The Discomfort of Transitions

So here I am again. You would think I get used to this life, but I guess each move is different, but present similar feelings of unease. After a 3-week vacation in the US, jetlagged and tired from the trip, we packed our whole house in Yokohama, where we lived for only one year for Tim’s language training. For 2 days, box by box, we looked at the worth and value of each piece of clothing, toy and household item, just like what we’ve done for the past 12 moves. We kept things, we donated some things, we threw away things. This almost automatic routine felt gloomy, even disgusting, as I looked at all the material things we’ve accumulated over the past year and reflecting on all the “stuff” that we just continue to acquire in our travels. We Kon-Maried to the fullest extent and actually made much progress, if I may say so myself.  

             Fortunately, we were immediately able to move in the next day to our permanent housing in Tokyo. This time we will be here for 3 years. This same compound was where we lived 10 years ago, before Kevin was born. There are definitely so many memories of our past life as first time parents. In a few days, we were able to unbox and unpack everything, put stuff in the right shelves and in every crevice of the house we felt made sense. It’s like we’ve done this forever. Tim and I were like a team of very experienced tetris players, just figuring out the perfect spot for everything. I felt sad about my really tiny kitchen, but after cooking for several days, I am kind of getting the hang of it and actually prefer it now since I can clean up more easily.

            The kids were very involved in unpacking this time around as they now care about their own rooms and their own belongings. We had our first conflict about assigning rooms, as they both wanted the room with a balcony. Kevin won the coin toss and felt so badly for Nina that he went on Amazon right away and ordered a giant pink teddy bear for her, as consolation. Nina got a bigger room for her crafts and legos, so it was all okay in the end, after some tears.

            Tim went back to work and since the kids are still off school I find myself balancing all my hats once again. Between my part time work at the embassy, my grad school work, keeping our home managed (laundry, meals, cleaning up rooms and toilets), spending quality time with the kids (exploring Tokyo, swimming, board games, and multiplication tables!) and recently rejoining the choir on Sundays, I feel like I am still floating in the air and haven’t really touched the ground of reality yet. I feel half-hearted in all the things I am doing, and because transitioning to a new place always feels this way, I am disappointed in myself that I just haven’t learned to wait. I know I will get there if I just wait.

            Right now, I feel apprehensive, not really looking forward to anything or maybe just plain tired. I appreciate my life of course, and all the bountiful blessings each and everyday, but I feel like I want to allow myself to feel like this for a little while longer. I will start making friends when I am ready. I will host a party or two when I am up for it. I will commit to something else for the community after my Master’s. I will go back to learning Japanese after I have taken a breath.

I feel relieved to carve enough time to put into words what has been bothering me for the last couple of days, and sharing this with you helps me be more patient. I’ve done this so many times and I still haven’t learned my lesson, but I know in time, I will find myself again.