Thursday, June 19, 2008

Housemates Leaving

Well today was the day.

My Thai housemate, who has become one of my best friends over the last three months, has left.

In the morning, she and I went to Shinjuku, as she had to collect her deposit from Sakura House and return her keys. Normally, Sakura House staff come to inspect the room and do everything else there, but because she shared a room and her roommate is leaving on Saturday, she had to go to them.

We donated some money to the Chinese Sichuan earthquake, which happened a few weeks ago, and chatted in that wonderful blend of Japanese and English (Japanglish? Engrish?) to the collector.

Then we went to the Sakura House office, which is about 10 minutes walk from Shinjuku station, if you take the right exit, which of course we didn't.

There were no problems at the office, except they had made a small mistake with their calculations of rent, and she owed a little more money than expected.

Then we went shopping in the Keio department store and bought some cosmetics for her friends. We had just as much fun as normal, trying to ignore the fact that we were heading to the airport that afternoon. She bought me lunch in a restaurant too, which was very kind of her.

After that, we knew we had to head back home and get her bags ready. So she waved goodbye to Shinjuku, and we took the subway back to the guesthouse.

She said goodbye to her room, and to everything there, and she, her roommate, our French housemate and I all left for Narita Airport (成田空港).

We took the Keisei line (京成線), which I took when I went to collect my family from Narita, and swore I'd never take again because I had to transfer four times. But we found a Limited Express train (特急) from Aoto station, which took us there directly with no problems. It costs Y950 one way from Oshiage station (押上駅).

We were all very tired (my Thai housemate didn't sleep at all last night!) so the hour-long journey dragged by, but we all had seats so it wasn't too bad.

If you want to wave someone off at the airport without paying the full price, you can just buy a ticket for one station and then not go through the barrier at Narita Airport station. This really keeps the cost down, but obviously you have to say goodbye before checking-in or anything.

This was an option, but I really wanted to say goodbye to her at the gate, so I paid the full price. We got to the airport on time and tried to find the right place. Departures is on the fourth floor, but we walked around the first floor for a long time.

Here's the Limousine Bus counter where I bought my tickets the last two times I came to the airport.

Here is the place I first saw my Mum when she was waiting for me. My heart jumped when I saw this spot again. It was like I expected her to still be there.

And I met my Dad and middle brother here afterwards. So many memories!
I saw the phones I first used to ring my parents when I arrived in January. What a memory of that day!
We sat down here once my housemate had checked in, and took some photos of each other and the airport. Then we went for a walk around the airport shops.

Narita Airport is quite a nice airport. I've been here four times, and I've never seen it busy. It was very easy when I went through customs and everything, and much faster and more efficient than in other countries I've been to. In total, I will come here seven times that I can predict, in only seven months! This will probably become my most-visited airport in the world!

We had fun wandering round, and buying some souvenirs, but the time passed very quickly, and it was time to say goodbye.
We went to the exact same place as I said goodbye to my family in April, so I was having flashbacks again.
It was very sad to wave her off, and see her leave our lives, probably for years, and possibly forever. We said our final thank yous and goodbyes, and then she was gone.
The long journey back on the train was very tiring, and we closed our eyes and became nodding dogs, but I was so pleased I was able to say goodbye.
Last night we had a party where we exchanged small gifts, photos and videos and had a great time with everyone together. That was everyone's farewell, but this was mine.
On Saturday, her roommate leaves for Thailand, and then on Sunday our two Puerto Rican housemates are going home too. So the place will feel a little empty with only four of us here!
It's a life lesson that I think I'm learning early. People come, and people go, but there are some that you really want to return.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Yep, that's one of the tough things about living in a foreign country- friends can be transient. I have said goodbye to more people than I can count after 10 years here, some of them very dear friends who I miss a lot.

If I had gone to the airport to see them all off though I would have bankrupted myself- I haven't been to the airport to see anyone off in a long time, Shinjuku station is about as far as I'll go!