Some moments in life seem destined to be memorable, exciting and defining, like a graduation, start of a new job, a new year, or an exotic experience, like eating blow fish. Some moments, even days, seem monotonous, like we are just filling the time to the next experience. The reality is that high anticipation often ends in mediocrity and much of our growth and substance come when we least expect it. Just when you think life will be predictable, the mundane transforms into the unexpected.
My day starts off mundane. I am feeling relatively settled in my temporary home. There are no special plans, no exotic foods to try and no new places to explore. Aside from being in Japan, it is a typical day of bringing my son to school, doing laundry, cooking, and picking my son up from school. I load the baby in the car to go pick up my older son. I turn on the ignition and notice a new light on. Since the car is full of electronic gadgets, icons, and messages I can’t understand, I pay little heed to it. I pull out of the driveway and head up the steep mountain road.
A moment later, the car suddenly decelerates. At first, I assume it is the steep hill challenging the engine. I push harder on the gas pedal. Nothing. The car is slowing down . I try again. Nothing. My heart starts racing. The gas pedal is useless and I am stuck on a steep hill. I peak back at my baby and then start thinking of my options. There is no way up the hill. My first thought is to pull off to the shoulder and walk back to the house carrying the baby. Then I remember there is no shoulder. I am petrified to back up since the road is steep and windy. I look in my rear view mirror and see there are three cars waiting behind me. I motion for them to pass me but they motion me to back up.
Just as I am praying not to cry and for strong brakes, an employee from a nearby business comes to help. My Italian blood kicks in and I combine very hand gesture I can to convey my predicament. He then steps in to direct traffic and guide me as I reverse all the way back to the house. The steep hill that scared me ended up being my means back to safety. I was able to go in reverse in neutral and get back home.
while there is no neat snapshot to scrapbook or Facebook, and my nerves rattled, it is a literal reminder that life is about the journey and not the destination. It is also impeccable (aka divine) timing because we were scheduled to take a three hour road trip in the car the following day. It also happened within eyesight of the house and near a business, a rare circumstance in the rural community. The car is in the shop for a week, giving me the chance to simplify even more, slow down, and smell the plum trees. A perfect opportunity to learn more Japanese and get my zen on from home. Enjoy your journey, through the highly anticipated and the deceivingly mundane!