For the last two and a half months, I’ve been in a self-imposed exile of sorts in the U.S. Sure, I could try returning to Japan later this month and hope they let me back into the country. If they did, I’d get to spend a couple of weeks with my partner before we move to Hong Kong. If they didn’t, I’d get to spend the night in a small, windowless cell at Narita Airport waiting for the next plane to take my brown ass back to my “home” country.

Oh, the joys of being a Trailing Partner. When your relationship isn’t legally recognized in your own country, let alone in your country of residence, you’re shit out of luck.

I was a legal resident of Japan with the proper work visa during the first two years my partner and I lived in Tokyo. But since I’d rather eat a plateful of Palin’s pious poop than “teach” again, I had to let my work visa expire. This meant that while I “lived” in Tokyo I didn’t actually “reside” there, not legally anyway. My “real” address was either in New York or Texas depending on how you looked at it. I was in effect, homeless. Treading water in Tokyo, keeping my passport with me at all times, worried that a police officer would “randomly” ask me to show him either my passport or my gaijin card.

Now I find myself in Houston at my sister’s apartment staying up late to watch Letterman and The Golden Girls (yes, I’m that gay), sleeping on the sofa and not the sofa bed because the sofa is less of a hassle and much more comfortable than the lumpy sofa bed, addicted to morning television (Regis and Kelly, The View), glued to CNBC’s Power Lunch, watching HGTV and The Travel Channel, and somehow working out at the gym in between all these shows, only to go running AGAIN in the evening with my sister at Memorial Park (or for a martini at Davenports if my sister had a tough day at the office).

I’ve become a well-oiled slacker, a couch potato who doubles as a gym bunny, a fit drunk.

Truth be told, I’ve always been a gym bunny and a drunk, but I’ve never been a couch potato.  Though my sister lives within walking distance of a movie theater, two grocery stores, furniture shops, several restaurants and The Galleria Mall, actually walking there is dangerous because this is Houston.  There are few if no sidewalks in this city, and I don’t have access to a car–and even if I did I hate driving.  So I find myself tethered to the couch.

I do a lot of daydreaming and reading.  Daydreaming about what life will be like when my partner and I finally move to Hong Kong in early November, and reading about this new life online in blogs, the GeoExpat website, Google searches and information that our apartment agent sends us via email.  I think I annoyed our assigned agent because I already told her what neighborhoods we want to look at and exactly what buildings we want to view.  We’ve been to Hong Kong before so I’m not wet behind the ears.  Still, I think I better back off and play dumb.  Homeless in Houston means idle hands and you know what they say about idle hands.

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