Actually, I am not fond of that metaphor - it is less like this road is coming to an end, and more like I am crossing a border. A prime example from my past voyages comes to mind; Scavone, Cassidy, Zach, and I were driving through the redwood forests of Northern California. Eventually this road made it to the shoreline, curvining and winding up and down hecticly, the night descending on the already ark forest -- when suddenly we burst past the trees, the ground levelled in a plateau, and the uncovered twilight brightened the car significantly. Suddenly the road straightened significantly; we could see the sea, further inland, and the cloudly sky all very clearly and things levelled into a sort of comforting, beautiful and bland kind of barren landscape. This is allusion is much more fitting, despite some clouds and one or two obstructive buildings, I am heading into a more level and calm, much more familiar and endearing time. The previous setting, wild, nerve-wracking, but fun in an intense way will fade into the background...
...But, as those obstructions are so few, let me quickly mention the most prominent. Although I have a date set to return home, in my mind that I am happily telling everyone, I have just learned it is not completely certain. Basically I have been counting on Steve (my step-dad) starting his job with United this week, providing me cheap or free tickets, but they are somewhere between unorganized and messing around with him. I will probably still leave on Wednesday, but if he gets a call saying he needs to start a bit later...well, maybe I'll be here for another few days. It's not a huge deal, but it is discomforting for me to go from thinking I'll have my tickets today and that I can tell NASIC my check-out date tomorrow, to hoping I can give them a definitive date by Friday. Oh well, what can you do?
Now, the astute will notice a big difference from my last two posts -- I am not just openly talking about leaving, I am openly talking about leaving in a week. What happened here? Well,...since about last Thursday or Friday (depending on your location) I have been kind of disputing with AU over a tuition refund. The details are a tad hazy, so I am uncomfortable delving into too much detail. Basically I was getting fed some news that the AU Abroad policy was not to do refunds, which kind of goes against everything AU Abroad supposedly stands for. Added to this Waseda is totally willing to do refunds for students if they apply on time, I basically got annoyed and argued a lot. I also felt insulted by some parts of the exchange, and in turn may have hurt my advisor's feelings...inspiring him to prove my statements against him were unfounded, by (supposedly) taking up my case. Which kind of leaves me at a point where I don't know how far my argument got, and how far my advisor's support got (either way thank you!). In anycase, the result is a partial refund and confirmation from both schools that I have withdrawn from Waseda for this semester. Tuition was the main contingent holding me back since about Thursday, and was resolved as of Saturday or so -- after that I was only unwilling to talk about it as I had not received any sort of official confirmation until Saturday evening.
As for the other part, why I am leaving next week rather than a month from now as originally planned, there are two reasons. First...I just don't feel comfortable continuing in the care of the Japanese health care system. For those that did not read my last post, I will truncate most of my woes into this summation: Stubborness and Language Barrier. It is not important how much of this is actual, this is what my experience so far has told me exists (I am finding myself doubting how bad some of the doctors/nurses' English actually is, though there seems to be an obvious and surprising lack in English medical vocabular for most of them). I want to have an check-up/physical in both a language and context I am familiar and comfortable with. The second reason is that I want to work for three solid months (May, June, July) if I can, which requires returning home well...before May. Actually, let's add a third reason -- my little bro's b-day is on the 30th, I doubt I'll see him for it but it is a possibility.
I have more to talk about, primarily about this concert I went to (Stance Punks) and how my medical exams went today (special thank you Ben for helping a drugged-out me back to the dorms), but I feel this post has already become pretty long and cumbersome. Instead, I think I would just like to say hello and thank you to all of my dorm mates (and anyone else) who has recently started reading my blog! Hello! Although this blog is coming to an end time-wise, content-wise it should still have a bit to go. So, please stick around until the end! Who knows, when I return to the US I may choose to continue the blog with more general travels, or focus more strongly on that other blog I contribute to.
P.S. I'd also like to note that just about everyone has been pretty super cool about my leaving, even those that had to find out over facebook (or, in at least one case, twitter). I can't really express how grateful I am to everyone for that. My friends, my family, and even I kept telling myself I shouldn't have to worry about it too much, but it is kind of my nature. Anyway -- huge shout out to everyone who has been supportive, thank you so much!