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As our plane climbed into the clouds, I couldn’t help but look back one last time at my beloved Japan and think about what I’ve gained and what I have left behind. My heart leapt and a tear rolled down my cheek as I was treated to one last view when  our plane circled Mt Fuji. In the shadow of this majestic mountain, my second family…my second home…and the ashes of my precious Kate, remain. My hope is that Kate’s ashes will provide the nourishment for a cherry blossom tree somewhere, to provide even more beautiful, spectacular blossoms to adorn my second home and be enjoyed by my second family. There is no doubt that today I left part of my heart-and part of my soul-in Japan.

My gains are too numerous to recount. I am told that Japanese people rarely speak the words “I love you.” But I have learned that they DO say “I love you”—many times and in many ways…with their hearts and with their actions. And for all those “I love yous” I received in the past 3 years…I say to you “I love you too!” For ALL of our friends we have met in Japan, Japanese and American, know that you have touched my life – so deeply and so profoundly, I leave you with the words of this unknown author…

“There is a secret that only real friends know and it is this.
All the mountains, valleys and oceans in the world
cannot separate hearts that are as one.”

I am so thankful that I have been able to record at least some of my experiences here. Thank you dear Megan for naming this blog and convincing me to do it. As we return to the United States to begin a new adventure, I close the “Grits in Tokyo” chapter of my life. However, stay tuned for the next chapter, “Grits in the Rockies” (thank you Suzanne for suggesting this name). Megan, will you help me set it up?????? 🙂

With love and gratitude…until we meet again,
“Grits”

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