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My Home

In 1950, there were relatively few neighborhoods in San Mateo where people of Japanese ethnicity could buy a house and feel relatively at home. My paternal grandparents bought a lot in the older section of town, an area that was, and still is, populated largely by ethnic minorities. People abandon this neighborhood when they can, but I am reluctant to give up something my grandparents worked so hard to turn into a home.

My grandfather, a gardener, initially built a tiny, 2-bedroom house with a friend of his, where my grandparents and father stayed until the main house was built. This house still stands, and you can see one side of it next to the orange tree on the lower right. It now holds mementos and tools, and occasionally my car.

The fireplace in the photo is in my living room. It wasn't used much before I moved in and I had to have quite a bit of work done on it to get it into safe, working condition. This photo contains other photos of several family members, and I think it will be one that will keep me company when I am homesick.

Steven will stay and take care of the house and the animals we've accumulated. My financial situation is uncertain, so I may not be able to return as often as I'd like. It's good to have someone I trust to take care of everything. In writing this, I am faced with those nearest and dearest to me -- animals (bipedal and quadripedal), plants and inanimate objects I won't see regularly for awhile, possibly years -- and I feel a tad sentimental. But pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and immersing myself in more of the world before I am too old to do so are high on my priority list. Leaving home is something I need to do.

Not that I don't have insecurities, the major one being I don't have a job yet. There is the very real possibility I won't find one. I haven't picked a good time to look for work! I could try to find some unfilled niche and create my own job...

And there's Lobo. Being separated by so much time and distance is stressful. The possibility that he changes his mind about me, I don't live up to his memory or expectations of me, or we ultimately want different and non-complementary things from our relationship is always in the back of my mind.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the uncertainty I was feeling in hitting middle age, although much of my insecurity couldn't be attributed to middle age so much as carryover from an insecure youth. Since then, my midlife experiences have fostered much in the way of personal growth, some painful and some pleasurable. I think the next year or two will continue that trend. I am hopeful it will involve more pleasure than pain, but knowing how life works, am prepared for the reverse.