So it’s the last day of 2005. In a few hours, after the nap, we will head over to the home of another Japanese/American couple with children and celebrate by eating soba noodles and nasty sweet beans.

We just arrived home from visiting my father and friends in Cleveland. It was most excellent hanging out in my dad’s well-stocked house, visiting my evil stepmother’s (she’s like the opposite of evil, but I just like writing “evil stepmother”) children and grandchildren and watching m1 play, and catching up on the lives of my friends’ and their new progeny.

And yet…driving around Cleveland and walking around Coventry really brought it home to me that Cleveland is no longer really my home. The stores have all changed. Coventry has morphed from hippie hang out to genteel shopping district. There are too many people in the lives of my family and friends with whom I did not grow up. Not that I don’t like spouses and children, but you can’t exactly get away with farting in front of them or telling long, pointless stories like I can with my A and E and H.

I felt, driving and walking around, forgotten memories of events attaching themselves to me like clinging ghosts. They weighed me down rather than filled up empty spaces. I am no longer that Kirsten, and I have come so far from her that it feels like a costume I put on sometimes.

So if Cleveland is no longer my home, what shall take its place? What’s going to anchor me in Cleveland did for so long as I crisscrossed the Pacific? I thought it would be my family, you know, the whole “wherever family is, there is home” thing. But seeing H’s 13 year old daughter, it made me realize that no matter how much m and m need me now, they will grow up and away from me.

I used that biblical Ruth quote in my wedding. “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” which of course is a daughter-in-law talking to her mother-in-law and not a wife to a husband, but you get the idea.

I guess what I didn’t consider way back in 1998 is that by making Japanese my people and Japan a part of me, that I would end up with a home base so impossibly wide it encompasses two continents.

Maybe we should go live in Hawaii, I don’t know. At least it’s halfway in between.

But here I am in Portland, and about to go to a friend’s house. And maybe, just maybe, this will become a tradition. And maybe, just maybe, five or ten years from now I will go back to this entry and laugh because I will have grown deep roots here.

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