I’m Going Away

July 22, 2009

The realization that I’m moving to Japan really hadn’t hit me at any point during the past three months. Save for an initial rush of joy following the official “congratulations” e-mail arrived in my inbox (amplified by the fact it appeared a day before a career fair I’d been particularly dreading, turning said fair into less of a “oh god what am I going to do with my life” into a strange victory lap), I’ve mostly seen the whole JET thing as more of a relief. “I have a job after college, I don’t have to live at home now, yay!”

Predictably, with three days to go before I hand over my boarding pass, I’m now fully being hit with the revelation that, yes, I am actually going to be living in Japan start Saturday.

With this now an imminent fact, I’ve been trying to soak in as much as my American surroundings over these last few days. That has amounted to walking aimlessly around Northwestern’s campus and seeing the new Harry Potter. I did go into Chicago, to visit my favorite record store one last time and also buy a few last minute things for the trip (said purchases were also incredibly awkward, but that’s a story for another blog). It has all been a pleasant reminder that moving to a foreign country is probably the best decision I could make, as I have so little going on here that most nights end with me watching ESPN alone sometime after 2 A.M. I’m not exactly a thrilling 20-something.

I might not be doing a great job entertaining myself, but I have been doing a splendid job of hiding all the fears I have about this move. I’m most immediately nervous about my luggage – I have two suitcases each roughly the size of a German Shepard, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact transporting these things across Japan is going to be a disaster. I hope the Japanese are patient people, because I’m going to be quite the annoyance with my five-ton bags full of work-approved polo shirts and khaki pants. Thankfully, my phase as “that guy” will end when I get to my apartment, assuming I get my bags up the stairs without breaking any bones.

Long term, I’m really not worried about my job, where I’m living or even my complete lack of knowledge about the Japanese language. The only fear I’m really latched onto at this point is that I’m going to make all the stupid mistakes I’d made before. Since graduation, I’ve thought far too much about all the things I regret regarding the last four years. I know you’re supposed to live life without regret, but I just can’t stay consistently true to this belief, at least not now. I’ve been up and down since graduation, thinking about the things I did (and, even more stinging, didn’t do) and trying to squeeze some sort of meaning or lesson out of them. I’m petrified I haven’t taken good notes, that I will fall for old habits and weaken my time in Japan.

Take writing. I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently in regards to writing (this blog post has taken much longer to write than it should, and there have been several moments where I’ve just contemplated deleting it, but writing something down is better than nothing, as embarrassing as it may be) because I’ve been so self-conscious and nervous about it all. Something I love has become a challenge, and it is one of the most agonizing feelings I’ve ever experienced. I don’t naively believe moving to a new location on the globe is all it takes to reinvent yourself and cure all woes, but I don’t want old insecurities dragging me down over there.

But for the immediate future, the only worries I should have are getting to the airport on time, not contracting Swine Flu (they are freaking out about this) and making sure I don’t kill anyone with my massive luggage.


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