Today (December 6th) officially marks 3 months in Japan! 🎉
It’s been an amazing, emotional, and wondrous 3 months. I’ve met amazing people, gone amazing places, taken fantastic photos (see above), and experienced all sorts of new foods, people, and ideas. Before I came to Japan, people said to me all of the time, “Studying abroad will change you,” but I didn’t really believe them all that much. I felt comfortable in my own skin, and I was content with my place in life at the time. College, work, homework. College, work, homework. Thoughts of the future. Comfortable, loving relationship. College, work, homework.
But there was a certain monotony in my life at the time that I didn’t realize excited at all. It wasn’t until I disrupted that monotony and decided to entirely uproot myself from my comfort zone and go to Japan that I realized how truly unhappy I was with the direction of my life at the time.
Growing up, I wanted to live abroad. I wanted to work abroad, get married abroad, have kids abroad. I wanted to spend my life exploring the world. Our lives are such small blips on the lifespan of Earth, so why waste the time I have here living in little Las Vegas, where nothing ever changes except that one store on Ann Rd and Centennial? Falling in love with Japan and Japanese culture was accidental, but the best things are, I think. 💚
Over one year later (I started planning my study abroad trip in September 2016), I find myself living comfortably in a city that’s 5,000 miles away from the city I was born and raised in. Prior to coming to Japan on September 6, 2017, I had never left the Lower 48 States. Ever. I hadn’t even been to Canada! I didn’t have a passport until I was 20! Japan was a huge leap of faith for me. There was the possibility I would hate it and here I was putting an entire year of my life to it.
But that’s not the case because I love Japan. I think about leaving (even though I still have 8 months left) and my heart breaks. This country is beautiful — the people are so friendly, the culture is rich with history, and there is so much to see. I feel like Japan is constantly surprising me. You don’t have to go far away for adventure — get off at a random station on your train line and suddenly you’re thrown into a whole new town with different shops, sights, and people to talk to. There are opportunities everywhere to learn new things and discover new aspects of Japan and the city I’m living in. I absolutely love it.
Japan has given me the opportunity to grow. I’m more outgoing, I’m more open-minded, I’m more myself.
I have 8 more months here and I’m devastated by the thought of leaving, but I know I’ll come back. I have a home here in Japan and I think I’ll always leave a piece of myself in Osaka no matter where I end up in my life. This city means a lot to me and the people of Kansai are important to me, too. I knew before I came to Japan that I would want to return someday, but I never thought I’d be so devastated at the thought of leaving. So I’m looking forward to the day I can come back (long term), and I’m really looking forward to another wonderful 8 months here. 🤗
Have you ever lived abroad? Did you ever travel to a city that felt like “home” and you’ve been longing to return to it now that you’re no longer there?