When mentally preparing for the trip to Japan, my excitement for what was ahead was all I thought about. It wasn’t until I was on the plane that I started to think about how many participants from session one would stay through the 2nd session, and how many of us newly hatched eggs there would be.
As people often do, I expected that many people thought like me and therefore had an expectation that many would be doing the same thing: applying only for session two.
So I was quite surprised to find out that there were only four of us that arrived on the 17th (two more joined us later). This meant that I and the three others would face a close knitted group that had already spent the past month together. In many ways this turned out to be true but I was surprised to see how good everyone was at “opening the circle” and letting the new people in. On my first day, a few people came right up to me and introduced themselves and asked questions about my flight and jokingly gave little inside facts about each other.
“She is really good at Japanese…” “And that guy, he can be a real goofball…”
The long days and tight schedule also helped bind us together. Right from the beginning we experienced so many things together. A lack of conversation was never a problem.
Within a few days I had a good sense of belonging and saw the group as a whole without distinguishing between the “new” and “old” members. It has taken longer to get to know some people but I don’t think it has anything to do with “new” and “old” participants but more with individual personalities.
(Signe Tinngaard Olesen, Denmark)