My Kind of Town..

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I’ve been here in Chicago the last week and a half, and I’m really glad I cooled my “I want a divorce” guns before I left, because I miss Akinori like crazy! I’ve even been having some sexy dreams about him, which is rare. Usually my sexy dreams are about ex-boyfriends. (What does that mean I wonder?) It has just made it all the more clear to me how much having a child has affected our relationship. We are still definitely as in love as we were two years ago when we got married, but it’s really hard to be a mother and wife and probably even harder to be a father and husband, since he obviously doesn’t seem to have much of a clue as to what his wife would like out of her daughter’s father. Does that make sense? Though I’ve discovered that even if he’s not going to win any father-of-the-year awards, having him around is definitely better than nothing at all. My parents are here of course, but that is about one step up from nothing at all. They’re not the “let me take her from you and you go have a rest” type grandparents. They are the, “she’s nice to play with for 5 minutes, but we finished parenting a long time ago” type grandparents, so although they SAID they would be happy to babysit anytime when I spoke to them over the phone before I got here, they didn’t really mean it.

My daughter is very spirited, more spirited than any of the other babies we play with in Japan, and if she were walking, she would have totally domineered the 18 month-old we played with yesterday here, but that is all the more reason why I need SOME time alone. I cannot chase after her every waking minute or I will go insane. If I ask them to, my parents are pretty good about keeping an eye on Sara so that she doesn’t get into anything dangerous or terrorize the dog too much. And they even babysat for me last night when I went to a belly dance class, and my dad reluctantly agreed to babysit again tomorrow afternoon when I go to another one, but I stress reluctantly. I think he can see the big picture though and knows that his only granddaughter is returning to Japan in just over two weeks and he won’t see her again for at least a year probably, so he should make the most of the time he has with her now. My mom is a different story, or I think she doesn’t know how to behave around her or something. I don’t know. I guess it makes sense she left the raising of her own children to her mother. Hmm, think I have some issues with my mother? Yeah, that would take about 300 posts and at least 2 years of counseling to get through.

I haven’t seen as many friends as I would like to yet, which makes me kind of sad, but it’s so hard to get out since it’s just me and Sara here, and my friends are all working and have kids and blah blah blah and life is just getting in the way! Oh well, at least I’m getting lots of shopping done. We are going to be so poor when I get the Visa bill next month, but at least our little darling will be the fashionista of the playground, and isn’t that what’s important in life anyway? We’re having a big BBQ on the Sunday that Akinori is here anyway, so hopefully lots of people will turn up for that and I can see everyone in one blow. I’m kind of hoping 1 friend who said she would come with her two kids doesn’t show up, and I have a feeling she might not.

S used to be my best friend. She is a very difficult person to be friends with. One of our mutual friends summed it up perfectly yesterday: she is super sensitive about her feelings, and totally insensitive about others’ feelings. We’ve had our ups and downs in our relationship, but always worked it out. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding, which I came in from Japan for just 4 days for.

I didn’t have bridesmaids at my wedding, just a flower girl and 2 ring bearers, and 1 bilingual friend was our MC at the reception. That’s it. She did come all the way to Maui for my wedding though, just after breaking up with her boyfriend who was supposed to come with her and she had to leave her 2 girls with her parents since her ex-husband is a total and complete asshole. However, everyone at my wedding came all the way to Maui, one friend was unemployed at the time, one friend was 6 months pregnant and had 2 toddlers in tow. It was a big deal for everyone to make the effort to get on a plane, book a hotel and be there for us. I organized the entire affair via internet and e-mails, and DH did NOTHING!! He can’t speak English, granted, but he still did nothing which was a bone of contention at the time.

