Friday, September 08, 2006

I Remember

The pounding on my door grew louder, more urgent but I couldn't move. My feet were glued to the floor and my eyes were glued to the TV. The words were in Japanese. The images were horrific. The facts were sketchy. The pounding continued, accompanied by shouts of my name.

Somehow I made it to the door. Somehow I opened it and saw my Canadian co-worker standing there. "Have you seen the news?" she asked.

"That's my country," came my stunned reply.

I never felt further away from home. I needed desperately to hear my Mom's voice. The lines were jam packed. The busy signal repeated itself over and over and over. I wouldn't get through for another four hours.

In a haze as I walked to work the next day, I stopped at a convenience store to buy a sandwich and a bottle of orange juice. The store clerk knew me. We often chatted in English, but that day, the eyes that looked at me as she patted my shoulder were full of things she didn't know how to say.

The cleaning man stopped me as I approached the door to the school. "I am sorry," he said.

As I stood before my last class of the day, a discussion class, we worked to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Hunched over that Japanese newspaper, I remember B-san, sleeves rolled up, glasses sliding down his nose, electronic translating dictionary in hand; helping me to understand.

As the students filed out, C-san lingered behind. She was a bright girl, but very shy about speaking up in front of everyone. She produced a piece of paper from her pocket, took a deep breath and read what she wrote. "It didn't just happen to America. It happened to the world."

To add your own thoughts or read those of others head on over to Shannon's.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Wow. Yours is the second story I've read about remembering 9/11 so far and I am hooked. We all experienced this, but were affected in so many different ways.

Stephanie said...

I love hearing your perspective. I never thought what it would be like to be overseas!

BTW I saw your comment at babywearing. I was having the same problem. Last night I finally figured out if you use the "other" button when leaving comments you can put in your web address so it will be hotlinked.

Glass Half Full said...

I really found it interesting reading your perspective. Reading the different ways 9/11 affected people is eye opening.

Pass The Torch said...

Wow, what an interesting perspective. We all had such different experiences, with identical threads.

I also wrote.
Pass the Torch

chelle said...

We are Canadian and J's Dad called us in the morning to seen if we had seen the news. We sat in shock and horror watching it all unfold. I remember going to work and we tried to get updates on the radio and from loved ones all the while trying to act normal for the people we worked with (I worked with individuals with disabilities at the time)

Jen said...

Gives me goosebumps. So true! I remember other countries standing behind and around us during those tragic days... Would that it was always that way! Thanks for sharing your unique perspective!

Anonymous said...

I bet it was so hard to be in a different country at that time. I can understand how badly you wanted to talk to your mom. How nice of everyone to be so supportive to you.


Renee said...

I've never heard from anyone about who was overseas during 9/11. The note from your student was so caring and thoughtful. Great post!

Magi said...

Your student's note made me tear up. It brought back so many memories of the tributes in other countries. Thank you for sharing.

Grafted Branch said...

"That's my country," broke my heart. Touching post.