last day

I’m sitting on my bed in an otherwise empty apartment, or what will be a nearly empty apartment. In 30 minutes, my supervisor will come, or the gas man, or electricity man, or the apartment man. Then I will hand over my keys and that will be that.

I’ve been back in California for a month now, and I’ve forgotten what clouds look like, with it the smell of sudden, summer rain. Every day is sunnier than the last. I’ve been getting hives that come and go, everyday, without fail. I guess my body is still adjusting.

In other news, I had a lovely Labor Day weekend in Monterey, am still looking for a job, and am bothering my mother everyday. I am grateful.

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not ready

I am going to bed later and later each day. It’s a reluctant expression of how I’m feeling; that is, a futile attempt to lengthen the time I have here. More often than not, I am unproductive. Productivity speeds up the time, you see.

The act itself is of course, unproductive. The less sleep I get, the slower and the more irritable I am. I find myself frequently staring off into space when I am supposed to be listening, or being less patient, when I should be accommodating. At the most inappropriate times, I feel like bursting into tears.

(I am reading this over, and it reads as melodramatic, and maybe whiny or a touched panicked. Or a cry for help. It is not. I am okay. I just need some time. To adjust perhaps. To slowly ease into what will soon be my life.

Maybe that is not the best way. Maybe a quick, shocking dunk into the water is exactly what I need.)

“If you flash your car lights in the field, or smoke a cigarette, they’ll light up more,” he said in Japanese as he flicked his lighter almost casually to light his cigarette.

I didn’t know if it was true or if it was simply coincidence, but the slight flickering in the fields suddenly steadied.

It was my first (and I suspect, last) time seeing fireflies (apparently, they don’t exist in California, and are also gradually disappearing throughout the world), and they struck me as a kind of melancholy, at once magical and stark. It began to rain in earnest, but still we stood, mesmerized by those small glittering stars.

more lists

Jess said I should make a list of what I’m looking forward to when I go home so here it is, in no particular order.

  1. Food. All sorts.
  2. My family.
  3. Dan.
  4. Friends!
  5. Singing worship songs in English.
  6. Hearing sermons in English.
  7. No humidity. (Though I am also dreading this…)
  8. Weddings.

As of today, it is exactly one month until I leave Japan.

lists

Today was my last day at one of my visit schools. As last days go, it was anti-climatic; no one cried, I didn’t feel sad, my vice principal had no idea it was my last day until I went to greet him one last time. The day after tomorrow will be another one of these days. I’m checking them off my list, one by one. After Thursday, two visit schools down, three more to go.

When I first came, there were a bunch of welcome parties, and now that I’m leaving there are a bunch of goodbye parties. I’m checking these off my list too. I’ll have four in just this next week, and I’m wondering if they are checking me off their lists too.

walking under water

I can count on my fingers the number of weekends I have left in Japan. I’m having the same sort of feeling I had when I was first coming–a certain numbness; hazy, surreal. One day soon, my time here will be as though a dream.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

updates

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.