Rest assured everyone, I am still awesome. (staceyu) wrote,
Rest assured everyone, I am still awesome.
staceyu

Japan 336

my friends got up at 3am as scheduled, and i said a teary goodbye to them as they got picked up in front of my place by another friend to go to the airport in akita. it would be a 3 hour drive for them, and a long journey after that. i was really sad to see one of my friends go, we had been together since the beginning! trained together in april last year, and she was my first friend in japan. i hope that i would see her again one day...

after they left i couldn't sleep. i stayed up and read the news, trying to see what would be the best option for my cousin and i. i decided that maybe we should leave... anyway, there wasn't anything for us to do in morioka not being able to volunteer, and supplies were running low here. life had become very stressful just staying in my apartment, and i was set to leave japan soon anyway. the only thing that kept me from leaving was saying goodbye to all my good friends here in iwate. i couldn't just leave without seeing them all in person... i felt like i was abandoning them, just when the situation was really bad. but family and friends back home were urging me to leave, and what else could i do? i stayed up til 6, and then i decided to sleep a little bit more and figure it out in the morning...

at 10, my cell phone rang. it was one of my friends, who told me through tears that she was leaving japan tonight, and she was taking another one of her friends with her. the pressure from home was getting to be too intense, and even though she didn't want to go, her family was her priority... she then asked me if my cousin and i wanted to go with her. they were planning on getting a taxi all the way to akita airport, and even though it would cost about 300,000yen for the whole ride, splitting it amongst the four of us wouldn't be that bad. it was the only way out of the city, since all the trains and buses weren't running that far, and going by regular car would be impossible as it was hard to gather enough gas. i REALLY didn't know what to do when she said that, so i told her i'd call her back. i talked to one of my best friends here on skype to make my decision... he had been stuck in kitakami this whole time, and couldn't get to morioka this whole time to see us. he told me that maybe it was best if i go home... the situation was getting dire and my family would feel better about it. i was leaving anyway, right? after he said that, i made up my mind... i had to get my cousin and i out of the country, now. and if i had the opportunity to leave with other friends, i better take it. it was the hardest decision i had to make.

directly after deciding this, my cousin started to take stuff off my apartment walls. i got my aunt on skype and managed to book a way out of here. i decided we had to go to the philippines earlier than scheduled, so we ended up with 4 flights to manila... akita to tokyo to fukuoka to seoul to manila!! but it was the only one i could find at the time, as it turned out so many other people were trying to get out of the country. it didn't matter, as long as we were on our way out. it was an expensive ticket, but we were lucky to book it. i canceled all our hotels that we planned for kansai, and then i called my boss and told him i was cutting my contract early, which i knew wouldn't be a problem since school was already over and many other of my co-workers had left already. he told me he understood, and then he said "you did a good job, stacey..." at that point i started to choke up, and then i told him quickly i was going to get as much stuff as i could out of my apartment but the rest i'd leave up to my head teacher, another one of my good friends, who was to remain in morioka.

after a solid two hours of these phone calls to my company, to my uncle in the philippines and various friends and family members and hurriedly packing our things, i took a quick look around my apartment and realized it was just like no one had ever lived in it. all the memories i had in this place came flooding back and i couldn't believe i was leaving so soon, already! i also couldn't believe what time it was already, 3pm. my friend came to the apartment to help me pack, and then we went to sundance, our favorite bar, to drop off all the extra food and water we had collected when we thought we were going to stay in morioka. the people working at the bar would be driving to the coast that weekend to bring people supplies. at least through all this, we were able to help other people by sending them these supplies. i was happy to help, in the very small way i could.

next we went to the morioka office of our company to settle the problem of my friend's car (she had one on lease from our company) and to see some other friends in town... they were amazed that the 4 of us were leaving TONIGHT, and we decided that we should have a little goodbye party at our favorite bar before we left...

after leaving the office, we went back to my friend's apartment to drop off more of my boxes (she would send them through the post office when they began to send packages again, so i left her money), and then back to my apartment to do a quick once-over before leaving. all of our things were practically packed, and i made a list to give to my friend telling her who to give my things to. at my apartment, one of my friends just got out of work, so he cycled over to my place to say a last goodbye to me. i couldn't stand all of these goodbyes, especially to him, as he was one of my very good friends in morioka and we've always had good times together. he even helped me to arrange our cab out of morioka and to akita. i couldn't help it, as i said goodbye to him i cried a lot, i truly didn't want to leave like this, but he understood and told me that his girlfriend would be at the goodbye party to say goodbye to me also.

after he left, my two friends, my cousin and i just sat in my apartment. me trying to hold back more tears, and them trying to respect my emotions and my last few moments in my apartment. after a few minutes, we grabbed all of my things, loaded it into my friend's car and we were gone...

the next thing we did was drive to my other friend's apartment (the other one who would be coming with us) and then dropped all our things off there. then we had dinner at freshness burger, which i could hardly eat, even though it wasn't much... i realized that they didn't have many ingredients so our burger was more like a half burger that they managed to scrape together in spite of all the shortages. i was happy i didn't have much of an appetite. after dinner, we went back to my friend's apartment to help her pack all her stuff since she was still at work and wouldn't get much of a chance to clear our her apartment. with the 3 of us working together the time went by quickly and we even gathered more food and clothing to donate. i made some last goodbyes on my phone to some very dear friends, and i cried my ass off even more... i don't think i've cried this much since my dad died. saying goodbye to japan and my friends who live here has been one of the most painful experiences i've ever had to go through...

around 10:00 we went to the bar to have our little goodbye party. i met up with my friend's girlfriend there (who i should clarify is also one of my very good friends too!) and then i cried again, saying goodbye to her. she's japanese, and when she told me to "genki dashite" (cheer up) i about lost it. she said that any time i'm in morioka again i should stay with her. after she left, i made more goodbyes to all my friends that were able to come, which to my surprised was a good amount! many people took pictures but i looked horrible, and didn't really want to remember all of this... still, i managed to laugh a little, and we all made promises to see each other in the future, whenever that would be...

the cab came to pick up the 4 of us at midnight at the bar. the driver was going to drive to my friend's apartment to pick up all our stuff before we left. i was surprised to see that it was just a regular cab (although i shouldn't have been) so that meant that some of us would have to leave stuff behind. we quickly arranged with one of our japanese friends to send us some of our luggages to our hometowns in the states... if anything, i've learned through their whole experience that things aren't as important as friends and family and we can learn to live with a lot less than we're used to...

the last memory i have in morioka is seeing my friends wave goodbye to us from inside the taxi window. we went to my friend's apartment to gather our stuff, and i left a duffel bag behind (full of winter clothes, anyway). finally, the four of us were on our way to akita airport, leaving the city in the dead of the night, while snow began to fall...
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