“I never saw myself as an adult in my own country. I always thought I’d be living abroad because I just didn’t feel like I belong here. I was away for college in the states but had to return due to visa issues. And when I did, everything had changed. People think it’s easy. They assume I’d have friends to return to, that I can just go back to the way things were. But I didn’t really have close friends in high school to begin with. So it’s like navigating uncharted territory, except people expect you to fit in right away. And then your parents still treat you as a teenager. Also, sometimes I get asked if I’m really Japanese. What does that even mean? Just because I don’t talk like everybody else or I bring up topics that make people uncomfortable, doesn’t mean I’m not Japanese.
“Anyway, that’s why I’m taking a break from everything. I’m just enjoying this fleeting moment. But when I’m ready, I think I want to work in the area of mental health. Especially for those from diverse backgrounds, third culture kids, or returning students like me. One of the things that got me a bit depressed when I came back was how people don’t think social issues, such as sexism or racism, apply to them. They think racism only happens in America, between white people and black people.”