We’re Half Way There!

Hello all! We’re on week 5 of the HIF program here in Hakodate, Japan. There are so many things I’ve experienced already. I’ve met so many amazing people, seen so many amazing things and created so many wonderful memories. It’s pretty amazing comparing where I was mentally in the beginning of the program to where I am now. In the beginning, although I was (and still am)so grateful for the opportunity, I felt a bit out of place. Everything was new and foreign to me; even daily simple things such as eating and grocery shopping. It was almost a bit overwhelming and at times made me want to hop back on a plane back to the comfort of the USA. However, as the days go on I can feel myself become more and more attached to this lovely country and all it has to offer. Today though, was a pivotal moment that really showed me just how much I have come to love Japan as I visited the well-known Goryokaku Tower.

In Hakodate this tower is very well known for the beautiful view it offers when inside so my friend, Kathleen Lor, and I were thrilled that we finally had the time to visit. I remember walking in, the first floor swarming with locals and tourist. At first it just came off as a typical tourist spot: overflowing with people and excitement. After we purchased our tickets to enter the tower we headed towards an elevator that would take us all the way to the top to the viewing station. The gentle mumbles of visitors and the voice of the tour guide could be heard but all was drowned out by my excitement. I smiled with anticipation was we waiting to arrive at the final destination.

The doors opened and people flooded out. Kathleen and I quickly made our way to the edge of the room where the view of Goryokaku Park could best be seen.

I looked upon the park and entire view of Hakodate in awe. It was gorgeous. But then, as I was watching, tears began to well up in my eyes. I was quite taken aback. I knew they were tears of sadness, but I didn’t quite understand why I was sad. I stood there and reflected for a moment over the entire program thus far and then it hit me. I’m leaving in two weeks. Time was quickly passing and I realized I didn’t have much time left. There were still so many things I wanted to do and experience. Most of all, I didn’t want to leave my host family.

Of the time I have been in Japan so many amazing this have happened to me. But, of all those things I believe that meeting and connecting with my host family is by far the most amazing thing to have happened at this program. Growing up, it was often just my two siblings and I taking care of ourselves. As much as I love my siblings I never quite felt that complete feeling of family. That has all changed now. My host family not only makes me feel comfortable in being how I am but they make me want to expand my Japanese even more just so I can communicate and connect better with them. I know this is so much when taking into consideration that we have only been here a little over a month. I was surprised myself, but its true. I have come to love Japan and my host family so much more than I ever thought I would. Though it’s sad to think I am leaving soon, I can’t help but also smile and rejoice in the fact of how life changing this program has been for me.