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.