After 14 months away from the homeland it was finally time for John and I to head back to Michigan for our much-anticipated and likely only trip back, while living in Japan. I have to admit that I was a bit anxious about our impending return. Life in Japan feels normal now and to be honest, I was worried I wouldn’t know how to adjust back to life in the Mit. Well part of that turned out to be true, but it wasn’t as jarring or overwhelming as we had heard. Lets start with a few observations from my three weeks in the motherland.
- Holy shoot I can speak and read the language! No joke it was seriously overwhelming and amazing to literally understand everything going on around me
- Americans are rude. I mean not all of us are, but seriously the courtesy and respect that we’ve become accustomed to in Japan is just not there. Example, I was checking out at a store and the lady behind the counter was telling me how terrible her day was and she couldn’t wait to get off work. Obviously, I think prior to my move abroad this wouldn’t have phased me, but seriously? Why are you telling me about it?
- With that being said, I did miss small talk. Not the negative small talk like above, but just being able to communicate with people on the reg was pretty great
- The food. As excited as I was for Jimmy John’s and Chipotle I quickly learned that 14 months in another country changes your ability to digest these types of foods. It was actually a challenge the first few days at home
- To piggy back off that, WHY ARE PORTION SIZES IN AMERICA SO BIG?!!?!? Seriously and people wonder why we are one of the most obese countries. Do I really need all this food?
- Everything is big. Like huge. The moment I walked into the parking garage at DTW and saw all the pick-up trucks and SUVs I realized I was not in Kansas anymore…or maybe I was 😂
- Life goes on. Meaning we are at the age where most of our friends are married and starting families. We came back to quite a new additions of tiny humans to our friend group. All of which were absolutely adorable, but coming back to it after a year vs. living it along with them was a bit strange
- Prior to our move to Japan we had to par-take in a cultural exchange course, where our teacher told us about reverse culture shock. We were also warned by fellow expats about it, but living it and learning about it are so different. As excited as we were to see everyone, all John and I wanted to talk about was life in Japan and our travels, except the attention span only lasts so long. I can’t blame a single person because it’s hard to relate to something you haven’t done. It’s like me trying to understand the first few months of motherhood, while my friends are trying to understand the first few months of expat life. I get it. But it was still hard to process
- Michigan summers. I didn’t forget but man was it nice to be home for the best season in the Mit. Seriously, when I get back for good, exploration of my beautiful state is definitely in order!
- Lastly, I think maybe the most shocking thing was how surprised people were to find out that we actually like living in Japan! Because why wouldn’t we? The world is such a big place, with so many things to explore. It’s hard NOT to love the expat life, even with all the hardships it does come with
Perhaps, being gone for as long as we have has had more of a profound effect on us then we could have thought. Despite this, it felt so good to reunite with our friends and family again. Of course, that part makes it hard to leave but the wonderful thing is that friends and family were still there waiting for us on the other side. It does make me happy to know we have such an amazing support system, despite being on the other side of the world. One big thing that I’ve learned from this is that home is relative. Right now home is in Japan, but that doesn’t mean home won’t be Michigan when we eventually move back!
Here are some of my fave photos from our time in the Mit! Three weeks sure went by fast!
Until next time! Ja Mata じゃまた！