Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

Omake #11: Personal Update – Leaving Japan Soon

on July 20, 2012

I’ve said most of my goodbyes. I’ve had pretty much all of my goodbye assemblies and parties.

I have 2 more days left of work – the rest of today, and Monday. My contract is technically through Wednesday, July 25th, but I’m using my last two vacation days to take off the last 2 days (Tuesday and Wednesday), so I can have some more time to pack, clean up my apartment, and just laze around a bit before I go through the strenous endevaor of getting myself up to Kansai International Airport and then onto my flights home. I’ll be traveling first to Beijing to change planes and then on to Chicago. The first flight is 4 hours while the second is a whopping 13 1/2 hours. I’m going to be exhausted by the time I get back home to my mom in the Chicago suburbs, but I can’t wait to be back in the US again, arriving Saturday July 28th.

As for this blog, I still intend to post some things relating to Japan and Japanese culture. I still have a lot of ideas for posts so I hope you can continue to enjoy reading them.

I intend to gradually switch my focus from Japan onto my new life that will be in Portland, Oregon. After 2 weeks spent back in Illinois the first 2 weeks of August, I’ll be moving in with my boyfriend, soon to be fiance (we’re going to exchange rings the day I leave town when he sees me off, which will be a few days before he leaves as well). We’ll be living with his parents in their condo for about a month, and then they will go off to teach English in Costa Rica while we hold down the fort in their absence. His parents also have a cat and a cockatiel and I’ve been so pet deprieved that I’m really excited to have pets again. I’m also excited to go back to the West Coast since I think it’s a wonderful area and suits me much better than life in Illinois (with the exception of my time in college down in Urbana-Champaign which is a very vibrant community with people from all over the world and other parts of the USA as well). I think I will really like Portland, which is a very liberal, health-conscious, artsy, bohemian sort of city. Also after having lived in a tiny rural town of 7,000 people here in Japan (my island having only 2,000) and being very constrained by boat and ferry schedules, it will be a breath of fresh air to have access to all kinds of restaurants, to go see a movie or go shopping more easily, and to have more opportunities to meet and befriend people who speak English! There are many wonderful people living on these islands here in Japan, but there’s almost no one my age (26) except for those that are mothers and already have 2-3 kids and are thus quite busy with their family obligations. The younger (single) generation tends to flock to the big cities – Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, etc – after graduating highschool and/or college. So I wasn’t able to make many friends this year, and am looking forward to actually having people to talk to besides my boyfriend and the occasional skype call to a friend back home.

Also, I’ll be going to Portland Community College (PCC) to study American Sign Language in the hopes of becoming an ASL interpreter. It seems like a long road ahead, and I do have my doubts about whether I’ll be good enough at it by the end of the program, having only become interested in ASL very recently, but I need a goal to work towards, and would love to have some job skills to use in the US, and studying and using foreign languages has always been a big passion of mine. I’m excited to swtich from being a teacher back to being a student and learning and using my mind more actively than I have in the past year, where I’ve often felt bored in English classes, and basically just killed time at home in the evenings.

Overall life has been good here in Japan. It’s certainly had its ups and downs – fantastic highs and devastating lows, but in the end I think it’s had a positive impact on me. I know myself a thousand times better than when I came in – my strenghts and weeknesses, my likes and dislikes, and have a better idea of how I want to spend my life from here on out. I’m thankful for my experiences here, and I’m also thankful for the good salary I was given and the low living expenses of my rural life that has allowed me to save enough money so I can go back to college and study some without having to find a job right away.

So, thank you JET Program. It’s been quite a ride. And now, a new chapter of my life unfolds…

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2 responses to “Omake #11: Personal Update – Leaving Japan Soon

  1. Wow, what a huge change you’re about to go through. I imagine you’ll be taking away amazing memories of your time in Japan but it also sounds like you’re about to embark on a whole new adventure! Safe travels and we look forward to seeing what the next instalment of life brings for you and what the adjustment is like from tiny village to big city again (something we’ll have to deal with in time also!!).

    • Thanks for the well wishes! It will indeed be a big change to not only go to a big city, but to go to a country with a different culture and where life is entirely in English, even if it is my home country. They do say to be wary of “reverse culture shock.” Besides, it’ll be a new place that I’ve never lived in before, so there’s that to adjust to too.

      How long do you two plan on staying in Korea?

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