Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Full circle and wows

A horse at the farm where my niece Alyssa is living - she took this photo when it snowed the other day - gorgeous! 

Thank you everyone who left such kind and encouraging comments on my last post!  I mostly haven't regretted my decision!   David is already starting to clean out/give away items in the Tokyo apartment with my remote help and he has moved his home office from a basically windowless room, out in to where I used to quilt - a major upgrade for him.   We FaceTime at least once a day, usually twice. 

The great news is that I have found a townhouse to rent here in NC.  There's a perfect spot for David's home office... and a tiny bedroom perfect for a little sewing room, yes!  I get the keys next week.  I'm working on all the details that moving requires.   I will breathe easier once our household goods are moved out of storage in NH and arrive down here in NC. 

In the meantime, I am staying with Noelle and Keenan and trying to keep a low profile, lol.  I am staying in their spare room and have my own bathroom and a beautiful view out of my window - well it might not be a beautiful time of year, but for me, coming from such city views, this is beautiful (it even snowed the other day). 

A little baking on a Sunday morning - these are such good cinnamon rolls from King Arthur Flour  and the recipe utilizes the Japanese milk bread method.  And I'm back in the U.S. which means no more tiny oven.  Eight big rolls, big cookie sheet, big oven. 

Noelle and Keenan's work from home vibe: 

It is amazing how you can't really predict life events.  Ten years ago we had been in Japan (the first time) for six months. Noelle was in art school in Boston.  I had made this quilt for her. 

Now ten years later, full circle, I'm the one sleeping under it, crashing at her place while I wait to get into my own.  During a worldwide pandemic.  While she and her husband work their tech jobs from home.  Wow.

I feel like I've made 100 of these square on square quilts.   This one qualifies as wabi sabi at this point, after 10 years of use and many washings.  

It needs some repairs, which will be a pleasure to do at some point! 

Faded label but the love never fades for my beautiful sensitive artistic first born child. 

People rarely think about how it is when expats return to their home countries, not just to visit, but to live at home again.  We have done it before so I knew what to expect but yes I am having the usual reverse culture shock.  Things seem big, loud, messy, friendly, easy.   I'm learning how to drive around comfortably again.  It's a pure pleasure to listen to music and NPR in the car.  I had to mail something overnight at FedEx, which I have never done before, and it was easy... finding the place, no language barrier, no 1000 step process for the simplest thing.  Did I mention EASY? 

I went to Target the other day and walked down nearly every aisle completely overwhelmed, not in a bad way, but in a "wow" way.  I just sort of thought "all of this feels relevant to me and I'd like one of everything, thank you" - ha ha.  I looked at bath towels.  Colorful, big, wow.  I bought myself a pillow and pillowcases, some Pepperidge Farm cookies, and the smallest water bottle I could find that wasn't a child's water bottle, and it's still at least twice as big as my Japanese water bottle.  I could read and understand everything.... and understand what anyone around me was saying.  Self checkout, wow.  Easy 15 minute drive from Noelle's.  Just, wow.  

I haven't been doing any hand work.   I want to get back in the groove.  I need to break the ice with my  appliqué again!  

One thing I still do everyday (easy, on my phone) is the NYT crossword which I love.  

The Monday puzzle from a couple days ago had an old-fashioned quilting reference that made me smile.

Speaking of word games, I'm also having fun doing Wordle once a day - I know many of us are!  I guess it's become a whole worldwide phenomenon!  It is not an app (beware imitations!).  

My goal is that before I post again, I will be back in the groove working on the two appliqué projects I brought with me. 

Hurray for January being almost over... 



  1. So interesting to think of how different things would be coming back home to the US. It doesn't take long for our perspective to change! Thanks for the link to Wordle. I had tried it before and couldn't figure it out and wanted to try again. This time I managed to complete one Wordle! Might be a game that I can stick with!:)

  2. I was wondering how you have been adjusting to life back home (sort of). The differences can be overwhelming, I'm sure. Barb just mentioned Wordle too. I'll have to check it out.

  3. Loved hearing your description of transitioning back to the US! So many things we take for granted, or overlook (messy, noise) because they are ever-present.

