On December 22, 2014 I arrived at O’Hare International Airport.
Today makes a little over two months since my return from Japan.
Just like that I jumped back into my regularly scheduled life. I spent time with my family and friends, partied, and ate all the food I wanted. I did everything except sit down and take time to talk about my return.
Being back on campus, I feel like everything has changed and I missed it. Everything looks different; the library has been renovated, there is a new building in the middle of campus, and there is a new gigantic study hall that nobody uses. While somewhat excited about the new developments my school had made while I was abroad, the hardest thing for me to adjust to are the people. It’s funny because I was positive that with the many FaceTime calls, GroupMe messages, and Snapchats sent from the other side of the world, I would be up to date on any and everything that went on while I was gone. I was wrong.
And now I am stuck because my perception of reality is a tad bit misconstrued.
Part of me is still in Japanese mode, and I can’t expect people to understand that. I also can’t force people to want to hear my story. However, I do want to talk about it, so I’ll use this post as an explanation of what really happened to me while I was abroad.
I changed. Wait. I’m still same ole extroverted, loud, free-spirited, fun-loving Cassidy, but my experiences abroad changed me (in a good way). I am trying my best to not be so cliché, but it’s true what people say…not everything is black and white nor right or wrong. Everyone has their own experiences that have shaped their perceptions which ultimately influences how one chooses to live his or her life. It’s a never-ending cycle, and we as people need to work on being more open to that concept, as it betters our intercultural communication.
I explored. I studied abroad in Japan. That still blows my mind just thinking about it. Although I didn’t have the most amount of money to travel all through Asia, I worked with what I had and did non-stop exploring. While living in Osaka and juggling five courses and an on-campus job, I found random opportunities to travel to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. Not a week passed without a bike trip to a local park, a morning run through the surrounding neighborhoods, or a public transportation ride to a new temple or shrine. Whether it was a day trip alone or with friends, I was able to see more than just the institution where I was studying for a semester. I first-handedly experienced the beauty of a part of the world that many often overlook. I fell in love with the Japanese culture, and everyday is a countdown until the next time I will reunited with it.
I reflected. I became closer with God. I repaired many friendships that needed distance to fix problems. I patiently got over a heart-break. I made goals for myself. I cooked dishes I didn’t even know I knew how to prepare. I excelled academically. I learned independence at its best. I danced…a lot. I consistently kept a journal. And every…single…night, I reflected. I don’t really have much else to say about it; just know the time spent on self-reflection was a highlight of my entire experience.
Since I returned to the States right in time for the new year, I decided to make it a goal of mine to take the time to see what is going on in the lives of others. I would have preferred to say all of this in person, but it didn’t happen that way for me. Despite, I do want to work on having intentional conversations, requiring active listening and engagement. There are so many people, not just me, who are struggling with adjusting or just want to share the important change(s) in their lives. As peers, we should care and show it.
With that being said, I am back and finally ready to keep you all updated on my many Days of Infatuation.