Thursday, July 31

Back to T Minus...

Today, I pulled my big green suitcase and my big blue backpack out of the storage cabinets they have been living in for six and a half months. Unzipping them to open them up took me back to January, when I was packing and repacking my suitcase in Kelowna, then repacking a few more time to fit as much as I could before leaving Abbotsford for the airport. The few days between Christmas and leaving for Japan seem as if they were several years ago, not barely several months ago.

If you have read some of my earliest posts from Japan, you probably know that in January and February, I wasn't enjoying my adventures here. I was trying(really hard); and I did have some fun trips and experiences. I was tryig really hard to love it here, but it was difficult, lonely, and frustrating. In all honesty, I just wanted to go home. I considered giving up and going home - but I don't give up, so I didn't. If you had told me in January that I would write the following paragraph before I left, I honestly wouldn't have believed you.

I don't want to leave Japan. Life here still isn't easy, it can be lonely, and it can definitely be frustrating. But I don't want to go. I have managed to build a life. I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. I haven't been to Fukoka or Sapporo; I haven't finished watching Gantz with James; I haven't gotten to hang out with Nobu; I haven't learned to surf; I haven't travelled enough with my coop friends; I haven't had time to really finish my projects at work; I haven't had time to learn enough Japanese; I haven't had time to be the me that I finally found here.

Do I miss Canada? Infinitely. I miss my Dad and my Mom and my brother and my sister - I can't wait to give and get hugs from all of them, and to sit and have a face-to-face conversation, instead of a typed one. I miss my friends in Kelowna - we never have enough time to spend together. I miss my university's been 16 months, and I am incredibly excited to see them again - and all ready for more adventures. I miss my Elk Valley friends, and job, and life. I miss licorice, driving, and being able to read labels and signs. But despite all the things and people I miss in Canada - (Are you ready for this?) - if I could stay longer in Japan, I would. I almost can't believe I am saying that, when I think back to how I felt when I first got here. But I will miss Japan immensely.

Hours, days, and months pass. And suddenly, it's time to leave. I am torn between my excitement to be back home in Canada, and sadness at leaving Japan. It's actually quite a confusing mindset. I sort of feel a little lost. I am leaving my life in Japan, and going back to Canada. But my Kelowna life is now temporary (as I don't live there anymore), and my Vancouver life is non-existent as I traded it for a Sparwoodian one. So I almost feel like once I leave Japan, I will have no where to belong. (Who would have thought I would ever feel like I belong in Japan?!) Come September, I will move back to Vancouver and start into a new life - and I can't wait for that (this year at school will be awesome, I can already tell.) But for two weeks between Japan and Vancouver, I will get some R&R in Kelowna (which will always truly be 'home', but in a different sort of way), and I will be floating; between here and there.

I suppose this post is a little early, as I still have two weeks left. But the days fly by, and soon, I will be getting on a plane bound for Canada. And I'm feeling a little confused about it.


unmig said...

good travel see more travel pictures with freinds and japan happy vacation and traveling have more fun

WeightingGame said...

what a phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime experience you've had. These last two weeks, I think, will be the most important - you've gotten used to the new atmosphere, know what you like (and what you'll miss) even have a solid convi to go to for rice and socks :-)

Have you read David Sedaris' new book "When You Are Engulfed In Flames"? He moved to Japan to quit smoking (irony). I loved reading about his crazy experiences abroad - I hope you never forget this amazing time of adventure and learning!

Stephanie said...

@Weighting Game:

You're right - it has been incredible! Thanks for the book recommendation... sounds interesting! Japan is definitely not the place I would move to so I could quit smoking - I'm excited to read about his adventures trying to do that! :)