After what seemed like forever, minus the amount of packing I had to do within a three days times, my parents and I finally landed in Sapporo, Japan. This was a bit exciting and depressing to me. All at once, I had to leave behind my friends and the place I grew up in since I was 6 years old in California. And I already started feeling homesick. I glanced over at my parents, who were still sound asleep until the flight attendant woke them up.
“We’re here in Japan already?” Dad asked with a sleepy tone.
He looked out the window as the scenery of the airport flashed by quickly with flashing lights from outside. We all awed at the sight in wonderment. I couldn’t believe we were here. The reason for us moving was because of my dad’s condition and my mom’s work position. My dad had gotten into a terrible accident while he was at work at a train depot. He had fallen off the roof of a train and landed on his back on the hard ground, causing his lower body to be paralyzed. And my mom was a doctor who was transferred here in Sapporo, Japan.
“Come on, let’s go before we miss our cab!” I said, quickly helping her husband get comfortable in his fold-able wheelchair.
I watched as she moved him from the plane seat to the wheelchair with no struggle. A shadow cast over my heart as I thought back on the day we had gotten a call from his job saying he was badly injured. That was a tough time for all of us. I had to get out of classes early and mom got off work at a bad shift change. We were all struggling. But we are a strong family. And my father and mother are both amazing people. Their strength and love anchored me into being strong for them both. So, I made sure my grades were good in school and I would help around the house if they needed me.
“Look, Tess,” mom said excitedly. “We’re actually here! Look at all these amazing people.”
“Calm down, Amy, you’re drawing attention,” Dad chuckled as he was being pushed my mom to the elevator.
“I’m sorry, dear. It’s just so exciting to be here in Japan. After I’ve read and watched so many good and amazing things about this country. Not to mention Tess’s love for Japanese drama shows,” mom added.
I laughed with a shake of my head as they both went back and forth about how interesting Japanese culture was. Yes, it was true about my love for a good Japanese drama. And I loved the ones that were based around high-schoolers. I sighed every time I thought of the possibilities of me being the main character in some of my favorites.
“Tess, help your dad into the car while I load the luggage,” mom instructed.
I nodded. “So, dad. Where are we living here? Is it a nice apartment you see on TV shows where the neighbors pretty much know each other because they live so close?”
Dad chuckled and helped me help him into the backseat of the cab. “We’ve found a nice apartment not too far from a cute little park. It’s also walking distance from your new school. So, you can ride a bike or walk there.”
Ah, school. One of the many things I hated about moving was being the new kid. I had always had problems fitting in no matter where I went. Making friends wasn’t my strong suit, so I was luck to of had the friend I did back in Cali. But walking wouldn’t be so bad considering the beauty this place held. I wondered if the natives really saw the beauty within their own town?
“Well, if you want a bike to ride to school, we can see about buying you one,” mom said climbing into the cab. “It might be a while though, at least until we’re settled.”
“That’s fine, mom. I won’t mind walking for a while,” I waved my hand. “Might as well stay in shape, right.”
Dad looked a bit sad, as did mom, when I brought up the walking to stay in shape. My father and I had made it a routine for he and I to go for long walks every Saturday when he had the day off from work. And after his accident, we’re not able to carry on that route so I would go walking by myself. I miss him being able to walk. He hasn’t been the same ever since.
“I’m glad to see that you still enjoy walking even after…” he paused. “Just let us know when you want us to get you a bike.”
I nodded and looked out the window to watch the scenery slip by as we made our way to the new house. I was holding back tears. Right now, I wasn’t sure if I was sad because of dad’s condition, or sad because I was in a new place and didn’t know anyone. My parents knew I was the type that was easily bullied and I’m sure they worried about that as much as I did. And there was no telling how these kids would react to my being there. I was different, and I knew that. Part of me wanted to go back home, yet the other part sought adventure in the great wide somewhere.
“We’ve arrived!” Mom suddenly called out, scaring the driver a bit.
Staring out the window, my eyes met with the new house we would be staying in. The first thing I noticed about the place was it was a tall building that sat on the busy street surrounded by other buildings. Right next door was a small restaurant that looked like a noodle shop. Pink cherry blossoms lined the road as far as the eye could see and across the street was a peaceful looking park filled with laughing families. Cars were parked on both sides of the road. Luckily, our way of entering the building was on the side, where the cab driver pulled in. There was a big metal looking door on the side of the building and a sign that said Welcome hung up on the wooden frame. There was even a bicycle rack by the door.
I sighed. This reminded me so much of the dramas I would watch on the tv. I could feel at least a slight jolt of excitement as I thought of the adventured that awaited be.
“Tess, help the cab driver with the bags while I get your dad into his wheelchair,” mom said climbing out the car.
I did as told and paid the driver, who tipped his hat and climbed back into his car and drove off as soon as everyone was out. We all looked at each other and smiled. This was it, the start of our new lives here in Japan. Mom pushed dad towards the large metal door and I pulled it open. It squeaked loudly, causing me to cringe.
“At least we know you won’t be able to sneak out at night to go adventuring,” dad joked.
I did a mocking laugh and followed them inside. Thankfully there was a small elevator around the staircase the led up the third floor.
“I’ll meet you guys up there!” I said playfully, as I ran up the stairs.
I slowed down when reality hit me. I was starting school tomorrow and I didn’t have my school uniform yet. I face-palmed and met my parents by our room door.
“Mom, dad… I don’t have my school uniform yet,” I pointed out, as mom finally unlocked the door and pushed it open.
“Don’t worry. It’s at the cleaners and I’ll give you the money to go and pick it up today,” mom said as she entered the room. “Don’t forget to take your shoes off before stepping on the carpet. I have a pair of slippers with your name on it in the hall.”
Mom dug in her purse and handed me some money for the pickup. I waved at them both before disappearing down the stairs. This began my first adventure into the great wide somewhere. Onward to the cleaners I went. With a help from the directions mom gave to me, of course.
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