The Journey Home

Originally published on 31 July 2006. This post is part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my summer living and working in Japan!

I’m home! After one last Sushi Lo supper on Saturday, I turned in my bike and waited at the school for Mrs. Koda to pick me up. She came about 7:15 or so, I said my goodbyes to Anna, and we went back to Mrs. Koda’s house (after stopping for grapes and a riceball for the next day’s breakfast). While we were on the way to her house, Mrs. Koda said the travel agency made a mistake. I immediately thought my flight was cancelled or something, but that was not the case. Mr. Koda was supposed to get back from his business trip that night, in time to see me off! Mrs. Koda and I attempted conversation for a while and she taught me how to make origami birds while we waited, and Mr. Koda made his appearance about 9:00 pm. I’m so glad I got to see him one last time before I left. He and Mrs. Koda are wonderful. They let me call home from their house, too. It was so funny because I got them to talk to Daddy. I think they were a little nervous, which was too cute.

So I went to bed about 10:30 and woke up at 3:00am Sunday (1pm Saturday CST). Yuri and Mami picked up Mrs. Koda and me a little before 5, and we were on our way! I saw the sunrise from the car on our way to the boat dock in Tsu, which was beautiful. We loaded the boat that took us across the bay from Tsu to Nagoya (faster than driving), and after some final belittling from Yuri and some kindness from the lady at the baggage check counter (she let me go without paying an overweight fee because my luggage was only over by 3 kg–6 1/2 lbs, but would have cost about $400!), I said my final goodbyes. I’ll sincerely miss Mami and Mrs. Koda. The Kodas are just so, so nice, and Mami is such a sweetheart and a lot of fun. She has been very understanding about the Yuri situation with me and Anna, too. She wrote me a post card to read on the plane. The English was very broken, but readable! Hopefully she’ll be able to come visit me here in Tennessee some day!

I hugged them all one last time (even Yuri) and was on my own from there.

The first flight was a short one to Tokyo, then came the long one to Chicago (11 hours). They ran out of chicken for lunch, which is disappointing because I don’t like beef and that was the other option. The side dishes were ok, though. I guess their running out of chicken can be overlooked, however, because they had good movies to choose from! I wasn’t interested in the ones on the flight over in May, but this time I watched The Wizard of Oz, Last Holiday, and Glory Road. All were very good and took up plenty of time.

I sat next to a nice black guy from Indianappolis on the long flight, and he was very friendly. His name is Ibrahim, and he was on his way home from Singapore. He had it way worse than me as far as the flying goes. He had been traveling 2 days and still had a 7 hour layover in Chicago before his last 40-minute flight. He was a very nice guy, which is good because we were together for over 11 hours!

Oh, and I got to watch the sunset as we flew over the Bering sea, then see it rise about 3 or so hours later as we flew over Canada. Very pretty. I got to see the sunrise twice in one day. I think that’s pretty neat!

Flight Map

So we landed and everything was fine until we got to customs. I got a mean customs guy, but I got through with only a little difficulty. Then there was a problem finding my electronic ticket for the plane to Nashville, but after a couple of tears and some detective work, it was found. Whew!

The plane to Nashville was probably the smallest one I’ve ever seen and was completely full. My seat was the very last one, which was fine with me because it was right next to the bathroom. The people around me were very nice. We talked a little and I told them I was on my way home after 3 months in Japan, and they asked lots of questions. We were delayed about 45 minutes, but I really didn’t mind. I was just glad to be on the plane that would take me home! A man across the aisle (about 10 inches away from me) tapped me as we landed and said he was excited for me, and he knew I was excited, too. I thought that was just really nice of him. The 3 people I’d talked to all said they wanted to see my parents and their reaction. I think they could tell I was excited!

So then the moment came. I saw my family at the top of the steps to the baggage claim with signs and smiles galore. Two of my aunts, my grandmother, my 2 cousins and my parents and brothers were all there to hug me.

My Welcome Sign
Dad was happy to see me!

We got my stuff and headed home–to my very own house and room. I showed off my souveniers and gave them their gifts, and I really don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to talk to my family.

We had bbq chicken for supper and went to bed about 8. For me, that meant 31 hours of awakeness in one day! And boy did the jet lag set in. I woke up at 1, tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. I really didn’t have jet lag on the way over, so I guess it’s all catching up with me now. What fun! Hopefully I’ll get into my regular sleeping habit again soon!

And so ends my Japanese Journey. Give me a call and we’ll go do something fun before school starts! Have a great week, and I’ll see be seeing most of y’all soon!

Thanks for sticking it out with me, folks. I’ve had so much fun telling y’all about my adventures and sending the pictures. Have a wonderful week and hug your family. Thank you for the prayers, thoughts, and e-mails. God really taught me a lot this summer (what an understatement).

Love y’all,

2 responses to “The Journey Home”

  1. great shot of the sunset! Sometimes you get the best pictures from the plane…and welcome home!

    1. Thanks! I love a good window seat on a LONG flight!

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