Do you remember Yasu? My unexpected friend? Well, her family thew me a goodbye party last night. We ate clam chowder, sushi rolls (featuring pink, green and whie rice), tofu salad and much more. Her mother is such a sweet soul and a very good cook. Last night she reminded me very much of my own mother. She’d made this pork and egg dish which she kept apologizing for. She’d say, “please try this, I made it but I’m sorry, it became too spicy.” Each time someone reached for a helping or she offered it to them, she’d say sorry. I told her my mama was the same. That whatever she cooked she’d end up apologizing for. And even though if it was the yummiest dish in the world, she’d still be saying sorry. Then my father would tease her for having apologized, again. Silly sweet humble loving mamas.
Yasu’s younger sister, Shoko, whose name for the life of me I can’t remember so I have to call her what her two year old nephew calls her: “aka”, surprised me with the beautiful cake pictured. We had a blast. I can’t believe how much they did for me. I wish I’d met Yasu sooner. I keep questioning why our paths didn’t cross earlier. Especially since she had been living right there, in the upstairs apartment! We could have shared so many dinners together – a thought which brings me much joy but also sadness.
After dinner, we did hanabi (fireworks) – an activity strongly resonant with Japanese summer.
I want you to know that anything is possible. Until I was 9 years old, I couldn’t speak a single world of the English language. Now, I am standing before you as your English teacher, delivering my goodbye speech in English. There is no better proof than this.
I also want you to know that the world is a big big place. There is so much to see and do out there. I promise you that if you persevere, you can experience things you’ve never even imagined. Believe me, I am speaking from experience.
PS the third picture, is my face carved out of an ERASER! Can you believe that? My goodness. I am officially a super sensei. Today was hard. Though I have been ready to move on for a while now, I am not heartless. I will remember these guys and the sweet memories we shared forever. My only wish is that I positively impacted their lives in some way, just as my own teachers, for me, did.
Actually, my favorite teacher was Mr. Payne. I remember wanting so bad to be his favorite student and getting super jealous when he paid other students attention! That’s how much I loved him! I remember the day we ate McDonalds together whilst running an errand, and I remember the day he told me he knew that at High School I would become Head Girl or if not, that I’d be successful in whatever I did. Some 15 years later, and his belief in me is still one of my sources of encouragement.
“Those of the Elven-race that lived still in Middle-earth waned and faded, and Men usurped the sunlight. Then the Quendi wandered in the lonely places of the great lands and the isles, and took to the moonlight and the starlight, and to the woods and caves, becoming as shadows and memories, save those who ever and anon set sail into the West and vanished from Middle-earth.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
A lot of goodbye dinners and lunches are happening. Not long now! 1 or so weeks.
Top to bottom: the old couple returning my muffin tray with fresh lavender and rosemary, Yasu and I’s friendship going strong, dinner with Oz, Lifa and Aki, vegetarian lunch with Ashleigh sensei, and dinner with Fukuda sensei, Imai sensei and Imai Sensei’s daughter, Non at my favorite Indian place (had to go back even after saying goodbye). Anyways, Non! Non is eating chocolate naan (strange I know) with a smiley-faced chicken curry (even stranger). Too cute. I wanted to eat her. What a name!
When I was a child, I believed anything was possible. That I was invincible and that anything I wanted would happen. As I grew older, my view of the world began to change. Doors closed in my face and life proved difficult to manage. But my parents and my faith pushed me to preserve. I chose not to give up. I crawled through the pain.
Today, I stand before you as your English teacher, delivering my goodbye speech in English. To think I once knew not a single word of the language proves in big capital alphabet that MIRACLES really can happen. And do. Over and over again. But here’s the catch. We must actively seek them. But where?
In the words of my favorite poet. “Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript of a divine letter. You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.”
I am so glad I was your teacher. Please don’t forget me. I know that I will remember you all with fond memories forever. Believe me when I say, I love each and every one of you with my whole spirit.
“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.” ― Haruki Murakami
I had the most wonderful time last night. I only met Haruka and her family 2 months ago but even so, I feel I’ve known them a lifetime. To say that Haruka’s family treated me like a princess last night is an understatement. They really did so much.
They had prepared a delicious make-your-own sushi dinner featuring avocado (my favorite) and mixed rice (black and white) with ample vegetables. Everything was so healthy and presented so beautifully just for me. We drank homemade plum juice – made sugar-free after I introduced “natural” eating to Emika, H’s sister. For dessert, we had the most divine matcha (green tea) and soy-milk pudding made with kanten (a natural vegan gelatin substitute and a super ingredient I’ll be hoping to do a Savvy article on). Again, Haruka had made the dessert this way (sugar-free and vegan) just for me.
Last but definitely not least, I was gifted two gorgeous earrings (one with my birthstone) and two bracelets all handmade by Haruka! And, Mommy Mo-chan (H’s mother) gifted me a cute red Japanese cloth for wrapping my lunch. Wow I felt like royalty. What a night. I left their home with a full stomach, a full heart and a full bag of left-overs for today’s lunch. Haruka, Emika, little Ichikia (E’s daughter and my 1st grade student), Mommy Mo-chan and Satozi (H’s father), I want you to know that I will always remember this night and that it will never fade from my heart.
PS the fourth picture is made with kanten too. It is an eggplant jelly flavorured with soy-sauce. Though I admitted to my friends it looked chotto kowai (a little scary) it was soooo yum!
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
― A.A. Milne
“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
― Jon Katz
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
― A.A. Milne
“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
― E.B. White
“Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.”
― Ken Page
Anisa sensei, English sensei by day, nutrition sensei by night, fighting (most-likely induced by over consumption of white rice) constipation (sorry) one green smoothie at a time. Different women, same bowel movements.