Last night was the first time I got homesick on my trip to Kyoto. It was day 9 of a 24 day trip to Japan and then onward to South Korea. I was walking around somewhat bored. I had seen everything and ran out of things to do: I was Shinto and Buddhist shrined out. I had taken a side trip to Nara and seen the giant Buddha and the largest wood structure in the world it was housed in.
In Kyoto I went down to a water way where people were walking and picnicking next to a shallow river with heron in it. Families and couples walked by as I sat and wrote. It was cloudy and in the low 70’s. My aloneness was showing.
I don’t get homesick: I went to sleep away camp for ten day stretches at the Oregon Coast when I was 10, 11 and 12. I went to college 2700 miles from home. I can think of only two occasions when I was homesick: At Camp Cleawox when I was 12, I asked my camp counselor if I could call home to talk to my Mom. I think it was mostly a ruse because I wasn’t having a good time and I was at that awkward age where girls get more clique-y. The counselor got clearance from the director and I talked to my mom for five minutes in the staff break room area where campers weren’t allowed. I can’t remember what she said but it was something along the lines of: “you’ll be home in a few days. Relax and go have fun with your friends. You’re at summer camp.” I did and that was that. It was my last summer sleep away camp.
My senior year of college was a similar situation: my last semester I wanted to get away from upstate NY because there was drama with a few friends in a clique I had had a falling out with. I spent a lot of time in a mostly empty art history building using the computer, looking out the window at the snow and cold on the ground, surfing the Internet and writing papers. I had a light class load and had a lot of time on my hands.
I wanted to go home to Oregon to start working.
Back in Kyoto at the waterway I got bored and hungry and decided to get some food at a convenience store: carrot and spinach mixed in some sort of dressing and what I thought was chocolate mousse but turned out to be more jello-y than mousse-y. For the main course I went to McDonalds and got a Big Mac. The Big Mac was USA. I came home and in the pink tiled kitchen of my Airbnb ditched the buns in favor of a meat and mayo and thousand island mix with some pickles and lettuce. I ate my weird dinner and sat in the Airbnb bored and tired. I had already walked 12 miles that day and had no desire to go back out and be with tourists. Even though I was one.
I wanted to get away from the slow moving ones that clogged up the sidewalks. They moved slow, stopped and pointed at things and I wanted to yell at them. I am a fast walking tourist with zero patiences: for the most part. If I’m lost I might look at Google maps on my phone extra hard, focus and walk slowly. But I’ll usually get out of the way and let you pass.
I’ll step to the side and not block the sidewalk.
Brandon and I text and I miss him. Missing him and my thirteen year old pancreatic cat with arthritis has also been looming. I go through pictures on my phone and delete 450 along with a bunch of videos to make room for more pictures on my Japan and South Korea trip.
At your Airbnb in Osaka it’s 6:30 am and you’re drinking coffee. You decide to take a day off from sightseeing because your head feels like it might explode if you have to navigate your way to another museum and deal with slow walking tourists.
Yesterday it was four trains from Kyoto to Osaka and dropping your stuff off at the Airbnb. You went out to the Osaka Castle and looked around. It was overloaded with tourists but they didn’t bother you.
You took pictures and sent them to Brandon. You still missed him but the feeling of homesickness left you. You knew it would. The last night in Kyoto was not great but you got through it.
You know how to get through things.
Your mom taught you how to do that. Get through it and suck it up kid. It’s how you have been able to get through life and travel around the world on your own.
Today you will visit the neighborhood around your Airbnb and go to local stores Asoko and Flying Tiger Copenhagen and shop.
And walk fast.