Upon my return to Indonesia, a friend asked me how my trip to Japan went. The short answer is that it was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. The only thing missing was more of the same. Eleven days may seem like a decent amount of time to spend on holiday, but given my history there, it was more of a tease than anything.
After an awkward beginning (I was a little confused with the language, money, etc.), I slipped into something a little more comfortable…my prior life! I met with old friends, made a few new ones, talked, biked, ate, drank, ate and drank some more and walked further and longer in eleven days than I have in a year here in Indonesia. The weather was a little colder than it usually is this time of year (40’s-60’s), but a very welcome change for a village boy like me who deals with the perpetual summer heat of Indonesia. Unfortunately, the colder temperature wiped out most of the sakura before I could see them.
I couldn’t believe how big my “nephew,” Noki got. I was pleased to see that he is turning out to be a real dude, despite always having to wear girl’s clothing (sorry, Cherokee). I was also delighted to meet my new “niece,” Len, quite possibly the first baby ever to not cry in my arms (my friend Matt has the photos to prove it). Lastly, the spaceship, ‘Toto’ toilet I’ve been longing for was such a sight for sore eyes that I nearly dropped to my knees to kiss it.
My thoughts and feelings ran wild. I thought about old memories. I thought about whether or not I’d like to live there again and if I did, how I’d go about it. I thought about what I’d gained and lost in my seven years there and about how much I grew, but also, deep down how little I’ve changed. I often like to say, half jokingly I think, that even something like pain lets you know you are alive. Japan gave me both joy and pain and while it was a lot to take in, I welcomed it all.
Taking a step back and looking at my situation here in the Peace Corps through a fresh pair of eyes gave me a new perspective. Though it’s only been a week, I’m finding that I’m able to laugh things off a little better than I did before my trip. I feel refreshed, awakened you might say and I now realize, momentarily anyway, that this experience is but one of many to come, and as such, I should try to enjoy it for what it’s worth.
To all my friends and loved ones in Osaka, thank you so very much for welcoming me back into your busy lives. I had an amazing time and look forward to seeing you all again!