Saturday, January 9, 2021

想家

3 years 3 months since the last post here. It's incredible how all that time has passed - some of the best and the worst parts of my time in Japan that I've experienced in much greater magnitude than I ever did in my first year in Japan (sporadically documented in the posts preceding this.) Now, I've moved back to Singapore and even though it's been three months, I haven't really sat myself down to confront the emotions surrounding that, which definitely isn't healthy, but I'm never one to practice healthy coping mechanisms.

Somehow, I found my way here again because it's been a while since I've written down my thoughts, and I've been waiting for a couple of notebooks I ordered for journaling to arrive - they're taking forever because it's RedBubble - and I don't want to lose the motivation to take down these thoughts. Based on past experience, the feeling comes and goes too quickly. And no, journaling wasn't a 2021 resolution - at the age of 27 I've come to realise that I have long outgrown the naivety that I can follow through with any resolutions made at the beginning of each year, so this year there are none. It's going to be such an unpredictable year anyway, following in the heels of 2020, so let's just take it as it goes.

I also just spent the first week at my new job, and I'm starting out in PR. It is definitely a huge shift in terms of skill sets and the rigour and culture of work. I didn't think I would end up here, but I was actively seeking out a new challenge, and I intend to make good of that promise to myself and follow through with it. Starting over from scratch at something unfamiliar always sucks, but I know that things get better in time.

Weirdly though, since I've been spending a lot of time writing and reviewing more writing for work, I guess that kind of made me revisit this space to see if I can try writing for myself again.

Anyway, I kind of wanted to write about this - I think one of the things I should try to be a bit honest about is this feeling of homesickness I've gotten since returning to Singapore - a deep homesickness for my second home, and my second family. It's so hard to describe but I feel it there, every day, and it hits in the most unpredictable of timings. It almost feels like grief, and in some ways it is, because I think I have been grieving the fact that I no longer know when is the next time I can travel back to Tokyo to see the people I love. The COVID pandemic wasn't the reason behind my decision to come back (I already decided on it in 2019), but I would say that I definitely did not anticipate how much the pandemic was going to affect the time and the space I needed to heal after moving. I never thought my departure was going to end up being a one-way trip for an indefinite period of time. That uncertainty of never being able to return feels like a permanent loss, and that is why I am constantly feeling that grief. 

I thought it was something I could live with, but yesterday on the way home when I refreshed the Google search result I bookmarked in the main page of my browser ('東京 感染者') - a daily habit that runs on autopilot - I saw the number soaring past 2,000 and I just started crying uncontrollably at a crowded bus stop. I started having an obsession with the numbers because it was an indicator of how much I would have to wait to be able to return again, and each day brings a crushing blow to something that I was holding out for.

When I came back I tried to throw myself into all kinds of activities and commitments and it worked pretty well but I guess it's only a matter of time before I have to confront these emotions head on. I don't know how many of you still read this, but if you have any ideas on how to deal with this homesickness, it'll be nice to hear some advice.