Mayu left today. She and her class will go to Banff for a day, and fly home to Japan tomorrow.
It's been a great visit, but the truth is that I was a little annoyed yesterday. I asked her in the morning what she wanted for dinner, and she asked for beef (which is a delicacy in Japan). I made her a hamburger with all the fixings. She seemed to enjoy it but after dinner was over, she went into her room and shut the door. I was on my own for the rest of the night, and feeling frustrated. After the last couple of weeks, I didn't understand why she didn't want to spend time with me.
This morning, we got up and ate a quiet breakfast. She finished packing, and it was time to go. I helped her with her luggage and then went to stand in the crowd. Mayu stood with me, but her friends gathered around and they spoke Japanese. I'll admit to feeling unappreciated.
When the bus arrived, Ryoko, one of Mayu's friends who had spent a lot of time at my house, came to say goodbye. Then Nanako, who stayed next door with Jen, came to say her farewells. Finally, I turned to Mayu. I told her how great it had been to meet her, that I had had a wonderful time, and that I wished her all the best. She said a simple thank you, and turned to go. She took two steps before she crumpled to the ground and started to weep.
My stoic girl who had been so quiet and hard to read all this time couldn't be consoled. She cried for ten minutes, until they boarded the bus and I waved her off as they drove away... tears running down my cheeks by then as well.
After I came home, I went into the room where she'd been staying, I discovered that she'd left me a gift and a letter. Where she only had a vocabulary of about 10-15 English words a few weeks ago, she had worked really hard to write three (short) pages of gratitude, and to tell me what she liked most about our time together. No doubt, it'd taken her hours to write that. I realize now that that is what she'd been doing last night.
Five Fellows and a Box
19 hours ago