Of course, physically, I am already in Japan… here in Kyoto. There is no way that my body is still in Thailand or somewhere else. However, my mind wanders around a lot, and without knowing it, it already paid a short visit to places like Canada, back to Thailand, then go to Tokyo and then back to Kyoto and many more places no matter how big or small, famous or no name; the mind keeps going on and on, as fast as my desires want it to go. Yet, my body has been in Kyoto for sure, as I am pinching myself and feel the pain, but how come I experience the so-called “jet-lag” even without traveling. Is it because of the study abroad thing being away from home?
I feel that that studying abroad is indeed a great experience. This is because I am living in two worlds, the world inside my head and the world outside. Many times I feel that the things I ponder in my mind, such as my preconceptions about Japan, my assumptions about the Japanese, get into my presence in the world of ‘being in the real Japan’ that is showing itself in front of me.
This is why I am not sure if I have ever ‘left’ my country. My country might not necessarily be the country where I was born, but it is the country of my mind. And it is indeed challenging just to be aware of this fact, a.k.a. aware of myself as you encouraged us to ponder as you raised the question “Have you ever left your country?”