I’m in Japan!
Man, where do I even begin?
First off, going through JFK security alone for the first time made me pretty nervous. Honestly, I cried saying goodbye to my parents. When I first said goodbye to them after moving into my dorm at New Paltz, everything was fine! I was hit by a little bit of sadness, but everything was okay! This time, I guess it really does make a difference being halfway across the world rather than an hour and a half drive away.
I rode the flight with my friends Jay, Alyssa, Edi, who were all going to Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies (which I’ll now start referring to as NUFS) through New Paltz. Alyssa was the only one without trouble sleeping through that darn 13 hour flight, but I think we all managed as well as we could. Being with them really made everything a lot better. Going through new (and quite frankly, downright terrifying) adventures with friends always makes everything better. Always.
We went from JFK to Narita airport, had a two hour layover (but it was about 7 for Edi) and then got on our flight to Fukuoka. We were greeted by several students who had also arrived for the program, as well as Jonathan Mays. We left for a short train ride to Hakata, and then checked into our hotel.
The next day, we left for Nagasaki. We did a little bit for orientation, and met our host family. I only have a host mum, who happens to run a house church. Her house is really small, but really cute! It’s just the two of us, and her english isn’t the best, but that’s okay! She tries her best to speak to me in english, and I try my best to use as little english as possible when replying in Japanese. I’m really surprised that I’ve been able to convey what I’m trying to say in my broken Japanese…!! She thinks my Japanese is really good but… honestly it’s terrible and everything so far has been a miracle…!! I speak better than I can listen haha!!
As a small note, when I first arrived, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of dread and sadness. I kept thinking, “What have I gotten myself into? Why am I even doing this? Can I PLEASE move into the dorms, I don’t want to do this!” I was so terribly homesick and on the constant verge of crying while up in my room. Returning home, my host mom spoke a lot more Japanese, and I could barely grasp it, adding even more onto my frustration with myself. But, I finally got connected to wi-fi and spoke to my mum. Of course, I would never let her know that I was even remotely upset while being here, but that really helped me.
But everything has been getting better.
Right now, there aren’t many Japanese students for me to interact with so I’ve been staying close and meeting more and more English international students. Everyone has been extremely positive and excited about their host families and being here, so I think that it’s okay!
Also, NUFS is on top of this huge hill. I managed to escape the walk this morning, but MAN does it look like a killer! Imagine the walk up from Vanderbilt, except about 10 times longer and worse. Also spiders.
But at least there’s GORGEOUS mountain views all around!