Despite the risk of causing many people to worry about me, I’m going to say that I REALLY miss being social.  In America, the schedule of my life was such that I had the time and energy to hang out with friends on almost any day of the week.  Yes, I was very busy with ministry, but my work day was completed by 5 PM.  Maybe I had to rush home, eat, and be back for a ministry meeting at 7, but it was something I usually looked forward to.  I knew I would see friends, and even though we had work to do, we would also be able to chat.  Many times we’d hang out after the meeting was finished, or go out for pie at Baker’s Square (which I know is longer there, such a shame).  On Wednesdays (was it Wednesdays?), I loved going over to the Deeters’ to watch LOST.  Sometimes as late as Thursday, I would call my friend Dawn and invite myself over for the weekend.  There was always something to do, time to do it, and friends to do it with.

My life is so different now.  It’s like I’m a different person.  Not bad different, just different.  I rarely go out with friends.  Almost every night of my week is taken up with class or some sort of meeting.  And the meetings aren’t as much fun because I’m so limited in who I can really be totally myself with.  And even if there’s an opportunity to hang out after a meeting, I am usually so shot from my busy day that I just want to go home and crash, or at least veg in front of the TV.

I’m sure I sound like I’m complaining.  But my spirit while writing this is not one of complaint, but of longing.  I long to have close friends around me again.  I long to laugh and have conversations without using a dictionary and gestures.  It’s not that I NEVER have fun here.  Tonight, in fact, I went out to dinner with my class and had a really good time.  I LOVE my students, truly.  They’re always so kind to me, and we always laugh in class.  But even with them, I’ll always be their teacher.

My friend Matt asked me recently if I knew how long I’d be staying in Japan.  Honestly, I don’t know.  I’m committed to at least one more year.  Maybe it will be longer – I’ll have to see what God says.  But it’s times like these when I really think about just going back home next March.