fukushima5 years ago today,
I was sleeping deeply through the morning.
My two large suitcases were packed,
barely under 50 pounds each.
They held the right amount of pants,
the right amount of (new) socks,
the right amount of sweaters,
for a one-year adventure.
My plane ticket was booked.
Denver to Tokyo,
with stops along the way.
The longest flight I would ever take,
was coming up in four days.
I wasn’t.
I was ready to go.
I had done my research,
carefully planned my packing,
and even learned how to count to ten.
Then the call came,
alarming and loud.
I grabbed the phone quickly,
to make the sound disappear.
What I found was my brother
on the other line,
asking me to check the news
about events in Japan.
Tsunamis and earthquakes
filled the headlines online.
Photos of damage
brought reality to surface.
Deaths became numbers.
Homes were destroyed.
But the one I saw
that would change my path
named the prefecture I knew.
Out of 47 total, it was one.
The one I was going to,
where my adventure would begin.
The one I was going to,
where my apartment was ready.
The one I was going to,
where the children in Koriyama
were waiting to be taught.
Fukushima: home of the nuclear plant.
Radiation meant evacuation.

5 years later,
I read the newspaper
about people still struggling,
about the dangers of the radiation,
in the prefecture I never knew.
I may never meet
those children in Koriyama,
teach them English,
sing them songs,
or count up to ten.
Although it wasn’t my time then,
I feel certain,
I am positive,
that life will bring me to Japan,
to see the flowers blooming,
the trains running fast,
the kawaii fashion,
and the bowls of ramen.
Not 5 years ago,
and not today,
I know I will be there

To read today’s front page article from the NY Times, click here http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0