We have moved. Finally a lovely space to call our own. Sometimes the pieces all fall into place and you see God's hand at work. This long process of moving has been one of those experiences. Moving from small apartments and most recently a granny flat to a big house is a lovely change. I am adoring having a garden, something I did not at all appreciate when I was growing up. I think a garden is one of those things you don't really miss until it's gone. Luka is loving the stairs. Up and down he climbs, laughing every time as he peeks through the railings on his way up.
Our house it furnished with a few pieces that made the move from Tokyo, but mostly is a motley collection of lovely pieces generously gifted to us. I look around each room and see the blessings of family, the family by name and the family we have been adopted into. It is so beautiful to be a part of this network.
I moved to Japan 13 years ago with two suitcases. Since then I have accumulated far too much stuff. With every move, I would throw a few things away. But I would also pack a couple of boxes and send them back to Mum and Dad. I finally have opened all these time capsules, containing things whose only purpose is to bring back memories. I had letters from 1999 from the Japanese embassy telling me the time to come for exams and interviews for the program which took me there to live for a number of years. I unpacked certificates from piano exams in high school. I piled up MDs (mini-discs?) which were all the rage in Japan when I was first there. I haven't owned an MD player for many years... I discovered the journal I kept as a twelve-year-old girl travelling overseas for the first time, to California for six months with my family. Unpacking them all has been fun. Some I have kept. Some I have finally thrown away.
We are funny creatures. I remember when I was younger learning about crows, how they collect shiny things just because they are attractive. At the time I thought that it was a decidedly odd thing to do. I have more rooms in this house than I've had before and I can think of so many shiny, pretty things with which to fill those rooms. We are just as odd, really, as crows. Most of us, if we are sitting at a computer or on a phone reading/writing a blog post like this, have very few needs that are not fulfilled. I would hazard a guess that most of what we buy - other than the food we eat - falls into the fun-but-quite-unnecessary category.
So I have been thinking about contentment, being happy with what I have. I love to dream about the future, I always have. It is fun and helps to be prepared, helps guide our learning and thinking. But it also has the danger of putting us in a mindset where we are not enjoying where we are and what we have. Instead of looking ahead at what might lie around the bend in the road, I am trying to remind myself to enjoy this, the here and now. As G.K. Chesterton said, "being 'contented' ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased." I want to be pleased with what I have, as well I should be. It is, indeed, a very pleasing life!
Most pleasing of all, this little man is about to turn one.
I'm not quite sure where the year has gone but I know it has been the most delightful. There is no better reason than a growing child to enjoy the here and now. I am busy planning a small but special day just for him.
He started daycare last week. Just one day a week at the moment, and he loved it. No tears and no looking back. He hardly had time to say goodbye when I left; all he saw was new toys and new people to play with. And as for me, perhaps I should have been missing him more. But no, I relished the uninterrupted day of peace and quiet. Loved my day alone. And then loved the smiles on his face when I went to collect him at the end of the day! Gorgeous.
Uninterrupted days are quite needed at the moment. I am in the third week of my studies and already behind. I have two law degrees from two different countries. Studying law again, in a third country, seems like a bit of overkill. But as I don't have much choice if I want to practise here (and going along with my efforts at being content), I am choosing to look at it as a privilege. How amazingly lucky are we to be able to study and learn and grow?
My boxes of law textbooks. There is one more still in the garage. I can't quite bring myself to throw them away.
And on a final note:
"He stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni"
"They all ran after the farmer's wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife"
"When the bough breaks, The cradle will fall, And down will come baby, Cradle and all"
"Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater, Had a wife and couldn't keep her; He put her in a pumpkin shell, And there he kept her very well"
How did we grow up even semi-normal singing such weird nursery rhymes when we young?!