The Day Off

Today I didn't do anything so particularly useful. I should have cleaned out the exhibition space but I didn't. I maybe should have had something really important to do, like something earth-shattering and unforgettable because my time in Japan is drawing to a close. But there was nothing of the sort happening. Well, I did read about Okinawa and then about the atomic bombs and the Manhattan Project, so I guess that's some pretty heavy stuff and maybe I learned something. Other than that, though, I just shopped and went to the beach. Mourned leaving, though I am happy to go home.

Yesterday we had a big dinner with the all the residency artists, to celebrate finishing our exhibitions and to say a proper goodbye to everybody. It's hard to believe how quickly we've all bonded. I think it's because we're all in a same situation: living with strangers in a strange country. Plus we're all artists and in the end we all work in the same way, no matter what media we use. It's lovely to realize that in here I can throw around any kind of commentary about my work or gripe about pretty much any part of the process and people around me will absolutely know what I'm talking about and can relate.

I've never been a very social person, or that's what I tell myself. So it's been so surprising that in here I actually talk to people and hang out with them. I made friends here! I was close to people! What?

But I'm starting to think this is what happens in residencies. In a way we also built a surrogate family here. We had older people and then people around my age, and I often found myself thinking that the older artists reminded me of my parents or relatives. It's probably very natural that a family-like community starts to build when we're all away from our families.

Today was a really hot day. I think possibly the hottest one I've ever experienced. Truly horrible. When you step outside, it feels like the heavy, hot air gets in your lungs and sucks the air out. I went to a second hand shop with Charlotte and it felt like I could maybe walk for five minutes and then I needed to go inside and have some shade. It was so oppressive. I found myself getting angry at the heat, it was just ridiculous. They love to sell winter coats here and big fluffy sweaters and I just want to laugh in their faces! You crazy people can never wear winter clothing! How can you even wear jeans in this weather? How can you go outside of your air-conditioned rooms and work? Oh lord.

When I came back we went to the beach to look for seashells and other cool things the ocean gives us. I also took a teeny tiny swim. I've been aching for a swim all this time and only got to swim once. Today I thought I just had to go, even if it was really weird because nobody else swims and I'm there, on the empty beach, parading my gleaming white body around and two local fishermen are staring me like I'm the big white whale. But I did it anyway. If I'm lucky, there will be a chance to swim tomorrow. We'll see.

Three days left. Yesterday I felt very sad that I have to leave and the feeling almost overtook me. But then we found another spider in the house and I immediately started counting hours until getting home. I can also report that the dead centipede has finally been removed from our shower, after four days. Bye bye, centipede! May you rest in pieces.


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