Hello Faithful Readers,
Just recently I feel like I have been witness to some amazing miracles. Last week, on a cold and rainy night I was waiting for Chase to come home on the train. I texted him that due to weather conditions he could hop in a cab and come home from the last leg that way. Well, of course this turned out to be a bit premature of me. About the time he was due to arrive, I received a call from Chase telling me he couldn’t communicate with the cab driver (btw, I did give him a card to hand to the driver to let the driver know where to take him in Japanese) and despite the card, he was evidently just roaming the streets of Tokyo watching the meter tick. So of course I am frustrated and I ask him a few questions after I get on the phone and redirect the driver. I soon find out that Chase has not only lost his way, he has lost his wallet! So now I am mad. I go outside, throwing on my Wellies and raincoat over my pajamas and wait. When I see the creeping taxi, I hop in and ask the driver to please return us to the station because Chase is insisting he knows where he lost the wallet. I am convinced there is no Japanese translation for parallel or perpendicular because there are no U-turns in Tokyo. In order to turn your ass around (especially in a car) you have to really go out of your way. So tick-tick-tick goes the meter as we find our way there and I let Chase search the rainy area around the train station/taxi stand where he swears it is. Of course, it isn’t. So at this point I am throwing cash at the driver after I have rounded up to the nearest 1000 Yen and he is trying to give me a discount. I’m sure he is feeling pity for this poor boy whose mom keep yelling at him and I refuse the change and the discount and just get out of the cab. We head straight to the police department and fill out a lost item report. Fingers crossed. We walk home in the rain and I am furious. I reflect back on this and I should be upset at myself for not being more patient because stuff like this happens. I guess I just get so frustrated with Chase because much like his father, we seem to argue over the same things. Is this how men are programmed?!? Net/Net, a day later we received a call from the Tokyo American Club (TAC) letting us know that Chase’s wallet had been recovered and was awaiting us at the station (the police had contacted the Club to contact us). In the wallet was his PASMO (train card) and TAC member card and just the cash (3000 yen) was missing.
For my POD I would like to submit:
Four Generations in One Room
Just this past weekend, Chase and I made a trip to South Korea to visit with my family. Bess and Mary had decided to come and we were all due to arrive at the same time. I had a lot of mixed emotions about returning to Korea but was willing to be optimistic and I was so excited to see my parents and my sisters. I know Chase was excited too and it was an extremely emotional time for me. We all flew into Incheon Airport which happens to be rated the best airport in the world. It is easy to see why. Seeing my dad and sisters again was fantastic. We all piled into a car that my father had borrowed and Chase referred to it as the Mystery Machine because that was what it resembled… only yellow. It was so strange driving through what used to be country-side to see smokestacks and factories and LOTS of buildings.
Since Chase’s school doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Cliff said we won’t be going Stateside for Christmas, I said we would return at the end of the month during fall holiday (October 27th-28th) to visit again and that time Cliff said he would come along.
We spent the next few days exploring the town, going to Chinatown,visiting the fish market, and we did a day excursion into Seoul. It was actually my parents’ first time going by train into the city. In between, we laughed a LOT and griped about silly things.
Shopping in the Streets of Seoul
I don’t know if your family is like mine, but I know we have a double standard for what we do when Cliff is part of the group and when he isn’t. For instance, this past weekend, we stayed at my mom and dad’s apartment and it was fine for Bess, Mary, myself, and Chase. We actually started thinking Cliff could be here too since by then Mary and Bess would have left already. But picture this: one night, as I was laying on the floor on top of 1 of the 2 full-size thin bedrolls that my parents had set up for us to sleep on, out of the corner of my eye, I see Chase wheeling around in my mom’s wheelchair in the room just outside, my sisters were on our “bedroll raft” with me just hanging, my mom and a friend were grinding piles of garlic at the end of the room/foot of our “raft” with the one Western outlet, and my dad was going back and forth carrying a plunger and Korean Drano trying to fix our 1/2 bath. We called it the “Number 1 toilet” if you catch my drift. This doesn’t even include the fact that every night we slept with the windows open so we could ventilate the air which of course enabled us to hear every person who was walking the street and every dog fight within a 15 mile radius. Could Cliff survive? I barely survived. Putting one’s bad thoughts down on paper really does make you feel better. I can’t believe I’m able to smile about this so fresh from the memory.
I have to also mention that Korea is sort of the anti-Tokyo. I told Cliff I had wished he had warned me. I know now that living in Tokyo is making me soft and spoiling me but damnit, if wanting clean air and style is a crime lock me up now. I observed that Korea is a very dirty place. Everything seems to be covered in a layer of dirt, not dust, DIRT. No one exercises. I was hoping at least in Seoul to see someone with good shoes and a sense of style, but no. It did not happen. People will steal and are rude. The day we went to the fish market, as soon as I got out of the car a fishmonger accosted me for leaving the house without any clothes on. Now friends, you know me. I would not have left the apartment ala Lady Godiva. That particular day I was wearing my signature off one shoulder light grey long top with black leggings, black boots and a big red scarf. For this I was branded a WHORE. Both my sisters were also wearing Western style clothing, but I guess they weren’t carrying it in such a brazen manner as myself. From that point on, my sisters nicknamed me “Hooka”. Gotta love the relations.
So I’m getting flashbacks to my last negative trip to Korea and I am experiencing feelings of disillusionment, embarrassment, guilt, disdain. I am a woman without a country AGAIN. I leave knowing in my heart that I will never just pop over to be in Korea without my family. I probably won’t go again after October unless my grandmother dies. She suffered a stroke a while back and is paralyzed on her left side and doesn’t speak. We visited everyday and I could tell she really appreciated it and it surprised me how much she and Chase bonded. Through all the days we visited she only said 2 words : Chase & Tomorrow.
Chase and his Great Grandmother
I think about how if she had died during her stroke she would have never met this great grandson. She and I never would have been able to set things right after our last disastrous visit. I realized that in some ways I had lost my grandmother only to have found her again through my son.
Anyhow, I could wax poetic for another few hundred words but I won’t since you’re probably just trying to get through this one blog.
Until next time…