At the time I'm writing this, Ben's on his way to the Narita airport outside Tokyo on his way home from 10 days in Japan. He'll be home in slightly over 20 hours.
We've known for three years now that he'd be halfway around the world without us, ever since he was selected to be part of the Regina-Fujioka Student Exchange program, but I never expected the immense emotional strain.
The funny thing is, it's not worry that I'm feeling. Never was, really. What I'm feeling is a strange mix of fierce pride (both in how Ben works hard to accomplish his dreams and how he carries himself around other people), coupled with a strange melancholy. I mean, if he can travel to Japan with 22 other kids and three chaperones and stay with people he's only met via email, does that mean he'll be backpacking around the world on his own soon?
And, most importantly, will he take me with him?
Photo's by Mr. Saito, who is both a host and a school official in Fujioka, Japan. More pics on the Fujioka School Board site