This week, I began my final semester teaching English in a Japanese High School. It has filled me with a sense of nostalgia. In a little over 3 months I will return to Australia. It's mind boggling to think how quickly the end of my contract is approaching. At this point, I have been living in Japan for a little over 2 years. It honestly feels more like 6 months have passed since I have arrived. Everything feels like it is happening so fast, just as I was told it would.
The next few months are going to be among the most hectic of all of my months in Japan. Preparing to return, job hunting, making farewell gifts, packing, mailing stuff home, arranging for flights, applying for a pension refund, cancelling my accounts... its a dizzying prospect. I shall have to stay as focussed as possible over the following months.
On the bright side, my new first years students are lovely if not completely terrified of me. All of the teachers I am working with this semester are great team-teachers. The lessons have been planned, the curriculum decided on, name cards made, seats assigned, introductions exchanged; life is carrying on as usual.
My departure date is set for mid-August. After my contract ends, I will be staying in Japan for 2 weeks to do some travelling. After that I will be gone. All good things come to an end. Some of the people I have met here who I have considered to be main-stays and have shaped my experiences here are already leaving soon or have already left. I keep thinking, "No! I'm supposed to leave you guys! Not the other way around!" It is the people I've met who have made Japan what it is to me in my heart. As these people slowly break away, Japan becomes a little less clear in my mind. It grows and changes, so much so that my successor to this position will obviously have a very different experience to mine. That makes the fragility of what I have experienced all the more precious.
Listen to me, plotting the end of it all when things have only just begun. This is why it is important to stay focussed in the now and not on the ultimate end. Spring time has long been the perfect metaphor for fresh starts and this year is no different. All good things indeed come to an end, so make it as good as possible before the end comes.