Yesterday morning, I scribbled Oct. 1 on the blackboard while wearing a blazer. This evening, I sat inside my apartment drinking a cup of tea while wearing sweats and a cardigan. October, blazers, cardigans and hot drinks can mean only one thing–fall has arrived.
Although I love fall, the arrival of this crisp, comfortable and cozy season means that summer has ended. Prior to moving to Japan, summer was a slow season. It was a time to sit back and drink a cold beer on the porch. There was no homework to do–only beaches to enjoy. However, this summer was full of goodbyes and hellos, conferences, summer camps, festivals and trips.
Now is my opportunity to catch y’all up on summer’s events. Today, I will start with an ending–a goodbye or a “さよなら–sayonara” in Japanese. On the JET Programme, teaching contracts end and begin in summer. Therefore, before welcoming the new teachers to Hiroshima, we must say goodbye to those whom are leaving.
My friends chose to move here for an infinite array of reasons. Some reasons are clear and easily definable. People want to pay off student loans or learn Japanese. Others are vague. People hope to lose themselves. Find themselves. And, everything in between.
However, prior to moving, we don’t realize that at some point, along the route of reasons, we will meet incredible people and build real, lasting friendships. When living in a foreign country and amongst a foreign culture, friendship is on fast-forward. You meet friends during the previews. You are best friends before the opening scene. And, when the final credits are rolling, you can’t remember life without them.
I feel fortunate because I have been surrounded by so many wonderful people while living in Japan. Although this trend has certainly continued into my second year, I will miss those friends who left Japan for their next adventure. Thanks to them, my first year was unforgettable. I wish them the best of luck and look forward to meeting them again someday, somewhere!