The Ex Pats Abandon Ship

The last day of school. A year for the record books ended at noon today. On my walk home I pondered that age-old question,”Just how late can I sleep before a long-established caffeine addiction bulldozes through REM?” when an eye-catching swarm of activity buzzing around my apartment building grabbed my intrusive nose and led it along for a gleeful snoop in to the business of my neighbors. Sweating husbands were frantically loading suitcases, tents, hockey equipment, trunks, and any other minutiae needed for the summer minus furniture, in to a stretched line of patiently idling cabs.

One neighbor stuck her head out of a half rolled down window.

“Ouisar-san- you’re here until July right? I put our keys in your mailbox- have Offspring #1 take care of Kitty for us while we’re gone! Thanks! See you in September.”

The cab screeched off her hand still waving good-bye, blonde hair slapping against the roof top, a weary husband left sagging on the curb.

A mass Exodus not seen since Moses duplicated in every apartment building in downtown Tokyo.

By 4:00, the swarm of ExPats had descended upon Narita airport, eaten all the strange variations of KitKats available, boarded dozens of planes bound for LA and NY, and vacated Tokyo for the summer.

This reminded me of a conversation held at a Christmas party:

Man-  “What are you doing this summer?”

Ouisar-san “Traveling around Japan.”

Man- “WHAT? WHY would you do that? ALL the wives go home for the summer. You’ll be by yourself.”

His violent response to my summer plans caused a thought to run through my mind, and in a rare show of self-restraint not straight out of my mouth,

“At least I’ll have your girlfriend to keep me company.”

The idea of leaving for the summer seemed disjointed as if abandoning our new home for the summer signaled it wasn’t really home, but just a temporary landing pad until the next assignment. Something akin to having one foot in each country. The Clampitts have been known to pull up stakes quickly, in fact, it has been suggested that tents should be our housing choice due to ease of transport. The Offspring are quite facile at handling questions regarding our multiple moves not associated with military assignment or tax evasion. Our homes always reflect a certain “just moved in look,” as drapes are never hung until year 2 which upon completion  guarantees the appearance of a “for sale” sign in the front yard. But, when one moves from Seattle to Houston, does the family return to Seattle every summer?

When I’m absolutely honest with myself, leaving for the summer isn’t all that attractive. I’d have the two Offspring plotting their dastardly terrorist activities without the balancing yin of Spouse to help block and tackle. I’m a firm believer in “two heads are better than one” and “all hands on deck” when dealing with the ruthless extremism of terrorists. Although a staunch supporter and advocate of  the “no negotiation” strategy- by the end of an extended time frame of lone prolonged exposure, I fear a weakened state leading to severe negative consequences including a total loss of control throughout the remaining teenage years.

Of course, there are other reasons to stay.

It has been proposed by some of my more cynical compadres, that the prolonged summer vacation of the family sans Dad leads to the addition of a new family member – his summer girlfriend. Being pragmatists, Spouse and I agree divorce is just too costly. We concur that any girlfriend should be young, healthy, and very energetic as I will greet her with open arms, two loads of laundry and a grocery list. She’ll be earning her keep. Spouse is optimistic regarding the shoe being on the other foot and is confident I can land a younger someone still capable of pitching a baseball. I on the other hand think some up front investment will be required including the expertise of a surgeon willing to give me Size D boobs, Size C lips and another inch between my eyeballs and eyebrows for the arched “come hither I’m really only 3o” look.

Girlfriend Chore: Clean Around the Couch

Of course, the Offspring and I do have friends outside the ExPat community who don’t join a cavalcade leading out of central Tokyo not to be seen again until September 1st. A concept has emerged in the Clampett household which advocates spending time with local friends doing activities such as swimming, visiting Fuji Q Highland and skateboarding. All seem to be reasonable filler for the months of June, July and August.

Fuji Q Highland

The school year has been filled with sports, homework, and activities other than enjoying the country in which we currently reside, so now is the time to really get to know her. We’ll be staying- and seeing a lot of this:

In this:

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34 Responses to The Ex Pats Abandon Ship

  1. Have a great Summer Vacation! I guess you will be an odd sight in Tokyo this summer – the only White couple family around 🙂


  2. Great post, Emily! If you’re still coming to Kentucky in July, let me know. I’d love to have lunch with you and the Nose!


