Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Matane Mary!

This week I said goodbye to my best friend, Japanese sister, roommate and teammate Mary Vacha. Even as I write those words it still doesn't hit me that her room is empty. I expect Mary to come through the door with her sunny smile bursting with a story of the latest Japanese blunder that occured to her on her way home. I shall miss greeting her as she came home each day.
To celebrate we had a fun-filled weekend... we started the weekend off with dinner with the Witthofts at our favorite okonomiyaki restaurant. Kyle was more than ready to eat as we watched the food cook in front of us. It was so good.
Mmmm takoyaki how I love to eat you. :D
Some of us girls treated Mary to a relaxing night's stay in Hakone.
Fuyu, Natsumi and I
Hakone is near Mt. Fuji so it has a lot of nature that we can see and enjoy.
Fuyu, Jennifer, Mary, Joanna, Natsumi, Sae, Chisato (not pictured are Asako and Ayano)
We decided to take pictures in our yukatas.
Top: Sae, Na, Mary, and Chisato...
Bottom: Asako, Jo, Jennifer, and Fuyu.
Except we got a little confused with whether we were smiling or being serious...And since I am rarely serious... I had a little difficulty making a serious face. In the end, we just called the five or six attempts "good". (ha ha ha)
You may wonder what one does when they visit Hakone?
Well.... we relaxed twice in the hot springs (the stars were out and it was beautiful) and then we ate... and we ate GOOD. (yes, all those plates are for me) The sashimi was amazing...the food was amazing...
We suprised Mary with a cake. So true, Cake, so true.

The day of Mary's party, it snowed like crazy. I was thrilled to see so much fun.

Mary's last walk to Minami-Osawa

The Roods house was ...decorated? with snow wonders.
During the party we had a guessing game where we had to answer questions about mary's life. Questions like: "What age was Mary when she had her first crush?"
"What food does Mary hate to eat?"
"What are the names of Mary's three sisters?"Mary received another cake made by Shanghai (right side) and Tatsu.

Naoko and MaryBEST club will miss Mary!!
(Jennifer made these awesome baked apples...)
We watched the Superbowl LIVE Monday morning. (Keith came down for the party and game).
Mary and Kyle celebrating the Giants victory.
Far too soon and far too quickly came the farewell at the bus stop.
Tokyo Navigator Staff
Mark tried to get Mary and I to take a cheerleading pose but I was crying too hard and Mary's backpack was too heavy so this is the closest we could get to cheerleading...
And before I knew it...
Mary was going....
I know I'll have so many wonderful days here in Tokyo and I will love enjoying this next season. But this was a hard page to turn...
My Dad wrote me an email and said this, "Missing those we love is what compels us to seek others in love, if we truly know what love is. We don't ever replace those we miss, we widen the bonds that unite us and honor The Love that constrains us to live to reach out to others. In the others we find, we honor the love that drove us to find them, the love we have shared with those we miss, whom - because we love - we will never lose. It may seem far off now, but it won't be long and the halls of some place will be filled again with the riotous laughing and mischief of Mary and Joanna. And won't that be fun for us all!"
My friendship with Mary has not ended and the days of us making mischief will come again... I am thankful that I was given two years with Mary. Not everyone has such an honor... I consider myself the luckiest woman to have a friend like Mary Vacha.
Good luck Mary!


Jerry W said...

oh ghee.. i'me welling up with emotions here. i feel so sad that this chapter in Mary's life (and yours) has come to a close. i really enjoyed what your dad had to share though.

Mikey said...

Seeing the Christmas "decorations" outside of the Rood's is not surprising. Mark must have thought of that.

I agree with Jer that I enjoyed what your Dad shared with you about love. Ed, I like your nuggests of wisdom.

You can't possibly think that the sashimi you ate was more amazing than Sushi-dai, right?!

Nice headband, by the way. ;)

jamie said...

jo you have such a compassionate heart- i love it! we are the same in saying good bye to people- it literally makes our hearts heavy.. because we put so much into our relationships. what a blessing that you got to spend this time in japan with mary-- she knows things about you that a lot of others don't understand. what a great friend- so glad you guys clicked and became best friends!
love you jo and thinking about you as this next chapter unfolds for you!
love you

Anonymous said...

I do not cry often, but you have made me well up inside and out. I must admit I am very excited to have Mary back in Omaha, but would never exchange her time in Japan to have her back sooner. I feel privileged to have been a part of her life and yours during these last couple years. What an amazing journey!!! Your dad’s words were very profound. I appreciated his insight and wisdom. Love you Jo.

Jean :)

Christy said...

wow, Jo, you got me crying over you and Mary separating...

But now Mary's with us in Tucson!! Yay! (though I haven't gotten to see her yet! can't wait though!)

Still it's unbelievable that, as you say, a new season has come. The friendship between you and Mary has been a beautiful thing to witness. Your dad's words are so good and true - thanks for sharing it with us, and sharing your heart as you say "matane" to your (our) good friend.

Ojen said...

Jo! oh my heart is sad for you and Mary... but excited to see the new things God has in store for you two. I am praying that God would overwhelm you with His love through the people around you so that adjusting can be a little easier and hopeful =) Love you sister. Can't wait to talk!

Joanna Kay said...

Thanks everyone. I've been feeling a ton of peace from your thoughts and prayers... I feel so fortunate to have beautiful friends like you...

Jeremiah, thanks for your comment. Missing you like crazy.
Mikey, thanks for noticing my headband. hee hee hee
Jame, missing you and hoping we can talk sometime soon. Praying for you as you wait for your next chapter. :)
Jean, really REALLY honored to have met you and become friends. If you ever want to make a quick trip to Tokyo (before June) consider Gurasu Toppu your home. Can't wait to see you in NE. :D
Christy, thanks for the tears and blessing...
Ojen, can't wait to talk to you sister. Did we decide a time?

Thanks everyone. I am feeling so blessed. Who needs central heating when I have friends who make me feel so warm and cozy inside? hee hee hee

Kelli B said...

just got your comment on my blog...pretty sure i would quit my job JUST for this. for sure!