Its funny how my mom knows exactly what I need. Before I left for Japan she asked if there was anyone there who would give me hugs.

When I have been away from home before, it was to college where I had many friends I loved around me all the time (China, of course, is an exception, but even there I had Lynne to talk to). Even when I first started at NWC my boyfriend and my two best friends from high school were with me. Here in Japan I am not particularly close to anyone. There is no shoulder for me to cry on, no one to cuddle with, no one who knows my sense of humor or the movie quotes I use or the type of food I don't like. I am-- possibly for the first time-- truly alone. And it is hard.

But getting close to people is hard, too. How do I open up? How and when can I hug a Japanese person? Do they even like hugs? What about the language barrier? Despite these obstacles, however, I think the difficulty of becoming close to people is far better than the cold quiet lonliness I feel now.
written by Ruthie @ 1:28 AM  
3 thoughts:
  • At 10/26/2006 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know how you feel--separated, in a place where everyone else seems to know what's going on. It sucks. We work through it. We build new relationships. More than a few people think we're crazy when they glimpse our essence for the first time. We shut ourselves up and try to start all over again. Life goes on. It's still hard. I'm still here. I love you.

  • At 10/27/2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it IS hard being alone. sometimes in the loneliness we find a stronger friend in God than we ever knew we had...and thats definitely a comfort. however...it still isn't exactly great, b/c we can't literally snuggle up to God or get a hug from Him. i hope you continue to build relationships with the people are you, and even though we're back here...and not there with you...we still miss you!

    oh, as a side note - the japanese actually do NOT like to be hugged. strange, huh? when my family had our exchange student from japan during my freshman yr of hs, she'd never EVER been hugged before in her life - not even by her parents! she thought it was very awkward b/c we were invading each other's space. however, at the end of the yr, she was more than comfortable hugging us...its just not something that their culture had ever done.
    take care! ~betsy

  • At 11/01/2006 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I understand. Being known is important and hard and takes forever. I don't really know you well, so I'm not much help as a friend, but I do understand. Three things that helped me when I was in Japan (maybe they'll help you?) - I found a couple people I could go to and ask for a hug when I really needed one (they probably need one too). I used the vulnerability of that time to look for Japanese friends (then we had the chance to become close more quickly because I really needed them - I wish I'd been better at this). I realized that God was the only one who knew me perfectly, knew all the places I'd been and people I'd known and the quirkiness of me - and I found huge comfort in that, since he was still very much around. You're loved.


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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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