It’s a weird time of year for me in New Haven – the day after the rest of Yale graduated, I had a midterm in one of my classes. It’s not even my last class; I still have one more to go, plus another month of clinical before I can truly say I’m done with GEPN year. The weather is warming up, bringing with it rain and humidity. I asked someone if it was monsoon season and they looked at me strangely and said that New Englad doesn’t really have one of those. Then what’s with all this rain? I wanted to know. In my world, it either doesn’t rain (California) or it rains all the time (Oregon), but apparently “rainy seasons” are quite normal in other parts of the country. Spring is a natural time of growth and change and I’ve felt it in my own life in both major and subtle ways:
Hair: Growing up, I had my Dad’s hair. Not as coarse, not as thick, not as dark, but straight as a board and never frizzy. Even in high school, when I started cutting it shorter than my waist, it remained perfectly straight. I never needed to blow dry it and I mostly used the straightener to style my bangs. Within the last few years, though, it’s become wavy. I think this process actually started earlier in my 20’s, but I always chalked it up to the fact that my hair was *really* short and it no longer had any weight to it, or that I never really bothered to style it and so I was in a constant state of bed-head. But now it’s longer – past my shoulders – and on multiple occasions I have let it air-dry after my shower before bed and even apply a smoothing product to it and it’s still a giant, frizzy mess. I thought it might be the humidity (and it’s definitely worse when it’s humid), but my hair was damn-near *curly* the other night even though it was pretty dry out. I know that things like hair and skin change over our lifetimes, but I was startled to realize that this might just be the way my hair is, now. It certainly isn’t curly, but it’s not straight anymore, either. I have wavy hair. I’m still trying to bend my mind around it.
House: I moved. It’s farther away from campus and downtown, but about equidistant from the gym and Old Campus as my old apartment. It’s a converted attic with a lot of character – skylights and slanty ceilings – and it came fully furnished, so we don’t have to move or sell anything large when we graduate. I’m living with my friend, Maki, who is cleaner and more organized than I am (previous roommates, be shocked) and we have already fallen into a comfortable rhythm. It wasn’t anything we talked about, there is no chore wheel, we just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We’ve only been here a week and already she’s taken on more of the cooking responsibilities and I do our laundry. I was describing this to E and he said, “Oh, so you’re living like adults.” It was hilarious to hear him say it that way, but it’s true. But more than that, I enjoy living with someone I care about, someone I want to please and help out. When I see that she’s taken out the trash, it makes me want to put the dishes away. Not to be competitive, or out of fear, but just because I want to show that I’m appreciative of her thoughtfulness and consideration. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way in a living situation and it reminds me of why people in partnerships are happier and live longer.
Homesickness: I never used to get homesick. Not in college, not even in Japan, but I get homesick a lot out here. It’s something that comes and goes, but lately it’s been lingering. Linds came out to NY for her sister’s graduation and so I spent a weekend with her and her family. It felt so good to be with them and be taken care of, and more than anything it just felt good to see my friend. Linds and I have known each other 10 years this year, and while she is not my oldest friend, she is my most constant one, the one I see and talk to most regularly. When it was time to part ways, we stood for a long time in the middle of the street, hugging and crying, until one of her sisters broke it up. I’m not sure what it was, but it felt so much more like goodbye than Winter, or even Spring break. I think Linds felt that way, too – a few days later she sent me a text reminding me that we would see each other again for our friends’ wedding in September, which went a long way toward making me feel a lot better.
I’ve been missing my family a lot lately, too. I was putting on a pair of shorts that has a belt that you tie at the waistband and was trying to figure out the best way to tie it. I thought of the last time I was struggling to tie a belt, and how my mom showed me how she used to tie her gi. It’s a nice way to tie things – neat and not bulky – and the memory nearly reduced me to tears as I realized just how much I missed my mom. There have been other, little things – a dream about Roo, May birthday week (May 22-27 – my sister, my mom and two of my dear friends were all born within these five days), seeing my friend from college, Clay, Kim’s graduation from med school and my 10-year high school reunion, weather that reminds me of summer in Japan (I had a dream I was buying dessicants in a hardware store on Tanegashima), and a staircase in my new home that reminds me of San Francisco (three flights, narrow, winding, completely impractical) – all these things have left me a little なつかしい (nostalgic) and tender. I am eagerly counting down the days to July, when I will be spending a month with my sister in Tucson.