What is home?
To me, home is where you immediately exhale the moment you step inside. It’s where you can dance in your underwear, burn dinner or eat Nutella out of the jar (just me?) without having to explain yourself to anyone. Home is a constant safe haven no matter what else changes.
It was just one year ago Craig and I arrived in Tokyo to start this new chapter of our life together. Some people would say it was crazy to spend our first year of marriage on the other side of the world from our support system, but we took the leap. After all, at the risk of sounding cheesy, isn’t that what love is all about?
Everyone will spend their 20s in different ways. Some will get married, some will launch their careers, some will have babies, some will spend the time figuring out where they were supposed to be all along — no choice is in any way less valid than the others.
In all the moving and milestones so far, I’ve called many places home, but there’s always an adjustment period. Little things, down to drinking water from the tap, take me a little while to get a taste for. I don’t know why, but it’s a part of my psyche that just won’t settle. I guess it manifests in my silly willingness to risk dehydration before taking a gulp from the faucet.
I noticed by the end of my trip in the U.S., I was ready to go back to Japan. I was ready to return to the land of impeccable customer service and common courtesy. I was ready to get back to my daily routines and, man, did I miss really good curry.
Tokyo is my home. This 550-square-foot apartment, whose tiny kitchen and lack of closet space I bitch about all the time, is my home. It’s where I can immediately exhale the moment I step inside. It’s where I can dance in my underwear, burn dinner and eat Nutella out of the jar without anyone to explain myself to. This is a constant safe haven no matter what else changes.
Over the past year, Craig and I have had our bond — our marriage — tested in such a unique way, but I’ve learned our bond is both flexible and strong. We’ve learned we can’t run away from conflicts, big or small — I mean, where in this little apartment would we go, really? One year in, I feel indebted to our incredible friends and family for their unwavering support, no matter how hard the goodbyes are each time we go (Spoiler Alert: They don’t get easier). I feel braver and ready for whatever the next year brings.
When I was home this past month, something was different that scared me a bit at first. I felt comfortable and safe in all the familiar places I went to, but something had changed. Those places are no longer home, and that’s OK. Japan is home, for however long we’ll stay.
So, here’s to year one. Kanpai!