Monday, August 5, 2013

Back in Cincinnati

I'm home in Cincinnati, in my room.  I can hear my parents voices across the hall, lying in bed, discussing plans for the coming weeks that I'm here.  There is a picture of me with Santa on the book shelf and another on the dresser.   Pictures of my brothers, things from me that were never moved, things brought into this space by others.  Amazing the sculpting of time and absence on a space and in the mind.  Returning to Cincinnati after a year away in Japan.  A new casino downtown, a new hotel, and hospital, the credit union is now a pizza restaurant.  My family is still here.  

A return to a familiar comfort, knowing that I belong to all the people around me.  To wave at people on the street,  to say good morning, to smile in an ease I've yet to fully embody in Japan.  This is my home.  People of many races walking together, voices of many tones, some agressive, some melancholy, some sarcastic, incredulous, joyful, exhausted, impatient, grateful.  How many wear accents as they speak my native tongue, trying to find a comfort here just as I try to find it in another place?  So many different voices.  So many different people.

Is it because I am from this place that I feel this ease?  I can ask for something at the pharmacy, I can make a hotel booking, or inquire about a one-day pass at the pool.  I can say hello without the twinge of anticipation that I will have to say more.  

And at the same time, I miss Japan.  As I was leaving it I missed it already, watching a baseball game in the airport, lifting my feet for the gentleman fastidiously vacuuming the airport lounge, eating my homemade food next to others doing the same, deciphering a new word, watching mothers coddle their abnormally adorable children.   It's a funny feeling to both miss the place from which you leave and look forward to the place to which you are going.  Where is satisfaction?  What to choose if there is no better option?  

But family is irreplaceable and it is such a wonderful, wonderful feeling to be enjoying this familiarity for the time, as much as I enjoy the novelty and growth which Japan has come to represent.  I feel that I'm learning more about both of these worlds during my first few hours and day here.  How different the feeling of being able to offer myself, to connect with the world when living in this familiarity.  And to strive to remember this for others, as we all try to find this comfort in this world.  

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