Thursday was my last day of work and everyone was perfectly wonderful. They threw me a surprise party in one of the conference rooms, complete with balloons, and everyone I work closely w came. They even made a mostly vegetarian spread for me. About the time they rolled out all the presents I started crying a bit, I’ll be honest. It was just so nice of them. I took some pictures of my gifts, so here you can see just how unreasonably awesome everyone was.




Then that night I went home and cracked open a bottle of cheap champagne with some friends I haven’t seen in a while to celebrate and went to bed with my boy who’s been so amazingly supportive through all of this. And the next day I cried all over him for about an hour.

I’m going to miss him so much.

I know it’s not for all that long but the idea of leaving him is suddenly terrifying. I want him to come with me. I want to stay.

But I have to go. I’ve never needed to do something so much. Japan is a dream I’ve had for years, one I’ve struggled towards for a long time. My friend Meghan, who is probably one of the best friends I’ve ever had, wrote me a letter a few weeks ago. It meant a lot, not only because it’s been so long since we spoke, but because she acknowledged what so few people understand about what this trip means to me. It’s not just a vacation or a galavanting – it’s a decision that I know will shape my life in ways I haven’t foreseen yet. When I come back from Japan, I won’t be the person who left.

And maybe that’s what makes me so scared.