Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of change a whole lot. I used to try and convince myself that it wasn’t worth returning home to North America too quickly because nothing there ever changed. The bad politics, the horrible winters, the 3 o’clock rush hour traffic; it all remained the same. I remember the first time I journeyed back home from a 3-month trip to south East Asia. All I seemed to have missed were a few Hollywood movie releases and the opening of a Krispy Kreme in Mississauga. At the time I wondered why I was in such a rush to get back home.
Last weekend my family celebrated my niece’s 1-year old birthday in a park near my sister’s house with friends and homemade cupcakes. A toddler’s first birthday is such a simple thing and to a lot of people it would mean very little, but to me this event symbolized something a little deeper than just pastel colored frosting and party favors. I’ve never met my niece. I’ve only ever felt her kick and hiccup through the skin of my sister’s pregnant belly days before I left for Japan. Now all of a sudden she is turning a year old. In one year away from home I have missed her smiles and her cries, but more importantly, I have missed watching my sister become a mother. Sometimes I wonder if the experiences I am having here in Japan are worth trading for those happening in urban Toronto parks back home.