Friday, March 11, 2011

The Things You Love

IMG_4362There are few times that you come face to face with what is important and what is not.

A tsunami warning evacuation makes what is important very, very clear.

When you’re preparing to leave a house that you may never see again, even your favorite jeans or your movie collection is something you can definitely live without.

One toothbrush can be enough. Apples suddenly seem like a delicious luxury. All the diapers in the house are necessary.

I prepared myself to lose a life’s worth of pictures, memorabilia, wardrobe, books, music, and whatever forgotten Christmas wrapping paper lurks in our closets. The idea that we might be starting over from scratch actually didn’t sound horrible in that moment. I filled the car with practicality instead of sentiment.

Just in case it was just a small flood of water, I picked the computer up off the floor and put it on the table. I looked through my bottom shelf, filled with cookbooks, and picked out The Joy of Cooking, Momofuku, Baking Illustrated, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, Dorie’s book, Baked, and Veganomicon and put them up higher too. I’m a materialist cook. What can I say.

We loaded the kids in last. Our most important things. The things we love.

After parking up on higher ground towards the mountains, I listened to the radio in the dark and felt a strange kinship with the people who called in to the station asking the same dumb questions, the kind you want someone else to ask. We heard updates of what had happened in Japan and we all held our breaths when the time of the first tsunami was supposed to hit. I felt part of a strange network of stress and relief through those airwaves.

If you’ve lived on the island your whole life, like my husband has, you have a certain bit of skepticism for all the work that goes into preparing to evacuate. No evacuation has ever turned out necessary, in his lifetime. After the first wave did not hit, there were people heading back down to town and even walking along the beaches. Waves actually increased in size in different areas along the island chain over the next several hours, but it didn’t hit in our bay. Since the word ‘Tsunami’ still has shock value for me, I waited until scientists told me that the worst was most likely over. I don’t put that kind of authority in my own instincts. I’m ok with being wrong in this case. Give me a few more false alarms and you can save me from my own apathy.

When the sun came up we stretched out of the car and ate chocolate granola bars and string cheese. The kids were happy to see the morning.

We lost sleep, time, and a good deal of patience.

The waves that hit our island were a nuisance instead of life threatening.

We had hours of advance notice.

We were together.

IMG_4364

We are lucky.

I already told Jake, he is not allowed to go surfing today.

I don’t care if the waves are epic.

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29 comments:

jalna said...

Beautifully written.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Puts everything in perspective. So glad you are together.

Le Mama! said...

As we were heading back to our house this morning there were alreay surfers walking with their boards to the beach. Halewia has some crazies!

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I love your beautiful writing.

I bet the waves were epic. Christian was annoyed that surfline refused to show webcams of the waves today. I was relieved.

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

wow this post makes you stop and think so happy your all ok much love

stephanie joy said...

I read this and decided that I want to be your friend forever- except for I have decided this many other times too so let's just have those promised details ok? I'm in!

Karen said...

Wonderful post and beautiful blog. Came here via Chow and Chatter's Twitter and I'm glad I did...

Amy K. said...

beautifully written. thank you.

iMaLLheaRt said...

Amen. Better safe than sorry! And better with family!

mkwolf said...

I had the same experience. I had two conflicting emotions, panic and trying to stay calm. Sorting what is really important and what is not is difficult in a stressful situation. I pulled an all nighter thanks to the adrenaline.

El said...

Lovely post. Glad you're safe.

A little bit of everything said...

such a wonderful post. glad that everything is all right and you're safe.

Christine Wu said...

Glad you guys are okay & safe.

PS: Amaya is tall!

She's Cookin' said...

You're so right - situations like this definitely puts things in perspective. Glad that you and your family are safe and together.

Mariko said...

