It's been almost 2 weeks since I returned to the States. I think I thought I'd be back to "normal" life by now.
My first week back, I realized how different my life had been in Japan. Over there, I lived in an apartment the size of my friend's living room, never touched much less hugged another person, spent all of my spare time walking in the streets, and could travel anywhere I wanted by myself. Suddenly I was living in my friend's spare bedroom, eating meals with her and her husband, receiving lots of hugs from her (to make up for my lack in Japan, she insisted) and there were lots of places I simply couldn't get to unless I asked for a ride.
In this second week, I've started bashing my experience in Japan. I promised myself I wouldn't do it but somehow it just spills out. Japan was wonderful - no doubt about it. I learned some hard lessons though. And for some reason the bitter struggles from those hard lessons are now showing themselves in unwonted ways.
When I first got back, Charlottesville felt the same. Eerily the same. However, now I'm seeing the differences. Some of them, in fact, are so stark that I just marvel that change can happen so quickly in 3 short months. The JPA bridge opened up. Newcomb Hall got such a new facelift that I ended up wandering around it in, lost. Even my lab - I showed up the first day to find that a shock tube experimental facility waiting out in the parking lot, just waiting to be installed into our machine shop. People too, have changed. Friends start dating, get engaged, move away. Those things don't just happen overnight. Then again, they do. People adjust and move on but somehow, I'm still reeling in shock.
Some of my old annoying habits have come back. Mein lieblingsspieler held a minor place in my conscious thought in Japan. Here, he occupies a decidedly much larger part of my life - do I even get through a day anymore without bringing him up as though he's my best friend? I feel like I'm clinging to something. It all feels so desperate. Where does this desperation come from though?
In Japan, I was always alone and often lonely. Here, I am surrounded by people and never lonely. However, in so many ways, I've never felt so alone.
I think I like to pretend that Hasebe is the kid from two years ago who was lonely himself and admitted so on his blog. (Although now I'm realizing it might have been a Google (mis)translate). He's not that kid any more though. His life is full and happy and good (although he later edited the Good! GOOD! words off his blog and I wonder why).
All of this, then, leaves me trying to pull a life back together and realizing that none of the pieces are the same.