One of my very first posts on this blog was a happy introduction to my bookshelves. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I bring you this image today. A photo of empty bookshelves is truly heartbreaking, especially knowing that these three were once full of great books.
But with the clock ticking on our final year in Japan, preparations for the move back are starting early. As much as I love to come home to shelves heavy with books, I’m in agreement with Alex that the books need to be shipped first, while we still have the money to do it.
Pretty much as soon as we decided that we were moving back I adopted a ‘no book left behind’ policy. Alex tried to fight this at first, but in this I’m firm. I can’t part with a book. Not one book. Not even the books I really didn’t enjoy. I would feel their loss acutely, if even one of my literary herd vanished. At least we both like books enough to place them as first priority of the things we move.
So yeah, boxing up our life of the past five years began last month and it has been hard on both of us. Being in our late twenties, this was really our first time living on our own, living together, making it work as adults do. It’s always hard to uproot oneself from one place to another. As items from the house you’ve become so familiar with begin to disappear, it really hits home that you’re leaving, that this place that has been a part of you for the past however many years is truly going to be left in the past. All of life is a transition, but I can’t think of anything else that more clearly expresses that, all at once, than moving. We must dismantle and pack every aspect of our lives, both material and memorial, from the last five years and ship them off to another country. Each box that is taped up and sent off leaves the house we’ve called home a little emptier and a little colder. Soon we’ll be standing in its shell. A soulless body ready to accept another family after us.
And I’m sorry to get all sappy and poetic with this, but it’s hard to put these emotions into words. When packing started, Alex and I both fell into melancholy. Since Alex did the packing herself she experienced it more strongly. I think I’ve mostly been mentally and emotionally avoiding the issue, though moving is coming whether I’m ready for it or not.
We have moments of excitement, of course. We’re going to be stepping into a new stage in our lives: grad school and publishing for her and finally finishing my degree for me. Turning an eye toward the future helps keeps our spirits up while we prepare to say good bye to far too many happy memories in Japan.
And really, that’s what makes this the most difficult. The books will be waiting for us when we get back to Canada. I have no doubt that we’ll be able to make a life just as good if not better than the one we’ve made here. Together, Alex and I have managed to overcome some huge hurdles and carve out a very comfortable life. No, I’m not worried about the future, but what can I say? The present is pretty damn awesome as well. Japan has been and continues to be good to us. When the day comes, I’m going to be terribly sad to close this chapter of our lives. I’m not ready to leave, but some changes have to be made before one is truly ready.
So goodbye for now books. So long bookshelves. Farewell to our time in Japan. It’s been swell. I’ll miss you, but it’s time to move on.