It’s Sunday morning and I am on my way home from Leaver’s Weekend, the bookend event to Welcome Weekend. Japan through the train windows is a vision of green, blue and white: endless shimmering rice fields, clear sky overhead and rainclouds vaguely threatening at the edges of the horizon. Sunlight streams through the windows and “Dreams” starts playing on my iPod.
I had written kind of flippantly in much earlier blog entries about enjoying the challenge of living abroad, as if it was something I had already grasped. And sure, I’ll never fully “get it” – maybe if I stayed for years and years I would. But as I lounge on the ugly rust-colored seats of the Hokuriku Line and speed towards my waiting apartment full of warm summer air and light, I think about the person I was a year ago – a newly minted college graduate just gearing up for a year more rewarding and transformative than I could imagine – and I think I understand. Although I couldn’t see it, my life was changing every day.