On Friday morning I packed up the wife & kids for a two month trip where the plan is to put Tyler & Julia into public school in Japan. The Japanese school year goes through to mid-July so the idea is that the kids can get some real immersion into Japanese culture and language while living with their grandparents in Tokyo. Since I can’t work out of Japan, I’ll stay behind until the last week of their trip living in the house on my own. This is the second year in a row that we’ve done this. Tyler’s time in Japanese school last year was a resounding success – he learned quite a bit, about Japan and himself. The hope is we can further Tyler’s learning (he’s going into 1st grade this year) and replicate the experience for Julia who will go to pre-school.
While Izumi and I know this is a good experience for the kids, it’s always hard to say goodbye, even if it’s only going to be for eight weekends. I count the weekends because the pace of work makes the weeks slip by relatively quickly compared to the weekends when time without family distraction slows time to a crawl. Today I awoke to my first day without them to go for an extended run, then folded the last load of laundry that we did before the kids left. Folding the tiny shirts and sweaters seemed so bittersweet – like putting away a collection of childhood memories and keepsakes.
My cousin arrived in the late morning with his family which was a welcome distraction. We took a drive around the neighborhood, stopping by to see the kite surfers and USS Hornet on the north end of the island then headed up to Tilden park to ride the steam trains. Later, after walking Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, we headed back to Alameda to eat at Hinn Tha, the Burmese restaurant on Park Street that I’ve been meaning to try. I’m happy to report it was delicious and will be taking Izumi and the kids there as soon as they return.
Now I’m back home alone, listening to Jack Johnson, feeling blue, and streaming words into the blog entry page as a way to pass the time until it’s late enough to call Izumi and the kids and hear how their day went. I usually get to pull news out of them bit by bit at a more natural pace over the course of the day. Now my time with them will be limited to the short exchanges left to us on the phone calls during the period that our waking timezones overlap. The house is so devoid of life – it’s just me, the fish, and the fading in and out of family photos on the iMac screensaver in the corner, a reminder of a much more spirited time. This is going to take some getting used to – I miss my family.