Since I reached my 12th anniversary of living in Japan a few days ago, I have been thinking a lot about how I have changed and hopefully grown and what is different in my life now, compared to when I first stepped off the boat (or plane or whatever).
If we start with appearance, my hair is a lot longer, and I weigh about 25 kilos less! Wow! Of course there were times along the way when I weighed even less, then gain more than I would have liked, then lost, gained, back and forth, but a few years ago I met a chiropractor who introduced me to weight loss method that really worked for me, so I am confident that I will be able to keep this weight off now.
I have moved house 6 times in the last 12 years, not counting my move to Japan in the first place, and changed jobs or places of employment 5 times. Hmm, says something about my personality perhaps? Well the last two moves and the last career change were unavoidable really as they were a direct result of another major life change that has occurred since I’ve been in Japan. The 5th move was from Osaka to Nagano, which I never, ever, EVER would have thought I would agree to, but I guess there is something to be said for the power of love, which leads me to…
I got married and now have a baby. I kind of always thought I would marry a Japanese man, or an Asian man anyway, and lo and behold I did. And now we have a beautiful 7 and a half month old daughter who keeps me busier than any job outside the home, I have ever had.
I went back to school to study interpreting, since I decided that interpreting is definitely the career path I want to follow. Unfortuntely I kind of left the course without officially finishing the very last class, but I figure I can always go back and my current career is more important anyway.
I have a cat. Never in a million years did I think I would get a cat. I certainly don’t hate cats, but I’ve always been more of a dog person and if I had a choice I definitely would have chosen to get a dog, but when I got my cat I was living alone and wanted a pet more than anything, and my two turtles just weren’t cutting the mustard as cuddly and lovable, and some students found the most adorable kittens that had been abandoned by their mother. How could I say no? My cat has been my best friend and a life saver when times were tough, and I’m so glad she’s here in my life.
I stopped leading the crazy party girl life, and I don’t think anyone, not even myself, ever thought I would. Sometimes I think I would love to go back to it, but for the most part, I’m happier with what I have now. Once in a while it would be nice, but if I did, I’m not sure I could stop, all that partying was definitely A LOT of fun! I could probably write an amazing book about all of my adventures. Some of the things I have done or situations I have gotten myself into are just unbelievable, and some totally dangerous. I’m lucky I’m alive really!
There are a million other little things, I drink coffee now, I eat fish and tomatoes and lots of other things I would refuse to touch before. But I think those are the really big things that stand out in my mind most.
All in all, it’s been an amazing 12 years, and I have loved every minute of it. I love living in Japan, and I love my life here. There are of course times when I get a little depressed or upset, or I have “bad Japan days”, but for the most part, I am living the life that I chose for myself. I think the hardest thing I have had to overcome, and I still haven’t, is getting used to living with another human being whom I HAVE to include in most of the decisions that I make now. Roommates are one thing, and I was never too good with them either, but husbands are something else all together, and now we’ve thrown a child into the mix!
Okay, poor Sara has been cooped up in the hot house all day because we were waiting for the gas man to come and fix our bath. He has come and gone (and couldn’t fix the bath) and I need a Starbucks!