Saturday, August 11, 2007

The last week on Hokkaido day by day: Saturday

Our last day living on Hokkaido at least at this point in our lives. We may come back someday for another extended visit especially since this is Keenan’s birthplace. For now though this is it and our last day here isn’t even a full day. The 3 of us woke up together all within an arms reach of each other. Having sold Keenan’s crib yesterday he was bedded down on his travel futon next to ours. It was nice to wake up to his easy breathing and eventual big smile. He is such a morning baby and it did loads to lift the packing weary spirits of his pooped out parents.

Pretty much everything was ready to go and we just needed to sit on our suitcase to get it closed over Keenan’s futon, strip our bed of bedding, fold up our futon for Kasi and wait for Sean’s supervisor Iwata-san to arrive to take us to the train station. He arrived around 7:15 am having just finished 18 holes of golf and we realized he likely was waking up just shortly after we drifted off last night. He was a little amazed by the weight and amount of our luggage but we got it all downstairs and packed into his mini van. There was no time for a lingering good-bye to our apartment. No last look in each room. No last peek at the stunning view of the Hidaka range from our balcony. No last chance to stand in our tatami room to take in that sweet scent of the mats one last time. Just a dash down the stairs in an effort to make it to the train station before the train left at exactly 7:50 am. Miyagashi-san, Sean’s other supervisor came by the apartment to pick up the receipts for the final payments of our utility bills. She has done a lot for us including bending a few rules in the last months of our stay here. To the depth of his gratitude Sean hugged her before bowing. She was genuinely shocked by the contact but I think she really appreciated the weight of the gesture. On the road and sitting in the back seat I was reminded of the last time one of Sean’s supervisor’s drove us down the same road. It was 8 pm, dark and foggy and I was in labor for Keenan. This time it was 7:30 am, bright and sunny and Keenan was sitting in my lap pointing at all the wondrous things he was seeing flying by the window. An arrival and departure so familiar and yet so very different. My heart ached for our home of 3 years already and it felt dreadful to get out at the train station. We got out of the car and made our way up the escalator. Iwata-san helped us with our heap of luggage and when we got to the platform Eiko was waiting for us. It was so good to see her. It helped slow time down a bit. We got our stuff loaded on the train and then we had some time for last good-byes and a few photos. The next time Eiko sees Keenan he’s going to be a much bigger boy so the two of them had a few last cuddles. Then we returned to our seats and our last good-byes were waves separated by the window. For those few minutes before the train departed I thought my heart would break. Seeing the tears on Eiko’s cheeks, feeling the lump in my throat, hearing Sean sniffing beside me and then on top of all of that Keenan was having so much fun making faces and waving to Eiko and Iwata-san. Another mixed bag of emotions and there we sat stalled on the verge of our departure. Then in a blink we were finally off. We sat and cried for a few seconds and then eagerly sat up to take in our last view of Obihiro. The most tears came when we crossed the city/town border between Obihiro and Memuro. Our last look at Obihiro was farmer’s fields a few weeks before harvest and at their peek of green-ness and beauty. After that we settled into our seats and enjoyed the view as much as possible. The only unpleasant view was the porn mags the guy sitting in front of us seemed to be enjoying. Friggin’ jerk. Keenan was a little fussy but it was nothing a couple of boobies couldn’t fix and he soon settled into a nap. The ride across the Hidaka range was beautiful and blissfully relaxing. Getting out at Minami Chitose is always a nightmare with lots of luggage as it is completely non-wheel chair/stroller/large rolling luggage accessible and of course we had 2 of the 3 including 4 carry on pieces. We did receive more than our fair share of stares but we managed fine nonetheless. Once inside the airport we headed directly to check in and got rid of the bulk of our burden. Our bags ended up being overweight but they let us get away with it. Our flight ended up being delayed by an hour, which we of course didn’t find out about until after we went thru security. So we had crappy food and little running around space for Keenan who was now both not interested in crappy food and very interested in running around. Yippy for us. Eventually we got on the plane and the sadness crept into our hearts and minds again. It was raining as we sped down the runway and rain streaked across the windows like the tears slipping down our cheeks. At long last we lifted off and left our beautiful Hokkaido with only one-way tickets in our name. It was a very strange feeling leaving our home behind. Regardless of the cultural differences and language difficulties we made lots of great friends and fell completely in love with the island. We had so many wonderful adventures and saw so many great things. We learned a lot about each other, our relationship and ourselves. Best of all though we left with the best omiyage ever our sweet, energetic and brilliant son Keenan. The best living memory we could have asked for.

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