeper and deeper into research about the area we’ll be living in and creating a long list of things to see and document in one way or the other. I’m exciting about planning a climb up Mt. Fugi. I didn’t think that climbing a mountain would be in my plans during college, but I’m happy to add it and actually get the chance to cross it off of my To Do list. To be fair, living in a foreign country wasn’t on that list, either. I’m tremendously excited about this entire opportunity.

It’s a grey day in NYC today. It’s hard to believe that I only have seven days left in this magnificent city. I’ve got a short trip to North Carolina this weekend and then I’ll be packed and ready to go. If Will’s firm wasn’t paying for movers and packers, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, whatever it would be, there would be a lot less of it. I’m going to hit as many museums this week as humanly possible. Scratch that, enjoyably possible. I always hated running ragged during trips as a kid. Wen I visit somewhere, I want to enjoy the place. Not make myself miserable trying to pack every little bit in.

One of my fellow interns from the summer is crashing with me this week, and I have no doubt that she’s helping me keep the blues away. Julie is always full of life, and I’ll be staying with her for a while in Chicago in February.

And now, back to bed for some reading. This is probably my last lazy Sunday in months, and I’m going to enjoy it.

Cold Hearted Bitch?

I made it to Minneapolis!

The trek involved seven hours on a bus, crying when I found out that I was 30lbs over the newly observed luggage restrictions, and making a new friend who agreed to put my textbooks and several pairs of my shoes in her suitcase and sit next to me. Seriously, girls from Minnesota are the nicest.

I slept most of Tuesday to recover from the complete lack of sleep on the bus and then woke up to attend a surprise band concert for my little brother. It should be noted that it was only a surprise to my mother and myself as my brother forgot to bring home the note announcing the even from two weeks ago. My mother was pissed, I was amused, hilarity ensued.

We (my mother, brother, grandmother and myself) headed to some place for dinner after the concert and that’s when things got really interesting. Now, to be fair, my grandmother is officially losing her marbles. I’m not clear if it’s dementia or Alzheimer’s because I usually tune out when it gets to that kind of conversation. Call me cruel, that’s fine. I already watched my other grandmother waste away in front of me from Alzheimer’s, having the correct label doesn’t make it suck any less.

As dinner was wrapping up, she turned to me and said quite loudly, “Megan, do you have any idea who your biological father is?”

What the hell do you say to that?

So, I awkwardly told her “no” and tried to wrap things up and get the hell out of there. It doesn’t bother me that I don’t know who my father is. I have more than enough family to go around. I have more fannish family that I can count on all my digits and I have never wanted for love in my entire life (even as the typical teenager when I was convinced that nobody cared about me). But even so, it stings a little when your own grandmother (marbles lost or no) asks you that question, in public of all places.

Later, as we were getting out of the car, she turned to my mother and asked “Have I ever met Megan before? She’s my granddaughter and I’d like to get to know her.”

I think I should be hurt. Mortally offended that my own grandmother can’t remember the afternoons we spent making cookies or cooking the fish that I caught with my grandfather. But I just can’t. I cannot bring myself to care. I am not hurt. I am not angry. I just want to know where my brother hid the 12 pack of Coke. I think that might make me a bad person.

Perhaps I am still in shock, and in a few days, or weeks, or months this will hit me like a ton of bricks. Or maybe I’ve been aware enough of her slipping away to be able to properly distance myself. I really don’t know. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got tonight.