I published the last post only minutes before leaving the Kai's house with all of my luggage. I am now back in America, safe and healthy, trying to look back at the whirlwind that was the last few days. I said goodbye to my host father right after pictures, since he had to go to work. It was a happy goodbye (however I received a phone call on the way to the airport. Erika said he sounded close to tears. That goodbye was a little more formal.) After I packed my luggage into the car, I went to the convenience store to say my last goodbyes to Ojichan. While pulling out from the driveway, I was lucky enough to take a picture that is now one of my favorites from the entire summer. Nothing can sum up my last view of the house better than Ojichan outside waving me farewell.
Driving to the airport was awkward. It felt just like a regular drive anywhere. We listened to music, and laughed a bit. When we got to the airport we dragged my luggage to the counter to check in. Just a little more bad luck. I was off by just a bit. Next we had to re-open my luggage and re-organize right there in the lobby. Time must have flown by, since when we went upstairs they were telling me to quickly get through the gate. I was confused, but instantly realized that it was last calls for my flight. My host mom was signaling for me to quickly get through, but I couldn't pass up my time for goodbyes. It all happened so fast. Much like my summer. I am not a person to cry, but something mixed up with the frustration of luggage and the hecticness of the airport burst me into tears hugging my host mother and sisters. The funny thing is, I don't think they were ready for the hugs... they just don't hug in Japan. It was actually the first and last time I would hug them this summer. I took a deep breath, walked through the gates, waved one last goodbye... and I was gone. I got myself situated, and discovered a surprise out my window. Up on the balconies of the tiny Saga airport was my host mother and sisters waving goodbye. I was so frustrated I could not wave back. It meant a lot to me. They were there the entire 15 minutes my plane was in stand-by.
I thought a lot about what my last day would be during the summer, but never thought I would feel the strong feelings that I did. During take off I took a look out my window, and once again burst into tears. What had gotten into me. I never cried. I had truly become attached to this city. The Kai's really are an extension of my real family, and Saga is a second home to me. Looking at my stuffed luggage and camera reminded me of my great adventures, yet looking at the clouds and checkerboard rice paddies below made me realize that "just yesterday" I had seen the same thing, anxiously wondering what my host family waiting for me would be like. I was so satisfied with my experiences. I wouldn't change a thing. However, I felt a heaviness of depression that one of my life dreams was already over... amazing... yet, over. I realized then and there that I had a lot of reflecting to do. I have never experienced such strong feelings like this. I did not want to be sappy when writing this... but it is true, even I didn't expect it out of myself. Luckily I had the hour and a half flight to Tokyo to put all the pieces together.