We've been here in Osaka for almost 5 months now. That means we're more than halfway done with our stay here. Nevermind that we're not entirely sure what happens after this summer. What we DO know is that we're returning to the U.S. in June so that we don't have to endure the hottest part of the year or as my husband likes to describe it "living in He$$ only with more humidity" - it's just that hot. Or at least it FEELS that hot to a couple of wimps who have been living in temperate Seattle for the last 8+ years.
Anyhoo....I started thinking about our time here and what I've learned and all that and came up with a few telling moments:
1) The other day Peanut grabbed at something and tried to cram it into the large family water bottle. All I could think of to say as I yelled to get the attention of my husband was, "The MIZU bottle! Something in Mizu bottle!" If you don't speak Japanese you may not know that mizu is the word for water. I nearly fell over when I realized that the Japanese word came more naturally to me in that moment.
2) My Japanese class, while sometimes challenging, feels really good right now. I feel as though I've moved past some mental block or plateau and suddenly the language is coming more easily. The conversational part of it I mean. I always did well with the written and listening components, but just couldn't get into the swing of the conversation and speaking until quite recently. It feels good. I'm not saying I'm doing it really well, but I'm doing it with much more ease and confidence and it's making group events fun!
3) Following on #2, yesterday was the one-year anniversary/memorial for my husband's paternal grandmother. It was her passing that prompted our move here. Today was a great opportunity for us to remember her and to honor her and for the whole family (her 4 children and spouses, 8 grandchildren and spouses, and 8 great-grandchildren) to come together and celebrate life. I was exhausted at the end of a long day, but I felt quite comfortable and was able to converse with several people (in a small talk kind of way). And it wasn't just that I was able to talk with people, but the knowledge that comes with being in a place for a while. When you know where the spoons and creamer are and can make yourself a cup of coffee - that kind of thing. Add to all this the fact that it was sunny and somewhere in the 60's (F) and we had the perfect day.
It certainly hasn't been easy during the last 5 months, but I'm pleased to say that things feel quite comfortable at the moment.