Well, I mentioned in an earlier post that my weekend away in Japan was the same weekend of the big kick-ass 3 day-long party at my family's cottage in Canada. When in Canada, the 1st weekend in August is my favourite of the whole year. Let's compare and contrast weekend activities halfway around the world from one another. See if you can spot any differences!
In Japan, my friends pose for me before the sun sets and the fireworks begin:
And in Canada, on the dock, people don't pose, (so much,) before they have a swim, go waterskiing, eat a hot dog, or take their next swig of frosty beer:
Pretty much the same, eh?
Or not. At least everyone looks pretty happy all around the world.
I'll tell you straight up, I love Japan. I love the people and the food and the culture. I loved sitting on a beach, smelling the salty sea air and drinking a nice Kirin beer. I had a great time, however, somewhere in the back of my mind there was a gnawing sense that I'd rather be somewhere else.
I have a deep love for my family's cottage. It's where I spent my summers as a child, swimming in the lake for hours, catching frogs and going fishing. I recall my brother and I sliding around the back of my grandfather's pickup listening to The Monks' "Bad Habits," and Trooper's "Hot Shots" on his ghetto blaster, driving into town to get the daily newspaper, peanuts, and licorice.
We had the cottage moved back from the waterfront and perched atop a new foundation, and we built on an addition, giving us 3 more bedrooms and another bathroom as well as a basement. My brother and I straightened nails and laughed our asses off as our Uncle Dave slid down hills into wheelbarrows filled with cement. Okay, that only happened once, but it's been replaying in my brain ever since.
Our summers were speckled with the usual, summer loves, being bad and getting in trouble for it, family fights and drama, and encounters with the wildlife. More recently, I remember watching the most brilliant display of Aurora Borealis I've ever seen from the dock just a few years back. It lasted for hours, and it looked like angels dancing in the night sky.
The cottage is where I took a summer off from university in '92 and it's where I was when I heard the news my friend Dave had passed away, news that changed my life.
It's where my grandfather retired to, after the cottage had been raised and enlarged and winterized. It's where he died suddenly just a few years ago before I came overseas. This piece of heaven, the lake, the little forest beside us, the looming hills that enclose everything, is where my mom eventually wants her ashes to be scattered, and where I hope mine will be as well.
So you can understand how, as I happily and gratefully sat watching fireworks erupt in the sky over the sea in Japan, I got quite misty thinking of the place where I was not. Hopefully, next year.