A dramatic farewell

Forgot to include this one before, but now that I’m back with bread and groceries to get me through the weekend, I can sit down and dash this one off.

Genna is now hopefully on her plane back to the US. She got a job offer from the lab where she worked pre-Japan, and they want her to start this Monday, so she gave plenty of advance notice and booked her flight for today. I’d offered to hang out with her last night, to help her tie up any loose ends and finish cleaning, and just keep her company and hang out with her one “last” time.

And then came the news of the approaching typhoon.

She got a call from her board of education at 3 PM yesterday, saying that they didn’t want to take any chances with the Shikoku-Honshu bridges closing, and that they wanted her to be ready to go by 6 PM, so they could put her on an airport bus that night and put her up in an airport hotel.

At first I decided that I should stay out of the way and not come out. Five minutes later I realized that that was a stupid decision, and I told her I’d be there as soon as I could after work. I ducked out about 5 minutes early and got to her place around 5:20-5:25. She greeted me with a hug at the door, and I conducted a quick inspection of her place to make sure nothing was forgotten or unclean, before we settled down to grade one last batch of papers. Kiet, Eric, and Kiki all came out to see her off as well. (I was amused that her male board of ed staffer refused to let me handle her heavy suitcases, but then immediately asked Kiet to carry one down the stairs.)

It was strange and it was sad, and the whole thing had this big epic feeling of some dramatic and climactic storybook encounter, but more than anything else, I’m glad I could be there. She was far more composed than I know I’ll be when my day comes. We all gave her big hugs, and we waved and waited and watched until the van was out of sight.

Afterwards, the four of us went out for dinner for a couple of hours, and then on my way home I messaged Julie and Brian about a possible typhoon sleepover for tonight. Julie called me a little while later, asking if I wanted to go do karaoke with them. I was 20 minutes from Brian’s house, so I met them there (and met Brian’s adorable new kitten, Souichiro–what a sweetie!) and we had a good couple of hours in Mikamo, digging up a lot of oldie-but-goodie songs, and agreeing to call each other to figure out today.

The weather’s been rather mild today, just with rain (and now the wind is starting to pick up and howl), but apparently it’s been stronger in coastal areas, which Kansai Airport definitely is (they built an island just to house it!). I don’t think she should have had a problem with catching her flight. I hope she has a safe journey, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the inevitable phone calls we’ll have once I’m back next month.

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