I am moving into my last month of being here, and my program technically ends next week (although I will be here a bit longer). I can’t really fathom the fact that it has been a year since I came here. The best way I can describe it, being here has been like I was transported to another dimension version of myself that happens to be living in Japan. Abby in Japan seems like a separate person from Abby in the USA.
Obviously Abby in Japan is simply a continuation–an addition–to who Abby in the USA was. I can tell that I have changed in ways that I probably don’t know, and probably will continue to not know until I discover them as I move into the future to create more newer parts of myself.
Reflecting back on my experience, it was a lot different than I imagined it. I didn’t necessarily come with a bunch of expectations or anything, but I think I am experiencing what we all experience after achieving something. I feel like I had almost seen coming to Japan as a giant finale. It was like this big unachievable thing in my mind since I was a young kid, and to me, achieving that big unachievable thing was my happily ever after. I didn’t even consider that life continues on after this goal. I especially didn’t expect my response to the end of achieving this goal.
Until month 10 (last month), I had extreme anxiety about going back to the USA. While everyone had been experiencing culture shock and homesickness their first 6 months here, I had felt no longing to go home. Maybe it was the fact I hadn’t imagined anything past my experience. Maybe it was just that the food was good and the train system provided a type of freedom I didn’t know in the US. However, last month, and especially now, I feel differently.
I feel really ready for the next chapter of my life. It isn’t necessarily that I prefer the US over Japan or Japan over the US. However, I know that for the time being, since I’m not planning to work here this next year, this is not the place where I can forge a path for myself. I don’t feel I can grow here anymore in the way I need to right now. Going abroad, especially for a long time, really makes you reflect on your values, and I think it was extremely necessary that I came here. I think it is also extremely necessary that my next step not be here.
Who knows maybe I’ll find myself back here in a couple of years, or maybe in a completely different country. I can’t really say where I’ll end up making a permanent space for myself, or if I ever will. Life is full of possibilities. My experience here was definitely a foundation for leaping into adulthood. I thought it was the finale this whole time, but I think it’s really the beginning of something.
If you followed my blog this year, thank you. I wasn’t that consistent, but I appreciate you taking the time to read about my experience. I hope it was beneficial to you in some way. I enjoyed writing it 🙂
The End… or rather,