Saturday, June 30, 2012

Time is Running Out

Today is the day one of my best friends from my home university, Mary, returns home to the states. I am so glad that both of us were able to be in Japan at the same time, even though she studied in Tokyo, and I came to call Kyoto "home." We didn't get to see each other very often due to the distance, but it was very refreshing to have a friend go through the same experience, in completely different ways, through different people, at the same time. I hope Mary makes it home safely, without any glitches through the airport and airwaves, and it's weird thinking that one of our journeys has come to an end, and a new chapter of life will begin upon landing on US soil.

Mary's departure has made me realize that my own journey in Japan will be ending in less than two months, and as much as I dislike the thought, I have to remind myself to be positive in my remaining time abroad.

Speaking of staying positive, I received a package from Captain Cornelius, one of my friends in Germany. I had no idea that he would be sending me something, and when I received a notice from the post about a missed package, I was more than surprised. However, it came at a time when everyone I knew was telling me that they were happy to be returning home, or my friends and family from the states were telling me they couldn't wait to get home. I felt as though I were the only person dreading the return, and tried to make myself think more optimistically.

Cornelius sent me a box full of chocolates and gummies from the Deutschland, but it was his letter that brought tears to my eyes. I feel like a drama queen when I type this, but I was really comforted by his letter. He told me to make the most of my time there and that I shouldn't worry about leaving even though he knows I'm upset about it. He's one of my loyal readers, I should say. (Although, that sounds weird since I don't update this blog on a normal basis, and I feel as though I have let the readers I have had down in the process of laziness.)

This letter resonated with me because I remembered how upset Cornelius was before his departure to Germany. Although he was, like many people I know, a bit happy to return home, and he felt that his trip to Japan had been satisfactory. But I felt that what I was feeling was the closest to what he was feeling months ago, even though it isn't striking the nail on the head exactly. In any case, because of this, I took his letter to heart. Yeah, it really sucks that I'll be returning home, but on the bright side, I'll be able to see people I haven't seen in almost a year, eat food that I love (Hello, burritos and salsa!), and more importantly, I'll have a better understanding of myself when I return.

Before I left for Japan, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to end up in the future, and who I wanted to be around for the rest of my life. Now that I've been abroad, I understand that I want, more than anything, to end up in Japan in my future. I want to teach English, not because it is the "Global Language" or anything like that. I want to give those learning English a positive experience. I want to talk about the things they enjoy, or help them learn English regarding the field of their career. While I love my friends and family, I don't feel as though I belong in the states, at least, not for all of my life. I want to travel, live in different places, and get a job in which I don't have to worry about myself financially.

As of now, I guess I can feel a bit relieved. The situation is a bit troubling, but despite working out things with my home university through contract, it seems as though they have dropped me as a student because I "haven't been in school for a year". It's annoying, and I feel betrayed by my school, which adds to the resentment and unhappy feelings I have held toward my university for the majority of my time there. Although I am very happy and grateful for their approval for me to study abroad, as well as the partnership, I must say I think some things about university policy should be changed, especially when the school knows the student is studying abroad.

In any case, because of my "lack of attendance", so to speak, I will not be given financial aid for my Fall 2012 school term in the states. This means that I will not be able to go to school, as like many families in the US, my parents cannot afford for me to continue my education in this economy. I have a year left of school, but my parents lack of savings, my lack of job when I return home and drained bank account won't permit me to go back to school. I am communicating with my parents, my home university, and academic advisers about this problem, but depending on the result of our conversation, I may or may not be going to school in the Fall.

A plus of this is, if I cannot return to school immediately in the fall, I will be able to stay for another week or two in the country that I love.

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