This second manifestation story feels a bit closer to my heart than that of the typewriter. In 2011, two weeks before the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, I moved to Tokyo to teach English for a year. Brand new to the country and the culture, and all alone in the most massive city in the world, I felt both deeply connected to, and also strangely alienated from the events that unfolded. I knew it was a big deal that the trains stopped running, that the lights went out in Shibuya to save power, and that businesses closed their doors for a few days. But I didn’t really know. At least, not fully, and I probably never will.
My mother begged me to come home, and many of the newly arrived teachers in my cohort did go home, but I already felt too close to my job and my new city to leave. So I stayed, and what ensued was a year of beautiful connections with coworkers, students and other expats, all in the context of tragedy and recovery.
I still have tons of friends in Tokyo, who, like me, are now married and having babies. This is a stark contrast with the days we used to stay out all night singing karaoke and taking advantage of nomihodai (all-you-can-drink).
Last year I felt a strong pull toward Tokyo-I really wanted to reconnect with the city and my friends. But I had an infant child and was planning to pack up my family and all my belongings to move away for graduate school in the fall. It did not feel like the appropriate time to spend exorbitant amounts of money on plane tickets to Japan. So I decided to consult with The Universe, as I had already had a success manifesting my typewriters.
The very next day someone introduced me to the “Explore” feature on the Kayak app where you can put in your departure airport, budget and general dates and, voila! The app tells you where in the world you can go that meets your criteria. There I found tickets to Japan for an astonishingly low price ($600 round trip) during the exact duration of my Thanksgiving break in the fall. My husband and I purchased them right away-It felt right.
An hour later we’d recruited my mother-in-law to come with us and help take care of our daughter-she was to be just over one year old at the time. We got back on Kayak to buy the tickets, and they were $1600 a piece. Nearly three times the original price. Within an hour.
I can’t help but think the $600 listing must have been a mistake on the part of the airline. Either that, or I’d accessed the tickets at the exact right time. In any event, it was rather fortuitous.
We were able to find my mother-in-law a reasonably priced fare, but she would not be on our flight. This was distressing to us because the idea of flying for 15 hours with a one year old sounded like a special version of hell. We felt we could definitely use the backup. But I decided to be cool about it and just visualize the flight going well.
The day we departed we discovered that the airline had moved my mother-in-law onto our very same flight. We did not even have to ask them. Her original flight was not canceled; they had just moved her for no discernible reason. They also booked us in the bulkhead row with no one else around us. Our daughter could play on the floor a bit and sleep in the little bassinet they provide for babies in that row. The flight went beautifully, and we arrived in Tokyo ready to reconnect and explore.
I hold Tokyo and the people there very close to my heart. The city is at once chaotic and convenient, exhausting and energizing, colossal and impeccably detailed. And spending time with my friends as we all venture into new and exciting stages of life fortified me for the journey forward and renewed my sense of connectedness to the world around me.