Jalna: Thanks.
Belinda: Sometimes I need perspective. :)
Le Mama: They ARE crazy! I'm sure Jake would've been right there with them.
Da: Ha. Boys and one track minds.
Rebecca: Thank you.
Steph: See you soon!
Karen: Thanks for visiting!
Amy K: Thank YOU. :)
imallheart: Where did you go?
mkwolf: I know. Why can't these things happen during the day?
El: Me Too. Thanks.
A little bit of everything: Thank you!
Christine: She is. Definitely owes her height to me, don't you think? :)
She's cookin': Thank you for your well wishes.

elle marie said...

It's so horrible what is happening here in Japan.. I'm quite scared, and the aftershocks are so unnerving, I've been through a few bad one's but this ... really scared the crap out of me... I think this is a time where I wished I wasn't living in Japan.... I know that fear... I have net service but the telephone lines have been intermittent... I'm glad Jake didn't go surfing.. I hope if you have family here they are safe... What the heck is going to happen with the power plant... Gesh...

FOODalogue said...

I agree with you, better to take the warning and the inconvenience. The story might have had a different ending if you didn't and it actually hit the island. Glad your ending is happy and all are safe.

Jun Belen said...

Thank you for writing this, Mariko. I feel like every now and then I need a jolt to remind me of what matters most in life, what's most important. I am glad everyone in your family and in Hawaii is safe. Let's keep on thinking about the people who have lost what matters most in their lives in Japan.

Mariko said...

Elle Marie: I was worried about you, actually-- but I didn't realize you were in that area! I hope you will stay safe. My family lives mostly in the southern part. The power plant thing is scary. I totally know what you mean though, about wanting to live somewhere else in that moment... There's a pretty good chance that something WILL happen in Hawaii. We're pretty vulnerable out here on our respective islands, right?
Foodalogue: Inconvenience isn't such a drag when you hear others' stories! Thank you.
Jun Belen: Agreed. I hope that they have the support that they need, too.

elle marie said...

I'm a few 100 miles from the location, but I live near the Ocean, the quake here was a little over 5.1... with it happening in Honshu, it affected so man prefectures... the Tsunami warning is lifted now, thank god. Just waiting to see what is going on with the nuclear plant and missing friends and family. What I'm going through is nothing compared to those in Miyagi, or Iwate, and Sendai... You are such a warm sole Mariko.

FootPrints said...

thank god it all worked out. PLEASE remember that you are always welcomed to my home ANYTIME. no water will ever reach here. although i've been here my whole life i can't trust the ocean. you should never trust the ocean. so i'm like you and would have not returned until the people with the brain said i could!

Kristen said...

Amen! We had chocolate granola bars too. They seemed to help calm the nerves. :) Glad a wave didn't hit. We are blessed. All the time.

angi said...

I'm so happy to hear you guys are ok, Mariko. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be asked to pack everything into a car and evacuate. Now I'll just keep sending good thoughts to Japan.

Allison said...

What a wonderfully written post! Thank you for sharing your experiences in such an uplifting way.

Jackie said...

Do you know, when I heard that the tsunami was coming to Hawaii my first thought was for you and your family. I'm so glad that you're all alright, that it was a nuisance and not a tragedy. Nuisances can be dealt with =)

Jax x

Rachael said...

What a beautiful post. I couldn't imagine leaving my home without knowing whether or not we'd be back. I suppose I'd do the same - grab the diapers and leave the photos! So glad you're all safe and sound.

Pam said...

No toil no surfing fear...no doubt keeping Jake out of the possible Eddie was a rather big fast talk on your part. Beautiful photo, beautiful post. Prayers for Japan.

Diana said...

Wow, I love your blog. Just discovered through my new friend Damaris. Absolutely beautiful. I grew up in Hawaii and as a teenager we loved tsunami warnings because it meant we didn't have to ditch school for sweet waves. Since doing disaster relief in Sri Lanka after their Christmas tsunami, I realized the devastation of a disaster now my heart just cries out for the people affected. I'm so glad my friends in Hawaii and Japan are all okay, and desperately wishing I could something to help.

marla said...

I am so happy you and your beautiful family were spared disaster. Bet you will never forget that mountain top, cheese and chocolate granola bars. Big hugs to you and I am so happy you are safe :) xo

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