2007-03-03

Omiyage

As I've mentioned before, one of the perks of working at a Japanese school is having co-workers that go back to Japan all the time. It is tradition that you bring back souvieners for your office and co-workers. Of course, when Mariko told me she had omiyage for me, I never expected her to pull out 8 handmade sashiko placemats.
She told me I could choose two. The selection process must have taken an good 20 minutes as I carefully admired each one. The designs were perfect, the stitches even and soothing. In the end I choose the navy blue pattern for Costas, and the pink and purple sakura blossoms for me. I make Mariko promise to give me photos of the others though. She laughed and totally understood.
While most of my co-workers go back to Japan during the 3 set school vacations, some times they will leave at unexpected times during the school year, such as Mariko did, to take care of personal business or family emergencies. I was happy she came back with good news, her mother's health condition has improved. In the past year, other co-workers were not so lucky. The school is a very carrying and supportive place though. It has to be, with so many of the people so far from home. That's one of the reasons I love it there. Because when I asked last week if I could take 2 weeks off in the middle of the semester (next June) to fly to Greece for personal reasons, they understood, they approved the leave. Of course I told them we are going for a friend's wedding, which is true. Another friend is also having a baptism that week, a happy coincidence. The underlying reason for going though, is to spend time with Costas' father who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 2 weeks ago, the day before his 61st birthday.
Thank you for everyone that sent words of support after my post last week. We were still in such shock that I didn't know what to say. The shock is fading a little, but this isn't an issue that will go away or get better. I still have a lot of hesitation to write about it here, I feel a strong need to keep the family's privacy. Please don't think it strange if I don't mention it again and go back to cheerfully rambling about sewing and guild meetings. In difficult times we all cling to something. As I wrote to Kelli last week, I am craving a lot more structure and order in my quilt ideas. When you can't control anything else in life, you want to keep order wherever you can, right?
As for how C and I are doing.. he needs me now, which is something I'm not always used to. We had an argument about how much time I was spending in the sewing room. Of course, as anyone who has had this argument knows, it's not about quilting. We are spending time with friends more often, reaching out for comfort and good times. He's going to Athens in 2 weeks, til then it's really just one day at a time.

Thanks for reading and caring. Comments on the family bit aren't necessary, comments on the sashiko are encouraged, as always. The placemats were made by Mariko's mother's friend, I didn't ask her name. Rico says they came from kits, I'll have to hunt some out next month...

4 comments:

Peggy said...

"Omiyage"--Beautiful stitches. I haven't seen anything like that before...or much Japanese quilting/crafting for that matter. (Sometimes I think I have led an incredibly sheltered life!) You have inspired me to do more searching of these types of things on the web.

Kathie said...

Sigh. I need to hang out with more people who travel to Japan regularly.

Such tough family news when everyone is so far away--thoughts are with you.

jude said...

gorgeous, sashiko is one of my favorite things in the world. patience and peace symbolized in one stitch after another.

Feeling Simply Quilty said...

control, control, control, that's the beauty of quilting, and art form with expression and the workmanship which is therapy...ahhh so nice...smile

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