Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leaving home

This is my last night at home. I'm a little bit freaked out. I hope I've talked to my friends enough. I hope I've talked to my family enough. I am going to miss the sound of their voices. Holidays are going to be hard.

I am sitting at home on my last night watching a movie with my family and just thinking about how much I do not want tomorrow to come. I have tried to stay so positive and optimistic about this coming year, but I should have known that I couldn't guarantee anything the night just before I leave.

I wish the tears would stop and I could remember why I am doing this. I am smart enough to know that this is going to be an incredible experience and once I get settled there everything will be okay and the hard part in moving across the world will have totally faded.

I don't think encouragement will help right now. I appreciate all of you who read this, but I know I will be fine and I know I have some really great friends. I will be fine, but let me feel this sadness and loneliness right now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Realizing this is a good thing

So, I've finally cried because it has just hit me that I'm actually moving to Japan. I have been talking about this move for a year and only now is it finally upon me. The more I think about it though, the more ready I am for this move.

I have been in contact with my predecessor from the main school where I will be teaching. He is a wonderful guy and he is making this transition really easy on me. His enthusiasm is good for me; it keeps me out of my own head. I think some things are going to be really great about moving to Japan, like living on my own. It will truly be independence and help me to figure some things out that have been on my mind for a while; alone time to think is going to be good for me right now.

On a less heady note, today was a very good and productive day. I bought some gifts for the people I will meet in Japan. There is a farmer's market near the house and Mom and my sister and I found some really cool things made right here in West 'by God' Virginia! I am really proud of this state and where I come from, so that will be cool to share with my students in Japan. One of the coolest things is that it seems every Japanese person I have ever met knows the song, "Country Roads," by John Denver; so they all know about West Virginia and the beauty we have to offer and that makes me happy. :)

I think working with the students in Japan is going to be my most favorite part, if I had to guess. I really love kids and I always find that I can learn so much more from them than I think they learn from me. But regardless I think it is not only practically beneficial, but a great experience to share common interests and allow someone else to teach me new things.

I want to learn more about Japanese calligraphy and I think I think I may want to start a bowling league. Going to do karaoke is going to be something I really enjoy as well. ;) I want to write letters and begin to have real Pen Pals. I want to let the people in my life who mean the most to me know exactly how I feel and how important they are to my happiness. This is going to be a really great year, and even though I am far away, I think some of my friendships will become stronger and closer than ever and that is exciting!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Waiting Game

I have a difficult time waiting for what I know to be inevitable. I am in this weird limbo where I know what is in store for me, but I am forced to wait and stew (me alone with my thoughts is dangerous...haha).

There are all kinds of reasons people wait for things; there are due dates (procrastination: a kind of wasted waiting that is perceived as time accelerated, days slipping away), surprises and special events (impatience: a kind of waiting that seems to make time slow almost to a halt), events involving life change (procrastience: an almost surreal perspective of time in which it feels as though you are suspended in time until the end hits and the event is upon you). I think right now I am experiencing the third type of waiting. This procrastience is almost painful when thoughts and surreal time collide. But I have finally gotten through this stomach twisting feeling by beating the procrastination side of things. That To Do list I made, I have been making strides, and more importantly, I have been attending to things left off of the To Do list.

Things like completing a big project (accomplishing the task of unpacking and completely redecorating and cleaning out my room) really can catapult a depressed and nervous mood into something excited and happy. And I sat down and read all of the information regarding my arrival in Japan. Just sifting through all of that material and taking the time to read it has given me a great peace of mind and made my transition experience that much easier mentally and emotionally.

All of this seems so basic and probably deserves a big, "DUH!" but it is so much easier to talk about things and make plans for big projects or tedious tasks than to actually get your butt in gear and DO SOMETHING! As a compulsive planner, I have had to learn (mostly the hard way), that a plan is only as good as the action behind it. Too often I have fallen flat because of my lack of butt gear-age, and then I just end up depressed, stressed, and a pretty unbearable person to be around. So that is something I have been working on, and am actively still working on; I guess it's one of my self-improvement projects. Wish me luck, I will be sifting through my personality and divulging new ways I wish to grow and change!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To Do List

Sadly I have done very little since my last post. Shortly after that post I got really sick, and since then I have had almost zero motivation to finish organizing my room and packing for Japan. This is my was of avoiding those changes of which I am less than fond. But in the end, stress is my ultimate motivator and my impending departure (in 9 days) is really helping me to get in gear. The only thing I like less than change is having to endure that change feeling unprepared.

