Last Day as a JET ALT

My last month has been a tornado, with goodbyes and thank yous, packing and cleaning, and all sorts of logistical things, so much so that I’ve had little time to actually reflect and think, “I’m leaving Suzuka.”

And even when I say that, all of the facets of these past two years just won’t seem to fit into those three words. I’ve invested in and been touched by so many lives, students and teachers, friends, babies and grandmothers, Japanese and foreigners. I’ve learned so much about Japan in these two years, things I couldn’t have learned during my study abroad. I’ve grown in my language abilty, learned a new instrument, been to Universal Studios Japan, twice! And in the midst of the busyness of life here, I got used to Suzuka. It feels weird leaving here, as though I can’t imagine a different life.

I’ve certainly had my struggles during my time here as well. I’ve been hurt by people, and I’ve hurt people, Japanese people. And looking back, it breaks my heart to think that I hurt them. But thanks be to God, I really feel I’ve grown through it all. I think that I’ll always have more growing to do, but I think I can say that at the end of these two years, I’ve gotten a little bit better at forgiving, a little bit better at loving, a little bit better at lighting joy like a candle in the night. My soul feels more free now than ever before. I’m so happy to have had this time, and yet so sad to leave. All the students I’ve grown to love, the friendships that I’ve made that I know can’t end now. And yet, unlike the last time when I left Japan before at the end of my study abroad four years ago, something is really different this time. Something is here in my heart that wasn’t there then: Hope. Hope blazes in my heart like a wildfire. Though i don’t know what the next years hold for me exactly, I know that it’s gonna be good! I’m so excited to see my family! So excited to walk into tomorrow! I know that God is good. I know He’s got my back. And I know I’m coming back.

 

Suzuka, I’m so thankful for you

Suzuka, you’ve made my heart full

Suzuka, you know I love you

So Suzuka, I’ll see you soon.

 

 

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About Stephen

My name is Stephen Falke, and I have a passionate interest for all things Japanese. I have been accepted to teach for the JET Program starting 2015. In the past, during my time in college, I also had the chance to participate in a study abroad at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, for Japan's 2012 school year. On my blog I write about my love for Japan, my journey to get there and stay there, and my adventures studying and teaching there.
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