When I was first getting ready to make the move to Japan, I made sure to figure out what the time difference would be between me and my family. It turns out that Japan is 11.5 hours ahead of Newfoundland (Daylight Savings Time). I laughed – this would be a breeze! 8am my time would be 8:30pm the day before back home, which is the perfect time to talk. I wouldn’t have any trouble getting in contact with home!
… And then I moved to Japan and realized that 11.5 hours is a much bigger hindrance than I was expecting it to be.
Yes, 8am/8:30pm are the perfect times to talk – if you don’t work from 8am-5pm every weekday. I’ve found that my parents and I are always either sleeping or working; our periods of “free time” rarely overlap.
I often have questions that I want to ask Mom or Dad; however, these questions usually come up during my afternoons, which end up being super late at night/early in the morning for Mom and Dad. The best I can do is text my parents and hope that they see it when they wake up. Considering I lived at home with them until the day I left for Japan, it’s very weird not being able to contact them whenever I want.
That being said, I’ve discovered that the time difference isn’t too bad if one of you doesn’t work a Monday-Friday, 8-5 job. My aunt does shift work, so I’ve actually talked with her more often than I have with Mom and Dad! I always look forward to FaceTime-ing with her (and whatever other family might be around at the time of the call).
I’ve known all along that my family is important to me and that they would be one of the things I would miss most when I moved to Japan, but I actually might have underestimated just how much I would miss them. After all, eleven and a half hours is a long time.