All good things must come to an end, but at least the memories of that good thing will last forever. Here I’ve compiled a few paragraphs of things that I keep thinking about since returning:
I must admit it was a sad day leaving Japan. Suddenly, I was going to be separated from the people I’d spent every waking moment with for the past twelve days indefinitely. It got even more emotional due to my roommate situation. On the first day, I’d gone into my room and found someone’s bags on the bed next to mine. I had no idea who it belonged to. When I finally met my roommate, we exchanged some words and a little laughter, but we were quiet for most of the night. Throughout the twelve days, we’d moved around a lot and slept in many different buildings, cities and islands. Everyone was constantly shuffled, but somehow she and I always ended up in the same place or in the same room. We also got really close to one of the guys that just happened to be teamed with us everywhere we went too. The night before we left Japan, we’d had dinner together, walked around the city, went dancing and stayed up past three am talking. It was truly incredible how comfortable we’d become in such a short space of time. I honestly miss those two so much and I hope that whatever they end up doing in the future they are successful in it.
Having icecream before we head out for the day.
Heading to the grocery store for lunch.
Day one in Osaki Kamijima.
We didn’t have too much free time as we had a schedule to follow and a lot to do. However, there were a few free moments given to us. To be honest, the three free moments we had could have been three of the biggest disasters I could have been apart of, but somehow, they turned out alright. The first happened when we got to go out for a quick lunch in Hiroshima. Because we all headed out so fast, I didn’t think about grabbing my bag and or anything really. I ended up at a restaurant with two other people where all the food was cooked on one hotplate in front of customers. Needless to say, I didn’t have cellphone connection, my EpiPen, or my note translated into Japanese that specifies my allergies. I ate the food anyway and it was some of the best Okonomiyaki I ever had- tasted even better after realizing I had no allergic reaction and wasn’t going to die. The second incident was when we took an unscheduled trip during our free time to Miyajima. Long story short here is that we lost one of the girls; we had all her money, phone and identification documents and we left her on the island by accident and took a fairy to Hiroshima. That was crazy, but a situation like that really shows you how resourceful you can be and how well you work with others. Especially when it comes to rescuing a friend in danger. The last situation comes back to food again. We picked a random restaurant to go out for dinner and ended up at this place that had no English menus, no pictures and the staff didn’t speak English. We’d already sat down and got drinks so we felt it would be rude to leave. After some debating on what we should do with the three other girls I was with, we decided to point to a random thing on the menu and hope for the best. The food wasn’t the greatest, but the conversation that went on at that table during that moment of panic was something special and I will never forget it.
The random food we picked.
When we got to Miyajima
After visiting the shrine.
Like I said in my first blog, I have a bracelet collection going for every country I travel to. While in Japan I went to this tiny Island called Teshima with five other people for a few days. There wasn’t much of anything there. One afternoon after dinner we went exploring and found a shop on a corner we’d never noticed before. There were a lot of food items there and like 5 bracelets which was so random. I ended up buying one. The travel home ended up being really hectic- we had one late flight, missed the second flight, ran through the airport as if we were in a movie, and ended up having a layover in Montreal instead of Calgary. I think I must have dropped my bracelet at some point during all that. It’s kind of sad, but I guess this just means I get to travel to Japan again for a second bracelet.
Having fun at the airport before we realized we were about to miss a flight and run the Olympics to catch another one.
There are many other things we did that was amazing. Some of them are: playing End zone with a group of children we’d met that day, playing volleyball with the college students, playing traditional drums at the high school, going to an onsen for the first time, eating dinner at the house in Osaki Kamijima with everyone, hearing a story from a Hiroshima A bomb survivor, spending the night with my host family, experiencing a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, making salt, seeing a wild boar and a few of the biggest spiders I’d ever seen in my life, meditating at a temple and so much more.
Chilli Fires and Red Riding Hood Team!
All of us with our host families.
The day we learned the drums.
After our lecture.
After our meditation session.
When I got back, I’d gotten so used to using chopsticks for every single meal that it felt weird to eat with anything else. I have Chinese housemates and I happily used their chopsticks for a few meals within the first two weeks of returning.
Also, it was hard to stay awake- the jetlag kicked my butt. I took four naps in one day just to get through it and get work done.
My biggest take away:
In the end, I am truly grateful for this experience. I will carry with me the history lessons, experiences and skills that I gathered on this trip forever. Before this trip, I was always concerned about the fact that there were people out there who spoke a different language that me and I wouldn’t be able to communicate with them and hear their stories. However, my time in Osaki Kamijima really opened my eyes to the vast amount of ways there are to communicate without the use of words and that light bulb moment is something that will stick with me forever.
They made these for us.
Walking back to the house one evening.
Katie, Emily and I before heading to the beach one evenimg.