“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
After nearly five years of living abroad in Japan, we’re finally home to Michigan. It’s strange, at the moment–the feeling that we’re on vacation for a while and going back to Japan soon is starting to fade, and yet being here permanently hasn’t quite sunk in yet either. It is so good to see family so often now, and difficult to explain how at the same time I so dearly miss my friends and “family” in Japan. How do you describe a life abroad for that long, where you start calling a different location home, too?
An ema, or prayer card, I filled out about a week before leaving Japan.
I’ve said before that whether in Japan or the US, we’ll always be homesick for one place or the other. I can’t lie and say I don’t miss Japan, but I also can’t say that I’m not incredibly happy to be home. Life in Michigan is so comfortable–I love being in America!
We lived in Kobe the last half of our time in Japan.
I know that our time spent abroad was invaluable. It definitely wasn’t always easy, but Chad and I learned so much about each other, about cultures all around the world, and about life in general in our time away from Michigan. We had some hard lessons, some fascinating lessons, and many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Now that we’re home, we’re onto the next journey in our lives–a new beginning, so to speak. We’re not sure what that means for us exactly, and I think that’s okay. Through it all we’ll be together, with our past experiences to look back on and remember.
Here are a few pictures from our last few weeks in Japan–though there are so many more and it’s hard to choose only these to share!
Green tea soba, at a restaurant with my beautiful kimono-wearing friends, a pretty coaster, a matcha parfait
Standing in our kimono in Kyoto (except my lovely pregnant friend, who is still just as cute!).
Pirikura (Japanese photo booth)
On our last day in Japan, we got this message on our drinks from Starbucks! I decided to try the matcha flavor frappuccino for the first time since I didn’t know if it would be offered in the US.
Thank you to everyone in both Japan and in Michigan for all of your support and love over the past four and a half years. We couldn’t have made it through our adventures without you, and will keep on needing you in the future! Here’s to new beginnings!