Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Longest But Greatest Day Of My Life
Sunday, November 20th, 2011. Officially the longest, but most rewarding day of my life. Honestly, I didn't sleep a WINK last night. I stayed up all night having a sleepover with Caitlin, chatting at her place until I had to leave to go home and finish getting everything ready. So already starting my day, I haven't had lovely sleep since 11 a.m. Saturday morning. I caught my first train at 9:30 a.m. sharp Sunday morning, and my second only an hour later. I have to travel all the way back to Osaka to catch my flight. I rode the bullet train down for the fifth and final time, staring out the window reminiscing of my wonderous times here in Japan. I caught my third train afterwards, to take me to the airport. By now it's about 3 in the afternoon, and my flight leaves at 6 tonight. I bought a few last presents once I was at the airport and checked in. Though, I did have a slight scare because I needed to turn in my alien immigration card to leave the country and be let back in again, but I couldn't find it for the life of me. I was taken in a back room for almost half an hour so I could try and find it, but when I gave up almost all hope I finally found in the the back back part of my book I carry all my papers in. My first flight was to San Fran, and only about 10 hours long. I sat next to the cutest lady, who I talked to for 4 hours but never exchanged names with. We chatted all about our trips, she was fascinated by mine and looked through all my portoflio pictures I had, and I was fascinated by hers of only being in Japan for a week, but for a deep tea study with some friends. I got to San Fran and only had an hour layover before I was off to Chicago. My flight to Chicago was a bit easier, though I sat next to a younger woman who seemed a bit dishevelled about life. I decided now was the best time to sleep since it was basically 4 in the morning to me and I still hadn't slept since way back when. I slept the entire flight, and before I knew it I was boarding my third and final flight to Knoxville. It's hard to imagine how 5 months simply comes down to this. A few hugs, conversational exchanges with friends and family at the airport, a wonderful nights rest and then the next morning I'm back completely to my old lifestyle. But I know I would never change the time I had in Japan for anything in the world. On my last flight in, it landed around 11:30, so basically it felt like 2 in the afternoon to me. Over 28 hours of constant travel time. I sat next to a cute woman, with her husband across the aisle. Not much conversation, but enought to tell about our reasons of travelling and for them to know I couldn't wait to get off this plane. I was fairly close in seating, though I was the second person to burst through the round about doors and see my entire family waiting for me. I didn't know what to do, but stand there and take everything in. After so long of having close relationships with computer screens, everyone was right there with me. I couldn't stop hugging them all, and looking up to their smiling faces. I had a surprise, one of my friends from high school had landed on a plane five minutes before me, so he waited and got to give a hearty hello. Everyone knew how tired I was though, so we gathered the bags, took our pictures, and said our goodbyes. I rode home with my mom, step-dad, and one of my best friends Kendra, laughing and chatting, before I finally just had to walk inside and crash. There'll be time for conversations and hellos tomorrow. Now, I'm home.
Posted by Ashton Lee Parks