It’s Getting Real

It was just in the past couple of days that it hit me. I’m really going to the other side of the world. I mean, I always knew that that’s where Japan was, and that was where I wanted to be, and that I’d be leaving everything behind. I knew that. But now, it’s getting real. Saying goodbyes, preparing to pack, tying things up—wrapping up my Fairfax life, essentially. In the past, this trip has been a suggestion, a dream, something on the horizon, an illusion in the desert, a hope.

But this year, when time brought me within 21 days of Japan, it didn’t disappear. At the end of the night, it’ll be 14.I’m finally going. By the grace of God, if nothing happens between now and then, I’m really gonna go.

I taught my last class of third-graders at my church tonight. Well, it was more like a little party with little ice cream cups and musical chairs. A girl with a flower in her hair, a boy who seems to have forgotten how to sit down. Some kids are so loud one can’t help but notice them, and some are so quiet one can’t help but miss them. I try to make sure I notice each one, but some of them are pretty good at it. All of them sweet, and all of them I didn’t realize how much I’d miss until their parents came and whisked them all away.

Goodbyes are hard. It’s a good kind of hard, but still, they’re hard. And I’ve got many more to do before these two weeks are over. I can’t take the people I know with me, and I won’t find people like them when I go. It’s losing what matters to us that seems to wake us up from this slumber of taking things for granted, and we start to realize that what’s happening is really happening.


About Stephen Gabriel Falke

Stephen Gabriel Falke is passionate about loving Jesus and loving Japanese! He grew up in Virginia, America, and first visited Japan in 2007. He then studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for a year in 2012. He also participated in the JET Program as an ALT from 2015-2017. He currently works as an English teacher at Hirosaki Gakuin Seiai Secondary School in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan.
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