Hannah will be getting up to go to the airport in about 12 hours, starting her very long travel day(s). The trip should take about 26 hours, if flights are mostly kept on time. Needless to say, I will be anxiously awaiting a call on Thursday morning, telling me that Hannah has arrived safely in Nagasaki.
We had lots of tears last night, although Hannah had a better day on a whole. She spent the evening with fabric markers, decorating onesies for her new baby brother. We both got up this morning and set to work finishing off her packing, going through her travel itineraries, and reviewing financial issues once again. At 3:00 pm, we had finally completed the packing and had also watched the final two episodes of Gilmore Girls (the last season), which has Rori leaving to join the Obama campaign trail as a reporter for an online news service. Watching this episode started the tears again, but perhaps they were cathartic tears–filled with less resistance and more acceptance. Indeed, at some point this morning there was a shift in our attitude. We both finally stepped out of our protective layer of denial and realized that this was really going to happen. She really is going to Japan.
I am reminded once again how things/people/books seem to come into our hands at just the right moment. Last week, a long-time friend of mine, but one I haven’t seen in years, stumbled across this blog and commented on Hannah’s journey. My friend (Christy), noted that she was currently reading The New Global Student by Maya Frost and informed me that it contained a whole chapter on Rotary exchanges. After looking over Maya Frost’s blog, I determined I needed this book. Hannah and I picked up the book while out doing last minute errands yesterday. I read the chapter on Rotary exchanges aloud to Hannah this morning before we started packing. The vignettes of former Rotary students, all discussing the positive ways the experience has impacted their lives, really helped Hannah. It also noted, in many instances, how terribly hard and challenging the experience was at times, particularly in the first three-four months. Finally, it emphasized that tearful goodbyes were the general rule, not the exception (last night, Hannah and I started to wonder if there was something wrong with us for thinking we could actually part from one another). Reading this chapter was so helpful to us and was probably quite responsible for “the shift” noted earlier.
Thank you Christy and Maya Frost.