As I am feeling somewhat better today, I decided to tackle some sewing and mending. And, to keep me company while I work, I opened up my iTunes and put on a podcast.
I download some podcasts from the BBC on a regular basis. I’d become a fan of the BBC World Service many years ago, as my father shared his love of radios — specifically shortwave — with me as a child and through my teenage years. We’d work together on some project, like finishing the basement, and he’d put on his old shortwave radio. We’d see what faraway places and mysterious foreign voices we could tune in to, and when we found one, we’d record the location on the dial on a two-by-four we had as a doorframe in the laundry room.
So as the dulcet tones of some BBC presenter told me of what’s happening in the world, I set about my sewing. I am hemming some drapes, so I stood over an ironing board and pressed and pinned.
And it occurred to me, that it was not so long ago — or rather, it WAS so long ago, and it only felt like a short time — that I was in my apartment in Japan, listening to the World Service and sewing.
I learned to sew in Japan, because I could not buy clothes to fit without a whole lot of searching. And fabric was cheap. So I had my father ship my sewing machine over to me. And I would spend some of my weekends creating some very badly made outfits to wear.
I had a shortwave radio as well as cable radio in my apartment, so I listened almost exclusively to the World Service. It helped me feel connected to the world, to other people alone in countries not their own, and it kept me company.
So as I pressed my hem here in my living room, I was suddenly overcome with homesickness. I missed my life in Japan.
I miss something about Japan on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the food. Maybe it’s a picture of a place I used to visit or wanted to visit and never got to. I miss the trains.
Japan is a wonderful place. There’s a lot to miss. So these pangs happen fairly regularly.
But today, I remembered days sitting in my apartment — I didn’t have an ironing board that I can recall, so I would have been sitting and ironing on the floor — doing just the same as today. Listening to the Beeb, drinking coffee, and sewing.
The difference, though, is that now I have a wonderful husband and a mob of cats, so I am sometimes alone but never lonely. And I have a home with stairs, which let me tell you, is something you miss in a one-room apartment.
And I have an ironing board.Â Luxury.
So, although I am homesick, I am definitely not unhappy.
Well, except for this hem, which is causing me no end of fuss and bother.