The first of many farewells to come

Today was so strange and surreal. We had Lindsay’s farewell karaoke/enkai get-together tonight (with some mandatory Hannah/Lindsay/Smitha purikura beforehand); in less than 10 hours, she catches a direct bus from Ikeda to Osaka and makes her way to Kansai Airport, where she catches her flight back home to Portland. And then, about 6 weeks from now, she’s off to Africa for 2 years on the Peace Corps.

I’ll be going with her to see her off in the morning. It actually turns out that I’m the only one of the Ikeda girls who’ll be able to–Hannah and Chalice both have report times of 8 AM at their schools. I don’t have to be at my BOE till 8:30, and since they know she’s leaving, they totally will understand if I’m late tomorrow. I was hoping that one or both of them would be there, because it’ll be much easier for me to say my goodbyes if it’s not just me there on my own; I’m pretty sure we’re both going to start crying. (This is bringing back memories of the nerves I went through in the days and hours up until I left for Japan. The night before I left was just terrible; three hours of sleep, in tears, panicking and thinking I couldn’t go through with it, just horrible. Poor Lindsay herself was really stressed and disheveled earlier, but she’s done phenomenally well in being sure to get all her prepwork done early, and I think the enkai did relax her considerably.)

She actually was my predecessor for a while, and I’ve been in touch with her for nearly a year now, since she e-mailed me in early May ’05 once my placement was finalized. She’s helped me immeasurably; if not for her in-depth and detailed e-mails she always wrote me faithfully in those months leading up to my journey to Japan, and if not for her really holding my hand at the beginning and just being a guiding and guardian-like presence all this time, I can’t even imagine how much more difficult adjusting to living here would have been.

She’ll definitely be missed, and we’re all hoping for the best for her, and hoping that she’ll be healthy and happy and safe in Africa, this huge unknown. So Lindsay, take care of yourself–we all love you and will miss you. Even after we finish our contracts and move on, thanks to the contacts you’ve made here, it’s nice to know that there’s now always a town in Japan that you can call home and return to.

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