Sometimes unfortunate things happen, and it’s not until after time has passed and feelings have calmed down that we can understand whether the unfortunate event was a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a bit of both, but wether you grow from it and move passed it or dwell on it is the determining factor in your personal growth. I was delayed in my departure to Japan because my travel documentation went missing. Unfortunately this was discovered at the airport in front of all my new JET friends. They were all so very helpful and even those I didn’t know so well helped me to look through my belongings while I was broken down in tears. No, I did not find my documents there, nor at home or any of the 3 places I was between receiving them the day before and arriving at the airport. I was not able to catch my plane and join my friends on their wonderful journey to Japan together. I will however still be going, thanks to the wonderful people at CLAIR and the Toronto based Consulate of Japan. My new departure date is set for September 5th and I already have all my new documents, safely kept in my carry-on.
I probably won’t receive the same experience in arriving to Japan as they did. I won’t have an orientation, or have as much time to settle in and meet the other ALT’s from my prefecture and meet all the staff before classes start. But I did get something very valuable to someone who has been on the go non stop for the last 2 years: time to decompress, reorganize and reconnect wth friends and family. The last couple of weeks have been packed with unpacking from my stay in Kingston, Ontario for teachers college, and I was given the opportunity to purge my bedroom and redecorate the space with meaningful things since my growth over the passed year and a half. Doing this has helped me to declutter a bit and not think so much about my unfortunate situation. Me being the efficient person I am, also got all my new paperwork in order so that I could still participate in this once in a lifetime experience.
I was fortunate enough to be ‘friend-napped’ by my new friends from Kingston upon their return home. Their efforts to cheer me up showed me just how important and meaningful they are in my life and how much they cared about me. Their love will never be forgotten. I was able to see the reaction of my roommate after receiving her end-of-year gift. This will be unforgettable. I was also able to get work to help offset the extra expense in staying in the country another month and getting new travel documents. This showed me the possibilities of work when I return to Canada after JET and showed me the impact I made on my co-workers during my ALT-Prac this passed March.
I was also invited on the annual family camping trip which I had so been looking forward to and was sad that I would miss. This year was unique in that I was invited to go with my young cousins and my Aunt. Although the trip was short, lasting only 5 days, It was magical and so powerful in bonding with my family before I leave for the extended period of time. My cousins are at that age where they are growing up so fast and every moment I can get with them is a precious gem to me. They are so special to me and it is fascinating to see them for a long period of time on this trip. We went to Algonquin Provincial park, about 3 hours North of Toronto. We stayed in Canisbay Campground. This wasn’t my first time there, but it was theirs, and they loved it! I’d have to say swimming with them in the lake and feeding the chickadee’s on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk were some of my favourite moments.
These memories and more have helped me to see the positive impact of having some time in Canada before I leave can have on my wellbeing and personal growth. It also gave me some much needed rest from my own education and my life as a student and gave me the opportunity to prepare for my life as a professional and a teacher in another country.
The preparations are still on and in these final 2 weeks I have now, re-packing and energizing myself for this unique experience will be rewarding in its own ways. If theres anything I’ve learned from this ‘unfortunate event’ it’s that I can handle anything that is thrown my way, especially with the love and support of my friends and family who will always have my back, and that I am able to quickly adapt to the situations I am put in. I think it’s shown me that I don’t need to be afraid to be alone in Japan, because I’m not really alone, I’m just really far away, but everyone is still there for me.
Thank you to all of you who spoke with me and gave me encouraging words during these few dark weeks. It means the world to me to see how much you all care. Thank you.
Oh, and I did get to have Ribs from the Ribfest on my Birthday. That’s a plus, lol :p