the final stretch

This may be news to some: I will not be staying another year in Shibushi.

That stings. Saying that–typing that–stings. I’ve really come to enjoy my little town, and I’ve definitely fallen in love with my hundreds of students. Thinking about telling them I’m leaving and ultimately saying goodbye makes my eyes literally sting. The tears are ready to pour. I’ve told everyone it was an easy decision, but that is a lie. In fact, I almost regret it already. Some JETs hate their jobs and can’t wait to leave, but the longer I stay here, the more I love it. I’ve watched some of my kids grow into little adults before me, and we’ve shared some amazing times. I love them all, really, because they’ve helped form who I am. I hope the teachers at my junior high allow me to give the students a proper goodbye at their closing ceremony. I wouldn’t be able to leave without it.

If you follow my blog, you know that a lot has happened to me here, and as a result, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve become an adult on Japanese soil. A part of me will always be here in Shibushi. But I know I can’t stay. I wish things had worked out has I hoped and I could stay forever, because I really do love this place…despite it’s flaws. But life seldom goes the way we plan. People enter and leave, seasons change, we grow and decide there may be better things waiting somewhere else. It’s heartbreaking to think about, but as they say “there comes a time to say goodbye.” This August will be that time. I will at least say goodbye to my schools, students, and coworkers.

I don’t know where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing, but I will certainly carry this experience in my heart forever. It’s time to make the best of these last six months.

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