In one month I’ll be settled in at home on Christmas Eve and all of this will be over.
I can’t get my head around the lightning speed at which all of this has come and gone.
I’ve barely hit the 75% mark, so I guess it’s a little too soon for this kind of a post, but I’m ruminating and have words on my mind so I’m just going to try to get some things out.
I don’t know if it appears this way when I outwardly express myself, but my Japanese ability has improved so much since I arrived. I’m going through some readings for class and understanding a language I couldn’t discern a single word from just a little over a year ago. There might be other students who have learned more than me, improved more than me or are just better than me, but I’m not going to see myself as a failure when I go home. I think I gave it my best shot and I overcame a lot of challenges that I never thought I’d be able to. So on that front I’m really happy with myself.
On living in Japan, I was never the person coming here because I thought it was some perfect utopia where everything is kawaii and amazing. I knew there’d be pros and cons to living here just as there are just about anywhere. And there are. There are plenty of things I’ll miss when I go back home and will get on my nerves until I’ve re-acclimated with American lifestyles, such as being treated like royalty when I buy McDonalds, drinking in public and that sweet sweet conbini food. There are also many things that have worn thin on me over the months. Though not exclusive to Japan, my smaller town roots have me missing traveling by car and the ability to easily escape from the headache of city bustle. I have admittedly felt suffocated over the months by the sprawling metropolis of city life. There have also been those tragic reminders that my time here does not somehow exist outside the realm of pain and suffering. When we lost Picasso, nothing has really been as pretty as it was when I got here. I felt like we were one invincible happy family at NKK. That’s what they advertised. That’s what it legitimately seemed like. But suffering is everywhere and you can’t really escape it. I was foolish to think so, but no one could have prepared themselves for that anyway.
But through all of the life-changing highs and the pitch black lows, I built relationships here. There are people who have seen me at my weakest, and people with whom I’ve entrusted my heart. There are those I cherish and care about among some of the most important in my life. I’ve made some of my favorite memories of all time with some of you. I just do not have the ability to express how much I’m going to be crushed when I get on that plane and say goodbye to you. Some of you forever. We’ll exchange gifts and make fragile plans to keep in touch and meet again, but nothing is certain nor is it permanent. We’ll do our best at all of that, but I think that the only thing we’re guaranteed is a heaping pile of memories to hold on to forever. They’ll outlive everything. If we grow apart and become completely different people, we’ll still be able to remember when we weren’t. When we were here, together, close and happy because our paths intersected at this exact time and place.
So for the next four weeks I’m going to be a pain in the ass because I want to get every last drop of enjoyment out of my time here with my friends. I’ve seen what I came to Japan to see. I climbed a mountain, saw temples, nature, city life and dropped stacks on clothes and anime merchandise. From here on out I want to focus on the people who have made my life what it is during the past semester–exciting and amazing. All I want is to make sure that they feel the same.