After almost 3 weeks away, I’m back in Tokyo. Unfortunately this is my stint alone. Summers in Tokyo aren’t the best – they are hot and humid, and given that we rely on walking most of the time, this makes for a pretty tough time. Wrap up in that package the fact that Susan will pass out if even slightly dehydrated and we don’t know an awful lot or people in Tokyo to do during the summer and you get this situation. The plan, as it originated, was that they’d be gone from April until early August. They are things happening, though, that may stretch that longer.
So… that’s challenge number one. Learn to live alone.
As Susan and I discussed it via text while I sat in the Detroit airport (or was it the Nashville airport?), it’s almost like learning to live without a leg. Olivia is a indelible force. She is full of energy, of questions and of boundless love. It’s hard not to have that fueling your life, day in and day out. And being Mother’s Day I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on how much Susan has shaped our beautiful child into who she is. It’s extremely painful to consider the amount of time I’ll be separated, not getting to add my touch to that process. Sure, we’ll have Skype once or twice a day and we’ll swap letters in the mail, but nothing will replace the day-in and day-out interaction.
Challenge number two – keeping Olivia front and center while operating 13 hours ahead on the clock.
Then there is the time that I need to spend by myself. I’ve fallen victim to the easy eating and drinking culture that Tokyo offers and I’ve put on a little bit of weight in places I don’t appreciate it gathering. Yes, I need to gain weight, but I don’t think this is the way I want it. I should be focused on learning to cook and returning to a workout routine. The hope would be that these things not only improve my figure, but my mental condition. I’ve got to keeping pushing down my professional path, overcoming all of those challenges. I spent a solid week of my home visit in the office trying to establish a good base with a new management structure… now I have to work to make sure it pays off.
Challenge number three – balancing personal and professional lives while improving my personal life. Beyond the eating and working out I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I’ve spent a lot of my life in some sort of a balancing act, trying to make sure everyone is happy except myself. I’ve discarded a lot of my emotions, making for a bit a pretty poor emotional health rating. In the midst of making sure as many people as possible are happy, I’ve hurt people, not to mention the hurt I’ve caused myself that I can’t even admit to yet.
This period of time alone in Tokyo has the potential to be a deeply rewarding experience… but I also fear the pain involved. I’m certainly deeply under the influence of homesickness at the moment, but even as that begins to wear off, if I’m doing the right thing for myself, my family and my friends… I suspect I should be processing a lot of painful stuff.
Challenge number four? Dig through the painful bits.
Now I don’t mean to belittle the relationships I have here in Tokyo, but they aren’t numerous and they aren’t based on the same length of time as those at home. I am not completely isolated and alone here, but I certainly don’t have the same setup as Nashville or Chattanooga.
Given my position I hope that I’ll be able to spend a little more time blogging. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that it still being read, sporadic updates or otherwise. I hope that Susan will also have a little bit of time to share how she and Olivia are doing in Chattanooga. It should be an exciting summer for them – lots of family time and tons of activities for Olivia. We’ve discussed swimming lessons and gymnastics classes as well as dance and art. I am going to write up the week Olivia and I spent just before I left town – we hit almost all the major tourist attractions in Chattanooga, something that was a great experience.
Thanks, again, for reading and going on this journey. Sorry if this is a bit depressing, but I have to admit I’m not exactly excited about being so far away. That said, it’s all part of growing and it’s not permanent.