It’s not how much time you’ve got, not anymore. It’s how much time you’ve got left.
I’ve hit a point that every exchange student hits during their exchange—the halfway point. And at the time, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Then, time inches a little further along, and still you shrug it off. Then suddenly you’ve only got four months left.
Four months.

I only have four months left of my exchange; the thought is both saddening and surreal. After all the effort and triumph of the first half it is (as they say) better on the flipside—but that flipside isn’t all sunshine and roses, because you know that eventually you’ve got to go home.
I am halfway through everything in more than one sense; both in how much time I have left and in how many host families I’ve got left to go. This is my fourth host family as I sit typing this, and a month today I’ll be in my new house already. Time flies.
I recently went on a trip to Kyoto that was just absolutely phenomenal. It all started when I nearly tore my textbook into pieces because I was frustrated by an inconsistency in Japanese that just didn’t make sense (at the time). I got so angry that I did the rational thing: crawled under the living room table while grumbling about Japanese, in Japanese. My host parents, knowing my love of temples, then decided it was time for a vacation. Kyoto! She wants to go to Kyoto. And so to Kyoto we went.
It was two days of amazing weather and some of the most famous temples Japan has to offer. I don’t think anyone was more shocked than I was—or more glad—when the perpetually cloudy and cold weather broke to become warm and sunny, and just for Kyoto! I went to monuments that have been around for over 1300 years, which is really mind blowing. Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit Kyoto’s geisha district, but that was quite alright—what I got to see, and the memories I made with my amazing host family, more than compensated.
Recently I moved host families, and this one marks number four. Four! I’ve only got six, which is really disheartening—so little time left. We’ve done a fair bit of strolling around the area, which has been great (and also accompanied by our new spring weather, can’t beat that!) and my new house is only a five minute walk from my school. Both of my new host parents are architects, and so I’ve come into a lot of new vocabulary and have learned a lot more about the buildings around me, including temples! Gotta love ‘em.
Lately I’ve been really busy with school; Japan’s school year runs from April to March and so right now, everyone is buckling down for finals, and even before that, the third years will be graduating. Everyone is buzzing, ready for break, and I can definitely say that I for one will be most relieved to be on vacation! The infamous cherry blossoms will be in bloom (I’ll be sure to post pictures) and I’ll be going on my Rotary trip to western Japan. Wish me luck!