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USA

Hello, America!

August 19, 2017

“Presione el botón! Si, el botón. No, a la derecha! A la derecha!” I fumbled frantically around the dials on the car door but to no avail, then turned to the driver apologetically. “I don’t speak Spanish.” “Oh, you don’t?” “I’m not from here.” “Where are you from?”  “South Africa.” And so began a very colorful story about Uruguay, soccer and too much weed.

Staring out from the passenger seat of a Lyft while listening to the drivers recount stories like Mario’s has become the highlight of my day. There was Carlos, who was a millionaire in Spain before the economy crashed; Chol, who spent his childhood in South Korea; Brian, a right wing gamer who’s starting his own website; and Satinderpal, who claims that only Saffas and Aussies ride up front.

Our candid conversations are a daily reminder that everyone is from somewhere, and that it’s never too late to start over. They don’t know it, but they have made me feel welcome in a place where I don’t altogether feel like I belong.

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Japan

Goodbye, Japan!

July 24, 2017

After four years, the time has finally come to say goodbye to my life in Japan. In just a few days, I’ll be getting on a plane bound for Stars Hollow. That’s right, ladies and gentleman, the fourth Gilmore girl is on her way! Oh, but if only. I will be moving to Connecticut though. That feels weird to say. For a long time, I’ve called Takanabe home and it feels surreal to be leaving it.

As someone who’s had to do a lot of grieving, I’ve come to know that goodbye isn’t just a single word or event; it’s a process through which, little by little, you learn to let go.

The range of emotions that comes with packing up a life is certainly vast; I’ve felt everything from an irrational fear of missing out on experiences in Miyazaki I’ll never have, to an intense worry about my future, to a profound gratefulness for all the times I’ve had living in this wonderfully weird place. I am deeply sad to be leaving, but also very relieved to break out of this bubble.

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