I had a visitor from Texas last October.
The beginning starts from when we randomly met on Instagram five years ago. We’ve become really close friends that talk about almost everything, exchange thoughts, and share what we see.
(This is our page from GEM zine that we created together last summer.)
The first time we met in person was when I visited her to Texas three years ago which was my first traveling outside of my country by myself. Then I went back there again in January 2018 and this time, she came to my country, Japan, where she had been dreaming of. We had talked about her coming here a million times but I feel like the whole process this time went fast once she started looking at the flight tickets. I think it was the right timing for her. While seeing her getting ready and being confused about travel stuff reminded me of 18 year old me. When I traveled for the first time when I was 18, my mom had to teach me everything since she was more experienced. I remember that I was too overwhelmed by things I had to get done by my departure. I didn’t know anything about traveling overseas. So , I could tell that it wasn’t easy for her. So, I was happy that I could be there for her like my mom was for me.
When she texted me from her airport in America, she was more sad to say goodbye to her boyfriend. I was really worried that she would regret coming here or get sick or something from the plane ride and stuff. But when I saw her at the airport in Japan, she just looked annoyed that she couldn’t find the exit. lol So yes, she was just fine! I was too excited to see her again in just 9 months because we usually see each other every couple of years.
If I write down everything we did or what we ate during her trip, I’ll have to write a whole book so I will just say WE HAD A BLAST. A nice morning walk that we woke up super early for, the local cafe we went to before catching the train, the museums, the lights of the city that made her excited, and teaching her about our culture.
We planned out pretty much everything in detail beforehand since it’s a big city and there’s so many things to do. At first, I thought it was too much and the list would give us pressure but it turned out it made everything so much easier. We could make sure we knew what we wanted to do without having a crazy schedule. Making plans is important especially when it’s your first time!
Hanging out with her in my country felt really normal , like, I constantly forgot that she was visiting. She was also doing really well with fitting in. So, I was really proud. We did so many things and it didn’t feel like 9 days.
Since it was her first time traveling to a different country, I wanted to make it as special as I can which turned out that way. But making the stay special doesn’t mean going to a fancy restaurant, dressing amazing everyday, or taking a taxi wherever we go.
We had some tough days that we didn’t expect either. When we went to the Shiba Cafe where you can drink some tea and play with puppies, we expected them to be hyper and happy to play with humans but it wasn’t like that at all. All the dogs looked so sad and they started fighting and.. not gonna lie, it looked pretty bad. (please don’t go to the shiba cafe if you visit Tokyo! We learned from this experience) Or when we went to the big fireworks festival, the crowd of people was just something we’d never seen before. It also started raining really badly so it took us almost two hours to get back to the station which normally takes five minutes thanks to the crowd. (I know it’s insane)
But I’m glad that she had all the different experiences here and glad that she said she wants to come back. Traveling can change someone’s life a lot even if it’s a small change. Even for me, staying with her was really helpful to get used to English more than usual and for being more creative by taking pictures with her. I wish she lived close so we would hang out and do more fun stuff every weekend.
I was really glad that she made the decision to come here because we’ve been talking how cool it would be. I’m so proud of her for getting out her comfort zone a lot, like talking to the staff at the store and ask about a product in Japanese, even though she was really nervous. Getting on the crowded train which I think looks pretty scary for people who have never experienced it before, and going to make her new passport. I’m glad she didn’t pass up her chance to travel.