We all know what happened in Japan in the early morning hours. I awoke to the awful news that Japan had been hit by a HUGE quake, and a Tsunami. I immediately went to Facebook. We have friends all over the world and Facebook, while incredibly trendy, is really the most convenient way to keep up with everyone. I was relieved to discover that my family's next duty station on Okinawa had dodged the bullet so to speak. The island did not feel the quake, nor did they get hit by a Tsunami. Everyone we know in Japan, Hawaii, and on our own west coast was safe.
I spent the morning glued to my TV, the news on, flipping between any station that was reporting on it. Back and forth during commercials. I am not even there yet but my heart is already attached. During all of my research, excitement, and preparation to move my family there for 4 years, I already feel an emotional attachment to the country and it's people. I received phone calls from family and friends asking if I was relieved that we weren't there yet. Many jokingly telling me that I'm not allowed to go. But I found myself not feeling relief that I'm not there. I wish I already were. My mind immediately went into what can I do to help mode. I began to think of what I could do to aid the people who lost so much.
I cannot imagine moving to a place and being completely oblivious to the danger, the loss, the pain of such an event. What happened in Northern Japan is their version of Hurricane Katrina, or the Indonesian Tsunami. For a long time Japan may be consumed by the utter devastation, destruction, loss, and death of their people, their infrastructure, their farm lands, and so much more.
The country that I've been dreaming of, fantasizing of living in, has been forever changed in the blink of an eye. In 4 short months I will be moving to a country that has been forever changed by recent tragedy. I will be moving to a place that is no longer the perfect paradise, or the ever exotic adventure that I pictured it to be, but a country and a people that will be healing from loss, and an economy that may be struggling to recover.
But I will take it all as it is. I will weave myself into the fabric of the country and it's people. I will do what I can to understand and reach out to those who may suffer from such a tragedy. Japan will be my home too. Today I signed an emotional contract with the people of a different nation and culture. Today I promised to look outside of myself to help repair something that may not be mine in territory, soil, or homeland , but is mine in heart.