Along with the rain tonight came my tears. What an appropriate time I thought. Walking down the dimly-lit street wet with rain concealed my homesickness well. This scene, however, is how I imagined homesickness looked like. I did not expect it to come so soon. Ironically, I met a handful of vivacious, mysterious and outgoing people today, some of whom are potential friends. I met Miki – one of Jem’s dear Japanese friends – and her sister Yuka – both very sweet and charming. Hearing Miki speak passionately about Grey’s Anatomy – one of my favorite shows of all time – was thrilling. I met a Korean guy named Ujin, but has lived in Japan for some time and speaks flawless Japanese. I met a 26-year-old mother named Fatma whose husband is studying medicine at Okayama University; they’re Egyptian! I can’t wait to hang out with her! I also met some of Brittany’s friends (Brittany is the teacher I am sadly replacing as it has been a pleasure learning from and spending time with her): Delmar, Hana, John (from England), Kamiko, etc. among others. Such friendly people. But despite these wonderful blessings, I broke down at the end of the night. Perhaps because I realized Christmas is around the corner; every year at this time, I am surrounded by the warmly familiar: spending time with groups of friends, eating, drinking and being merry; caroling; preparing music for all the choirs; preparing to cook or bake; shopping; presents; crafts; all that holiday jazz; and while I am thankful to be here, I could not help but feel…homesick. An article defined it as such: homesickness is essentially an acute form of anxiety or emotional distress that results from feeling disconnected from familiar people and places and forced out of your regular routine. True. I’ve been feeling so…contained and not myself since I got here that tonight, those feelings had nowhere to go but through my eyes. And crossing paths with this only made it worse: “those random moments where all of a sudden, the distance gets to you and you break down.” Exactly. Thus, I decided I needed to redirect the depth of my longing to be home; so I started to think of Christmas, but not in a secular way where this season is defined by the food and the material things and even the people, but it’s true meaning: the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. CHRISTmas. This began to comfort me. Though I was happily preoccupied with Christmas-y things last holiday season, this year, I have the opportunity to approach Christmas as simply as its origin; this excited me, and only enriched my advent season. Now, I anticipate even strongly the coming of Jesus. Suddenly, my homesickness ebbed like a tide returning to its source. Suddenly, my tears subsided. Now, tears of hope and joy manifested. I thanked God for Jem and Brittany and all the remarkable people I’ve met through them today; and I thanked God for all the people I was missing. Glory to God in the highest indeed.