We left Japan the summer of 2011 and moved to California. I had a very hard time living in California for the first - YEAR! No lie. I have never had to adjust to a new place like I did California. It was so hard for me. I missed Japan and my friends there SO bad. But what I would go back to saying all the time is that I "miss the simplicity of life." Americans are just SO busy. Caught up in this and that, trying to keep up with the Jones' and Smiths', and just going, going, going. Japan was so different.
The Japanese culture itself is so different. I loved every part of it. The only thing I hated was being so far from family and I even adjusted to that. The friends I made in Japan and even the acquaintances- they became my family. We lived in Northern Japan where the country is beautiful, quiet, and smells like cow manure :) Oh that smell was SO strong when it started to get warm. The people in Japan, where we were, were SO kind. Who cares if you didn't know Japanese- they worked hard, as you did, to convey what was trying to be said. I loved it. I missed the Japanese culture a lot. (Granted, go down to Tokyo, life was not as slow-paced and simple)
What I missed the most though was the simplicity of life among those of us that lived there. We adjusted to the way of life that went on there. We didn't need Target, Starbucks, or even Wal-Mart. We didn't need the hustle and bustle of life. We just.. didn't need! We loved life for the most part. (I am speaking in part of me and the CLOSEST friends I had). Everyone can't wait to get back to America it seems for the ease of shopping somewhere that isn't online and waiting weeks to get it. Funny thing for me is... I still would rather shop online than go to a store anyway... and for the most part... I do.
It was so nice that when you wanted to sit and have coffee with a friend- you could. You could sit, enjoy chatting, and enjoy watching your kids play. Life wasn't too busy for this. When you wanted to run up to the Moketuki and get a Chai Tea Latte, you could. You drove the mile or two there, got it, and cherished that drink together as you poured your life into one another. Want a watch a movie? Ok.. let's bundle up those babies and go! We would enjoy the National Anthem and then... enjoy our movie together, eating popcorn, holding our babies.
Who has dinner with their friends almost every night? It wasn't like having dinner with friends, NO, because you were family. Worried about getting tired of one another? Get over it... we are family. The simplicity of just dropping whatever you are doing and going on a walk with a friend, enjoying that chai tea, running down because something was wrong (but really they just had a POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST they HAD to show you)... I miss it.
I missed the fun in planning a simple vacation to Thailand that became one of the best vacations we have ever been on. The vacation that showed me that vacations with friends OR family are more than than alone!
I missed the SLOWNESS of life. Moving to California reminded me how BUSY life was. I didn't like it. Of course, once I adjusted and made a couple great friends... we found out we were moving... :) But I wasn't too sad.
All this to say, I am finding the simplicity of life coming back. I am realizing it isn't SO much that we were in Japan, it was how I conducted my day to day life. Does it help that I am now able to Stay Home with my son and take care of he and my husband? YES! Does it help that I don't have to work outside the home? Totally! Does it help that we live on base again!! No doubt about it! I am loving feeling the simplicity of life!! LOVING IT!
When people ask me how I am adjusting back in Texas.. I would like to say... that EVERY SINGLE THING about being here has been great. Besides the fact that it took over a month to get our stuff here, it has been amazing. From my sister being right down the road, to our family being only 6 hours away, to being able to finally BE HOME for only my family, to cooking dinner EACH night, to starting a new budget, to meeting new friends, to MOVING TO AN ITTY BITTY HOUSE with only some of our belongings... it has been perfect. Living in this small house is bringing the simplicity of life back. We don't have all the space nor STUFF to preoccupy us from what is important. I hope it stays this way! I love being back on base. No doubt about that. We laugh that one day when we have like four kids we will look back and think how COOL we THOUGHT we were to own a 5Bedroom, 3Bathroom BEAUTIFUL home with one child. Riiiight. We were so cool.... because then we will be living with 4 kids, 2 of us, in a tiny us with partial belongings.. but it is okay!! With smaller houses and less things, I really think it brings back that simple life that I have longed for the past 16 months while living in Japan.
And, THAT, my friends.. is was is on my heart this morning.
I am so thankful to be back in Texas... even if only for a few short months!