I have begun to find a rhythm for my daily life here in Japan. I have found ways to make my commute a bit more comfortable (the trains get very busy here), to get involved in my interests, and have settled in with my host family.
Having a host family was one of the things I was the most nervous about before coming here. I worried over whether or not we would get along. If I did something wrong, how would they react? How was I going to be comfortable living with a unit of complete strangers? After almost 3 weeks, now I’m worried about having to say goodbye!
These people have changed my perspective on a number of things, and I am touched by the way that I have been accepted as part of the family. To be honest, I am the type of person who holds themselves back a lot when it comes to expression. I get upset by the idea of upsetting and inconveniencing others, and I often take it upon myself to make everyone else feel as comfortable as possible. However, after entering another family’s home, I’m realizing that maybe that isn’t the best way to be.
My host mom told me that its better that I express my true self, or else it’ll pile up and eventually explode in some other way. She said there is no such thing as a person who is good all the time, and that it is okay for me to express myself when things are upsetting to me. That I don’t always have to worry about everybody else’s comfort or reaction. That family is meant to know each other for who they really are, and that it is natural for there to be upsetting things sometimes. I think this is a great mindset to have when going into a host family, so I am sharing it with you all. Being open to upsetting and uncomfortable conversations is extremely important. I was hoping for a kind host family, but this level of kindness is beyond expectations.
They ask about my day, about my life, and get excited for my wins. My host dad saves me news clips about things he thinks I’ll find interesting and shows me them later. My host sister waits for me to come home so we can play a video game together and eat ice cream. My host mom knocks on my door with tears in her eyes and a bottle of tea when I am having a stressful day. Now, they’re planning a whole trip for winter with me involved! The way in which I have been readily welcomed as fully myself is truly beautiful. I highly recommend a host family experience. You will learn about yourself in ways you didn’t even think you could. Just remember that whatever you put in is what you get out and that there are going to be things that are upsetting sometimes. That is the exchange you make when you choose to create any kind of relationship with anyone, not just cross-culturally. Communication is key!