Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"After Care" Summary

Had a visit with my doctor and she's convinced that I'm actually suffering from migraines and not sinus headaches. She asked if there's a family history of migraines and I said no. After talking to my parents later in the day, I now know that I was mistaken. My father's mother apparently suffered from occasional migraines. Well. That was news to me and suddenly cast a very different light on my experience.

As for the impaired hearing, she thinks I may be dealing with a blockage in the inner ear which hopefully my prescription for Flonase will help to resolve. Nevertheless, she is recommending a hearing test in order to get more information.

So. Now we wait. We hope for no further migraines like the one I had in early July. And we hope that the Flonase clears the blockage and restores my hearing.

In the meantime, I'm happy to be feeling well physically otherwise. Did I mention I tried Zumba for the first time last week? And I've been going to yoga classes 2-3 times a week for the last few weeks. I'm determined to focus on myself and my health in an attempt to tamp down a rising anxiety about a life lived in two countries and two houses and packing and travel and making and keeping friends in two places and having no career in either place and feeling generally uncertain about how to make decisions and proceed with life from this place of confusion. But more on that later....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We Interrupt Regular Programming...

to mention that the transition back to living in the USA has been the hardest this time. Gameboy and I spent several weeks coping with jet lag and then sinus issues. I had a sinus headache that rivaled anything I've ever experienced in terms of pain. I spent several days just before July 4th laying on the couch and vomitting every time I moved in part because the pain was so intense and in part because I was dizzy (that's the great part about sinus issues affecting your inner ear). I finally went to urgent care when I was dry heaving after 36 hours of vomitting etc. They gave me an IV drip for the dehydration and then some anti-nausea meds and some pain killers. It was an incredible relief. They sent me home with some anti-nausea and anti-dizziness meds for which I am grateful as once again I have a sinus headache that is nearly incapacitating.

One day I'll look back on this blog and wonder how I spent my summer and I'll know; that was the summer that it didn't feel like summer (our temperatures have just started to climb into the 70s despite a heat wave throughout the rest of the country) and I was so crippled with pain that I couldn't do a whole heck of lot. Unpacking has taken forever and the girls are left largely to entertain themselves indoors because walking even the 3 blocks to the park seems like a major effort.

I've scheduled an appointment with my physician and hope she has some answers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friends and Books

I had coffee with a friend a few days ago. I visited her without the kids. She lives a mere 3 blocks from our house. Being back in the USA I have had a chance to reconnect with some friends and it's been refreshing. It's nice not to have to journey for a minimum of an hour to visit with a friend (something that's pretty much a part of my life in Osaka). It's great to be able to stave off the loneliness that just seems to be a recent, perhaps growing part of my life in Japan despite my best efforts to work against it. I hope to come back and write more about this later, but for now this serves as a start.

Project Progeny recently photographed some of her bookshelves and I thought I'd snap a photo of my current bedside books as well. Clearly (per the photo) I've got friends and friendship on the brain in part because of posts by her and posts by Mel with regard to the topic, but also because I've been giving this a lot of thought in my life in the last year. Trying to figure out how to nurture friendships that only get the benefit of my physical presence 6 months out of the year isn't always easy.

My reading tastes are otherwise eclectic right now. I can't decide what to read; instead I keep sampling and reading bits and pieces of lots of different things. I'm working on Bad Monkeys, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Blackout, The Friendship Crisis and NurtureShock simultaneously. Each is interesting in its own way. Blackout is a slower read with a lot of historical fiction detail to it, while Bad Monkeys reads quickly and easily and feels like a movie. What are you reading?

Monday, June 20, 2011

High Anxiety!*

Mel had a great idea for a post (for more on this see Prompt-ly!)- consider the thing you are most anxious about and then consider the thing you are most sure of right in this moment. I think this question is especially timely for me as I transition back to the USA from Japan. Not only do I find myself wondering about our decision to travel back and forth witLinkh such frequency, but I find myself wondering about how I could possibly have a career again (something I'd like to try to do) while bouncing back and forth.

The one thing that I am most sure of in the midst of all this, is that returning to Seattle right now is the best, most *right* thing we could possibly do. This is really a personal opinion although I do suspect that it's a very beneficial thing for the girls as well. (In fact my oldest told me that while she's sad to be leaving her friends in Japan, she was really looking forward to seeing her Seattle friends. And since our return she has told us several times that she's happy.) I just can't imagine staying in Japan full-time. I know that my husband would be happy if I'd consider this as a possibility, but he isn't pushing for it by any means. Still, he is pushing for a continuance of the 6 months here and 6 months there lifestyle. As I looked around our house at all the things that need to be moved around to make way for us again (we stored a bunch of things while renters were here), it nearly overwhelmed me yesterday. "I have to move that stuff again?" We've moved some of this stuff around 6 times in the last 3 years (once before going and once upon our return for the last 3 trips). It's starting to feel like we're on a hamster wheel and just can't off. But I know for sure that being here right now will fulfill my soul. It will recharge me in a way that living in Japan just can't. I get to reconnect with friends who speak English. I get to bake in my own kitchen. I get to sleep in my own bed. It's heavenly and we've only been here for a few days.

