I had written most of this post before all the "chaos"...In Japanese, there is something called oya-kou-ko (oh-ya-koh-ko).
It is sometimes translated as "filial piety" or "love for the family". It is a way of showing gratitude to one's parents, "giving back" for everything they've done for you.
In most Japanese families, most of the responsibility falls on the eldest child to take care of their aging parents.
But, with work, families of their own, and sometimes even being many miles away, most times oya-kou-ko is a very hard thing to do.
Maybe you can't physically come home to "do" things for your parents, but keeping in touch is much easier with the internet these days.
And sadly, some never make the time to do anything for their parents while their parents are alive.
Every year, I am lucky to be able to do a little oya-kou-ko, with my parents and my grandma.
Whether it is driving them to appointments or errands, cleaning around the house or just being their sounding board.
Sure, it is "work" that I normally do as a housewife in Japan and I am neglecting Satoshi when I do come to Hawaii.
But, I am glad he lets me come for the two or sometimes three months because it is quality time I probably wouldn't have been able to spend with my parents or grandma had I been working full-time or if we had children.
And, when I come to Hawaii there is also lots of playing (and eating), re-connecting with friends and other family, but I really appreciate the lifestyle I have.
The week before I was to go back to Japan, a medical emergency sent me to the ER!
Thank goodness my parents, friends (virtual ones too) and family were there and I wasn't mid-flight or in Japan when it happened...eep!
While I am not ready to exactly say what happened, I will tell you that it was painful, traumatic, and a little sad.
On a side note, getting your flights changed due to a medical emergency then getting info squared away for Japanese insurance and worrying about whether you will fly out because a typhoon is headed towards Japan (namely Osaka) is very stressful...
If I even did a teensy bit of oya-kou-ko on this trip for my parents...I now owe them even more for all of their support through this experience!
Thanks Mom & Dad! And thanks to everyone who emailed while I was recuperating it really brightened my day!
Talk to you again from the other side of the world (if I am able to fly out)...