Thursday, 11 March 2004

Dear lovely family and friends,

Thank you very much for a wonderful surprise birthday party! It truly meant very much to me. I had forgotten what it was like to be so pleasantly surprised.

They say that all that is well, ends well. And it surely did. The three days prior to returning to Tokyo were terribly rough for me. One after another, unfortunate situations occured. Some of those situations, I could have controlled, but among those that I could not was receiving news of the death of a childhood friend. On the plane that I nearly missed, I cried the whole way.

However, upon exiting customs and seeing Mr. Mitsuhashi's ever smiling face and beaming confidence, I instantly felt much better.

On the way home, the excessive exchange of phone calls between Mr. M and my godmom presented a pleasant distraction. Who in the world keeps calling in, starting from "I have Michella now" to "we are leaving the airport now" to "we are 30 minutes away" to "we are coming out of Kasumigaseki now" to "we are downstairs now" to "we are going upstairs now"? And every time, I could hear Mama on the other side of the phone saying "WHAT???" with the pitch increasing as we got closer to home.

I was thinking to myself, "this is great. I am moving from one crazy set of parents to another." After a terrible three days and not properly saying goodbye to my parents before I left, "so much for turning 25," was what I thought.

I had also forced out all expectations and was ready to come home to the stereo playing music from the 60's and seeing Mama in inch-thick glasses, plastered in front of the computer, drinking strange tea I can't even pronounce, and talking to the sleeping dog.

Rather, when I stepped out of the lift, Mama was there to greet me (no thick glasses). It was sure a sigh of relief (although a bit strange). I had only seen her five days ago so she can't be already missing rubbing my mis-cut head of hair. When we walked into the flat, there was Pearl and Dango staring at me in the dark and the smell of incense and gunpowder was floating about. I've heard of dogs smoking cigars and reading the paper on the couch while the owners are gone, but I've never heard of dogs playing with fire! In I go with Princess Paola in my arms, and Dango dancing around my feet, and then..."SURPRISE!!!" And you know how it went. Days of planning and coordinating spun into place and put a very happy memory in a girl's life.

All the stress and agony that built up in the days that led to this was gone in the crackle of a party popper. All the insecurities of being in a place I didn't grow up was erased by the smiling faces of family and friends I have been fortunate enough to find here.

I am a lucky girl. Thank you all for being there for me, from Tokyo to Taipei to Caifornia to other parts of the world. Thank you so much for your ecards, presents and well wishes, even if you could not be here.

You can view photos from the party here: