Now’s the point where I start wondering: will they really be happy to see me?
How awkward is this trip going to be? She’s their ALT now, not me. Will the teachers and students really be happy that I’m back, that I’m there to attend graduation (especially when I was overly shy and not nearly as involved as I could have been at my junior high), or will they wonder why I’m there?
I do read my successor’s blog on occasion, and at first I totally felt inadequate at how immediately she was able to immerse herself, at the gifts she was given and the opportunities she’s had or found that I never did. She’s already gotten to wear a kimono a few times–other than Awa Odori, which involved a specialized sort of kimono, I never wore a traditional one even once. (Granted, it’d probably look awful on me, but that’s not the point.) I got over it before long, which came hand-in-hand with my finally really letting go and looking ahead instead of backwards. But now that I’m going back again, I’m nervous.
There are people there who are looking forward to seeing me. There are people I’ve stayed in regular and spotty touch with, some of whom have welcomed me into their homes while I’m back or written me cute and sweet notes. There are also people I didn’t get to properly say goodbye to last time, due to lack of time and losing my cellphone and their contact info, and I’m looking forward to surprising them. And there are those acquaintances I’ve built up around town: the sweet short-haired lady at Daiki, the Passion Bakery ladies, the La Tavola lady, the Mac engineer at the internet school, and others.
And former ALTs have totally visited during my time there. Ellie came back for a visit. So did Christine’s predecessor. And they’ve definitely gotten warm receptions, from what I can tell.
So why on earth am I so apprehensive about this? It was my home. It has a strong presence in my heart that nobody can take away. I shouldn’t be so hung up with these doubts that people may not welcome me warmly. I know the area and its people better than that. They welcomed me with open arms when I first arrived there and I’m sure it’ll be similar this time.
I hope, anyway.