As most of you have probably seen on my Instagram, I’m back in Belgium. I’ve been back for about one month and two weeks and I want to tell you guys about what my last week in Japan was like, and how my life has changed being back home.
My last week in Japan was just a rollercoaster of emotions.
It was filled with stress because I had to pack and move out of my apartment. I had many people visit me from home who brought extra suitcases to bring back some stuff of mine to Belgium. That’s why I was convinced that everything I had left would fit perfectly in my luggage. Boy, was I wrong! I just never realised how much stuff I had accumulated over a year time. After long hours of throwing things out, squishing things into my suitcases, and weighing every little object I added to my luggage, I was finally able to finish packing.
That week was also filled with sadness. In a week time, I had to say goodbye to everybody and everything I held dear. I have met so many beautiful people and made some amazing friends. These are people that I saw every day, that I lived with. They became like family to me. These people were part of the new life I had built for myself and it was hard to let go.
And last but not least, that week was also filled with happiness. I refused to sulk during my last days in the country that I had grown to love. Even though I knew that I wouldn’t be back for a while, I wanted it to be a happy memory till the very last second. I met up with friends, had movie nights, went eating out at places that I loved, so it’s fair to say that my last week wasn’t all bad.
It’s crazy how you can build up a completely new life for yourself in a one-year-period. Before I came to Japan, I barely knew how to fry an egg, and then all of the sudden, I was supposed to be able to do my own laundry?! Madness! …. But I learned! I learned everything I needed to know, all by myself. I became independent, a thing that I already thought I was, but clearly didn’t realise its true meaning. If I didn’t do something around the house, it simply wouldn’t happen. My laundry wouldn’t magically fold itself up in the closet.
Another thing I already thought I knew how to do, but not in the proper way, is cooking (no Hanna, heating up spaghetti sauce your grandma gave you is not cooking). It even became one of my new passions. I got obsessed with trying to recreate recipes I found on the internet and even adjusting them. I got fascinated by how spices could make your food taste good or even awful (I know, it’s crazy). I even got obsessed with nutrition as a whole. I wanted to be able to make meals that were delicious AND healthy. I even had an everyday cooking routine. I would come home from class or work, pour out a glass of wine, put on some music, and start cooking, and I loved it.
A further contribution to my independence was me forcing myself to say YES. Back home, if things seemed weird or out of my comfort zone, I was likely to decline. I felt at ease where I was and nothing needed to change. But in Japan, I knew I would regret passing up certain opportunities. By saying more YES to things, I got a few jobs and was even able to be in a Japanese magazine and commercial!
I’m very thankful for every opportunity I got.
Being back home was a very weird and scary feeling at first. After a 23h travel from Japan to Belgium, it seemed like I just woke up from a dream. It scared me that nothing changed back home. Everything looked pretty much the same. Even though there were changes, it still felt like exactly the same, and somehow, I thought it wouldn’t. This made Japan quickly feel like a dream, which was the scariest part. I didn’t want it to become a dream. It needed to remain as real as possible in my head. Unpacking helped, though. Because every item I got in Japan had a memory attached to it, and it made me happy remembering them. I’m also very happy that I still have a lot of contact with all the friends I made in Japan.
Thanks to this, Japan stays a very happy and vivid memory. This is also why I will continue to write my blog. Back in Japan, I barely had time to write and sort out/edit pictures. Every time I did I loved it, but it made me sad that I wasn’t able to upload weekly or monthly as I’d hoped. Of course, this can’t all be blamed on school. I also travelled, met up with friends, worked, and lived.
I’m pretty sure I got everything I possibly could out of living a year in the Land of the Rising Sun.
So, stay tuned for more articles about my travels and adventures in Japan. Maybe I’ll upload some helpful articles about Japan as well (like travel guides and tips and tricks). Who knows, maybe I’ll even upload things about my life back in Belgium. Everything is possible in Hannatopia. And I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my journey as much as I love writing about it.