Leaving Michigan… for the world.

Holly Toner
Academic Year Japan- Rikkyo University
Major: Japanese

Long time no type. Currently I am at the Chicago Midway waiting for my first flight of three. I’m still
not departing to Japan, but I only have six days until that flight! I’ve just said good-bye to my family
and curses… my dad got teary eyed.

Dads are always trying to put on that strong face, but just as I had a panic attack a few days
because of the coming change, he too is struggling knowing that he won’t be able to hug me for
almost a year.

A friend gave me advice the other morning as I watched the sun rise on a sleepless night. “Think of
it as a vacation.” Now I know the study abroad office doesn’t want to hear this, so let me explain.
Of course what I am going there for is not a vacation. It’s to study business, to study language, and
to grow. The vacation part only means that I’m coming back eventually. I’m sure when that time
comes I’ll be having the same feelings about leaving Japan as I do now preparing leaving the
states. Excitement, but fear.

But I’ve enjoyed the night and day I’ve spent in the windy city. I was able to use trains and wander
the downtown. During the day it hit me I know nothing about living in the city and I’ll be lost in
Tokyo, but once night hit and the lights reflected everywhere, I knew that it was these moments I’m
looking forward to the most and that I’ll be okay. People say we travel to change, but I want to
travel to see beauty. The whole changing thing is just a nice perk of experiencing the world.
As time dwindles closer and I speak with friends currently abroad I wonder how much I will actually
write while abroad since not only do I write here, I manage my own personal blog along with a
video blog, but I hope to do my best to share experiences uniquely on all of them, as they all stand
for a different feeling in my life.

I wonder times with this school blog, who actually reads this? Who really cares? And after reading
many blogs both in the office and on my own, I see that I write incredibly different from everyone
else. Is different good I wonder? I don’t know. I’m just expressing myself blindly now.
The seats are filling up next to me with people in suits and people reading books. We’re all
traveling somewhere together today. As I look at them and wonder where life is taking them today, I
wonder if anyone sees the grungy looking girl with a purple laptop and Simba travel bag.
Where is this 12 year old looking girl going all on her own? I’m heading to L.A. to spend a few days
and travel about to see family. And then Monday, just a few days away, I’ll be stepping foot to travel
across the sea to Japan. So soon.


Downtown Chicago. Photo by: Holly Toner


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