Monday, November 09, 2009

Connecting again

I had a nice weekend with my friends from the States. Yoko and her husband and daughter made it to Nikko on Saturday despite train schedule changes and missed connections. On my side, a few of the plans I'd made got mixed up but I guess the purpose was to catch up on each other and past friends so it was a good two days.

Yoko was my roommate in college and we lived together on the International floor of the dorm. I had gone to Japan on the overseas program and was studying Japanese when I moved onto the floor and Yoko helped me with my Japanese homework. I can still remember asking Yoko to check my writing assignment (in Japanese) and she not having the slightest idea of what I was trying to say. Sigh... I might have given up Japanese altogether back then if she hadn't helped me.

This weekend we laughed about dorm life memories; the girls' side of the floor buying men's trunks and dyeing them pink to give to the boys' side of the floor for Valentine's day. Drinking plum wine in the evenings (hoping to build up our alcohol tolerance) though neither of us were drinkers. We both remember those days as REALLY good ones!

Yoko married an American boy immediately after college (we were all in the same year in college) and I took off for Japan and later married Tetsu. So our lives have been somewhat mirrored. Yoko living in the States these 30 plus years. Me living in Japan for nearly as long. It was interesting to compare stories of child raising and nowadays parent care (or lack of it since we both don't get back to our parents' homes but once or twice a year). Since Yoko had gone college in the States I asked for any advice she might have for my kids who are trying to do the same thing now.

While chatting we did a lot of driving around which may have been uncomfortable. There was no way 5 of us were going to fit in one of our small cars and so we moved around in two cars; womenfolk in one car so that we could chat, menfolk in the other car with more leg room. Unfortunately, Tetsu and Yoko's husband didn't really have a common language so lots of shoulder shrugging and smiling.

I think it is true that the people that come into our lives shape us sometimes ever so slightly, sometimes hugely. Yoko is one of the people who influenced me greatly and helped bring me to where I am today. In the past, we have been Christmas card friends (but her daughter reads my blog! Hi Sarah!) but I hope we'll be better about keeping in touch now that we've touched bases again.

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