Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Give Thanks Where Thanks is Due

Over the course of my life and most especially in the last five years—since I’ve been living abroad—I’ve done some pretty amazing things. I’ve traveled around South America, Europe and some parts of Asia and I’ve met some encredible people along the way. I would never have been able to accomplish so much without the kindness of friends, family and strangers. It is important, then, to give credit where credit is due and give thanks where it is deserved.

This past weekend I said goodbye to a very close friend, a person with whom I’ve spent the last two years traveling and experiencing Japan. Marla Prince was a stranger two years ago when I met her in Kagoshima in the far south of Japan. Since that time, however, Marla and I have traveled throughout Japan together and taken trips to parts of both Europe and Asia. Without her help and support, I don’t know if I could have stayed on in Japan this past year.

Though Marla herself doesn’t practice budo, she has gone out of her way time and again to help me find and learn the routes to both the Kodokan and Kokodo dojos. She even made the journey with me to the Kokusai budo Daigaku last November when I was applying to this program. Most importantly, however, is the support Marla has shown when I’ve needed to vent about the difficulties finding acceptance in Japan. In the end, it’s knowing that there is at least one person who will understand that helps you make it through the day.

This is a photo of the sunrise on Mount Fuji from when Marla and I climbed two summers ago. Unlike most sane folks, we started climbing from the base of the mountain. (Most people start about mid-way up.) After fifteen hours of hiking, we found ourselves huddling on top of the world, waiting for the sun and its warmth. I believe this experience, more than any other, demonstrates the character of Marla. She never takes the easy way out; she starts climbing from the base of every mountain.

Marla will be greatly missed in Japan. I’m sure there are some great dojos in Germany, however, that I may find reason to visit in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment