O'Hare airport, concourse C, on a Tuesday morning isn't as busy as I'd expected. My gate is made up of a few American tourists, some obviously military family members (like me), and a bunch of Japanese tourists and businesspeople waiting to go home. Their faces make me smile - now that I know what it's like to go home to your country, your culture, your people, I love seeing that anticipation in others' faces.
Myself, I am happy to be returning to Japan. Well, more precisely, I am happy to be returning to my husband. Marriage is so strange, so much more powerful than I expected. Particularly marriage overseas, including unemployment for one half of the couple. I rely on Mr. TakesTokyo much more than I did when we were both working. I didn't expect that...I should have, I suppose, but I thought he would rely more on me, not the other way around. I am finding now that after a wonderful, relaxing, fun-filled month with my parents, I am excited to head home to Josh and our life together.
It's not exactly a brilliant revelation, is it? That I love my husband and want to be with him after a long, forced separation? But after a very rough start to 2009 in our Japanese life, my excitement to return is a very pleasant surprise.
There is another reason for my happiness, besides Josh: I decided not to fly space available home. That's right, after three years of business travel on my own, I the fearless traveler chickened out and paid four figures for a real plane ticket. Space A is much scarier than I expected, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit it. Military wives fly Space A all the time, with babies and family crises and no friends in Seattle. I have no babies to wrangle, no crises to contend with, and heroic friends in all the major West Coast ports. But the thought of flying to Seattle to impose on my friends' hospitality and small apartment, with no cell phone and no guarantee of ever flying out for free, was just too much for me. So with excellent advice from my mother and Josh's support, I heated up Ye Olde Credit Card and bought the Maximum Economy Uber Cheap (kinda) ride home.
And I immediately felt better. I mean physically: I had had an upset stomach and near-constant anxiety about unsure travel until I clicked "purchase" for that flight. Even the 17 degree black ice at 4:00 this morning, as Dad drove me to the airport, was better than the way I'd been feeling about Space A.
So here I am, feeling fine and ready to face 13 hours of knitting and movies and catching up on the podcasts I ignored while spending long, luxurious days with my mom. I have so many stories to share, and pictures of their cute puppy dogs, and even snow on the ground in South Carolina.
I'm back, folks. Thanks for hanging around.