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Friend in a Distant Land

Since hearing of the horrible news of earthquakes and tsunamis going on in Japan recently.....I've been doing a lot of reminiscing.

When I was a senior in high school, our family welcomed a Japanese exchange student into our home.

Her name was Chie.

She was close to my age and this was her first time in the United States. She would be staying with us for a couple of weeks....during the day she would study and learn about our culture with the other Japanese students that came with her....and after school, she would spend time with our family. We would be her teachers.

It was a whirlwind of adventure and exploration for her.

I remember after returning home from my after school job, seeing her in our living room trying to communicate with what little English she knew with my family. She was always so happy. Because we didn't have a guest bedroom for her to use, I gladly let her stay in mine. I didn't mind. She loved the glow in the dark stars that were all over the walls in my bedroom. Lucy had put them there before she had gotten married and moved out. They. Were. The. Coolest.

I showed her different things that I liked. Country music. Books. Pictures of boys I thought were dreamy. I never was a 100% sure that she understood everything I said to her, but she always had a genuine smile and was eager to listen. She carried around with her a translation dictionary all the time. And if we were talking with her and asked her a question and she by some chance didn't have it with her, she would run as quick as lightening to get it so she could figure out to answer.

On the day they were to leave for home, I went with my Mom to take her to the place where all the other students would be waiting for their bus to come get them. I helped Chie with her suitcases and gave her a hug goodbye. It was then that I noticed her crying.

She didn't want to go.

She loved us.

She asked if I would take a picture with her. Of course I did. My mom shot one with her camera too.

I gave Chie another hug and told her that everything would be okay. That our family would keep in touch. That maybe one day I'd be able to go on a trip to Japan and visit her. She smiled at that.

I didn't realize how much our family was loved by her then.

I do now.

Every year at Christmastime, we received a card from Chie.

Every year.

She would write us these beautiful letters using her best english, telling us what she had been up to in her life. Graduating from school. Working at the Post office. Going to college and becoming a nurse. And my Mom would send her a card and sometimes a package of fun American stuff in return.

And the cards Chie sent! They were some of the coolest looking things I'd ever seen.

I've come to look forward to seeing those cards during the holidays when I visit my parents home every year.

It's been over 15 years now since I last saw Chie.

I pray her and her family are okay.

Wouldn't it be awesome one day for us to meet again?

Until then......

Katy is a wife, mother and enjoyer of all things chocolate.
She loves music, laughter, and the simple things in life.
Her roller coaster of thoughts can be found at our daisy life.
Admission is always free.

*picture self owned

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