Friday, June 15, 2012

A Love Story: Part 4a (A Series of Fortunate But Uncomfortable Events)

Since I started writing this about a millenia ago, you might want to refresh your memory with Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Once I started seeing Reynolds Choro as a human being, things changed between us. 

While I don’t think I consciously recognized it until many months later (maybe not even until after we were married--these things were hard for me to admit to myself), our experiences together in the mission field provided a series of fortunate though uncomfortable events that probably set the stage for me to consider a romantic relationship with Reynolds Choro once we got back home. (Heaven FORBID I date someone from my mission! It was my worst nightmare. Not to mention he was REALLY not my type. At the time of our meeting, my serious--and I mean serious--ex’s were 1) at the Naval Academy and 2) getting a doctorate in Theology to later serve as a military chaplain. Yeah.)
Because it would be really, really easy to drag these stories on forever and ever in great and painful detail, I'm going to force myself to shorten them up into cute little vignettes, narratives, or whatever you want to call them. 

1) The day Reynolds Choro rescued me from a  stalker. 

You have to understand something about Japan. It’s extremely homogenous. Especially where we lived north of Tokyo. Sure, there were a few towns here and there with an American military presence, but not Sendai. It was pretty unusual to see another Anglo-Saxon gaijin, or foreigner, living in town, so being a Japanese speaking American girl could garner some attention, and not always the right kind. Such was the case when a really goobery Japanese guy started calling the sister missionary apartment and leaving strange messages, eventually becoming emboldened enough to speed by our apartment on his moped several times a day. 
Enter Reynolds Choro. 

He was the Zone Leader as you know, so he was the man to whom we should report any criminal activity such as being stalked by a love struck Nihonjin. (We were pretty irresistible in our jumpers and bike helmets.) As soon as he got the call, Reynolds Choro and his companion came over to our apartment. I think it was literally the first time I had seen an American male presence in my doorway in over a year and I remember that it felt kind of weird. Like he was some college guy coming over to hang out with me. (Shiver.) 

Just as we were debriefing them on the situation, the dude sped past on his nerdy little moped at that very moment. Reynolds and Morgan Chorotachi immediately jumped on their 10 speeds (I don't really know how many speeds they had, but it sounds equally nerdy, right?) and bolted after him, somehow getting his attention and pulling him over. They then told this guy they had some American female friends that lived in the area who were complaining about a man calling them and driving by their apartment all the time and did he know who it could be? Had he seen anyone in the area whose behavior fit that description? They wanted to know since they were REALLY unhappy about it and wanted to take care of it if you know what I mean . . . we were never bothered again.
Uncomfortable and confusing feeling #1 (along with the shiver inducing thought already mentioned above): I was a damsel in distress being rescued from a yucky stalker by my knight in white shirt and shiny name tag. 

2) The day I sweat more than humanly possible in front of Reynolds Choro and almost died of embarrassment. 
As mentioned before, we taught free weekly English classes as a service in our mission. Mostly we taught out of the church, but frequently we would start up classes in another location where there was a lot of interest. Moniwadai was a mountain top town where several of us taught a bunch of children once a week at a community center. This location was so unbelievably steep to get to that the sisters always took a bus to get there. Why just the sisters? Because for some utterly unfathomable reason, the sister missionaries had GEAR-LESS Wicked Witch of the West bikes with big baskets on the front of them even though we biked to all the same places as the elders who zipped around on their multi-gear mountain bikes. (Lucky for my last companion, Brimley Shimai, that all changed as I was on my way out and the incoming sisters got new and improved gear laden bikes. I was one of the last witches of the Sendai Mission.) 

Unfortunately, one extremely hot and humid August day (and if you have not lived in extreme humidity, it is really something special), my propensity for lateness caused us to miss the bus for Moniwadai. Not wanting to be outdone by the elders, or more accurately, wanting to show them how tough I was to be able to summit that darn mountain even without the advantage of GEARS, we headed up to Moniwadai on our bikes. Even more unfortunately (this is the unfortunate part of the fortunate events), by the time I got to the top I had a river of sweat soaking my dark denim dress from the very top of my neck ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM! It seriously looked like someone had put a hose down the back of my dress and I. Was. MORTIFIED! (No female should ever sweat that much. It's just nasty.) I remember there being a big, industrial strength fan in the back of the room (since no one in ultra high tech Japan has yet discovered AIR CONDITIONING!) and trying--unsuccessfully I might add--to utilize it's strength to dry out my sopping wet dress. 

And I remember Reynolds Choro noticed. And he said something. (Whatever he said has been permanently erased from my memory due to extreme mortification.) 

And I remember that I cared

Uncomfortable and confusing feeling #2: I cared that Reynolds Choro would discover I wasn't really that irresistible girl the stalker saw, but just a stinky, sweaty undesirable. 

Out of time. Must sleep. Part 4b will include these two equally entertaining vignettes, or narratives, or whatever you want to call them:

3) The day Reynolds Choro and I sang a lame duet together. 

4) The day the Culture Festival turned into our engagement party. 

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