I'm writing this in a hotel room in Tokushima. It's my last night here, and I left my apartment for good earlier today. I also ended my phone contract today, which means I'm in the wonderful position of only being able to use my phone with wifi.
This felt like a moment I should capture somehow, yet I'm scared to dwell on anything too long because I've done a remarkable job of not crying so far today. Something which can't be said about yesterday, my last day at work. It was a difficult day. At one point, I was even crying in the middle of a junior high schooler's lesson while she steadfastly pretended that I wasn't (big thanks to her for that).
When I'm back in the US, it might be easier to document all of what I'm feeling, but right now, it still doesn't entirely feel real. I think my brain still expects to go back to work and that this is, if anything, a brief vacation. I had a thought about being an English teacher earlier only to immediately remind myself that, currently, I'm not. (Currently, I'm unemployed, but that's a whole other thing.)
The entrance requirements to get into the US changed pretty last minute for me on January 12. Starting the day I get back (impeccable timing) people can only enter the US with a negative Covid test. I'm in rural Japan where getting a Covid test in the three day window and in English (to show US officials) is a challenge, so there was a mad scramble, and I'm incredibly thankful to my coworkers for helping make it happen. Luckily, I could get tested, and (even more thankfully) the result is negative. After that and my original flight being canceled, I am rather paranoid about everything, but that's to be expected considering it's a pandemic.
Once I get home, I need to quarantine for a week. I'm not opposed to some rest time, but I think what worries me is that I'll start dwelling on how sad I am to have left Japan if I have too much downtime, so I'm making plans. I'm going to try to get a head start on certain things I have planned during that time, which hopefully I'll share more about in the future.
Until then, I'm going to try my best to cherish the short time I have left in Japan despite it not being ideal thanks to Covid restrictions.