And at such a strange time indeed. The March holidays are over, but in fact there never even were March holidays. It just so happened that everyone took some time off at the same period. People are scattering all over Japan (and Australia), and when they slowly swarm back to their nest it's time to pick up daily life again. Back to work. And back to reality.
A trip really puts things into perspective. Even the most interesting job turns into a routine after some time, and although social life is a completely different matter altogether, the same rules and the same routine seems to hold true for it as well. Getting away from it all 'resets' your brain, and gives you a fresh look on things. Things that did not seem clear at all before suddenly are as clear as water in the Indian ocean. Priorities shift. Things that were important before do not matter at all. Your life is laid out before your eyes and you're able to see the local minimum you were stuck in, and all the possible maximums you can achieve. Yet, slowly, but surely, even the most enlightened person will fall back into that local minimum, and resume his daily life. The big picture he had in his mind will disappear only to be replaced by more immediate worries. Deadlines at work. Social events he is expected to participate in. Simple things such as shopping and going out that instantly revert him to the boring person he was before he was enlightened. The return of normality.
I used to be good at avoiding this. I was able to keep that 'big picture' in my head for a long time during my boring life. Looking back at my time as a student, when I was best able to see the big picture, I realize why I was able to do this. No stress and lots of sleep. If getting the big picture is the message I am conveying by this little writeup, then no stress and lots of sleep is definitely the way to achieve it. A clear mind and some free time means that you will have to reflect upon what it is that you're doing, and it will help you to make the right choices.
Almost everybody has come back from their holiday now, and they're slipping back into their regular patterns, losing their mind's freedom minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. There's a lot of stories to tell, brought back from the most unlikely of places, told by an unlikely group of people. People who have a lot of things in common, even though they come from different parts of the world to work in this place. This international environment in itself is one of the best ways to keep an open mind, but even that slowly becomes normal life. And when that happens, it means that it's time for change.