The fridge magnet that Helena bought me in Shuraabad said, You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be. How true that feels to me right now as I wake up, still bleary eyed from the long flight from Dubai via Hong Kong to Tokyo. Travelling 9000 kilometres is some journey, one minute sunbathing and swimming in a 5* resort in Dubai basking in temperatures of 45 degrees, flying for the next 8 hours and landing in Hong Kong airport at 4.30 am. The descent was amazing, I could see dark mountainous shapes and the Hong Kong sky exploding with flashes of forked lightening. I was glad it was in the distance but what an atmospheric landing.
I was so tired after the first leg of my journey that even the airport seats looked inviting. I picked my spot and had a surreal yet surprisingly restful 1 hour sleep, woken by the airport lights being turned on and the chatter of Chinese families arriving at the terminal.
For the next 4 hours I waited for my connecting flight. Such a busy airport, a transit hub with planes flying in from around the world, mountains to the left, the Tung Chung bay and its bustling port to the right.
Time to board my Cathays Pacific flight to Tokyo, a 4 ½ hour journey. A glass of white wine on the plane went straight to my head and almost instantly I fell into a deep sleep dreaming about the myriad of tiny islands in a sparkling sea that I’d seen on take-off. I wonder if I’ll ever return to Hong Kong?
Tokyo immigration is fast and efficient, despite long queues of tired travellers, in the blink of an eye, I’d been photographed and finger printed and welcomed into the country. I was so happy to be reunited with my bags at baggage reclaim, they’d made the transit flight too.
As I walked into the departure lounge, I was greeted by a sea of people but Lyle and Sumire stood out from the crowd with their hand-crafted Welcome Mum sign. Sumire presented me a beautiful bouquet of flowers including the most exquisite lilac rose and a refreshing bottle of lychee water to quench my thirst.
I’d truly arrived. When I woke up the next morning both my hosts had gone off to work so I had time to explore their sweet 2 bedroom flat on the 11th floor of an apartment block just a 5 minute walk from Shimo underground station.
Yes, I’d arrived and with that knowledge came a overwhelming out pouring of grief. Steve and I were planning to do this journey to Tokyo together in 2017 but sadly I’d made the journey on my own. I cried a lot on that first day, in fact I’m weeping right now as I write this but I know that deep down, this is where I need to be and that both my sons needed to see me, to know that I was OK and to feel closer to their dad through me.
It was mid-day, time to put some lippy on, thrown on my sparkly rucksack and head out to find one of Tokyo’s famous parks, the Rikugien Gardens, 4 stops on the metro line, stunning, tranquil and replenishing. I even met a new friend, Rita from near Milano and her son who’s learning Japanese in a High School here. My outgoing solar energy self had returned.