On the Road to Japan, Pt. IV

Packing is such a chore.

How do I decide just how much I should bring of everything?  When do I decide that too much, is too much?  Where do I say stop to bringing little things that don’t really amount to much, until I’ve brought too many and it’s taken over half of my suitcase?  What do I bring, and what do I buy when I get there?

I mean, for camps and short term trips, it’s easy to pack for.  After all, it’s over in a week, and things aren’t essential when you can return to it in five days.  I used to laugh at how much my mum always wanted to pack when I left for these things, but now I wonder how my mum has packed for all those long extended family trips and known just how much we needed for each trip.

Especially since she had to pack for three people.  I’m only packing for one, and I’m struggling.

This just makes me realise how much I don’t ever want children or any sort of dependents.  Or they can pack their own things (nekminnit the kids pack an entire suitcase of candy and toys and there’s nothing practical whatsoever inside the case.  Worse, they bring toy guns and warfare toys and we all get detained at the airport).

And how do I pack away the things that are intangible? In-jokes and impromptu DnMs? Those Looks between friends? Meeting gazes across a crowded room and making faces at each other before bursting into laughter?  The warmth from a multitude of hugs?  I know I’ll meet new friends and these will happen anyway, but it’s not the same.

Having said that though, it will be great to be away from everyone familiar for a year.  People are going to change, relationships are going to change, I’m going to change, and all these changes will make something new and something fresh and it will all be very exciting to reacquaint myself with the familiar and be pleasantly (hopefully) surprised at how fresh everything has become.

And now I’m going to stop, because I’m starting to sound like a twelvie on tumblr philosophising on life.  Let’s see what I say when I look back on all this when I come back in a year’s time.

Three more days to go!

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On the Road to Japan, Pt. III

I was expecting more at our pre-departure briefing a couple of days ago, to be honest.  I mean, even though I knew it was probably all filled with information that I knew or I could find out myself on documents they posted online, but really, they are sending students off for a year into an unknown land.  And being part of the Japan major, they’ve already sent off thirteen (I think) other sets of students off in similar meetings, and this is hardly the first year that they’ve run the program, sooooooo you would think they’d have more pertinent information or whatever.

But no.  The only thing we learnt, or got, was our airplane tickets.  The insurance stuff, they had covered in a previous meeting last year.  The things about the airplane things, they could’ve covered in five minutes, since the information is all typed up really neatly on a sheet.  The information about our actual major, all online in the subject folder thing on the uni system.

Ah well.  It’s obligatory, and it’s a chance for them to make sure they’ve said and covered everything, so that if we have any questions or mess up, they can be all like WE TOLD YOU SO and laugh in our faces.

It was also great to see and meet up with everyone that’s going on exchange with me, because it’s probably the last time I’ll see them before I either see them in Japan, or when we come back, or… never… XD

Anyways, I guess the meeting kinda made it a bit more real, because seeing the actual ticket makes it a bit more substantial in my head, and it’s kinda hitting me not really, but definitely, I’m feeling it more than this time last year.

Being able to finally get my visa also helps.  I’ve heard the photo turns out really ugly.  Hopefully it’s not too bad, but I’m not expecting much… especially since photos for these official things never turn up nice anyway so ah well! Whatever! Once I get it next week, I’ll know!

On the Road to Japan, Pt II

There’s now officially twenty-one days until my departure for the Land of the Rising Sun.  I thought I would find out when I left a lot later, but somehow or other they told me early.  So here we are.

Twenty-one days to go.

And on hearing that, EVERYONE ups their compulsion to ask me the same questions:

‘Are you excited?’ (No.  And then they tell me they’re excited for me.  Why, thank you.  Please continue to be excited for me, because then I’ll start feeling somewhat excited too).

‘Have you packed yet?’ (No.  And I doubt I will be until right before I leave for the airport.  Three weeks is so far awayyyyyy.)

‘Are you ready?’ (Probably not.  But I’m not sure what I need to be ready for anyway, so I’m going to say yes.)

Although I have started moving things I want to bring into the lounge room so that I don’t forget to pack it later, because it’s okay for me to spread my belongings all around the house, since it’ll be gone in three weeks anyway.  And I have started making lists of what I want to bring.  People who just came back from the exchange all tell me, ‘Don’t bring too much!’ But what is too much? I’m packing for a year… where is the line between too little, and too much?

I suspect buying a $5 fleece blanket throw thing is probably considered ‘too much’.  But it’s comfortable.  And it’s red.  I can suffer how to bring it back once I get to it, this time next year.

Anyway, not much is still yet happening.  I feel like I’ve just been waiting it out, these last few weeks, because I don’t really know what to do to prepare except quietly catch up with friends and buy essential things like cameras and laptops (because tech is obviously the most essential thing to my life hahaha).  I’m not feeling any sort of excitement yet, because it still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m leaving in three weeks.  And I have no schedule to follow. There are no classes to fill up my days, work is sporadic, and there are no events to plan, no meetings to go to.

This freedom is what I imagine retirement to be like.  Nothing to do, just waiting my days out.  Except the journey at the end of the waiting is different.

The only things that I have been planning are the holidays and trips that I plan to go on, which shows exactly where my priorities are, when I don’t even know what the academic calendar looks like.

Ah well.  The pre-departure briefing is in a week, and I hope that gives me more of a framework to base my excitement on.  If not… I’ll just keep lazing around living the phetlyf until I realise there’s only ten hours till my flight and my suitcases are still empty.