The earthquake that struck Japan on the 11th of March has prompted many questions. The biggest question…should we stay or should we go?
A friend of ours left Japan the day after the disaster hit. Since then, a not so small number of our friends have been leaving Japan in a steady trickle. Many of them don’t know if or when they will return. Some will not return.
Last week, we made our choice to go home. We will be returning to Japan though. I am glad that we stayed. The panic is subsiding. I can find rice in the grocery stores again. The trains are (mostly) running again. Life is getting back on its feet. I am no longer an anxious wreck.
The choice to come home was a difficult one. We knew that we wanted to make the trip…but we didn’t want to act irrationally from fear. It was extremely challenging to maintain focus amidst the constant flow of bad news and uncertainty. We did our best to focus on our jobs, our students- the reasons why we came to Japan. We respectfully requested the leave to go home for a break and our co-workers and supervisors graciously agreed.
The people at my Board of Education were, understandably, nervous when they learned we wanted to go back to our home. They were seriously afraid we wouldn’t come back to Japan. My supervisors assured them we would return. We lessened the blow by canceling our vacation to Hong Kong next month. Two major trips within a month…not so much.
Fortunately, it is the end of the school year in Japan. Graduations are underway. The two-week long break starts this Friday. Amazingly convenient. Classes have already finished for Karl and me. I spent today and yesterday writing lesson plans for the coming year. But my mind isn’t here right now. I am longing for the next twelve hours to pass quickly.
Tomorrow, we leave for the United States. Wake up at yikes o’clock in the morning. Walk to the train station. Take a train. Catch an “Airport Limousine” (it’s just a coach bus) to Narita Airport. Fly out of Tokyo in the afternoon. A one-way flight to Minneapolis.
(Side note: Our plane tickets are actually from Tokyo to Chicago. The layover is in Minneapolis. We checked into getting direct tickets to Minneapolis. They were one thousand dollars more expensive than continuing on to Chicago. $1000! (!?) So we bought the tickets to Chicago and will just take carry on luggage. Sigh. )
Karl might have to restrain me from kissing the earthquake-free ground of Minnesota when we step of the plane.
I am looking forward to many things on this trip. Family, friends, relaxing, the Brewhouse, Charlie Parr, Lake Superior, shopping for clothes and shoes that will actually fit me, and definitely-definitely-eating lots of cheese.
I love me some Wisconsin cheese.