  3. Thanks, you made me laugh ! “Spouse is optimistic regarding the shoe being on the other foot and is confident”. Call me naive but after spending 30 years with my husband, I trust him and myself not to indulge in instant gratification by having some “exotic” experiences. I maybe lazy too, a double life is too complicated!.

    Regarding staying or living during summer there are two aspects: July and August are not the best months to visit Japan; it is very hot and humid and I prefer spring and autumn (both periods have breaks at schools). Then the second aspect is what we call “home”. Since we have our son, it is important to keep family bonds especially with grand-parents and cousins who are all living in France. My husband always managed to spend vacations with us even if it implies working remotely. The rest of the summer time is usually spent in local summer camps and community pools.


  4. mairedubhtx says:

    I agree with you that people should get to know the place in which they reside. Summer is a good time to do that.


  5. jacquelincangro says:

    Good for you for staying on. I bet you’ll get to see a lot of great sites. I’d love to hear more about Fuji Q Highland. 🙂 Are you going to ride that coaster?


    • amblerangel says:

      Jacque- Fuji Q had the fastest coaster in the world until a year ago AND still has the record holding loop coaster. The Offspring and I are always up for the coaster rides! We just found out about Fuji Q- and it is on the list for this week!


  6. Michi says:

    I’m just glad that there will be Japanese-summer posts! And I always enjoy your dry sense of humor…


  7. Thanks for the laugh! Especially the bit about putting the girlfriend to work. Why should she have all the fun, and none of the responsibilities?!


  8. amblerangel says:

    Exactly! Anyway- my routine is just to hard to break after all these years!


  9. Tanya Scott says:

    Was hoping for saga of your Mother’s visit! Did it happen? Is she there?


  10. Tokyo Jinja says:

    Nonetheless, I am curious to see what you think of it all after you have spent the summer there!! (Written from Toronto airport, waiting for our connection to Newark…)


  11. Tori Nelson says:

    I just asked The Dude if he’d like a girlfriend. I encouraged it even. He’s looking at me like this is a trap, like when I ask him about my weight… or anything else really.


    • amblerangel says:

      Truly- I really can make a case for the GF doing all the stuff I don’t want to do- I’m WAY too lazy to get myself a BF. But….I bet the Dude looked like a deer in headlights. hahaha


  12. Olga SE says:

    A great opportunity to get to know the country REALLY well. I wouldn’t miss it either. 😉


  13. I am glad you are on vacation and looking forward to more great posts!!


  14. Good decision. Home is where the heart is and clearly that’s where Spouse and Offspring #1 and #2 would be. Enjoy your summer and document with written word and photos!


  15. Size D boobs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…

    Thanks for the beautiful photos!



    • amblerangel says:

      Wendy- I know you’re trying to make me feel better- thanks- I would have the giant super size ones- like women have in Scottsdale- the kind you see from behind- except I found out the fake ones have to replaced every ten years. And at those prices, well, the pragmatist in me saw a new roof instead. Hope the new job is going well! Love reading your archives in the meantime!


  16. Pierotucci says:

    I’m sure your list of places to see is forever long, and I’m sure all three of your summer months are already being filled. Whether due to my lovely experience, or the instinct of being an expat in a country where the lack of knowledge and advice gets you ripped off, has compelled me to suggest that you and the fam visit Nikko. Doubtless you have heard of it, and are laughing at my silly attempt at being marginally helpful, however it is a beautiful mountain town and hour outside Tokyo. Nice fresh mountain air to stave off the humidity, and i found glass bottles of dr. pepper in their vending machines..making it all the more memorable! Have a great sumer!


    • amblerangel says:

      I take all suggestions!! I have heard of it but haven’t been yet. With the Offspring in school during the year we really only travel during te summer so now is a great time to go. Thanks for the suggestion! I know what you mean- trying to cram it all in!


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