We never really organized a rehearsal dinner, but just kind of invited everyone who came to the rehearsal to dinner later that night, and then went back to our condo before the dinner and called everyone who wasn’t at the rehearsal to invite them too. I called S and she said she was staying too far away and we were meeting in an hour, so no, she wouldn’t be making it. She turned up at my wedding the next day and was a total sour puss the entire time. I wanted to spend some quality time with her, but who gets to spend any quality time with any of their individual guests at their wedding? So when it was time for me to change into my belly dance costume to perform my belly dance, I asked her to come with me to change. I asked what was wrong since she was pulling her “I’m upset, but I’m not going to tell you why” silent act, and she refused. She was silent the whole time I was getting changed even though I tried to make conversation. After I was changed I said “You know I love you”, and she ran out of the room crying. I was devastated. I wanted to cry myself, but I didn’t want to ruin the beautiful make-up I paid a mint for. I wanted to cancel my belly dance but I didn’t want all that practice and effort to go to waste and I didn’t want her to ruin my wedding, MY special day! Hopefully the only one I’ll ever have. So I went and performed anyway. She stayed until the end of the evening and said goodbye.

I tried calling her hotel room the next night or the night after and the friend she ended up coming to Hawaii with said she was at the bar having a drink. I asked her what the problem was and she said “You’ll have to talk to S.” S never called me back. I spent the rest of the two weeks we had in Hawaii having nightmares nearly every night about S, and worrying about what was going on while I was awake. This was on my honeymoon! How foolish I was.

I sent out our thank you cards for the gifts we received at the wedding and I get an e-mail from S saying she wasn’t sure if she was ever going to get in touch with me again because she felt like I treated her as an afterthought regarding the rehearsal dinner, and that I treated her like a stranger at my wedding, after she had gone out of the way to make me feel special at her wedding.

OKAY…so I write her back that the entire rehearsal dinner itself was an afterthought, and I asked her not to stay so far away from the wedding location and our hotel in the first place. And at the wedding, I was running around like mad right up until my parents walked me down the aisle since there was practically no one to tell all the vendors where things needed to go, so I had to have my hair and make-up done while directing the florist and caterers, then get dressed while introducing and interpreting for the Japanese and English speaking guests, and of course DH isn’t allowed to see me, so he gets out of doing anything by standing at the altar the whole time, fair enough since he can’t speak English so wouldn’t be much help with the caterers, florist or interpreting. Plus I did my best to make her feel special by asking her to help me change. I also said I was sorry that she felt the way she did because obviously I hadn’t succeeded, but I was really upset by the way she made me feel at my own wedding. So she writes back that she has all the sympathy in the world for my situation, but all I had to do was ask her to help and she would have been happy to, and this is the person that she is now, and she’s not going to apologize for it. WHAT?!?!?! This was my wedding!!

So I never wrote her back after that. Then she finds out I’m pregnant and sends me an e-mail wishing me well. Fine. I included her in the e-mail I sent to everyone with Sara’s birth announcement, and she sends us a check for $100. Why on earth would she do that? There was no need for her to send such an outrageously generous gift. She could have just sent a card. I didn’t know what to do since I really didn’t feel comfortable cashing the check, and I didn’t want to out and out insult her by sending it back. Luckily in Japan there is the custom of giving return gifts, so we went out and bought outfits for her girls that cost about as much as she sent, more with shipping. I certainly didn’t want that hanging over my head. And then I went and e-mailed her telling her we were coming for a whole month and we were having a big BBQ party and all. Why did I do that? I don’t know. So she writes back saying she has the girls that weekend and they’ll all be coming, but she hopes we can get together before that.

So I’ve been here a little over a week now and I still haven’t contacted her. She knows I’m here too. But when I thought about contacting her, and then the thought of having to see her, I just couldn’t do it. I’m done I think. It was hard enough to be friends with her without all that mess, but she made me feel like shit at my wedding, and then blamed it on me, and refused to apologize AFTER I apologized for making her feel like shit, which I never should have had to do in the first place. She shouldn’t have felt like shit because the day wasn’t about her, it was about me. And if she was going to feel like shit, she should have damn well kept it to herself and hidden it well enough so that I didn’t have to feel like shit too. AAAAARRRRFGGGGHHHH!! I’m still really angry at her, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. I’m not a vindictive person in the least (unless I’m married to you, then watch out!), but I have to draw the line with her somewhere, and I think my wedding is a good place to draw it. Don’t you? I mean, IT WAS MY WEDDING!!!

Geez, I’ve written a fucking novel! Time for bed!

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About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

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