I received a letter today from my week #3 Japanese host family. Haya and Yoko were one of the favorite couples I met during my month-long visit in October 2004. In their early 70's and childless, the first thing Haya told me upon meeting was, I would be "their baby for the week."
And they spoiled me. Not just with material things - private suite within their gorgeous home (which Haya designed) and stocked daily with every beverage imaginable along with sweet oranges; private driver to my appointments each day; wonderful meals daily; shipping of my excess luggage back to the US and a very generous gift upon leaving them - but with unconditional love. They seemed genuinely interested and cared about me. In the short period of time spent with them, I felt extremely close. Yoko did not speak English and I did not speak Japanese, but we found a way to communicate and appreciate each other. I had an extremely hard time saying goodbye to them.
It's ironic that I received their note today. I spent a lot of idle time in airport terminals and tarmacs, waiting. Everyone was calling their assumed loved ones to inform them of delays. I had no one to call. No one to bitch to about delayed flights and missed connections. No one to tell that I'll be arriving late. And, no one to pick me up at TLH.
The last line of Haya and Yoko's letter read, "We think of you any time. Your life is not only for you." This reminded me that there are people who care.