Monday, May 21, 2012

The Things I've Done

I've done my laundry.

I've packed up my big luggage bag and had it delivered to the airport.

I've cleaned the kitchen of the dorm, along with my own room.

I've got the last of my possessions in a bag sitting next to my desk, where only my laptop, which I use now, occupies it.

I've said goodbye to my first, wonderful, talkative, welcoming, warm, host mom. I said goodbye to my second family long ago.

I've received my certificate from Nanzan University, stating that I have successfully completed their Japanese Program.

I've gathered the papers I'll need at the airport.

I have four more days, but I'm still reflecting on the things I've seen and done in my nine-month stay in Japan.

I spent a week in Tokyo, my first week in Japan. I saw my first temples and shrines and rode the trains and the subways, and got lost when I went alone. I kept my cool, made it back to my cousin's house, and I felt proud.

I got to Nagoya and met my first host mom, the person who has taken care of me better than anyone else in this city. She fed me, she talked with me, laughed with me, joked with me, encouraged me, supported me, and consoled me when I got lost...again.

I went to school and every weekday morning from 9:20AM to 12:35PM, I studied Japanese. Grammar, vocabulary, complex chinese characters, stories, newspaper articles, projects, speeches, papers, drafts, short tests, oral tests, and exams.

I met David and Jeff, and we spent our weekends at bars or karaoke or restaurants.

I met Lisa, Julie, Valerie, Shelley, Erika, and Kate, and we spent more time at bars, karaoke, restaurants, and going on day trips.

I went to see mummies in a town nearby, went to Ise, Nagoya Castle, trips to see a mummy in temples in the mountains. I went to Disney Sea and traveled around Tokyo with Ayame, and I participated in a Japanese wedding in Shikoku where I was the flower girl and gave a toast at the ceremony. I spent a fantastic weekend with my friend, seeing the oldest hot spring Japan has to offer, along with Matsuyama Castle and more.

I went to KFC with a large group of friends for Thanksgiving. I ate Christmas cake on Christmas. I had an incredibly busy, exhilarating, Japanese New Years'.

I switched host families and spent many days in museums and the zoo and parks and gardens. I traveled to Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka with Ayame. I traveled to Hiroshima and Miyajima alone. I went to Gifu, Utsumi, and Inuyama. I saw temples and shrines and gardens and parks and monuments and history.

I bought a new coat and boots and was told I looked like a Japanese girl, and that more impressive, I sounded like one. I came to read Japanese novels and watched Japanese shows and movies, and I understood them all.

I made friends from all over the world; Japan, France, The Netherlands, Jordan, Germany, India, Indonesia, China, Africa, and of course, America.

I have seen and loved so much, and I have only gained in my time spent in Japan.

Thank you for reading my blog, for supporting me, for caring about me. I may continue it even when I'm back in the states, as I will no doubt cope with what's called "Reverse Culture Shock." So check back now and again and maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised with a new post.

Thank you, everyone.

For everything.

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