Tomorrow marks 5 weeks until I return home to visit friends for nearly 1 month. 5 weeks. That’s just over a month. That’s 3 weeks at First school and 2 weeks at Second school. That’s 5 more Wednesday classes. That’s almost a year from leaving Florida.
And where am I now?
People like to ask me “Has living in Japan changed you?” My answer is a distinct “Yes.” The natural follow up question is “In what ways?” To which I never have a response. I know I’ve changed. I can feel it in the way I look at others, in the way that others look at me. I can feel it in my body language, my responses, my decisions. I’ve definitely changed. But in what way, I don’t know.
Part of me believes I’ve become more hardened and care-free. Hardened in the sense that I’m not as easily affected by others opinions and bad things that happen. Care-free in the sense that I go with the flow much better than I once did. Someone even called me “laid back” the other day. That was shocking to hear!
As anyone who goes to another country to “find themselves” quickly finds out, that goal slips through your fingers like sand held too tightly. If anything I’m at the lowest point of “knowing myself” I’ve ever been at. I haven’t discovered what I want in life, but I certainly now have a better understanding of what I don’t want.
Basically, I’m at square one. Who am I? Where will I go? Who will I become friends with? Based on what little I know about myself, these questions are hard to answer. I’m trying to remind myself that being at square one is good, I’m at “start.” Now I can choose where to go from here. Now I can be who I want to be.
Advice from a girl in translation: never go looking for yourself, but rather, find yourself. It’s not a matter of searching, but a matter of discovering. As I walk along, I find pieces of the puzzle scattered in the most unlikely places. When I’m looking really hard for the pieces, I miss them entirely. To “find oneself” is a mis-leading concept as it implies you have to go looking for something. I can search as much as I like, but the pieces only seem to find me.