Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Elephant Never Forgets

Now that I found an apartment (yay!), I have started walking a new way to my lab.  

Every day, I pass what I have dubbed The Tree.  If I were an avid photographer equipped with a camera better than a camera phone with a crack in it, I would undertake some marvelous daily photography project of this tree.  Then I would have a record of the changing seasons and documentation of what should/could be my last autumn in The Ville.  

One day I will go far away and I will want to visit.  It will simply be a matter of closing my eyes and remembering all the thousands of memories of the beauty that is here.  With the pictures, though, even when my memory fails me, I will never entirely forget. 

I have come to realize, upon returning to the States, how fragile memory is.  I came back and realized I had forgotten people's names.  I try to give directions to places and realize I've forgotten street names and where stores and places are located.  When people speak to me in Chinese, I find myself struggling to understand simple phrases.

Once my memory is jogged, I can feel the memories slowly start to make their way to the forefront of my mind but it still lags behind my necessity of that knowledge.

Now, I can see my memories in Japan start to fade away.  The other day I was telling someone that the only Japanese I really knew was "Thank you" and then I paused as I waited to remember how to say that phrase.  For some reason, my brain kept supplying the Korean word for Thank you rather than the Japanese one.  I panicked.  I only know two phrases in Japanese - I can't afford to lose even one!

You can imagine, then, my shock when I close my eyes to pray or simply to think about my schedule and a vivid sharp image of a location in Japan comes into my mind.  Where did this image come from?  Will it fade too?  Will I forget I even went to Japan?

Most importantly, will I forget the lessons I have learned and the people I have loved?

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