Picture by my brother
Before this week is over, I will be in Seattle. Not for a vacation, not for a temporary move, but (hopefully) for a permanent stay. That I am able to do this at all is due to the kindness of semi-strangers (friends of my brother) who are letting me stay in their house while I look for a job. They aren’t asking me for much, other than cleaning up after myself and chipping in to help pay for food, which is why I have offered more than they have asked for.
Sometimes, when I think about the move, the word that comes to mind is “crazy.” I’m moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Connecticut to Washington. How am I going to get my computer there? How am I going to get most of my stuff there? I can ship large quantities of items fairly cheaply through Greyhound (yes, they have a shipping service), but not electronics. Nor my diaries. They are too precious to me, as are other memories that I plan, at some point, to take with me.
It has been strange going through my old things, to see the drawings I did as a kid, to see the mazes I used to draw. The mazes usually have a Link or Mario theme, since I played Nintendo games around the time that I drew them. And these mazes weren’t just mazes. As my friend had shown me, you could put weapons for the hero to grab in the maze, which he would need to pass some of the monsters, or to defeat the boss. Or a key he would need to unlock a door. As for the drawings, they were often filled with gore, or scary creatures, or scary people–but they did not scare me. They may have scared my teachers, but never my parents, and the teachers were wise enough to see my drawings as outlets for my creativity, rather than the first signs of a psychopath. I might not be so lucky were I to draw such pictures today.
And then there’s my PXL 2000. Before I leave, I wish to convert all of my PXL 2000 tapes to VHS (the PXL 2000 camera, which was made for kids, used audio cassettes to record both audio and a black-and-white picture). Unfortunately, I’ve experienced technical difficulties at every step of the way. And just when my dad and I thought that we had solved every problem, the tapes didn’t record, because the VCR wasn’t properly connected to the TV. And now the VCR is all screwed up, so who knows if we’ll get that to work again. In the meantime, I have other things to do, which I am doing while I wait for my dad to figure out what the problem is, one of which is writing this post.
Timing is everything. I could wait until I had finished the latest draft of my novel before leaving to live on my own, but the timing would have been off. In the same way, I could have stayed in Japan for longer than three years. After all, the company I worked for would have hired me back, but I feared that my experiences, no longer being new, would become tedious, and while I would continue to function, I would not thrive. So I left Japan, and so I leave home. To thrive.
My older sister left about ten years ago, when she got married. My younger brother left at various points, but was permanently out of the house at least a couple of years ago. I am the last one at home now, and while I keep telling people this is a temporary move that will hopefully become permanent, I know that it is permanent, for if I cannot find a job in Seattle, I certainly won’t be able to find one in Connecticut. I might be able to in Boston, but Boston, to a lesser degree than Chicago, is too cold (temperature-wise) for my taste.
In fact, that is why it took me so long to settle on Seattle. Originally I wanted to live in California, but it would have been too expensive. Then I wanted to live in Portland, but I didn’t get the sense that there’s much to do in Portland. Plus, I know nobody who lives there. At least in Seattle, I will know the two people whom I live with (and meet a third, since the sister of the woman who lives there is also staying with them). Also, I discovered that Seattle is as warm (or cold) as New England is, with pleasanter summers and less-harsh winters.
Most importantly for me, Seattle serves to link me back to Japan. I traveled through the Seattle airport twice on my travels from Tokyo to home and back again. Both times, I not only saw Japanese people speaking Japanese in the airport, but I also heard some announcements in English and Japanese. I hope that the cultural mix will be even more diverse than that, since Seattle is a city, but the Asian element is critical in reminding me of those magical days in Japan, which will prove in years to come, and has already proven, to have a tremendous impact on my writing, my outlook on life, and my development as a human being.
I hope to continue updating my blogs from Seattle, as I will have Internet access and use of my hosts’ computer. However, I can’t guarantee that I will be as regular in my postings, at least not until I’ve worked out my weekly routine.
I feel nervous, excited, scared, sad, happy, and adventurous about my move. I have seen my good luck animal–deer–all throughout last week, in large numbers. I take that to be a good sign. I still have much to do, much to go through, much to pack up, but at least things are happening now. My life, which was put on hold for a time, is now slowly surging forward again.