Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hit a wall

Today was the first truly tough day for me. It was a doozy, too, let me tell you. I woke up at one o’clock with a headache: that stabbing, sour kind that sneaks up on you over and over, and then again when you think it’s gone. I slept off and on from there, but got up for good when Josh left for the gym at 6:00. I had a grapefruit and half a PB&J – and a therapeutic chat with Mom on Skype – before hitting the gym myself.

I had hoped that the food, a stop at Starbucks for a double espresso on ice, and a little exercise would kill the headache, and I was WRONG. Wr to the ong, was I, I was wrong. Running on the elliptical machine made my head throb worse, so I switched to weight machines. That actually did help take my mind off it for a bit, but not for long.

Plus also too, Josh and I have been sharing a single room at the Navy Lodge since August 1, and that is getting old. The sharing, that is, not the Navy Lodge – although I guess it is getting old as well, judging by the carpet. Anyway, Josh likes to go to sleep by 8:30 or 9:00 pm and rise by 5:30, where I am more of a midnight-to-8:00 kind of sleeper. He’s been great about using a sleep mask so I can watch TV for an hour or so after he goes to sleep, but it still sucks. I can’t use the computer because the sound of typing is like an alarm clock to him, for some reason. My flashlight uses funky batteries, which are dead, and which I haven’t found replacements for yet, so I can’t read or knit. I spend a lot of time at night watching bad television with very low volume, or just staring at the thin slit of light that comes in around the curtains. Hours of nighttime boredom = unhappy Emily.

So after the gym, Josh and I met up and left headed into the 90+ degree heat and ridiculous humidity around 11:00. I have experienced humidity, folks – south Florida, Washington DC, Massachusetts in the summer – but it’s worse here somehow. August is the worst month, they tell me, and this is the worst year in recent memory. Let me just take a moment to thank everyone out there who drives a Hummer or votes for Republicans*. Really appreciate the global climate change. Really. Thanks.

The heat was oppressive, and when we discovered it would be another hour before our cell phones (which we’d picked out and paid for 24 hours prior) would be ready, we went to find some lunch. And, for the dozenth time or so since we got here, we realized that the only things we know how to order are fast food and sushi. Since we both refuse to eat KFC (in this country or anywhere else), we sat down for sushi again.

Now, I LOVE sushi. Love. Me. Some. Sushi. But I really, really wanted to eat something more like a balanced meal today, with vegetables even, and the feeling of being foreign hit me really hard. I can’t figure out how to set the voicemail on my phone** because the book and the buttons are in Japanese and the on-screen instructions are in Engrish (“Tools: Using calendar and other function. Camera: shooting picture.”) I can’t have a simple conversation with 99% of people I meet in shops or on the street. I can’t even order a bowl of noodles, because I don’t know how to explain that I don’t eat mammals, but they could kill a chicken and put it on a spit in front of me, and I would dig the hell in.

On top of it all, I lost my water bottle somewhere today, so I’ve been paying ¥120 apiece for bottles of water. And there are no recycle bins for the bottles in the Navy Lodge, so the Earth? Also being killed by me.

Oh, there was more. My feet are like snowshoes to the Japanese, so I have to buy shoes on base or take my chances with the fit on an online order. But the NEX (on-base department store) carries an abysmal selection – if you’re a woman. There’s a whole section of active outdoor shoes for men, with a bunch from Keen, Merrell, Teva, etc. But if you forgot to bring your penis to Japan? It’s high heels and one scant rack of sneakers for you, missy. My one pair of leather flip-flops are not good for bike riding or long walks, both of which we’re doing a lot.

So this morning was really rough, and I’ve spent all afternoon laying down in our sad little room. The headache is gone now thanks to Excedrin, and Josh and I are making burritos with vegetables, and no raw fish, in our room for dinner tonight. I still love this country (even though I may, allegedly, have claimed to hate everything about Japan earlier today. Ever had a fit of pique? I had one.) and I am looking forward to getting over this wall.

Comments and emails and Skypes, please!

*Okay, I know it’s not all Republicans! I know, I know.
But in general? They suck at Earth.

**If you have international calling and want my cell number AND promise to think of the time difference before calling me, please send me an email.

Apropos of nothing, here’s a picture of a $35.00 watermelon.


clembo said...

Eek. You knew you were going to hit it, but it still sucks. Do you want encouragement - "You Can Do It! Mrs. Sullins-san, Break Down That Wall!" - or maybe a shoulder to cry on? Let us know what we can do or say or send or whatever.
Thinking of you with love.

EmilySullins said...

Thanks clembo! I'll take sympathy for now. :)

Bob said...

I'm with clembo. We're here for you. (Get a house FAST, and find a fast class in Japanese!)

No international calling, but I'm happy to Skype tonight.

Love always...

Doe said...

Emily: Perhaps after a day like that you need to take some time to "feel wood." Doe