Thursday, July 19, 2012

Phase 3

It feels to me as though my time at home in Washington this summer has been divided up into three distinct phases.  Phase One revolved around my Japanese class, which consumed nearly all of my spare time and attention.  Phase Two began several days after my class wrapped up, when Ben came home.  He'd been in "Teach for America" training in Phoenix up through the first week of July, and came home for a quick rest before leaving this morning for Kyle, South Dakota, where he will be teaching this coming year.  Phase Two involved a lot of down-time (since that was what Ben needed the most while he was home), and a lot of time spent in fellowship with folks from my home-church, Wiser Lake Chapel--to be precise, a Tuesday evening potluck and discussion lead by Ben, two weeks' worth of Wednesday evening softball games/barbecues, a Wednesday morning prayer meeting and, of course, both a morning and evening service this past Sunday.  It was a relatively uneventful 10 days, but provided a chance to catch up on rest after the intensity of the class I took (and really, the end of the school-year at CAJ, which had been followed closely by my summer class).

When Ben's Ford Explorer turned out of the driveway early this morning, Phase Three began.  This will last until I fly out for Japan on July 30.  It will be a quiet phase, with my brother away, my sister working and my parents leaving for several days next week.  It will be a time of reflection on what has been, of preparation for what's to come--both my return to Japan and the impending school-year.

Summer is a precious time to me, and each year, I wonder if I am really making the most of my summers.  Recently, someone commented that I must really like taking pictures of sunsets--as a matter of fact, I will drop what I am doing to go outside and watch a summer sunset from the field behind the house.  To stay inside when such a breathtaking show is taking place would seem a waste.  So, I go outside, and I watch, and I take pictures on the off-chance that at least one of my pictures will do justice to the scene I am enjoying.

At this time in my life, I am managing to straddle two worlds with relatively little hassle: the ceaselessly interesting and rewarding career that I'm building in Japan, and the abundant natural beauty and much needed family-time of Washington.  I realize that the way things are now is likely impermanent: I doubt I'll always live a routine of Christmas and Summer breaks spent in Washington with the rest of the time in Japan--inevitably, something will change.  So, for the time, I treasure this arrangement and hold fast until the next phase begins (not just of my summer, but of my life).

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