It's hard to really appreciate a place until it is time to leave it behind. It won't be long before I'm heading back home to UK, before making my way back to China. It's really got me thinking about my life here and the things I'm going to miss, that I might not have considered were I going to be staying here a long time. Knowing that a change is coming has forced me to really reflect on the things I'm going to be without and the things I will be glad to leave behind.
I would be lying if I said that Japan was the place for me. In many ways I find it too western and too work oriented; at least the side of it that I have seen. However, I am going to miss some of my lifestyle here: quality food, cheap dental and medical care, a place to go running, a wage that translates alright when I head back home to UK. Probably more than that though I'm going to miss the people. I've made some friends here, both foreigners and Japanese, and I have developed some connection with at least a few of my students; I even got a going away present from some of them. It will be a little sad to say good bye to everyone and I wonder if I would have realised this, were not for the time limit on how long we have left together.
I think that's the great thing about leaving: about knowing that the change is coming. I've been trying to practice mindfulness for a while now and never has it been so easy than when change is just beyond the horizon. The thought that is soon going to be gone makes you really focus on the things around you. But I'm not fully in present. Part of me is looking forward to going home to see family and friends. Another part is looking to China and is already planning spring bicycle trips and I glad to have the excitement of the new place that is waiting on me.
I'm sure, in time, I'll be looking back to Japan and remembering only the good things and wishing I could have some of them back. Maybe if I enjoy this leaving time now, in the future I wont miss it anyway near as much as I would otherwise... maybe.