Everywhere I turn, people are speaking Spanish – America’s unofficial second language. I’m surprised that I can still understand the language fairly well – considering that I haven’t spoken it in some four years. I learnt a lot of new languages in my twenties – but Spanish is my still my favourite. I hear a whole plethora of other languages, too. Some I recognise. Others I don’t. I breathe in and out. It’s my first time in San Francisco, but I feel at home for the first time in a while.
The Two of Cups is an odd card. To me, it always looked like a prom date from 400 years ago. Boy meets girl at a party. Maybe they connect. Maybe they don’t. But exactly what is it that connects two people and repels two others? What is it that causes a particular person to rouse certain emotions in us while the large majority of people we meet are nothing but strangers all on the same life journey?
Who doesn’t love dumplings? I feel it’s one of those things that you can find in just about every cuisine. Meat wrapped in flour that’s either boiled, steamed, pan-fried or deep-fried. Yum yum yum! So my friend Noza taught me to make chuchvara – boiled dumplings served with either soup or tomatoes and onions.
Yes – it was a long time ago. Yes – people can and will tell you to get over it. Yes – perhaps they’re even right. But till pain is healed – it just hurts. And there’s very little that anyone can do about it. Hell – maybe you even want to get over it and you can’t.
Thankfully, it doesn’t snow much in Tokyo. It’s snowed a grand total of three times since I moved here some two and a half years ago. And yesterday’s snowfall was the biggest. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson when it started snowing. My students stopped listening to me and promptly rushed to the windowpanes to stare at those magical specks of white falling from the sky. The next thing I knew, some of them had opened the windows and stuck their hand out. They were collecting snowflakes and studying them. I’d done the same at their age – but how quickly the novelty had faded for me.
I open my eyes each morning and I just don’t want to go on anymore. Everything feels like an enormous effort. A voice inside me gently whispers, “Not much longer now. You can do this.” I haul my tired soul out of bed and stand under the hot shower. There is cleansing quality to the experience. I close my eyes and let the water wash over me. When I’m done, I crawl back into bed. Terrible. I know. I delay the moment when I must go out and face the world. I delay it till I can delay it no longer. I reluctantly make a cup of coffee and eat my breakfast. In truth, I have no appetite – but if I don’t eat, my body won’t function. I have a physically active job and I can’t afford to leave home on an empty stomach.
I love Japan – always have, always will. But it is a love that is born of duty and familiarity. Beijing – on the other hand – set my heart on fire. I didn’t expect it. But once I started to feel that way – I couldn’t control it. My passion had been reignited – and now that it has been awakened – there’s no putting it back to sleep.