19 February, 2010

Unexpected wet eyes

Today I found myself unexpectedly teary. It took me a while to figure out why. I was sitting on short, plastic chairs listening to our youngest's Prep teacher talk about her plans for the year and other need-to-know information. I found myself blinking away tears. It is not usual to feel teary at such an event, so why? Eventually I realised they were probably joyful tears as well as a little sadness. Joyful, because I easily understood everything the teacher said and because it sounded like our son was really going to enjoy his six months in this class. A little sad because I have sat through many such meeting (see photo) in Japan, hardly understanding a word and terrified about the time when we'd be asked to do a self-introduction (traditional in Japan in a new group) or make some understandable comment about the year that had passed. It still hurts deeply that I cannot easily understand (or speak) Japanese, the dominant language where I spend most of my time. And a little sad because we couldn't leave our kids in this terrific Australian school; that we'd force them to say goodbye in six months time. So, meanwhile I run around putting on a public face talking bravely about our adventures in Japan. If you ask me how we feel about going back. If you press me for a short answer, you'll hear, "Fine". However the deep truth is murkier. The truth is, we'd like Australia and Japan to be closer - so when we are living in one, we can visit the other on weekends! Ours is not an ideal lifestyle. So, with my temporary citizenship here on earth, I must expect tears, even at the most unexpected times.

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