Tuesday

I turn forty in a few weeks. I am okay with it, truly. Glad of it, in fact. Turning forty means I somehow survived my thirties. I am working on something, a retrospective of the past decade. I am thinking of giving each year its own space, bound in its own specific sentences. It will not be an easy task. It has been a long decade, a hard one wrought with loss and woven with joy. I learned a lot. More than I thought I needed to know. I gave birth to two babies in this decade. Moved more times…

Wednesday

Today is the halfway mark of my summer vacation and the kids are driving me bananas. I made the mistake of not waking them up at 6 and everyone is completely off-kilter now. One of the hardest parts of raising kids in a second language is helping them with their homework. Language arts and word problems are the worst. Think about how hard it is to do algebra and geometry in your first language. Now trying doing it hanging upside down from a set of rusty monkey bars. Barrels of fun. Lately I have felt frustrated by long distance friendships….

Saturday

I saw this comic and was thinking about my own work-life balance and how I would illustrate my days. It would take a lot of ink. The following list of things is from Thursday, which was a normal day, selected only because I wrote everything down after reading the aforementioned comic: 4:00 am- Get up to write and drink coffee. Spend most of your time responding to emails/texts and work a little on the new short story about the girl and the tanuki in the woods. 6:00 am- Start the laundry because your eldest son neglected to put his stinky…

Wednesday

Those of us who live in the Floridian diaspora talk about Florida all the time to each other. As in: All. The. Damn. Time. And we do this because we hate our home state as much as we love it. And we really hate it therefore we also really love it. If you are a true Floridian, not a transplant, but someone whose grandparents’ grandparents somehow managed to survive the heat and mosquitoes long enough to give birth to a lineage of disgruntled Floridians, then your right to complain and praise the state are increased 100 fold compared to those…

Monday

A friend asked me about the story I mentioned in the last post, how I would write it now, if I was to do so and this has been on my mind all day. I would not write it again, is my first response. I needed to write it then as a sort of dare for myself, a push-back against the things that scared me. There are elements that I am still mildly curious about but I am no longer frantically confused. I think because the truth of it all is this: it does not matter, or at least it…

Saturday

After work, in the parking lot, there was a newborn baby swaddled and facing backward in a minivan. His older sister is a sixth grader at the school where I teach, though I would not call her my student as I have never taught her. There is something aloof about the sixth graders, something that makes me feel out-of-place when I am around. But yesterday I looked at this new human, the exhausted mother, her belly still swollen, her hair mostly gray due to the lack of hair dying during pregnancy, and the intimacy was overwhelming and unexpected. In the…

Friday

This week, I received some terrible news about someone who has a permanent address in my heart. It is game-changing news, the type that makes you reevaluate everything. I learned about the situation in the morning and in the afternoon, I attended the school’s peace assembly. The nephew of Sadako Sasaki, the girl who folded a thousand paper cranes in order to fight her illness with hope and inspired countless people around the world, was the speaker. He spoke of his aunt’s courage and gratitude. How her final words were thank you. It was a lot to handle. I am…

Tuesday

Raining in the morning, forced to walk in the street to avoid the crowds of umbrella-wielding elementary school students dominating the sidewalk. The news of a knifing rampage in Yokohama came at the end of second period, the teachers called to the vice principal’s desk. School children had been attacked, we must be vigilant, bracing ourselves for copycats. I remembered the incident in Tomio, a girl taken after school by her mother’s long-term stalker, her body found in a ditch the next morning. Back then there were no school gates, just open entrances. There were no ID badges, no security…

Friday

Behind the ward office on the way to work and then again on the evening return home, a collective of swallows are building nests. They fly between the buildings and swoop down to the street in a swarm. They are masterful pilots, dive-bombing and pulling up at the last second, twisting and turning. Soon they will have gaping mouths to feed but until then, they dance and sing.