The last week flew by, in contrast to our denial that we’d be leaving Fukuoka soon.
I stopped focusing on photographs and blogging and tried to cherish as many little moments with Hana as possible.
My only selfish request this trip was to visit a restaurant in the city I saw in a magazine that was ranked among the top 50 Asian restaurants in the world.
I didn’t really care about the food. I just wanted us to practise leaving Hana at home. To accept that we had to isolate ourselves from the baby once in a while.
If there is no special occasion you make a special occasion.
The restaurant was in a narrow alley and for a brief moment there, Chika forgot she was in her hometown and we ‘travelled’.
I didn’t know it then, but that would be my last adventure in Tenjin this trip.
On Saturday, Chika’s dad was discharged from the hospital.
He was so happy he threw himself a party, organising a bus to get us to the restaurant.
We sang karaoke.
I chose a Cantonese song so no one knew I was singing the wrong lyrics or simply off-key.
It snowed one day.
It sucked away my energy to run.
Chika and sister made me join them at a Zumba session and since no one actually knew me, I agreed.
When you have a baby, the last day of your holiday is not the last day, but the day before.
The last day is for tactical planning and behavioural adjustment.
So the second last day in Fukuoka, I wanted to be pretentious and suggested we bring Hana to the city library and the museum to see a Finnish design exhibition.
We went to Chika’s old favourite pasta restaurant after, so old that she’d forgotten how to get there.
It’s bitter-sweet, realising we’re going back to Melbourne.
When you leave after five weeks, it’s not saying goodbye to a holiday, but to a lifestyle.
I joked that all this time we were simply at a parenting boot camp – isolated in Chika’s house with the sole purpose of raising Hana.
Truth is, we experienced life as a part of a big family.
I’m not sure if Chika and my love is enough for Hana anymore.
My biggest discovery this trip was the mountains that surrounded us.
Before dinner I drove out to buy some cakes for the family, enjoying the scenery one last time.