So far my To Do list is as follows:
  1. Evaluate my Savings Bond situation and cash some of them so I am able to pay all of my initial living expenses and fees when I arrive in Japan.
  2. Turn the cash from my Savings Bonds into Japanese Yen, because everything over there is cash based and I am going to need it.
  3. Learn how to drive a manual automobile because in Japan I will be driving a stick shift van, mind you they drive on the left and my gear shift will be on left and I am a righty!
  4. Finish cleaning my room.
  5. Pack my suitcases for Japan and pack boxes to mail directly to my apartment in Japan.
  6. Help Mom prepare for my Farewell party and get ready for the weekend.

On a completely separate note, I just want to talk about how thankful I am for the friends and family I have been blessed to have. I have gotten so much support for this decision to move across the world. Even through all my freak-outs and moments where the stress is worst I have not been left alone. If I turn to my Mom, she can give the tough love and tell me that I have most certainly made the right choice to go abroad and that being scared is just part of this change, "now go finish cleaning your room." If I talk to my friends, they tend to coddle me a little more and help me feel really good about my decision, even though they know I am worried. Ultimately everyone tells me that I am making the right decision and tells me that I am going to, "be great!"

I think that is where my biggest fears come from, because all of the wonderful friends I have made and love so dearly and my family for whom I am most grateful will not be in Japan with me. This is something that I am pretty excited to do, and once I get to Japan, I know I will make new friends and meet up with some of my old friends again. Right now I am focusing on the independence I will have. Living alone and cooking for myself and making new friends, traveling, taking adventures; those are things that are going to make this year probably one of the best in my whole life. I am going to learn things about myself and about communication across vast distances (both literally and figuratively).

I really want to share my experiences and my personal growth on here. I hope my adventures are exciting enough to keep people interested. And I'm also hoping to get better at written correspondence as well, I like receiving mail and I know in order to get mail I am going to need to send some! Once I have my new address, I will let people know what it is.

There ends another day's thoughts. Thanks for checking in on me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


In my efforts to pack, I have begun the tedious task of cleaning out my room to make it guest room appropriate. In my purging exercise I have come across some things that I almost forgot existed. I discovered that I was so tediously organized that I had categorized just about everything I own down to my Lego pieces by color and size. Needless to say, going through my room has brought up a ton of memories, and also given my inner OCD child an infinite playground.

First my pictures...I found pictures of when I played t-ball, baseball, softball, was a cheerleader, was a pageant queen, all the shows I've ever been in. When I start to think about it, I have no clue how I fit all of that into my young life. I think there must have been 48 hours in a day back then. It's so nice that I have gone through these pictures because there are some really great ones of my family, and the three of us kids when we were little. And, on a slightly more embarrassing note, I was able to see the pictorial display of my boyfriends over the years. It seemed like every new picture I looked at was me in another formal dress with a different boy...said best by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, "My mama told me, you better shop around." And in the end, I found a bunch of pictures all with one boy, and he's been around for a really long time and for that I am truly thankful.

I've also started going through my books, and I have a confession to make. I am a literary kleptomaniac, and if you know that I have a book you have loaned to me and then never seen again, I'm sorry. I have one children's book in my room that I just found and laughed out loud. This book is entitled Shooby is Short. Now for those of you who know me, well even those who don't know me but have seen me, it goes without saying, I am short. I remember being given this book the summer before my junior year of high school. That was a really great summer for me, but I was hanging out with some especially tall people that reminded me all the time how little I was, so Shooby was quite appropriate.

Turns out, I used to write a lot, maybe at some point I'll put some of that stuff on here. I tend to live in my head a lot and I used to write on scraps of paper, napkins, pieces of cereal boxes, etc. This whole cleaning out my room thing has gotten me started thinking about my childhood and in what ways I have grown and changed throughout the years. I would bet that many people don't usually reflect upon their own personal growth, I know I haven't. I've missed a lot of the different ways I have changed, only now that I am being confronted with my thoughts and behaviors of my youth am I starting to consider it.

Maybe more thoughts about my cleaning endeavors and growth later...