I made a little trip to Kuroiso to have coffee with friends on Sunday. We went to a nice little coffee shop not far from the station, and I had a caramel latte. Ah, how I’ve missed it! There’s one thing which isn’t much different wherever you are in the world, and that’s a good old coffee shop!
One of the topics of discussion today was homesickness. It’s quite interesting to hear how all the other ALTs have been coping with it. The first month of arriving in Japan was so hectic that I didn’t have time to think about it. My arrival in Japan was quite bizarre. I took a shuttle bus straight from the airport to the Hilton Narita to start my week of intense training. We stayed in the Hilton for 5 days and had 10 hour days of training which were exhausting! There was a sense of feeling trapped in the hotel, as by the time we finished training for the day it was either too late or we were just too exhausted to do anything. I remember finishing training one day and I was so tired that I went back to my hotel room, lay down on my bed, and instantly fell asleep. So during the first week we didn’t get to see any of Japan, and it was difficult to since we were placed in a hotel right beside the airport. The closest thing I had to seeing Japan was visiting the 7-eleven store just outside of the hotel. On top of that, being in an International hotel with a huge group of other English teachers made me forget at times which part of the world I was in.
Even when we finally finished training and split up into groups to take the shinkansen to our placement locations, I didn’t feel homesick in the slightest. Arriving in Tochigi, setting up accounts for various things, buying furniture for our apartments etc…. There was just too much to worry about that I hardly had time to think about home. One ALT told me that she broke down into tears as soon as she arrived in her apartment, because that was the moment when everything became real to her. A lot of the other ALTs have admitted that they don’t feel homesick at all, with no plans to go back to their home country during the holidays. So some of you may be wondering… have I actually felt homesick yet?
The answer is yes. But I didn’t feel this until just last week. One of the ALTs, who lives in the apartment right beside me, decided to terminate her contract and go back to England. Once she left, there was a sense of emptiness. I couldn’t get use to the fact that there was no-one in the apartment next-door. It took some getting use to knowing that I was the only ALT living in this block, and it did make me miss home. Living in a foreign country with a feeling of being alone is the worst. But my remedy for feeling homesick is to keep the mind busy, hence me starting this blog. Also a good way to avoid feeling homesick is to find opportunities to go out and travel as much as you can, and build good relationships with the people around you. And of course, keeping in touch with your friends/family back at home!
Hope you guys have a great week! I have three days off for Golden Week and this means two things. Beer and crisps! Also going to try and do a bit more exploring over the next few days. Will keep you updated! Peace!