Monday, August 30, 2010

Last Night in The United States

I don't think I've ever been more apprehensive in my life.

Even now, hours after I've finished packing, after I'm positive everything is in the right place and that I have everything I could possibly need for the next four months packed into a duffel bag and two carry-ons, my heart feels like it's going to beat out of my chest. My parents took me to dinner at Al's Barbecue (which they highly recommend, if anybody is looking for good ribs in Dallas!) for a good Texasy meal before I take off in 12 hours. Unfortunately, after we sat down to eat, I could barely look at my food without getting nautious. Just so you can gauge what that means, I LOVE barbecue, and I've never had this reaction to nerves before! I also had a tearful breakdown to my mom while we were finishing up packing.

What I'm living out of for the next four months

It really hit me as I was putting together my photo album of my family, friends, and boyfriend, that I'm going to have very scarce communication with these people for the next 1/3rd of a year. It was heartbreaking looking at these photos of dear friends who I've spent my most important moments with for the past few years of college and knowing that I won't see them until January. Up until a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I hadn't been separated for more than 24 hours for the entire summer. Our first year anniversary is on Halloween. I can't believe I'll be talking to my parents and sister with over 6500 miles between us. If for some reason I ever needed to go home, I was only a 20 hour drive away, but now I'll be trapped on an island.

Some of the friends I'll be leaving behind

Ok, that was a little dramatic. I obviously won't be TRAPPED. I really shouldn't be acting so spoiled, since I have an incredible and rare opportunity right in front of me. I've wanted to visit Japan my entire life, after all. All I need to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep in mind that my loved ones will all be here waiting for me when I get back, and everything will be the same as I left it. After that, the only fear I have left is my fear of being unprepared. As much as I wish, though, that I could just drop myself into Japan and have interesting conversations with my otou-san and okaa-san about the differences between our two cultures, or that I could venture into Shibuya to make friends with the gyaru and send text messages using gyaru-moji, I don't think that would ever be possible. No matter how much I've prepared language-wise, I will never be prepared for the culture shock that inevitably awaits me. I hear it happens to every student studying abroad, and I'll try my hardest to welcome it with open arms.

I probably won't be able to sleep tonight... Maybe not at all until the night after tomorrow, when I'm finally in bed in my new home.

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