Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on the closest thing to a child I’ve ever had– The JET program application. Not only is it the most extensive application I have ever had to fill out, but it has also been the most emotionally-trying. If I am accepted into the JET program, I will be teaching English in Japan by this July. If I am rejected, something I’ve been planning for literally three-and-a-half years of my life, and my post-grad plan, will be gone and I’ll be left wondering, “What am I supposed to do now?”.
I dropped off my application at Kinko’s tonight with a friend who is also applying to this same program. As we left the establishment she turned to me and told me, “You just gave birth. You just gave birth and it went off to college.” Yes. That’s exactly what happened. This little baby slowly grew as I added copy after copy of official documents and acceptance letters, and by the end I had 0.6 pounds of paper-baby shoved into an express envelope, ready to head off to Washington DC. I saw it in completion– in post-delivery– for about a minute. Then it was sealed and in the hands of the attendant in the purple Kinko’s scrubs, going to have its vitals checked.
What do you do in a moment like that? I just got back in her car, thanked her for the ride, went home, and made oatmeal with chocolate chips in it. Is this my postpartum depression?
That same friend told me about a blog called “This Japanese Life“, telling me stories about how to correctly put co-workers in a CC: according to rank, or the Japanese people’s general fear of failure (I see failure as essential to education). It was all important and helpful information, but it made me a bit terrified. I began to read it out of fear of my own ignorance, fear of being unable to relate, fear of leaving everything I know behind.
I’ve cried a time or two, one of those cries a total break down, in the process of filling out the JET application– mostly because of people. I look at my best friend and know I won’t be able to hug him for a year. I look at my friends here from college and wonder if they’ll remember me when I’m gone. My sister and two of my closest friends will be graduating while I’m thousands of miles away… if I’m accepted.
I called this blog “thoughts of homes” because Japan has been a place I’ve desired to go to for over six years, and when you think about a place so much, it becomes home-like in your mind. If I go there, it will become a home. However, that doesn’t mean America won’t be a home anymore.
Some very close friends I used to have once told me, “home is a people, not a place”, and I think that’s true. The people who take the time to get to know you and understand you– that is home. I can only hope I will meet a new home if I am to travel to Japan, and I hope that my homes will be waiting for me when I return.