Goodbye Kagawa

I have had complaints from some of my regular readers about my silence on here recently and I know you’ve all been perched on the edges of your seats waiting to hear what madness I’ve been up to the last few months, so I’ll try to do a bit of a summary.

So my last few months in Kagawa left me absolutely drained physically, emotionally and financially, but also feeling incredibly, super blessed. I was so overwhelmingly sad to leave, but I realise that the reason it was so hard for me to say goodbye to my life there is that I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful, beautiful friends, colleagues and students who made my Kagawa life such a magical experience.

It was difficult for me to write about because my usual style is pithy, amusing anecdotes, and it’s really hard to be witty about trying to explain to a room full of teary students exactly why you’re leaving and not coming back, or hugging a friend goodbye and realising that it will be the last hug for a very long time.

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At school, I was absolutely humbled by the outpouring of generosity and love that I experienced in my last weeks; from the fifth grade class that taught themselves the New Zealand national anthem so they could sing to me on my last day at their school, to the standing ovation I got as I walked out the door of Daiichi on my last day, almost every single person I came into contact with as an English teacher made an effort to thank me in some way.

My school bought me a beautiful yukata as a leaving gift and even arranged for me to have lessons in how to put it on.

My school bought me a beautiful yukata as a leaving gift and even arranged for me to have lessons in how to put it on.

The sheer number of letters, gifts and messages I received not only doubled the weight of the boxes I sent home, but let me know that I meant as much to my kids as they did to me.

I got so many letters and cards, but this is definitely one of my favourites.

I got so many letters and cards, but this is definitely one of my favourites.

Then, of course, every second that I wasn’t in school was spent making the absolute most of my remaining precious time with my incredible friends. We did road trips to the beach, sayonara parties, Mexican food nights, party weekends in Osaka, dinners, lunches, McDonald’s breakfasts, nomihodai, karaoke, desperate last-minute clothes swaps, sleepovers, and one weird night that involved three hospitals, a blanket fort fail and high-stakes janken in a convenience store carpark.

Last dinner in our favourite izakaya.

Last dinner in our favourite izakaya.

The last month was absolutely jam packed with fun times, all tinged with sadness, and by the time I got on the bus to Tokyo I was exhausted, all out of tears, beyond hungover and broke.

I was amazed at how many people showed up to the bus stop to say goodbye.

I was amazed at how many people showed up to the bus stop to say goodbye.

My time in Kagawa was over, but where one door closes, another one opens, and the next adventure was waiting for me. So, with a handful of damp tissues, and an overweight backpack, I headed north, to the bright lights of Tokyo.

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