Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coming home

Every October in our English program, we must make the decision to either remain in the AET program or go home beginning next April, in the upcoming fiscal year. The first and second years were personally fairly simple decisions. The saddest aspect of remaining was informing my brother Michael. Meeting my family in Hawaii during Christmas my first year and returning back to Oregon for Christmas in my second year made me wonder if I had made a poor choice to remain in Japan another year upon my return to Japan.

I imagined pulling the trigger to return home this year would be difficult. On the contrary, it also proved to be a fairly simple decision. An ever so quiet, but clear and confident voice, whispered to come home. I have been here three years, I'm not new to Japan anymore. I remember when the new English teachers came last spring, I scanned through their pictures of the iconic places in the area, traveling to Tokyo and seeing the monkeys in Nikko. I was excited on their behalf but knew those experiences were not fresh personally, I had already experienced those things.  I have had the opportunity to do the things I wanted to do in Japan and it seems like the best time to leave.

I never imagined I would embark on this adventure in Japan. Once I did make the leap, I always told myself I would not remain in Japan in order to retain my security; my sense of adventure led me to Japan, my continual grasps at comfort would not be the factor keeping me in Japan.

This was the overarching thought perusing through the back of my mind as the time for a decision crept up on me in my third year; to stay would be desperate attempts to hold onto security in Japan. To return would be to embark on a new adventure filled with new challenges, the opportunity to adapt, perhaps painfully, in my journey of faith.

It's the process of returning, not the decision itself, I know will prove most difficult. Never have I been in a situation quite like this and part of that aspect makes it so beautiful. It's always been a family member or a friend, and now I'm faced with the opportunity to make major adaptations as I return stateside. 

I am confident my last four months in Japan will be the best yet, and also the most bittersweet as I say goodbye to Japan, and the most importantly the dear friends who have made it such an compelling ride.

I plan to return to the Great Northwest. I'm sure there will be immense challenges and struggles finding my place again Stateside, along with the stressful transition process these last few months in Japan. At this point, I'm still determining what I want to do in my career. I would love to find a part time job to keep me productive as I explore my future career options (my work at Red Coyote Running in Oklahoma City was a huge blessing in this way).

It's another challenge, another leap of faith as I let go of the work I've enjoyed as a foreign English teacher. But three years is an appropriate time to return home, to faithfully and boldly pursue a new passion. I'm so grateful for the ride.

As a kid I was just happy when my PB & J wasn't smashed..

At Keiko's house for dinner. Where would I be without Keiko?

Happy Birthday Carmon!! Her and Mason are the best, 

flyin around the stretch bend at the cross country meet (6th grade)

Mason preached at Mito Church last week. He did a tremendous job. So grateful for his friendship.

One of my favorite pictures. Rice harvesting at school. Yes, I really do live in Japan.

Cousin Scott came to Japan a few weeks ago. What a pleasure it was to carve out an hour of his crazy, jet lagged, meeting overdosed schedule for some coffee together!
The beautiful run yesterday.

I've never journaled until this fall, it's been a great time to reflect and a time to look back in gratitude in this last season here.