Today was slightly surreal – morning was the usual with our Rotary club and presentation and even the normal frustrations of logistics and transportation.
It didn’t start hitting me until my family members started arriving at the Farewell Party – but even then, there was frustration at the length of the speeches of Rotarians and particularly of the returned Japan team who visited Seattle. At 7pm were were finally allowed to eat – and were called on stage shortly thereafter to give our own speeches.
Then the host families came to the stage – for some silly reason – they let Mr. OverProtective Father speak. While my second host father stood there grinning and proudly holding a lantern that had my name painted on it.
As my host families started to leave, I was summoned back to stage for photos. They couldn’t get it right and my families were leaving…so I just bolted off the stage. I was called back to stage as I was saying my good byes and I had to ignore the calls.
Mr. Kojima hugged me.
And Mrs. Tanaka hugged me a lot.
And Mrs. Fukai even more.
I wasn’t in tears – but it was a place of sheer appreciate for the time and energy and effort. And while I think there are improvements to this program, I don’t regret the experience for one moment.
Tomorrow will be the right time to be heading home – but it will be bittersweet and I suspect that we’ll all go in our own ways. Into our own heads.
Ah, Japan – you continue to allude and perplex me. And while I don’t think I’ll ever find one answer – I think I’ll continue to find many that lead to more questions.