Early this summer I had moments when Japan and I were not getting along so well. I missed my family. I missed my friends back home. I was tired of people asking me to put on a Yukata, so they could take a picture of me. I thought I threw away my pension form because I can rarely read my own mail. I was tired of "cute" being the only adjective that was used to describe me. I kept reminding myself that my cousin Leah would be in Japan next year and even if she was far away I knew I would be able to see her at some point and that made me feel good.
Then I found out that she would be in the neighboring prefecture, Kagawa. And I could not have picked her placement better.
I went to visit her the first weekend she was here. I drove up and down the mountains that face my apartment and 50 minutes later, I was at her door.
She took the train to Ikeda last weekend and we shared memories of the sleepovers we have had in our lifetime.
I recollected an evening when my immediate family was heading to Squirrel Hill to spend the evening with her immediate family. Right before we left, my mom asked me where my sleepover stuff was because the plan was that I stay to spend the night with Leah. I was so mad at my mother because no one had asked me about this. I was being told about this sleepover. So, I decided, on my own, that I would not spend the night.
As I told this story to Leah she said, "I remember that, that was not that long ago!"
And I replied, "I think I was eleven or twelve." But, I guess if you have known someone for 22 years eleven or twelve years ago could be classified as somewhat recently.
Now that Leah is just over the mountain, I am the one who wants to have the sleepovers. She has a full sized bed.
I sleep on a futon, on the floor, every night.
While I miss family and friends, I still long for that queen sized bed I slept in when I lived in Greensboro, NC.
And now a comparable bed exists just around the corner.
After years of dinner with the entire family, around large dinning room tables, Leah and I can share the tatami floor, make our own dinner, and share a bottle of wine between just the two of us.
And she is yet another person in my life that could go on about Pittsburgh being one of greatest American cities.
A person with enough pride to buy a pair of shoes (that she found here in Japan) due to two famous colors and three famous numbers.
And I found my pension form this afternoon, buried under a bunch of other papers on my desk.