Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunset at Saito - Going Home

Sunset Fuji
Kanata with fireworks
There was a grand going-away party.  With handmade pizza, love cookies, and ice cream cake.  There were fireworks, presents, and...

Ice cream cake (from Baskin Robbins!) "Kayti- 10 times- Congratulations!" (10 births, 10 catches)

The whole gang
 And my very own yukata- Summer Kimono!

Asai-san, dressing me in my new yukata
in my new yukata, a present from the midwives and staff at Saito Birth House
with Ando-san, midwife

with Iyoku-san, midwife
with Asai-san, kids' caretaker, who dressed me in my new yukata
with Ryutaki-san, midwife

with Shiramizu-san, midwife

with Suzuki-san, acupuncturist and massage
with Kaneko-san, midwife
with Kuma-chan, midwife
with "Oojichan"- Mr. Saito

With Saito-san. 
LED screen drink vendor at the Ofuna Train Station
Train from Ofuna to the airport in Narita
Went from the constantly surrounding jovial comraderie of Saito Birth House to the anonymous compartmentalization of the train. It was so surreal.  So clear that I had broken off, disjoined, had entered another world again.
And then I was home.  Just like that. 
The air in San Diego was so cool and soft.  So light on my skin.  When I woke up, I could hardly believe how easy the air felt.  How good it was to be home.
The Birth House midwives and Staff had given Lukas a present, too:  His own men's Yukata, or Summer Kimono.  With Geta (sandals) to match!
And so the Pink Curtain is closing.  The final bows have been taken.  It was such a sweet sorrow, leaving so many incredible people and such a happy place.  I had really believed I would never want to leave.  But, to be honest, being back home has been just as sweet.  Just more wonderful than I remembered, full of promise, and new ways of seeing things and people.  I am so impressed by the birth community here in San Diego, by the easy access and relative emptiness of the roads, and the free parking everywhere!  As Dawn Thompson said to me, "You will continue to realize what you gained over there as time goes on and you integrate the knowledge and experience."  And it is true.
Being in Japan raised my consciousness of community, of calm, and of ways of marking special moments, places and people with beautiful tributes. 
And the Pink Curtain will continue to be drawn back, to ask questions, to inspire each other.  I hope I have opened a new portal for both sides to learn and enjoy.  I hope many Japanese midwives will come and visit us here, for vacation and for learning.  I hope I will usher other students over there.  Many hopes, many dreams, many realities yet undiscovered.