Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm at Narita airport now, in Tokyo. Soon I will board the long international flight to the U.S. I've been here many times, in fact, I was in this same spot almost exactly three months ago, about to embark on almost the same flight, wearing my same "travel skirt;" however, I couldn't be more different.

The ReBekha who boarded that December flight to America was nearly bursting with excitement. Her left hand, newly adorned with a shiny ring, seemed to float through the airport. She beamed at every stranger she passed, hoping they'd ask her where she was going, and why.

It's easy to tell people about an engagement. You show them the ring, squeal a little, absorb every "Congratulations!" and "When's the wedding?!" Absorb all that excitement and beam it right back at them.

But how do you tell people the opposite?

As I sit at this same gate, preparing to board this same flight, wearing the same clothes, I feel like a completely different person. I can't stand to look strangers in the eye, because I am afraid they will know. My left hand, though newly unburdened, seems to be made of lead. If anyone asked me where I was going and why, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to answer. 

I don't know how to be this person, and I don't know how to share this news. Posting it on a public blog is probably the worst way, but I need people to just know. I need them to not ask "When's the wedding?!" to not shout "Congratulations!" and to not look for the ring. It's not there now, and it never will be again.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Surprise Engagement Party

Friday was graduation day at my high school, and this year was particularly emotional, because I'd seen many of the graduating students grow so much in the past three years, and had become incredibly attached to them.

However, it was also a uplifting occasion because I got to celebrate with them, take lots of pictures together, and see an old coworker, Max, who'd come back for the occasion.

 To celebrate graduation day, and for old-time's-sake, Max, Sun, and I went to lunch at Cafe Kugafu. While there, we kept an eye on little baby Dion, whose family owns the cafe. When we were getting ready to go back to school for an International Club meeting, the cafe got incredibly busy. I knew that Kazuno (Dion's mom) would be extremely busy trying to take care of customers and watch Dion, so I offered to take him back to school with me for the afternoon.

Back at Koyo, we waited for the club meeting to start, and Dion fell deeply asleep in my arms. When it was finally time for the meeting to start, I walked in and the room exploded! 
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More than twenty students greeted me with party poppers and screams of "Congratulations!" I was completely shocked: they were throwing me an engagement party! Amazingly, Dion stayed asleep through all that commotion, and I quickly searched the room for some place for him to sleep. I spotted the prop box full of cozy costumes and laid him in there. He stayed asleep in that box for an entire hour of loud music, dancing, laughter, and countless girls taking his picture. :) Too cute.

 Once Dion was settled I got a chance to really see what was going on. The students had gone into great detail decorating the classroom, and had drawn some pretty convincing pictures of me and J. <3 br="" nbsp="">

 Then the leader of our club, M, annoucned that it was time for the first event: a dance to "I Think I Wanna Marry You." At first I was amazed that they'd choreographed a dance for me, but it turns out the plan was to play the music really loud and just run/dance around the classroom in a circle. Tooooooo fun!

 We also had a delicious cake with fruit and a giant chocolate circle on top. :)
 And the final event was a model-walk-race. Haha only my girls would come up with such a thing.
 It was incredibly fun, though, and Max really got into it.  That boy looks FIERCE!
 After an hour, Dion's mom came to claim him, and the party kept going for about another 45 minutes. We played another round of runway race, they asked me a bunch of questions about J and our relationship, and then we all sat around eating and chatting. It was SUCH a sweet thing for them to put together, and I feel incredibly lucky to have such thoughtful, kind students. I am going to miss them all TOO much. What a great day!