Pepi in Wonderland: 3/11 will be always there

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Today I have a very emotional Pepi in Wonderland because we’re going to remember the 3/11. As you know, five years ago, a huge Earthquake and Tsunami hit the northern part of Japan. This was a megathrust, a one in every 1000 years quake that would turn upside-down the lives of thousands in Japan. For those who were there, I included, it meant a point in our lives in which we would re-think what we were doing and assess our time on this beautiful Earth of ours. Lives were lost, time stopped, and all the evils into our hearts went out in the blink of an eye. Families were torn apart, marriages were broken, jobs were lost, and the fear in our hearts was, in just minutes, there to remember us how flickering our lives really are.

There is but one thing that marked me for the rest of my days. One action of my loved one: a promise.

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Ever since I arrived in Japan, I was told that the massive Kanto quake would come to destroy everything. Japanese have this winning way of telling you about the end of days in Tokyo. You can find films that will destroy Tokyo and the whole country by the burning flames of the Fuji, or by quakes and Tsunamis. You have to be prepared, and as a foreigner, it not only means to have your survival kit prepared at the entrance of your home, it also means to remember to take your passport and cash should you need to flee with whatever means possible (if you survived the thing, that is.)

I met my Vulcan in Japan, and one of our conversations of all times was what to do in case the big one would hit Tokyo. So, we made a promise to each other: to be on a particular spot, with the survival kit if possible. Even if the trains would fail, even if there would be no transport, even if we had no communications whatsoever we would meet on that spot. We would wait and meet again. And so we kept repeating this conversation and changing the place of meeting as we moved from one apartment to another throughout Tokyo.

And it happened.

Not the big Kanto one, but the Tohoku one. The spooky forgotten megathrust that many old carved stones warned about: the Tohoku quake and Tsunami.

I was taking my coffee and working from home. As I’ve explained many times, this time was different. It shook the building with fierce force, then the noise of shaking windows would make my heart stop.

I followed all the instructions. And I took the survival kit since I was the one working from home. And I went to the waiting spot.

Our waiting spot.

He was working in a big company. And while most people remained at his working spaces he decided to come to our place.

He kept his promise.

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People react in different ways when confronted with disaster. Even when you make promises, you can never be too sure of how your partner will react. I kept my side of the bargain. The world could die in flames, and if I promised you to do something, I will do it regardless of what happens around me. The world can go to hell. I have something to do, something I promised to my loved one.

As you know, I am neurotypical. People like me flow with emotions and we’re quite unpredictable when something happens to us. My Vulcan is Autistic. But we didn’t know that at that time. So far in my experience, people who have promised me stuff have miserably failed me.

But he arrived.

He kept his promise.

Trains stopped, there were aftershocks, and the city was trembling. And he came. Half way walking. He made it to our spot. He kept his promise.

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We both kept the promise we made each other should something happen. This has been a turning point in my life. A turning point of trust, love and hope.

This is a sad date in my life. A sad anniversary that makes me remember how one of the places I love the most in this world was shaken to the core. I will never forget. It touched me forever.

We will never forget.

  • Emma

    Such a gorgeous post Pepi. I love that something so great came out of something so awful. It’s amazing to hear you have trust back in your life.

  • Nichole

    This post had me tearing up my dear. Thank you for sharing.

    • Awww thank you! (It’s been a very emotional day today. I guess it will always be like this when we remember it.)
      xoxo

  • Holy shit this is incredibly deep. It must have been really difficult to share, especially after the move and everything. I’m so glad you and your partner are okay. <3

    • Yup, it was hard to write… I’m glad to say that we’re stronger coz of that.
      Thanks for reading this post!
      xoxoxo

  • Kay

    This is a beautiful post, Pepi, thank you for sharing. I’m so glad the two of you were safe, and that you both found each other and could take comfort in that during such a hard time.

  • Karen

    I worked at a Japanese boarding school in Westchester County, NY when the earthquake hit. The hardest part was having students and colleagues with family there and not being able to do much to help.

    • I bet they had a super hard time. My family told me afterwards how hard it was for them to just wait with their arms crossed. ๐Ÿ™ It was a nightmare ๐Ÿ™

    • I bet they had a super hard time. My family told me afterwards how hard it was for them to just wait with their arms crossed. ๐Ÿ™ It was a nightmare for them ๐Ÿ™

  • There were many difficult things that happened that year. I wasn’t in Japan when the quake happened but I had a lot of friends stationed there. It was a really scary time and often there was talk of sending relief efforts from my office.

    • Ouch, just waiting and not knowing about friends is also horrible. My mother explained to me her experience while I was in the middle of the whole thing, and the poor woman had a very hard time ๐Ÿ™ We also contributed with some local NGOs, and many of my friends went to the North to help cleaning. Hard times.