Goodbye Japan! じゃあね~

Hello from America! :D

The time has come…!!  Towards the end of July, I followed through with my earlier decision and finished up my contract with JET. I then started to say goodbye to everyone and everything that had been a part of my life for the past two years. :( I felt that it was time for me to return home and start figuring out my next steps, so in August, I packed up my bags, deactivated my residence card, and sobbed my way through security.

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I had to move out of my apartment to make room for the new ALT once my contract ended in late July, so I lived a nomadic life for about two weeks.  I traveled a little bit, saw a few places that were left on my bucket list (which I will post about soon!), and had my last Taiko festival (which I will also post about eventually!).  I also said many, many goodbyes.

On the subject of goodbyes, I feel like a complete jerk because my English club students and co-teacher came to see me off, but I’ve been in such denial that I haven’t been able to reply to any of their goodbye cards. :'(  Maybe when I’ve posted this I will be able to reach out to them and thank them for witnessing my ugly cry and for being there with me! I continued to sob for an hour into the flight as I read their messages…!!! How people can go through security dry-eyed, I don’t know.  :'(

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Japan was crying along with me! <3

I also apologize for the sporadic updates this year.  The past few months have been extremely busy with preparations, goodbyes, packing, shipping, cleaning, travelling to places for one last time, job applications, you name it.

I didn’t want to post anything about my leaving because I wanted to deal with it at my own my pace.  I knew it would be a tricky transition, and I really wanted space to work through it… so I kept everything under wraps for a while.  Working through reverse culture shock, the job search, and everything that comes alongside those two things was already intimidating enough!

It will still take me some time to unpack my thoughts on my experience, especially as I try to re-frame my growth and new skill sets into something that will help me find a job!

Honestly I’ve been everywhere along the roller coaster ride of emotion, from relief knowing I would be home soon, to worries about the reverse culture shock, to sadness due to all the goodbyes, to regret about not staying longer…  I am TIRED OF FEELING.  Roller coaster is too nice of a word for it. I felt like I’d been tossed into a washing machine, wrung dry, and left to try to gather my emotional pieces during my last few days. D:

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My bike commute to school! <3 Missing it so much right now. :'(

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Another commute shot. <3

Anyway, I know this post has been all over the place, and honestly I’m not aiming for much structure here.  I will make another post or two about highlights and lowlights of my past two years, but this was more of a reflection/outlet!

While I am happy to be back, there are a lot of things that are strange to get used to (like not having a car in American Suburbia…), and a lot of other things I need to deal with (like seeing where my friends are currently with their lives and jobs, which usually lie in sharp contrast to my timeline).  But I’ll make it through! I will wade through the muck that is expat re-entry, and hopefully do so with some grace! :)

My next plans are to finish up a bunch of posts I have been meaning to put up from the past year or so, work on those job applications (which will hopefully take me somewhere new!), and in general grow comfortable with being back.

This is a short one! Until next time!

A

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