  4. Welcome back home--reverse culture shock right?
    I've never played Wordle either...I will have to figure it out...enjoy the snowy day there...hugs, julierose

  5. Welcome home!! I felt the same way moving from Miami to Charlotte...It was like a different country!!

  6. There is no place like home. As always, I enjoy your posts. Hugs

  7. It's interesting that you say how easy things are here, and I'm sure that they are compared with Japan. But maybe it's my aging that makes me feel that life is so much more complex now than it was a few years ago. Thankful though for our rural setting, and the quiet that surrounds us. Your townhouse sounds like it will be perfect for you two as you transition back to life here. I hope the moving of your household items goes smoothly so you can settle in quickly.

  8. Oh, I am so excited for you! Having your own place will make you feel even more like you are back "home". I know you will find your rhythm and get back into quilting when the dust settles. But for now, enjoy the moments as they happen. Enjoy the day!

  9. What a wonderful story about coming back to the US. When our family came back from living in Peru for two years, we were excited to have church in English, and like you, to be able to understand conversations again (although I'd picked up a lot of Spanish, it doesn't always allow you to understand everything).

    Good luck with the myriad of details, from getting your NH goods to NC, and closing down your life in Japan. And I hope in the future, you will find another "forever" house, too.

  10. Here in the PNW (Pacific North West, USA) there are times when foreign language skills come into play, Spanish with all the Mexicanos in the area. Thankfully I don't need those skills being retired. So, will you be changing the title of your quilt blog now that you are "home again"?

    1. Your blogger profile is "no reply" so I can not email you. No.... I will keep the blog title! Years ago I had a quilt blog called "A Quilter by Night" because I was a teacher by day, quilter by night. I regret starting over with a completely new blog (this one) - so I don't want to do that again;).

  11. I love reading your impressions of coming "home". What an adventure you have had! I am glad to hear that you have found a place to roost for now.
    In the meantime, your story of the full circle of making that quilt for your daughter and now you are the one sleeping 'neath it warmed my heart.

  12. Enjoy! What a big circle it has been! So nice you can do some repair work on your daughter's quilt while you are visiting!

  13. So glad you found a condo fairly soon. I hope things come together for you without much effort as you make a new home. Do you have to be quiet all day with your daughter and SIL working at home? I remember when we moved to the Salt Lake Valley from living 23 years in the mission field and being shocked to come around the corner in a department store and find a whole display of Mormon Doctrine. It was welcome - just a surprise. Lots of changes and newness for you but what a wonderful adventure it's going to be.

  14. Welcome home, Cynthia! I just love your (Noelle’s) wabi sabI quilt.

  15. I am so behind in my blog reading and I was so happy to read this post this morning.
    Sounds like you are so happy and grateful to be with your daughter and back in the US (despite the political climate).
    How sweet to be sleeping under that quilt that you made - full circle is right. :)
    NC is a lovely state! Can't wait to see and hear more about your new home.

  16. All the best for your moves, Cynthia. So hard to do remotely. Enjoy settling in to your new abode, and all the familiar things as you settle back into the US.

  17. I can understand all of what you say because nine years ago we came back to the US after living in China. I would never go back now. We did go back to visit once and were scheduled to return again just as Covid came into being. We never got to take that trip. To go now is crazy! Welcome back! I still get nostalgic for China and our sweet friends there. I would never wish those great experiences away because they were so powerful in my life.

  18. Well, Cynthia, I was so sure I had already commented here. Don't know what happened. But I loved reading your reactions to being home. And what a sweet story of the full circle of sleeping under the quilt you had made for your daughter while you were in Japan. Now it covers you on your return from Japan.
    I hope you find your groove soon in your new "digs".

  19. Wow, virtual shopping at Bingoya! I love reading and relating to your post, but I also feel some painful loss for a second time... and I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye. Guess you might have to come again.

  20. Enjoyed reading about your transition from Tokyo to NC. Things I never would have thought about like small vs big. Loved that the quilt you made for your daughter is keeping you warm during this time :)


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