Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Guess Who Is Officially Going to Japan?

The girl on the left... is me. Horrifying, isn't it?
I hope you're ready Japan!
I'll give you one hint: the person who writes this blog.

I got my Guarantee Form yesterday! Basically that means that I am going to Japan!

First a couple updates: I am going to Kochi! I will be sponsored by the Kochi West Rotary clib. My first host father goes by the name of Nishioka Tateo. So although I haven't actually talked with Tateo-sen I have been told that he has two teenaged sons. And that his wife speaks English pretty well. I've also been told that he lives they live in Yanomaru Aki City. It's a scenic beautiful little fishing town right on the beach.

I will also be attending Yurie's school! Tosajoshi High School in Kochi. It is an all girl school, which should be totally cool. I mean this is a major difference than what I'm used to. Culture Shock anyone?
Today I also found out my flight details:

August 15th: *Northwest Airlines 9:08 Newark to Detroit
- 4 hour layover
*Northwest Airlines 2:30 Detroit to Tokyo
August 16th: -Lands in Tokyo and stays the night
August 17th: *All Nippon Airways 8:45 Tokyo to Kochi

So when my mom sprung the whole guarantee form and packet on me I was soo happy! I am going now! I can't wait. More when I hear soon!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saying Goodbye

Sophomore year.
So this past year has been absolutely amazing -- I had excellent grades at school, made friends with the best people in Verona, and everything just worked out swimmingly! And to top it off I got to look forward to my upcoming exchange --Japan here I come!

So one of my best friends in the whole world, Zoe, left to work in an orphanage in Bolivia for a month. She probably won't be back to see me before I leave for Japan so I wanted to have a little 'going-away' hangout for her. So Brit, Araba, Zoe, Rosh, and myself hung out at my house for awhile, not really even discussing the fact that I wasn't going to see Zoe. Then when her dad came to pick her up, it really hit me. I wasn't going to see my best friend for a whole year. And as I looked around and saw Araba, Brit, and Rosh, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to say goodbye to them too. And in the house, my parents waited for everyone to leave. I would have to say goodbye to them as well.

But as I hugged Zoe, tears rapidly streaming out of my eyes, all I could think about was I wasn't
Gonna miss my frinds!
going to see her for a whole year. Do you know what a whole year is? 365 Days! 8,760 Hours! 525,600 Minutes! 31,536,000 Seconds! And I questioned why when I sat there excitedly planning my exchange and my year in Japan, why no one said "You know that saying goodbye is going to be hard. Probably the hardest 10 minutes of your life." But that's it... 10 minutes. I figure I'll just give myself 10 minutes to cry and be sad that I'm leaving for a year and not seeing Zoe and everyone else. 1 year of not being with my friends, not attending Junior year of high school, and not finding doing the things I like to do here. And then when those 10 minutes are up it's time to realize that going to Japan for a year is all about me. Me going to Japan making new friends, going to a new school, and finding new adventures in a far away land. So if I just give myself 10 minutes to be upset, I can quickly move on and not dwell on it.

And you know what I think? After that one year, everyone I'm going to miss is going to be here, waiting for me.

Ale also had to say goodbye. She is back in Argentina now, away from New Jersey and America.
Ale in America, almost a year ago.
Home. It's hard to believe that a year ago I was receiving emails from her "Hi Julie! This Ale of Argentina. Are you good? What you wear? I stay your family for year! I so excited!I hope you too!" It feels like just last week actually. Anyway she called in the morning, one half an hour before she had to be at the airport. I couldn't go because I was stuck in Algebra II Accelerated summer school, failing another test. I didn't really get to say goodbye, but I'm not all that upset. Mainly it's because I know in my heart our paths will cross again. Maybe it will be here in America, or down in Argentina, but I will see her again. And you know what? I think saying goodbye is really a hard thing. But you just have to remember that isn't forever.

Matsuyama... We Have A Problem

I keep telling myself to remain hopeful. But a pending crisis about my exchange is occuring. Let me explain: Everyone in my district has gotten there guarentee forms, which are forms that guarentee you a town, Rotary club, school, and a host family. Actually most Rotary exchange students get there guarentee forms in May/June. I have yet to get my form and the impatience is driving me absolutely insane! My American Rotary club (7470) is giving my host Japanese Rotary Club (2670) a few weeks or they are giving me a new country. But the good news is that 7470 has sent the Japanese girl who is exchanging with me her guarentee forms so hopefully that will speed along the process.
The other problem: North Korea. Okay so maybe no one has said that that country is a problem yet but it has to be. The fact is that they launched a missile landing in the Japanese sea. Japan threatened a preemptive strike... BLAH! I really am a person well aware of the problems of the world. For a good while my mother was happy I wasn't going to Europe with Iran. But now.... Japan is in the proximity of North Korea. Enough said.