Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where do you call home?

Currently, we are on vacation in Malaysia. Who would have thought that I would ever go on a vacation to Malaysia, let alone live in Japan? Dave took three days to tell me about the job offer in Japan, and when he did, I felt nervous. When we moved here everyone kept asking us where we wanted to go on vacation and telling us where they'd been, and honestly, I was just afraid of Asia, and the only place I wanted to vacation was the US. Now, look at me, I'm in Malaysia, and even adding Thailand and Vietnam to my wishlist of vacations before we leave Japan, and I have already been to Australia, northern Japan, southern Japan, Germany, Italy, and France since moving to Japan. Oh, and now, I don't want to move from Japan, even though I came very hesitantly.

So, here we are on our vacation at a 4.5 star beach resort, even ordering room service, and I am slightly homesick for Japan. Then, I began wondering is it right to say "homesick" since when I'm in Japan, I have moments when I'm very "homesick" for America, and where is my home in America? We sold our house in NC, Dave won't get a job in MA, and we don't want to go back to IL. We are kind of like nomads, our kids lately have been saying to me that we need to pack up our house before we leave so we can keep all of our stuff. We have no intention of moving anytime soon, I guess it just comes up a lot because we know we can't live in Japan forever and we talk about where we would want to move next. It's weird to not have a sense of permanency in where we are living and I never really thought about it until recently.

There are a lot of things about Japan that make it totally frustrating for me on a daily basis, but all in all, when you go somewhere else, that is not Japan, all those little things seem to move to the back burner and you realize some important things that make it all worth it. The people in Japan are very polite and service oriented- that is something that I don't know if any other place will ever be able to top. You also never feel pressure to buy something in a shop or feel nervous when out alone. There are vending machines on every corner and convenience stores all over the place. Living in a city of over a million, almost 2 million people, with one of the world's best public transportation systems, you have so many options at your fingertips. Here, we took a cab from the airport to the resort and are limited to the resort's options. I was thinking even though we were in a hotel, we'd have others around us or at least a bunch of shops to walk to, but no, they are all cabrides away. Granted, the cab rides are not expensive, but you still have to be at the mercy of the concierge desk and where they recommend you to go.

We tried to find a grocery store yesterday, unsuccessfully, but we did find a 7-11, we must have bought 20 juice boxes, gatorades, and yogurt drinks, the guy thought we were crazy, but with resort prices for a coke falling at almost $5 a pop, we needed to have other sources for drinks for the 4 kids. We miss all the bread shops, the Mcdonald's (yes even Mcd's in Japan is good), Mr. Donut, even Pizza Hut. Here we are on vacation and all I keep thinking about is what am I going to cook when I get home? Even cooking can be a challenge in Japan because of trying to find all the ingredients, but hey being able to cook is better than not being able to cook at all. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being on vacation and not having to do dishes or laundry, but I really am homesick for Japan- probably because I've lived there long enough to know my way around and where all the things are we need to feel less homesick for our "home country".

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