This might be the hardest blog to write of them all. I have tried to deny to myself that I am leaving Japan, but with my final presentation done and the last two days winding down I can no longer refuse to admit the inevitable. I have an open suitcase with a few bits of clothing thrown in, but I am by no means close to packed. I can’t bring myself to take apart my room because then that means leaving is final.
I’ve given myself a lot more me time than normal this week so I can just think. Think about everything I have accomplished, all the things I have learned, people I have met, places I have experienced, trying to give myself some closure so leaving might be marginally easier. While I’ve been thinking, everything comes back to how lucky I have been this past year. I was lucky enough to be chosen by Osaka Gas to intern for them, and then was lucky enough to get the best project to work on in the best lab with amazing co-workers and an entire company that is so welcoming. This internship is anything beyond what I could’ve hoped for. Even if I was working on the same project but in a different company, it wouldn’t have been the same because I wouldn’t have had the chance to work with and get to know the coworkers that are in my lab.
I have the best job with the best coworkers. Sure I work long hours, but who is doing a normal study abroad who can say that the people they are with bring them out for work dinners and parties like Karaoke and a barbecue and cherry blossom viewing parties, or who bring them for day trips to other cities like Kyoto or Nara? Through an online class I have taken where I have been able to communicate with other UW internship students, I can confidently say that my internship was unique with how everyone welcomed me with open arms, always suggesting new places to travel and food to try. I thought it couldn’t get any better, but this week (as my final week) one of my coworkers gifted me with an entire matcha set including a bamboo spoon and chasen (whisk to make matcha) that are actually originated from his hometown in Nara.
My coworkers made this internship what it was. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this internship and all I was hoping for was that I would get to travel and learn new laboratory techniques. But never could I have ever have hoped for as wonderful an internship as I got. Anyone who is on the fence about doing an internship: do it. You won’t regret it. I threw myself into an internship on the other side of the world in a culture and language I did not know, but I have nothing but amazing things to say as it is coming to an end. I don’t think I will ever get to experience anything like this again; this truly has been a once in a lifetime experience. I just hope I can come back to see all these people that have made my internship what it has been. I don’t want to disclose everyone’s names, but thank you to everyone in Osaka Gas who helped make me feel at home.