*I keep hearing the lyrics for this song in my head. Mel Brooks, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman - this was good stuff!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"It's Been....Like Forever!"

She said in a high squealing '80s Valley Girl voice. I really don't have much time for a serious post at the moment. I should be packing or sleeping or both. Wouldn't it be great if we could do both simultaneously?! Because I'm headed back to the U! S! A! tomorrow. Land of cupcakes! And bad reality tv shows aired in the English language! And lots and lots of radio stations also in English!

I just received a notice from my public library today via email. They have removed all the suspensions (per my request) and will activate all my hold requests for books in ENGLISH! I could have them delivered to my local branch in just days. I am so freakin' excited it is ridiculous. I have requested books for me. Books for Peanut (almost 3 1/2 and a full on book devourer). Books for our family. Books *about* books (my husband thinks this is hysterical). I am giddy with anticipation.

I have some thoughts about why updating this blog has been tricky as of late (and in general). I'm hoping that joining Prompt-ly the writing group of sorts will help me sort things out a bit.

In the meantime, know that I am currently thousands of miles overhead winging my way back to the Pacific Northwest with a song in my heart, smile on my face, and the promise of summer in my back pocket!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Hostess with the Most-ess?

A friend came with her husband and son for a visit at the house yesterday. It was nice to have friends of my own here at our home here in Japan, but hard too. It doesn’t feel like “my” space despite my husband's assertions that I should think of it as such. It feels like I have to displace his parents and that feels very uncomfortable. And it was weird when my father-in-law showed up at the house briefly, basically ignored my friends, sort of grunted at my husband (this is typical - he's a man of few words and a grumpy disposition outwardly), then excused himself and my husband, they talked for a couple of minutes and then my father-in-law left the house as quickly as he arrived. My friend wanted to introduce herself and observe the usual niceties (typical in both American and perhaps even more so in Japanese culture), but I had no idea what to say or do given my father-in-law's usual demeanor, and the whole thing felt incredibly awkward to me.

I miss having my own house and space. My mother-in-law had very kindly purchased a few things at the store that we could serve at lunch. I hate feeling conflicted but honestly, on the one hand I was frustrated because I felt as though she was trying to do my job as hostess, but on the other hand, I appreciate that she truly wants to help. I think she understands that my hesitancy to use "her" kitchen makes living here (and hosting friends) a significant challenge for me. And that sense of an obstacle in my way makes me lonely. We host a lot of friends at our house in Seattle and when we're here in Japan, it's generally just family and one close friend of my husband's.

I miss being closer to friends so that it’s not always such a production to have a visit. I miss having my own kitchen to cook in. I hate that I feel as though I'm whining about this all the time and I just don't have a good solution for any of it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Split Personality

Sometimes I feel like that's how I have to live - with two different personalities. In order to essentially live in two places at once, I must only be half-involved in each place. The other day was Peanut's nyuenshiki or "entry ceremony" for her preschool here in Japan. I love that she gets to create this memory for herself - something so quintessentially Japanese. But as I sat through the PTA meeting following the ceremony, I became sad. As I watched the other mothers preparing for a new school year filled with playdates, field trips and the like, I was a little relieved that I wouldn't be pressured to be in charge of some distasteful task for the PTA, but I was sad that I won't have the chance to be really involved either. It's not so much that I want to be in charge of all things PTA, it's more that this signifies an opportunity to get to know people in a more lasting and meaningful way. And given our current lifestyle, I have to repeatedly suspend friendships and relationships with people while we travel to the other side of the globe.

Yay for world travel and bringing up our kids multiculturally and bilingually! Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to be this fortunate. But I keep wondering, "How do you know when you've sacrificed too much?" I think this is a particularly thorny issue when kids are involved. I want to offer my girls the world (literally) at times, but I don't want to sublimate my own needs to the point that I end up regretting my/our decision years later.

I'm happy to think that we head back to Seattle in just a couple of months where I can renew some friendships, but we're already thinking about preschool for Peanut and that means contemplating how long she could reasonably be enrolled before we leave again. And this raises all these questions again, and again and again. How long can we keep this up? Can we really be this nomadic and still satisfy the needs of the girls? And what about my needs? Gboy is very adaptable and doesn't really mind either way. Having lived half his life in Japan and half his life in the U.S. I think he feels we've pretty much achieved the perfect balance by living in both places half-time. I wish I could feel the same, but it's not that easy for me. I need people. I need friendships. I need community. I need to be involved in my community.

I'm just not sure how to unify the two halves of my personality and existence in two places.