We have now completed our two-week self-quarantine after returning to the US from Japan. Fortunately, we are healthy and COVID-19 free. But we still feel unsettled and uncomfortable with our “new” life.
This difficulty in transitioning back was never supposed to happen. The plan was to spend two years abroad, have some good experiences, and return to restart our old life. Simple, uncomplicated, no problem.
But life seems seldom to be simple. Along the way, we fell in love with our life in Japan. The two years became four and a half, and the love of that life deepened. Japan became our adopted home.
So now, although it must sound strange to most everyone else, we are grieving. It’s like a loved one has died. We’ve moved along the five stages of grief and passed denial, anger and bargaining, and now are firmly entrenched in depression.
As we work through our emotions, we are trying to reestablish normalcy. Working on the house, cleaning out old and unneeded clutter, finding our old grocery store, buying a new car. All these things help us to connect to the old life with a new perspective.
But it isn’t easy. It would have been hard in normal times. Today, we have COVID-19 and all its concerns and complications. It’s hard to see a solution or any hope for normalcy anytime soon, as the virus surges out of control and so many people – including our government “leaders” – are failing to do anything to stop it.
We also grieve about what has happened to our country while we were away. Hate, corruption, and a disdain for decency has festered in our national government. Now we have federally-sponsored goon squads attacking peaceful protesters in our cities. Like COVID-19, our political system has turned into a threat to the lives and liberty of our country, and it is hard to be hopeful for any improvement. This isn’t the America we hoped to return to.
So, if you see us hesitate when you ask, “aren’t you glad to be back,” we hope you will understand. Yes, we are glad in some ways. And yet, we haven’t yet come to grips with our loss. We will get better, as time goes on. We hope you will be patient with us.