August marks my 1 year anniversary with Japan. I officially arrived in Japan on August 15th 2010, full of fear/wonder in my eyes. Its amazing how much I have changed since then. When I think back on my last year in Japan it seems like I have been here so much longer than a year. I guess its because I have done so much, traveling, moving, activities, work, and meeting fantastic people. But when I went back to Colorado to visit it was as if the last year never happened. I quickly settled into a routine, and easily fell back into the friendships that I had before I left.
Then I went back to Japan. My leaving America emotions were vastly different between this year and last year. Last year I was fully of excitement, and lacking expectations. I knew very little about Japan and even less of the Japanese language. The only time I had been in a non english speaking country was Mexico and even then I was with my parents. But this time I was alone, no family and no friends (yet.) Upon arriving in Japan I was dead tiered, super jet lagged, and completely overwhelmed. I never had to communicate with non-english speakers before, and I had spent all day on a Chinese airline, and trying to get through Japanese customs. I was mentally exhausted. Although I had a few hours to kill when I arrived in Hiroshima I went straight to my hotel room. As I lay on my bed trying to stay awake, I wondered what in the heck I had gotten myself into. I just moved to a country where I didn’t speak a lick of the language, and I knew absolutely no one. I didn’t want to say how scared and stressed I was at the time because I knew that I had gotten myself into this mess, and I wanted to stay positive. Fortunately things turned around quickly. I met most of my best friends in Japan within 24 hours of arriving, and started having a great time.
Flash forward to one year latter. I was sitting in the airport knowing exactly what to expect and how to communicate through each step of the transportation process. I knew where my home was. I had friends to meet up with when I arrived home. I was a bit sad leaving home (Colorado), I was leaving friends behind, and there were still friends that I didn’t get to see or call. I realized how much of my friends’ and families’ lives I had missed out on during this last year. I missed 4 weddings this summer, and have friends/family that are expecting babies in the next year. Being in America was so easy. If i had a question I could ask and understand the response. I could talk to anyone I wanted to. I could read signs, menus, notices. Roads had names and street signs. But I was also ready to go back “home” where my homebase was. Ready to start working again. Ready to have adventures again. Ready to go to the beach. Ready to see my Japan friends. Leaving Colorado I was filled with some sadness and expectancy for more great things.
So here’s to another year. Who know’s where its going to take me. What kind of fantastic people I’m going to meet, and what kind of places I’m going to explore. Alright Japan I’m ready for round 2!