Stateside: Reflections in International InterMission

In the week I have been home from Japan, I have thought a lot about our trip.

I have not directly spoken to my host sister but we follow each other on social media and have been liking each others posts. My family and I are planning on sending them thank you letters in the mail very soon. In addition to seeing my host sisters posts, I’ve been seeing her friends posts which has been nice to stay in touch. On Friday night, another Porter’s girl and I were using Instagram live and one of the students from ISAK joined and was sending us messages. We both thought it was crazy how we made lasting friendships in only a few hours and are staying in touch on opposite sides of the world. I hope I can keep these relationships with everyone I met for a very long time.

The hardest part about returning from Tokyo has been readjusting. I’m experiencing a lot of the things I had to adjust when we arrived in Tokyo including different food, time zone, way people communicate, culture, and ultimately the way the people around me live. In someways, I feel a bit foreign in my hometown, but I’m pretty sure I am on the other side of readjusting. The thing I miss most about being in Tokyo is simply having everything be new. While at times it was exhausting and I wanted the things I’m used to, the little things around you become fascinating when they’re new. I experienced a new language, culture, city, scenery, people, food, customs, and so much more. One day, I hope I can return Japan and while the experiences won’t be brand new, I’m sure they will be just as interesting.

Having this international experience has made me more grateful for the life I have. Being away from things for two weeks made me realize how important they are to me. I have been trying to be show more appreciation for these things and people since being home. I have also been waking up earlier since returning home. In Japan, I woke up much earlier than I typically would because it was a long to commute to school. Now, I wake up earlier because in Japan I realized I like being up earlier in the day. In all honestly, I haven’t realized everything I have been doing differently since being home. As I continue to reflect in the next days, weeks, months, and ultimately years to come, I expect to realize more of these changes.

I’m extremely grateful for this experience and how it has made me a better person.

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