Nearly seventeen (!) years ago, I spent the summer in Kyoto, Japan on a study abroad program after my freshman year at BYU. It was a small group led by a professor and his wife. We lived on our own with Japanese (Mormon!) families and met together every day in the Fushimi neighborhood for classes with the professor. Most days, we also went on field trips around town and eventually farther afield in cities outside of Kyoto. I guess what I'm saying is that it was a study abroad program, ha.
Anyway, in the years immediately after the study abroad, we all still saw each other in classes and get-togethers at the professor's house. His name was George Perkins: Perkins-sensei.
After we all graduated and moved away, or on, however, we've mostly fallen out of touch. I have no idea why I thought to google George Perkins last week. It just occurred to me to check up on him at the same moment I had some spare time in front of an internet search page. And oh, my heart broke when the first result was his obituary from three years ago.
I am so sad. Why am I so sad? I haven't seen him in over a decade. I did not have any reasonable expectation of seeing him ever again. He passed away more than three years ago without my knowing, and it had no discernable effect on my life in the meantime. But now that I know, I am sad.
I dug out photos from my time in Japan, thinking he might not actually be in any (who takes pictures of the study abroad professor??), but he is. And I'm so glad.
Perkins-sensei was a lovely human being who supervised one of the most formative and exciting periods of my life, alongside his equally lovely wife. God rest his soul.