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20 December 2016 @ 11:29 pm
Creamy Love 100% (Written on the envelope my niece sent)  
Hi everyone! Let me know if your address has changed in the last year. And if you need mine, send me a message!

Yossi and I went to the US for Thanksgiving.

My sister bought a house in Portland and I enjoyed staying there, pretending I lived in the town, checking out the local park, the grocery store, the diner nearby.

People ask me if I miss the U.S., and I always say no.
But when I'm there, I never want to leave.
But I can say the same thing about Nepal and Finland. I visited and I didn't want to leave.
Walking in the grocery store in Portland, I got to explore these feelings thoroughly.

I think it was when my sister asked me if I wanted to buy a bagel.
And I thought - this will be my last chance to eat an American bagel for the next two years.
And I thought - If I'm going to go two years without one, what's the point of eating one now?
And I realized then, that it's not about what I have now. It's the idea that it's an option.

I don't miss the U.S. in the sense that I want to go there right now and see my family, or smell the forest, or walk around my neighborhood. It's not about what I can and can't do now. It's about the options I have.

The idea that I could just go out for a bagel. Any day, any time.
Living every day in the security that if I really needed to call one of my Colorado friends, I could.
Walking down the street and seeing little kids running around, and knowing that they're going to the same kind of schools I went to, and learning the same things.

I went to buy shoes in my size, since that's a luxury here in Japan, and I felt really lost in the shoe store. Because I don't really need new shoes, I just needed to remember what it was like to have the option of just walking in to a shoe store and getting new shoes.

On the other hand, this kind of nostalgia for options is why I decided to live in Japan as well.
I sat there my last semester at school and it bothered me that I didn't have the option of speaking Japanese whenever I felt like it. I couldn't live every day with the comfort that if I wanted to buy a pretty Japanese magazine, I could go find it. I didn't have the security that all the interesting and mysterious food was lined up and waiting for me at the convenient store. I wanted that to be my life. And I came back to Japan and found that life.

Looking around at my house compared to my sister's house, I realize I'm not settled.
I still have shoeboxes with things that I might take out if I ever have shelf space for them. My bookcases are waiting for a day when I think organizing them will be worth it. None of the dishes or furniture matches. Nothing's permanent here. I haven't put anything in the walls to hold up any pictures. It's like even though I know I'm in Japan for the long run, I'm still ready to move at a moment's notice.

Maybe I don't trust settling down?
I don't know.
But after my sister bought a house, I realized if I really want that extra level of stability, I might start with making my life look more settled on the outside.

Jennifer Hina