Category Archives: gaijin

Glorious

The crazy Summer of 2002 and its Brazilian beach parties gradually ushered in one heck of a cold fall. Hamamatsu gets pretty windy.

Housing insulation…well…lets just say that it is not a priority. Thin walls, lack of central heat equals a very cold apartment.

With the cold fall, M’s Dad arrived and his visit was a highly anticipated one, both by M and by the school that we worked for. There were no end of eager students practically lining up to entertain him when he arrived. B, on the other hand, had his own ideas about what he would be doing… One day, I believe M woke up to find a note informing him that he (Dad) was heading to the train station (possibly on foot) to take the train up to Tokyo. And that he would call him later…

I peppered M with questions “Where’s he going? What’s he doing?” etc etc…. M replied “…not sure…” and that was the end of that conversation. A few days later he was back, it was the weekend and we all took a drive to see Momiji (or Japanese Maple trees in their gorgeous autumn splendor).

In case you haven’t ever witnessed their absolute glory, here is a picture from that afternoon hike that illustrates it…

Momiji 2002

Momiji 2002

It was pretty amazing. Can you see me on the side there? So we hiked all around this little mountain, up spider infested slopes and down them… under those fiery leaves and through their lightly less colourful brethren that were scattered on the ground…. We wound around and around the mini-mountainside until we came to the most interesting of bridges. Some type of suspension bridge, one of those that sways when you walk on them. I think they are awesome. M….. not so much. And B well, not at all. In fact he posed all cool and debonair and firmly on the ground, while I confidently strode out there and M followed behind… just slightly less excited than I was…

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

It was a pretty full afternoon. Momiji. Glorious. Spider infested temple. Not so much. But that was evened out by amazing bridge experience (for me anyways).

That evening M joined me in my apartment (next to his) for an epic evening of boot-leg Simpsons episodes. We stayed up far too late. There might have been longing glances cast (in a behind the back sort of way…..we weren’t dating yet).

Glorious.

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Japan

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I had the oddest dream last night.

I dreamt M and I were back in Japan, teaching at the new NEW school our boss had opened up…. and let me explain why this was strange…

When I moved to Japan in 2001, the school that I taught at for 2 months was the smallest building you have ever seen. Approximately 2 one-car garages stacked on top of each other, with an exterior stair-case to reach the second level. The walls of the building were so thin they bent when you pressed them. It might have been a temporary structure, I can’t remember all of the details…

The new structure was about 100 feet away, a gorgeous 2 story building that was officially to open in January of 2002. Think 2 2-car garages stacked upon each other. With running water, flush toilets and proper airconditoning. So what was weird about my dream was that the new NEW school was 3 stories high, huge and was well, a school. And not a garage.

When I came back from winter holiday in Canada, entering that new building was structural bliss from my teaching point of view. Especially compared to what I had experienced the 2 months before. That same day, I met my future husband.

The morning after I flew back in from Christmas holiday in Canada, I banged on my only neighbour’s (on the 2nd floor… the 2nd floor of our apartment that was basically 2 2-car garages stacked on top… wonder where they got the inspiration for the school!) door… M answered looking rather disheveled…. Untucked plaid shirt (that he might still have somewhere), wife-beater, glasses….I invited him out for coffee. I like to be friendly and am hard pressed to take no for an answer. Unless it’s my answer, then I say it all the time.

Anyways, the door was slammed in my face.

And there might have been some mumbling. ‘Wait…’ might have been one of the words I could have made out. I waited. The door opened again, M looked less-disheveled and off we went. We rode our awesome bicycles with baskets to the only Starbucks in town. We met up with some other Gaijins, drank some coffee, smoked our faces off and then rode our awesome bikes back to teach some English.

Who would know that approximately 6 months later we would be attached at the hip….but not ‘dating’. Just ‘good friends’. ‘Good friends’ whose other good friends wondered what on earth was going on between us. Nothing was. Nothing at all.

Not until M’s Dad visited, and that visit seemed to cement things. I was the only person that he introduced him to. And invited to join the 2 of them. And once his Dad headed back to the USA (plus one steamy night on that awful twin-bed…. steamy in an innocent way. Really!) that was it.

So sometimes when I think about the path my life has taken, wonder if I have made the best decisions, did I take the best direction I could have… I look at what I have right now:

Gorgeous son.

Handsome and utterly adoring husband that worships me.

Lovely new home we are about to move into.

Comfortable and happy life full of love, laughter, laughter and the best of memories that we have made together.

So even though I sometimes wish I had chosen a different direction education-wise, I am so glad that I went in the direction that I did. Everything I have done in my past…. especially including the unpleasant things, has led to where I am now.

Thank you fate. And destiny.

Thank you both.

xoxo a.m.

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