Six months later and I still felt as if it was only yesterday that we were all talking and laughing in that magical time and place.
Our graduation ceremony performance :)
Sorry FEA blog followers for the long, long, looooooong break in my blog! I realized that I haven’t written about the last moments of my experience in Japan and I must say that the last bit was definitely NOT the least bit and we gaijins went out with a bang.
As I have mentioned before (I think..) that I was participating in a dance team called Team Meatball (the origin of the name is worthy of another blog) and we’ve been practicing to perform at the graduation ceremony for the exchange students. Well after long hours of practice under the guidance of our bestest dancer, Darren, we were confident that we shall do nothing less than wow everybody that day.
However, first was the graduation ceremony. It was somewhat silly to “graduate” us from the program since most of us was only here for four months or so but did Kansai Gaidai know how to throw a goodbye/congratulations party. We all dressed to impressed, the suits and dresses came out from the bottom of luggage and we strut across the stage receiving our completion certificates from some important people. The staff also put together a short video/picture slide of pictures of all the exchange students and it brought tears to more than just my eyes. There were sniffles throughout the auditorium as we realized how much we’d experiened and shared with one another in just a short period of time. Nevertheless, after the formality it was the after-party. Kansai Gaidai went all out with tons of delicious food like fresh sushi, fruits, ice cream machines, and the best part must have been the all-you-can-drink FREE BEER! I actually had one for myself to calm my nerves before performing our routine and finally the time had arrived and we tore up the stage. (I’ll link our performance from youtube) I must say performing isn’t what I’m used to at all, epecially in front of a large crowd, but as I danced, not only all the times and effort we spent practicing paid off, but I felt that the people we were dancing for really made us do our best. I know it sounds really symbolic and cheesy but I felt that this is what it realy came down to, we were a(big) group of individuals, brought together by similar interests and together we’ve worked hard to create memories that would last forever and I felt that team Meatball was just one of the ways that we were connected to one another.
The days that came after was, in short… dreadful. It was so strange as people started gradually leaving from the seminar house and the pile of futons kept getting higher in our lounge as more and more people left. We all stayed up late and woke up early to share our last moments together and said goodbye as we sent people off with taxis that would take them to the airport. This was the hardest farewell experience I’ve ever gone through, and I don’t think anything will ever beat it. As one of the last people to leave, I began to feel amazingly foreign in a place that I had come to know so well. When I made my last trip down to Hirakata station to close my bank account, for the first time since February, I felt that I didn’t belong here. That’s how I realize how the friends I’ve made here have became an irreplaceable part in my life and memories. It is truly thanks to everybody here that have made my experience what it is, but now that they are gone, I knew that the time for me here is also up, and that it’s time for me to go home.
As difficult it is to accept that my study abroad semester had ended, I’ve also come to realize that my true experience there will never end because of the connections that I have made. Six months later and I still felt as if it was only yesterday that we were all talking and laughing in that magical time and place. I still keep in contact with a lot of people from all over the world and I think we all share a special mutual understanding that only people who had studied abroad will comprehend. So don’t think we’re crazy, don’t say we’re cliche, because studying abroad WILL change your life in ways you’d never expect, it definitely did for me.