With the recent news of my imminent departure, coworkers and students alike have been pestering me with the same routine questions:
"Why are you leaving Japan?"
"When are you leaving?"
"What will you do when you return to America?"
But I've also been privileged enough to receive a variety of gifts from both groups. Even though I have only been here for 9 months, many of my schools held farewell ceremonies. Also, my students made me cards. Today, I received roses. It's a very humbling experience that makes me feel guilty about leaving. To have my work recognized by so many people is uplifting. I honestly don't feel like I deserve it.
I will miss my students the most. I'm sad because I won't be here to see my sixth-graders move on to junior high school. Sad that I won't see these bright, wonderful, intrepid children anymore. I think that's one of the reasons I need to leave now. If I stay for another year, it would be absolutely impossible for me to separate from them.