Saturday, June 24, 2006

Settling In

Last Sunday I went to church (Barnes and Noble). It was AMAZING, what a great experience. The first thing I noticed was a huge manga section, which I know wasn't there four years ago. It's kind of fun to see manga in English and I was wondering if I might become a manga nerd. I went straight to the travel section and piled up some books about Japan and then went and sat in a comfy chair to read about the place I love.

Things are going great for me. It's wonderful to be near family and be able to speak with friends on the phone without having to negotiate too many time zones. The transition has been stressful at times and I've had a few breakdowns in busy grocery stores, (I feel like I'm in The Amazing Race TV show with how fast everyone pushes those carts around! By the time I say, "Excuse me" they're long gone . . .), but I'm getting there. I've only driven on the incorrect side of the road three times, always during light traffic. I've been in the US for three weeks now and I'm starting to remember the ebb and flow - rude people but an occasional brush with someone so friendly, everything is very busy with small pockets of time when the pace slows down, overwhelming commercialism with hopes of maintaining the ability to unplug when necessary.

There is so much that is new that wasn't here four years ago. It gets confusing because I've noticed that I take everything very seriously and assume there is a purpose for every interaction. I walked into Target (yay, Target!) last week and there was a sign that said "Watch out for falling prices" or something. For just a second when I saw the words "watch out" I thought, should I be careful? I notice that I read every sign and listen to every inquiry ("Would you like to open a Kohl's card today?") carefully as if it's all necessary or there to help me. That's very Japanese.

It's difficult to describe the transition. I'll try to do better in the days ahead. My mind has been racing to process so much new information, and I've been trying to stay peaceful in the midst of it all. I spend my days reading, watching House Hunters: International, or walking the dog. It's pretty great so far.

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