So when I flew back from Tokyo, I only had the clothes on my back and an extra set in my duffel bag, fully intending to dig up clothes that I had The rest of my luggage were gifts for the family and friends- cosmetics, Muji products, half a dozen varieties of Pocky and strange-flavoured chocolate and other Japanese snacks.
I am leaving on in 4 days and already my bag is bursting no thanks to the Great Singapore Sale- shoes, tops, bottoms, jackets, tons of hair and beauty products not available in Japan, local food products, more farewell gifts from friends, gifts for people in Tokyo...
And I know I am only home for a week and everyone wants to meet up, but I was feeling incredibly anti-social tonight so I skipped a dinner and clubbing night with the BBG folks to have dinner alone and then came home and rest.
Everyone asks the same questions when they see me, and frankly it tires me because I have only been gone for a month so I am not fully settled yet, but I do appreciate everyone's concern.
"How come you are back so soon?!"
I give a lengthy explanation of visa application and processing in Japan, and they always get confused the first time and I repeat it a second time.
"How have you been?!"
I always tell them I'm doing great but it would be rude to just end it there, hence insert my thoughts of living abroad for the first time in my life away from comfort of home, family and friends and culture shock experiences
Explain that I have only attended training and cannot start work until my visa is processed, hence this trip home and then share more about what I will be doing.
"Have you found an apartment yet?"
Tell them I am still living in Takadanobaba, talk about how much I love the college town and will be sad to move. Explain that I cannot apply for an apartment until my visa is processed, hence this trip home.
And staying with P will invariable lead to more follow-up questions-
"How's Peter? "
Honestly I am not sure how much of his life he is comfortable with me telling others about, because many things he shares with me or that I observe should be between us, so I usually give them superficial answers and tell them that they should drop him a mail and hear from him direct.
"What is he working as?"
He is working as an associate in the operations department of JP Morgan, dealing with derivatives product. What exactly he does, I don't know, and neither does he. ;)
"Why don't you just stay with him? Can save money!"
It currently takes about an hour to travel from Baba to Hon-Atsugi where my school is (think Boon Lay to Changi commute) and about SGD8.50 for a one-way trip, which doesn't make sense in the long run. Also, living in close proximity leads to a lot of unnecessary tension and we both need our space, literally and figuratively.
And finally, the favourite question:
"SO ARE YOU FLUENT IN JAPANESE NOW?"
Of course not lah! I wish. I tell them I have been spending my afternoons in cafes studying the language using textbooks and audio CDs, that I have memorized my hiragana and katakana, and my goal to be conversational by the end of the year.
I came home to an email from P which made everything worthwhile.
"Without someone to iron my shirts I actually have to prep for work every night :P
Thanks for everything T."
I miss him a lot, but not enough to cripple me not to be able to live my life here. It helped that he was logged on Skype and we caught up for half an hour on random, silly things and showed each other the things we bought.
Now I am SP girl to US boy, Kopi Girl to Udon boy and we have a lot of movies to watch together when I am back. :)