My time in Japan so far has given me a greater appreciation for several things – these are just a couple.
1) The most important thing I’ve come to appreciate more is connection with other people, specifically friends and family, but also just people in general! I never realized how difficult life can be without someone to connect to. Everyone needs someone to talk to and spend time with, and I think I’ll view people in a different light, now – with that in mind. I think the worst kind of lonliness is being surrounded by people every day, but not connecting with any of them.
2) I’ve also come to appreciate my family and friends more – “You don’t know what you got ‘ til it’s gone”. I was never one to miss my family much – I’ve always been pretty independent and unreliant on them. I’ve figured out, though, that independence doesn’t mean you don’t still need your family! I’ve definitely needed my family and their support while I’ve been here, and I miss them more than I ever thought I would! I’m proud of my family and who each of them are, and I love them a lot (and I’m not really a lovey-dovey person, so that’s weird for me to just say).
3) Self-strength is a huge thing for me now, too – to get through the difficult days without giving up. It’s hard to push yourself when you feel lonely and depressed, and don’t really want to do anything. But endurance and perseverance are something I’m learning and trying to implement, even when I just want to curl up in a ball on my bed with a big tub of chocolate ice cream (or rice, because you can’t buy tubs of ice cream here).
I think it will be interesting to look back to January from August and see what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed. I was looking forward to this experience as ‘an opportunity for personal growth’. In the first month or so, I definitely wasn’t feeling personal growth, just loneliness and homesickness. My Mom (being the sweet mommy that she is) told me that I was like a flower (hehe), and you can’t always tell that flowers are starting to bloom and change, but when you look at them later, there’s been change and they’re beautiful. So – I’m a flower, and I’m going to learn and grow while I’m here. When I come back in August, I will be a better flower!