A year ago this month, my work visa application in Japan was rejected and I came back to California in May. Despite the reverse culture shock and acclimating to life back in the states, I’ve made so many new friends and meaningful connections in my hometown. Some things have changed, others have stayed the same. I can’t exactly say for sure what my future holds or where I’ll end up, just that I’m confident I’ll keep moving with the flow of challenges. Disappointment, rejection, sadness; all of them temporary. Grief fades to a dull ache over time and is a constant source of inspiration, life lessons, even milestones of having felt so deeply about something or someone. A fuel to keep going, to keep striving for more.