Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Desire Vs. Enough

Yesterday, the Moose needed help with his homework, and despite all of us trying (including the Mule), we came up empty. This afternoon, I asked him what his teacher said about his incomplete homework. He replied, "I did it at school Mama, don't worry." So I am on the fence- a part of me wants to dwell on what I can't do here- the language thing and with two kids in shogakko it is more and more of an obstacle, and the other side is that things work themselves out- I just have to let go. As a lover of words and stories it is painful that my children speak another language to each other and yet can't spell basic words in English and read at a much lower level than their American peers. I have much in common with immigrant mothers- I am illiterate, and I have little comprehension of the cultural experiences my children have at school. My husband thinks all of this is fabulous and praises my perseverance to give them this immersion and language experience. The truth is that I am thinking, "time is up, let's pull choks and go home." Home ownership and the lack of a viable renter are part of it too.

Letting go of my desire to leave is tested daily with interactions that have me feeling like a buffoon as I pantomime and blurt out a few words to get through. Today, as I was getting out of my car, the elementary school children were making their way home. There was a small gaggle of them in front of our "garden." This amuses me because of the attention the garden gets despite it's small size- it also reflects the value of location. The boys were pointing to the cucumbers, and the girls were telling them, "no," as if they had threatened to pull the cucumbers off the vine. My faith in the Japanese culture is great- I never thought the cucumbers would be picked. I did think about the crows eating them though.

As I passed by, I told them to look for the "shiso" and the "mini toe ma toe" as the Japanese say. They found them and nodded appreciatively. One of them pointed to the not so good looking basil plant and identified it correctly. The other boy said he didn't know what basil was. I said, "Basil toe toe ma toe, oyshi!" which is a rough version of, "Basil and Tomatoes (implied together), (are) tasty!" This prompted one boy to tell the other children about how I don't speak Japanese which he fleshed out the week before when our paths crossed. What could I say. "So so so." It is disheartening to be out chatted by a six year old.

These things wear on me now. Before they did not. I am tired of being confused, and in some ways, stuck in an infantile existence of depending upon the kindness of strangers to help me. I used to laugh that we had to find the Mule to speak for us- even at five she could do this. Now, I just feel frustrated. To me the answer is to go home, but home is still here for another year. Pulling up and heading back is thinking of me, honestly. There is much to be said for being together and the munsters aren't as put off as I am with their immersion. They pushed back when I pushed forward in yochien, and, now, the tables have turned. I don't want to think of the reasons to stay as much as I want to think of the reasons to go, but there are others in my life and so I think of them and their happiness, and it is enough, at least until we don't find a renter.