Honestly, Sometimes the Neighbor’s Grass IS Greener…





Welcome back everyone,

It’s been a week since I arrived in Kyoto. I went through a lot during this week, like moving into my dorm room, meeting new people, doing an excrutiating long documentation process, and even finding a nice falafel place that tastes like home. Yet, despite all the fun I’ve been having, there is this one throught that keeps popping into my head.

The grass is greener here is Japan.

Why is this important? And is it true? Well, to explain more in depth what I am talking about, let’s go back a little in time when the pandemic first started.

The pandemic has been a real desruption in almost everyone’s lives. Families have lost loved ones, people have been shut into their homes, and children’s development has slowed down. Not to mention the economic toll on the world or the contant masking. Yet, the most prominent subject the pandemic has brought to social media is the idea of personal developemnt and appreciation towards what we have: What are you doing with all this free time alone? And now that your freedom can so easily be taken away, are you appreciative towards the small things in life?

I thank God that the pandemic has not taken anyone I love away from me. On the other hand, it was a difficult time because it challenged my lifestyle. I was always a plan person, and I had my life planned for the long run – the major plan being my study abroad experience in Japan. Although I made it to Japan in the end, I was facing a constant dilemma for the past two years: should I stick to my current program or should I consider other options?

My degree program is very specific: half of the time must be spent in Japan to receive the dual degree diploma, and students must commit beginning freshman year. The administration was confident that by the time we would need to go to Japan, the pandemic would be over. However, a year passed by and Japan was still not open to the international public. I was crushed and confused – my solid plan was falling apart. That is when I asked myself: why is Japan so important?

It’s true that Japan is a unique choice for study abroad. It is also a wonderful country: fast, conveniant, artistic, and culturally rich… It has amazing hiking spots, cool and weird entertainment options (especially karaoke culture, so much fun!), and the food is spectacular. But, more than that, Japan symbolized my image as a stable and responsible person. By that, I mean that Japan has been my plan that made me confident to face my parents every morning as a ‘successful’ daughter, my conversation starter when I was insecure about my worth, and the base to my whole career plan for the future. When that was taken away, I felt that all I was left with was my sad, miserable self.

Still, I needed my life to be shaken like that. Thanks to this disruption, I was able to think more deeply about myself. What truly makes me happy? Does Japan define my life?

The answer I found was that if God has a plan for me to be in Japan, I would get there one way or another. That realization helped me cope with my situation, and I found other ways to complete my degree in case I could not go to Japan. And the most wonderful thing about the whole process? I found an even stronger appreciation once I arrived in Japan. The sky feels special every time I look up, the air smells different, and I am just so happy to be here.

So honestly, the grass is greener in Japan for me and I can’t be more excited for my new adventures here. But what if I didn’t go to Japan?

Well, I think I would have been happy anyway.