Now to the main point of this post!
As anyone alive knows Christmas is coming in 20 days! And Thanksgiving was just a week or so ago! I love the holiday season; home cooked food, snow, lazing around and doing nothing after the fall semester ends, seeing my family, seeing friends who don't go to my university etc etc. As much as I love the holiday season, this year it is making me pretty sad. Reading online about my friends going home for Thanksgiving and hearing what people ate, knowing that they are all going to be celebrating Christmas (and other winter holidays) with their families soon, it has really hit me what I got myself into when I decided to stay in Japan for 1 year. Don't get me wrong, I love Japan and I am so glad I am staying for another semester once this one finishes. I can't imagine leaving all my new friends after only knowing them for a few months. However, it is starting to hit me just how long I'm really going to be gone. This morning I counted, and I haven't seen my friends from my university for 6 months, and I won't see them for another 9 months. Over a whole year will have gone by by the time I see them again. I'm missing so many events and funny moments. I've basically lived with some of these people for 2 years. Going from seeing them every day to not seeing them for over a year is crazy. And they are not the only ones. 1 year will go by before I see my family (minus my parents and brother who are coming later this month). The holidays are a time that we spend with our family and friends, but I will not have that this year. That is why I am so grateful to my parents and brother for taking the time and spending the money to come see me. While they won't be here on the actual day of Christmas, I can at least have a late Christmas celebration with them. It will be a strange celebration; touring Japan and introducing them to new foods, but at least we will be together. I know not everyone is as lucky as me and their families are not able to come visit them. My advice to people studying abroad over the holidays is this: get a few friends, go buy a big cake (or any type of dessert really) and have your own party! (Also skype your family). After all, as my dad told me on Thanksgiving; the holidays are not about the food or the presents or the shopping, it is about being together. And while not everyone who is studying abroad can physically be with their family, at least we are able to see and speak to each other with technology!
Enough of the sappiness.