I honestly did not know that me leaving Murakami would be such a grand ordeal. Between people wanting to have one last meaningful meeting, a last party, and departing ceremonies, I nearly lost my mind. Each school prepared an ‘owakarekai’ or ‘departing ceremony’ for me. The first was totally unexpected, the second one was overwhelming, and the third, fourth, and fifth unfortunately did not happen (see ‘Malaria’). As Senami, I was held back in the teachers room while the school prepared in the gym. The entire school sang as I entered the arena and took my seat on stage. The principal made a speech, my advising teacher made a speech, a couple students made speeches, and then I made a speech. Totally unexpectedly, I choked up and let tears spill from my eyes at the end of my speech. It was at that instant that I actually let myself realize that I was going to miss this school, the teachers, and the students. They really appreciated that I was there. The genuinely liked me. I would probably never see mot of them again. To add to the mess I had become, the students formed arches with their hands, and I was to duck and walk through them with flowers and say goodbye to each student individually. Throughout the rest of the day the students would run up to me and hand me a note, or a stuffed animal, or a cell phone charm and tell me that they would miss me. Man, I hate goodbyes!! At Kamikaifu, the same general ceremony took place. I feel horrible for having missed Iwafune, Murakami Minami, and Icchu’s ceremonies, but I just don’t know if I had it in me to cry in front of an entire school, and spend the whole day missing it already. Among the others I would miss from Murakami were of course my dear friends Flo and Jess; the liquor shop owner, Kudo; my landlord, Kasai, my English Conversation students, my colleagues that I ate and played badminton with, and my Board of Education. Goodbyes are the worst thing in the world when they happen. I sometimes wish I hadn’t ever put myself in positions to have to eventually say goodbye but then I take it back. Each and everyone of these people touched my life. I’ll remember them forever.