Wednesday, August 02, 2006
It's hard to say goodbye
School, Friends, Parties, Families, Stitches, Thousands of pictures, and 22 "tada" tissue packets/fans later, my summer is coming down to its final hours. It really doesn't feel like it is over. It went by fast, yet I have so much to account for it. The stress on my luggage zippers is proof. All of my pictures show all of the great activities I did, and also some of the wonderful people I met. That may be the most important of all to me. What really proved that I built relationships with so many people here was that many made special visits at the BBQ and after Saturday just to say goodbye. As for my host family, we have spent the last few days relaxed and quiet, opposite of the upbeat weekend, just spending time with one another. I liked that. We have had a fun time laughing and sharing stories and jokes. (We had a little celebration when I finally successfully packed.) They really have provided me with SO much this summer, as in great hospitality, care, food, fun, education, and so much more that doesn't match up with words. My feelings over the summer evolved. Of course when I first arrived in Japan, I was in a daze of excitement, and everything hit me really hard and fast since every experience was new. Although the summer was great, I cannot lie that homesickness and culture shock affected me a little. There were a few days where I just thought, "I need to have a conversation in English!" or something along those lines, but then usually minutes later a friend or event would get me right back on with why I am here in the first place. To learn, meet people, and have fun doing it all. My phase as being a "guest" was very short, if not nonexistent, meaning that I fit in with my family right away. However, the actual feeling of being acquainted with the city, and the people of Japan came much later. Only this past week did I feel like this was my home, and my city, and I wasn't a visitor, but really a part of the society. That sounded really weird in writing. Much of this does. Living abroad does something special to you, and now just when I consider myself "molded in", it is time to go remold to America. Kind of unfair. This post will be the last one I write in Japan. It doesn't mean I am done writing. There is still going to be stories of my flights home (in terms of my luggage... there will be stories). There is still a lot that is unwritten and must still be shared. This isn't the end. It is a very unique beginning, with so many special opportunities that could only come out of an experience like this one.