Until next time, Japan

17 Apr 2020

These are challenging times.

Schools and universities are closed, students are taking online classes in sweatpants and messy buns. Empty streets, empty shops – but full houses. Families are reunited, and the creative minds are flowing to overcome the boredom. In other words, quarantine has its good and its bad sides.

For the past two weeks, I had to live with the bad side of quarantine. Crammed into my small, Japanese student apartment, with no knowledge of the language and only a few new people to befriend, staying at home was very challenging for me. Humans are social animals, that is something we all know. But never have I felt that reality more than in my two weeks of being inside, alone. Whatsapp video calls became my best friend during that time, and my craving for human contact became so intense that it brought back my jetlag: my sleeping rhythm adapted back to German time (which is 8 hours behind Japan!).

To summarise, this was no time for a semester abroad. I did not fly to Japan to experience staying at home on my own. And so, two days ago, I took the hard decision to fly back to Germany. And to be honest, I am happy I took this decision. According to a new German law, I have to be in self-quarantine here for the next 14 days, but the prospect of spending that time in a familiar environment lifts my spirits.

Just like my semester abroad went very differently from what I expected, I am guessing that we all have to adapt to major changes at the moment. Some of you are maybe stuck in the Netherlands right now. Some of you are maybe not sure if they can finish their degree this semester (including myself). I am hoping that although we are all confronted by these unexpected challenges, we can first and foremost get out of this healthy. And besides that, maybe (hopefully) we can all come through this with some kind of newly acquired skill that we taught ourselves during quarantine. Cheers to all the future chefs, painters and dancers!

I am living with my family in Germany at the moment. For the next few weeks, I plan to spend quality time with them, cook and bake a lot, and catch up on reading books. This will probably sound relatable to some of you. Let’s stay healthy, and let’s stay at home!

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