Post Holiday Blues

Two days ago was a very low point. Definitely the lowest point since I've been here.
Despite spending the evening at a party in sharehouse, and then encouraging around half to go to a bar afterwards, the evening went very swiftly south on the walk home as a guy who I'd just met made a comment about my body.

One second I was cartwheeling down the street and laughing with new friends, and next thing I knew I'd retracted into myself and felt utterly empty. Exhausted from trying, I walked the rest of the way home in a mood completely parallel to how I had begun. A small part of me fought the urge to peg it home, because I knew as soon as I tried I would have felt worse for it. So, trying to explain myself in Japanese, I blabbered about not being able to express my feelings in a foreign language. I did it in a language that felt as foreign to me as the situation that had just unravelled. In fact, a tiny thread had come undone, and in those few minutes, I undid all the stitching that I'd been doing since I arrived. I'd weaved myself a nice little blanket, big enough for Eloise and I, and all of a sudden a tiny pull had reduced it all to a big ball of wool.

I've never been very good at sewing. I enjoy it, but my lines are never very straight and the underside is always a bit jumbled. But my job now, is to sew together the bits of blanket. There's still an Eloise-shaped hole here, so the blanket isn't coming together as fast as I'd like, but the fragility I was feeling is almost gone, and that's a start. I'm going back to my lonely lists and slowly ticking off the things I know make me feel better, make me feel like there's a point in me being here, make me feel not so far from home. It's funny to me how the comment that opened this can of worms was totally unrelated to the real reason I've ended up in this strange head space, and I'm not embarrassed to say it's homesickness. It's missing my friends, missing grass between my toes, missing homemade cake with granny. And as much as I try, I can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm still alone here, and it seems at the moment that the more people I surround myself with, the lonelier I feel.

I refuse to leave Japan like this. As much as all I want to do right now is run, and my first response on Friday was booking my flight home at 2AM in the morning, I'm not leaving until I'm at peace with this year abroad. I've had a lot of spare time this year - which is a prize commodity after studying in Edinburgh - which has been both wonderful and also my downfall. Like always, there's plan B, there's plan C. There'll be a plan Z if it comes to that. So: if you need me, I'll be on my bike, in the sunshine, smiling like a loon and forcing myself to be better. I'll be in tiny rural villages with locals, learning and living and loving. I'll be doing yoga in the morning sunshine looking out over the rolling hills of this strange little city. Because that's why I fell in love with Japan in the first place; the unwavering friendliness of local people urgent to keep their traditions alive, the incredible food, the stunning countryside and a peaceful existence surrounded by nature.

I can preemptively say the best thing I've learned this year is resilience. It's hard when people often say that a year abroad is the best year of your life. It definitely won't have been the most fun, but it will have been the most shaping year of my life, without a doubt. So here's to trial and error, adventure and laughter. It's not the first time I've been lonely and it certainly won't be the last. Am I proud I'm still here?

Okayama telling me how to make Okayama better

Yes. Am I looking forward to going home? Yes. And that's okay.


  1. I enjoy reading your post Molly. You sure have a way with words. With out a doubt, I can relate to how you are feeling. Strangely, today I was reflecting why I miss Japan and why I like the culture in the first place too; that way of thinking could have ease my homesickness a little bit better. I am glad you are able to think of this now. Keep doing what makes you happy! Miss you! Take care! <3
    - Marisol Peralta


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