Hello 2018: Living in this Century

It’s fitting that I’m writing this entry from my iPhone rather than my computer, which is where I usually write from. When I took the time to think about things I was really thankful for, I really had to appreciate the advantages living in this technologically advanced age afford.

Living in this Century

When I first came to Japan I’m 2009 living abroad was much more difficult than it is now. I often found myself lost and confused, trying to read maps and feeling downtrodden and tired frequently with my attempts to do anything outside of the University.Now, ha, I can whip out my iPhone and locate a place, get directions, the phone number, read a plethora of reviews and start walking all within the 3 minute time span. If that’s not convenient I don’t know what is. It makes living abroad much easier, but at times can be a crutch. I try to do things on my own as much as possible, but when I feel overwhelmed I turn to technology.

The other nice part about technology is now I connect and contact with friends and family back home much easier. I can call my mom on Skype for free whenever I want. It’s just like talking on the phone, but we use an app instead of the calling function on our phones.

SMS also makes it much easier to share and communicate about my life abroad. If I had been even 20 years earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to document and share with so many people. It’s amazing what technology can do.

Makes me wonder what’s next…

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Hello 2018: Living Abroad

I’ve lived in Japan since I made the jump in 2013.  I’ve had the opportunity to live in two different cities while I’ve been here (not including my study abroad in Kansai in 2009).  Since I’ve come here, I’ve fallen in love with the island that is Kyushu.  So today, I’m thankful a thousand times for this chance!

Living Abroad

I’ll be honest, living in another country where English is not the native language has been a challenge.  And even though everybody studies English from Junior High School, their communicative skill in English is not very good.  Hence the reason why conversation skills are really popular.

But, when you have a challenging situation and you can power through it and be successful in another language it’s way more rewarding.  I’ve had plenty of situations where I’ve had to bumble through with my Japanese skills and though I was nervous and scared at first, but when I finished I felt such a sense of accomplishment.

Living abroad has taught me a lot about myself, and a lot about patience and acceptance.  We’ve talked a lot about making study abroad mandatory in some of my higher level classes and I truly believe that we should be encouraging more students to study abroad if they can.  It helps to make more well-rounded and diverse global citizens.  And I think on this global stage and as we continue our slow, seemingly slight descent into the future, we could use more people with level-heads on their shoulders.

Just about 2 years ago I moved to Kumamoto, Japan and I think I’ve finally found a place where I can be comfortable and happy.  When I was living in Fukuoka I felt happy, but I always felt like something was missing.  Coming to Kumamoto gave me a city full of amazing and accepting people, a wonderful night culture and the most amazing friends.  It was a bit strange how I came to be here, one day I’ll address it, but I wouldn’t change this decision for the world.

Hello 2018: the Boyfriend

I’ve spent hours scouring WordPress and figuring how I want to head into this year of writing and blogging.  I’ve been inspired by many things in the past, it was always just about finding the motivation and the energy to get them out there.  But as I approach my 30th birthday I want to really get up, dust myself off and get things together.  So, in keeping with that, here’s part 3 of Hello 2018.

the Boyfriend

I don’t want to share a picture because I don’t want to plaster his face all over the internet, but he really is the bees knees to me.  He came to me at a time when I really needed someone who accepted me for me.  The last relationship I had been in was tumultuous and had lots of severe highs and lows.  Maybe one day I’ll get into it and the difficulties with dating cross-culturally, but I’ll save that for another day when I can focus more on the negatives.  I want to keep this as positive as possible.

We’ve had a very interesting year, from hot springs to delicious food to watching lots of Dragon Ball Super.  He has made me feel more beautiful and more loved than any other person in my life, and truly accepts me for who I am, both outside and inside.  He’s Japanese and when we started dating he spoke maybe three words in English.  Our relationship relied heavily on my Japanese skills, which at the time weren’t up to par.  However, we struggled through together, he’s been studying English as well, and we’ve found a good way to communicate without being misunderstood.

As we head into 2018 together, I’m excited to see what the year is going to bring us.  We’ve built a strong, solid relationship; together we can be ourselves and express who we are without worrying about how the other might react.  He’s seen all of who I am, and still accepts it.  And for that I couldn’t be more thankful.  Thanks babe!

Hello 2018: Family

Heading into Day 2 of 2018, I want to take this time to focus on another aspect of 2017 that helped me through the year:

Family

I would not be half the person I am now without the help and influence of my family.  We may have our ups and downs, a lot of drama (as I’m sure many other families can relate to) and not understand each other all the time, but we always support one another at the end of the day.

I had the pleasure of spending the first day of 2017 with my Mom, shopping and getting things together for my return to Japan.  Then I got to spend the evening with my Grandpa as well before I headed to the airport the next morning.  Leaving is always a bittersweet moment, because I enjoy the time with my family but I’m always ready to get back to work and settle back into life in Japan.

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I treated my Mom to some Painting with a Twist while I was home.  It was a great time, I definitely recommend it to everyone!

Throughout the year, anytime I have a question or something I need advice on, I know I can call my Mom and chat with her about it.  My favorite thing about her is that she never tells me what to do, she listens to me ramble on about what I’m thinking about and then supports the decisions I make, whether she thinks they’re good or bad.  We’re similar, so we usually agree on almost everything, but it’s just nice to have someone in my corner who supports me unconditionally.

Besides my Mom, the rest of my family supports my decision to live abroad, though they may not necessarily agree or understand why I want to continue living here.  But nobody agrees on everything, so all I ask for is the love and support of my family.  My aunts and uncle, my grandpa, my brother, sister and her kids… extended family, cousins, second cousins.  I love you all and I’m so happy that you continue to love and support me on my adventures.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for my family.  I wish everyone good health and luck in the coming year.  Let’s take 2018 and make it bow to us!

Hello 2018: Friends

I decided to start the New Year off with a week-long look into 2017 and the things that have motivated me to make this an even better 2018.  I want to take this time to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, because believe me I had plenty of both this past year.  But I’m planning on starting this year with my head held high and a skip in my step as I tackle on all of the new challenges that are going to come my way.

So, without any more fluff or flare, let’s start with Day 1.

Friends

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My best friend and sister, who I spent the end of the year with!

When I look back at 2017, the first and most important thing to me that sticks out are the friends I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or deepening our relationship with.

I took a brief look back through all of the pictures I’ve taken throughout the year, in an attempt to find a good one to attach to this post, and was reminded of all of the amazing things I’ve done with friends this year.

I had many wonderful opportunities, including but not limited to:

  • A two and a half day trip to South Korea
  • The chance to visit many different shrines and castles all over Kyushu
  • A wonderful hanami party
  • A traditional Japanese tea ceremony
  • Plenty of parties
  • My first Japanese wedding ceremony
  • Among dozens more…

I have been really blessed with a very amazing and beautiful group of friends that is ever expanding.  I could be long and cliche and discuss all of the reasons why I love them in great detail, but I’ll save that for another day.

I just wanted a quick and pleasant reminder of one of the many good things that happened to me in 2017.  And to remember and work toward maintaining these relationships throughout 2018 and the future.