it's past midnight, and I should be deep asleep in my hotel bed... hours before my flight back to America...
but it's hard to sleep when I realize that I have one year of memories jammed into my suitcases, hundreds of wonderful meals with wonderful friends, hundreds of miles traveled in this beautiful country, hundreds of smiling students who are going to come to school next quarter to find a new AET sitting at MY desk...
I have been extremely fortunate to have met so many generous beautiful people in my year here- some are fellow JETs and some are part of my Japanese family- my landlady and her family, the Yoshidas, Jun, Akira & his wife, who constantly fed me at their udon shop...
Sometimes people ask me "why are they so nice?!"- and I still don't get it... Every year, the Yoshidas and Jun and many other of our wonderful friends here spend so much time with us, invest their time and energy to get to know us, make so many happy memories, just to see us go back to our own countries after a year or two (or three) of living in Japan. My brother always had a saying that he felt bad for people who stayed behind as travelers left them to continue on their journeys...
It's hard to adequately "thank" people like the Yoshidas except by making them something handmade, like a photo book (which Becky & I did make) or a painting of their name (in my kimono patterns)- but still I feel that we could never repay their hospitality and generosity.
I came to Japan to teach English, but in the end, I learned more about myself and making lifelong friends than anything else.
In a couple weeks, I will be back in the hustle and bustle of New York City- away from the lush green rice fields and mountains, away from the chirping cicadas and circling hawks, away from the serene year that I spent in
京都 (Kyoto Fu)
All of these experiences, just like everything else in my lfe, will be filed away in a part of my brain while I focus on what is immediately happening in my life. I just hope these memories don't fade over the years.
or as I like to say, "It's not goodbye- it's see you later!"
Thank you to everyone who kept up with my blog and supported me during this past year... especially to Paul who gave me strength in his love, and to all my friends and family who sent me packages & letters!!!
I'm sure I will find it difficult to adjust to life back in the US after being in Japan for a year, and I'll realize that everyone's lives continued- there were births and deaths, sicknesses and career changes, graduations, engagements, pregnancies, breakups, and new homes/ apartments...
I'll have to catch up on all the new restaurants to try and buildings that went up in New York, as well as all the movies and music and shows I missed... so I'll continue the blog when I get back to New York- after all, it's still a "day in the life" of Laurie!
See you all soon!!!