Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Process of Letting Go

These are my last few months living in Japan. A two year journey that was ten years in the making is going to be over soon, so some time to sit back and reflect over the course my life has taken since making this decision is in due order.
PSSSH YEAH RIGHT! Do you know how much goes into moving?? To another country?!? I'll just say right now that I have no idea how people who aren't as OCD as me about organizing can do it. They either have way less stress than I do about throwing stuff in a bag and hoping for the best when you get there, or get a lot more help than I do.

My to-do list included things like going ways presents for my co-workers and shopkeepers who'd come to know me as a regular. Things to sell, pack, throw away, give away, and donate. Things I could shuck off on my visitors to take home for me (you guys saved me so much in shipping charges and now forever part of my exclusive mule club!), things I could do without until my bf could bring it home to me when he visited, things I needed until the last minute, things I was taking to Europe (more on that later), tax-representative stuff, how to stop all my utilities in a timely manner, returning my rental car, cleaning the apartment for inspection, figuring out how to ship my bunny home (this deserves a post on its own), getting in those last trips to my favorite places, getting in those last trips to places I'd always wanted to go, seeing friends before they left - are you as tired as I am yet?

To further explain that Europe blurb, I knew from the get-go that I would be treating myself to a Europe getaway at the end of my JET contract. I wasn't sure if I was going to backpack over three months or something crazy like that, but as it had happened in the past, my two moms and best friend jumped on board. This meant some serious readjusting of what I had envisioned, but it didn't bother me in the least. This post (coming soon!) details that incredible trip, but needless to say, that kind of adventure isn't one you want to be planning while moving.

Some tips for those departing moving from country to country would be the following (in no particular order) Some of these are more for leaving and some are more for going:

  • It's never too early to start planning - make lists, read up on the experiences of others who have come before you (ahem), and plan way ahead.
  • Make a list that counts down by weeks so you know what has to be done by that week. This will help you remember the time-sensitive stuff like if you need to order something online or cancel a service before you're charged for the next month, etc. 
  • Take advantage of off-season sales for things that you will need on your trip and are difficult to acquire wherever you may be going. 
  • Make one-on-one time for everyone in your life weeks before you go so you're not feeling rushed at the end to see everyone in big groups or whenever you can cram them in - trust me, they'll appreciate you thought of them.
  • Set up a blog, vlog, instagram, facebook page, etc before you go. Some people document the departure process as well as the arrival one, but some leave it for when they get there and lose some of those first impressions in the initial haze of settling in.
  • Think about bringing some gifts for the people you'll meet in your new life abroad and giving some to the people who did make your trip memorable. Things that are from your country are best. Sure this isn't the custom in all countries like it was for me in Japan, but it's good etiquette and appreciated no matter where you go. #Stayclassy
  • Take pictures of everything!! That front yard that is never mowed like you've asked a million times for you school to do - do it. That side angle view of your students walking to school as you have your tea in the morning. Yup. You'll probably never show them to anyone else and think you don't want to remember them, but one day you'll be going over  your pics and see them and get a wonderful rush of nostalgia. 
  • Stop to appreciate the last time you'll probably hang out with all the friends you made in your time abroad being in the same place at the same time. Just a moment. It goes well with the Japanese proverb I live my life by which is  一期一会 (ichi go ichi e) meaning one chance, one opportunity, because that moment will never happen again. 
I think that's a good poignant place to end this post. Let me know of any other tips you have from your experiences in the comments! 

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