Yes, it really has been four months! Time has moved both slowly and quickly, as it tends to do in new situations. With this four-month mark in mind, I’ve come up with a list of four low points and four high points of the past few months:
- Feeling shell-shocked when I got here. “Everything even smells different,” I remember complaining to some of my teammates.
- Realizing that the language and culture is so different from our own. Will I ever get used to the Japanese workplace culture, or the way they profusely greet/apologize/thank each other? To my American mind, it seems very surface-oriented. And yet, it’s an integral and respected way of their interactions.
- Realizing that two years is a LONG TIME. Yep. It is. Not that I’m not excited about it – I am. But it’s STILL a long time.
- Missing favorite food products. The top food items that I miss? Fruit. (Very expensive, meaning that I don’t buy berries and other favorite fruits that I used to eat at home. Except for apples, which I buy anyway and try not to think about the price.) Peanut butter. (Available, but expensive. And no Reese’s!) Trail mix. (SOMETIMES available in small packages. And expensive.) Granola bars!!
Four High Points:
- Realizing that I “took the plunge.” However difficult this experience may be at times, I am over the first (and hardest?) step of actually doing it. I don’t think about that fact much, but when I do, I am excited about it.
- Learning to do simple things. Like mail a card from the post office. Even small victories are big victories in a foreign country.
- Learning to do complex things. Like buying bus and train tickets. (Actually not that complex, but since I never had occasion to do it in the U.S., I was totally clueless over here). And doing things that the locals do, like getting a point card for the grocery store. Yay!
- Having some success with the language. There’s still SO much I don’t know, and I realize it more and more every day. But even understanding simple things, or being able to communicate a little bit with someone, is a victory.
There’s so much more I could write about, but for the sake of my readers I’ll keep it short and snappy. After this post I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from the blog world as I set off to spend my summer break in the best way possible – visiting my family. 🙂 See you all in two weeks!