Sunday, November 14, 2004

In Awe of My Life Here...by Kathy

Well, it's Sunday night, the close of another fantastic weekend. I've just been posting some pictures, and realizing that there is no way to really convey the feelings I have been having this weekend. Life here is incredible. It is one amazing experience after another. I keep being blown away by how many great people we meet every day, and how many unique experiences we get to encouter. Let me give you a sense of this by describing the weekend that is just now closing.

Friday night: We went to Ikkyuu, our Friday night hangout. It is a traditional Japanese izakaya, or pub. Every week, something new and crazy seems to happen there. The staff knows us now, and treats us extremely well. Usually Jeff and I meet Mark and Ayako there at 9 and stay till after 1. This week, Jeff invited Ed (from England) and Bea (from Iceland). Kevin (from Calgary) joined us as well. After a while, we noticed we were being watched by a large group of guys from another table. They soon started using their broken English to try to connect with us. It turns out they were a soccer team. Soon they joined us, shared some food, armwrestled Kevin, and practiced their English! After they left, Bea noticed a group of guys speaking Danish, so she invited them to join us. Turns out they were from Denmark on a two week business trip. Incredible night.

Saturday night: This is probably the best experience we've had so far. We invited Ayako and Mark over for a yakiniku dinner on our new hotplate. We had no idea how well they would spoil us that night. Mark made us amazing appetizers and shared his Baci chocolate with us for dessert. And they each brought a bottle of wine... one to complement the appetizer, and one for the main dish. We feasted that night. The pictures I posted reveal a bit of that feast. But the more significant part of the night was the company and the conversation. Mark shared his pictures of Greece (his home) and Thailand (a recent trip) with us. We talked all night, and I just kept thinking about how lucky I am to be having these experiences. I felt like my heart was going to explode. We keep meeting terrific people, and we have so many opportunities to travel and explore the gorgeous world we live in. I can't really put into words what I felt that night, but it was sheer joy and contentment. I am so glad we came here. I am so glad we sold and gave away everything. I am so glad we left the status quo. We are now living the life I have been dreaming of since I first started traveling, and the freedom is amazing. The cost of this freedom? Loneliness. But it's always bitter sweet. I miss you all so much, but I've also had great talks and email exchanges with you since we've been here. And no matter how much this gypsy travels, Canada will always be home, and I am so glad you will all be there to welcome us back when that time comes...

Sunday: we went to a place recommended by Mark to get our hair cut. Turns out there is a guy there who spent two years in California and speaks very good English: Masataka Otsuka. This was another amazing experience. Our hair was washed, our scalps massaged, our hair was cut, then washed and conditioned AGAIN, we each received a pressure point massage along our necks and backs, and our hair was styled. But the thing is, it wasn't just all the things they did for us, it was HOW they did it! I told Jeff after that they must spend months just learning how to wash someone's hair! Masa held my neck up so I didn't have to, covered my face with a tissue so I wouldn't be splashed by water... even the way he dabbed water away from my forehead and wrapped the towel around my head was amazing! So much attention to detail... they even had special wooden cases for us to put our glasses in. Everything was done with style... Masa's whole body was into the movement of him combing and cutting my hair... all very fluid motions. We will definitely go there again!

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