It’s hard to believe that in a little over two months I’ll be back in California. I’m panicked and sad and happy and breathless all at once. To say that I’m overwhelmed would be an understatement. It’s much the same as when I was first moving here–a surreal feeling, of is-this-really-happening-to-me?, and just going through the motions. This last one is bad–I’m distracted constantly and it’s affecting my work and how I talk with people, but I can’t snap out of it.

Of course, it’s too early to make a reflective post about my time here, but even down the line, I don’t know that I can contain my experiences in words. For now, please bear with this haphazard list of what I’ve been up to.

  1. visitors galore
  2. traveling like mad
  3. running a 5km in insane weather conditions
  4. signing up for another run (arghhh I’m crazy, I don’t know why I torture myself so)
  5. watching Elementary

And in (some) detail:

1. and 2. First, Dan visited, and we went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and finally Otawara where he met people from church and some of the other ALTs! Then Joanna and Matt visited and I met Matt’s cooking school friends. We also went to church together (Matt was the one who introduced me to the church actually!) and the church people were really happy to see them! Next, Nark and Jwoo came followed by the parentals and we went to a slew of places…Tokyo, Yokohama, Takayama, Shirakawa-Go, Kanazawa, Kakunodate, Tazawa-ko, and Sendai. They also traveled to other places without me (alas, I had work!).

It’s strange to feel alone even after living by myself for almost two years. You forget, I think, until you’re surrounded by people and then not. It’s a stark contrast.

3.  and 4. It took us five hours to drive up to Sendai and take a ferry to this little island that was hit hard by the tsunami two years ago. The run was part of a revitalization campaign to boost tourism back to the affected areas. The weather was beautiful when we arrived and we enjoyed a lovely traditional Japanese dinner in a traditional Japanese inn. Then came the report that it would be snowing the next day. Not just snow, but a mixture of snow and rain. I thought to myself, surely, they’ll cancel the marathon. Who can run in these conditions? Japanese people, it turns out. Honestly, I never thought I would ever run 5km, let alone 5km in freezing sleet. By the end, I was soaked through and I couldn’t feel any of my appendages.

Of course, then what do I do. Sign up for another one of course! At least, this one will be in June up in Yamagata. Our prize at the end is cherries (Yamagata is famous for cherries)!

5. If you haven’t seen this show yet, you MUST watch it. It’s seriously one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time and I watch a lot of TV. The finale was this past week and I was absolutely riveted. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say anything else. WATCH IT.