on life in a foreign place (1).

i never want to seem as if i think my efforts spent on living in japan are more worthy or more heart-wrenching or more obedience-requiring than anyone else’s efforts to live rightly, at home or abroad.  this is why i often think to write about stuff here, but always stop short — who am i?

just a housewife, doing the daily in another land.

but oh, there is much between the lines, and i ache to write about it, yet shudder at the same because i don’t want to offend or belittle or frustrate.

we are all just doing our best to make do with what’s been given.

that’s my conviction on the matter.  each of us, all of us, our portions are God-given and different.  i’m going to write a little about mine.  you tell me about yours.


i do it so frequently now that i must take time to notice.  that was a foreign language you were just speaking there.

yes it was.  and i must say that when i really think about it, i can hardly believe that i conduct my daily business in japanese.  chatting with friends, answering a phone call, renting movies, reading labels at the supermarket, greeting neighbors, volunteering at school, giving birth — all in another language.  how can this be?

there are days in which i am quite proud of myself.  look at what you just did! you told a story, and appropriately so, and all these mamas are laughing along with you.. and you — you understand!

and there are days in which i want to crawl in a hole, and the gaping lack in my ability is frustrating, separative.  that saleslady — she gave you a blank look, and your mind just totally failed you! you said ‘thank you’ when you ought to have said ‘yes, but should i…?’ and you knew the right answer! why didn’t it come up for air? and now she will think such-and-such about all foreigners.  and what’s more, she thinks you’re dumb.

see how that last dialogue is longer? i’ve been thinking for a while that i should start studying again, as the holes in my vocabulary are obvious and stunting.  but what mama, with two under two and a so-crazy-loud-and-spirited-four-year-old-BOY has time for that? so i get by with to foundation i laid during the first two years of language lessons.  its enough for now.  its hard, though, to know there is a better way to be culturally appropriate with your language, but remain unable to access it.  humbling? yes, with gusto.

what humbles YOU in your here and now?



One thought on “on life in a foreign place (1).

  1. Pingback: on life in a foreign place :: ambiguity. | high countries

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