I'm moving across the world here shortly. We've known for nearly a year, and I feel like I've done everything humanly possible to prepare. Okay...so maybe I haven't master Rosetta Stone Japan yet, but whatever...let's come back to that one. But maybe by being prepared, I've become my own worst enemy. I've been ready for a while, and now I'm waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And please, I know that's how life is, how the military is, but knowing how it is doesn't make it any less annoying.
Excitement & Nerves
Since day 1 of knowing, people have tentatively asked if we were excited. Do you want the truthful answer? We were, we have been, and we are 400% excited! It might sound cliche, but it's a dream come true for me. Another question people ask is if I'm nervous. Aaron doesn't get this question a lot. Maybe it's cause he's a guy and should be all emotionally strong and stuff and I'm a woman and should be all soft and mushy and emotional. HA! Another truthful answer: Neither of us have been nervous. Not about living so far away from family and friends. Not about moving to another country. Not about not knowing anyone in that country. Not nervous about that country not speaking English (primarily). Nope, not nervous at all.
Anxieties and My Ridiculous Brain
As I said over at the kitchen, we are in transition from our last assignment to our next one. Only since moving out of our apartment have I started to get anxious. Maybe it's not really having a place to live (of our own). Maybe it wasn't having an address anymore (we have since received our APO PO Box). Maybe it's the stress of making sure the cat's paperwork (she has more than we do) is all taken care of and she survives the multi-day travel and flights (why in the world did I read this article about Pet Deaths in Airplane Cabins!?!?!). Maybe it's just the sitting around and waiting while living out of a suitcase for a month and a half. It's probably a little of all of that, but I'll tell you something that I've been thinking about. And trust me, I know how ridiculous it sounds.
I'm concerned I'm not going to be able to do all the things I want to do while living in Japan for 3 years.
Seriously, that has been consuming my brain at 3am. I KNOW that I can't do everything in 3 years. Fuck, I know I couldn't do EVERYTHING in my whole life. So why the fuck did that thought ever cross my mind?!
I mentioned this irrational concern to Aaron the other day. When he asked what I wanted to do while in Japan, and why I don't think we'll be able to do it, I responded, "I want to do EVERYTHING."
Yeah. Not a lot of things, not most things, I want to do ALL things.
He gave me 'the look' and very kindly said that I might need to readjust my expectations.
People...I know this. Really, I don't expect to do EVERYTHING. I really don't. I think I'm just looking forward to taking advantage of as much as I can. I don't want to be that person who sits around on base because it's familiar - if you know me, you know that isn't something I do. I want to be the person who goes out and explores everything she possibly can!!! And you know what folks? I'm going to be that person. I am that person!!! WOO!
Friends and Family Back Home
Most of our family and friends are really excited that we are moving, but some are sad or upset, and that makes me sad they feel that way. I don't see it as us moving AWAY from anything, instead we are moving TOWARDS a once in a lifetime experiences and our future together. Wow, that sounded so mega corny, but it's true. For me, moving to Japan wasn't an option. Once we had the opportunity, we were going to take it.
Realistically, we will be able to see and speak with our families just as often as we do now, and have for the past couple of years. We are only a plane ride (or two) away, and according to google maps, you could always kayak to Okinawa (use walking directions to find your way). Phone calls are still possible. There are options for text messaging back and forth from the states. Of course there is video chatting. These are things we already do to stay in touch. The 15 hour time difference just makes it slightly less convenient.
And of course I'm going to miss them, they are my family and friends!!! I just hope they take advantage of knowing someone overseas to go visit and explore.
I'm slowly working on it...and asides from saying a few words here and there (neko=cat), counting to 6 (ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku), a few primary colors (acai=red), and some sentence that I have yet to figure out what Rosetta Stone means...it's not going as well as I hoped. It's hard to begin with and learning things like this is not something that I've ever excelled at. Apparently it hasn't changed with age. I often have to remind myself not to compare my speed of learning with other people, especially Aaron. He's learned nearly 1,000 Kanji characters, is currently using Rosetta Stone, and just started to learn Hiragana1. All this on top of learning how to fly a plane and everything that goes along with it. I could be biased, but I'm proud of him.
I'm still plunking away at it, slowly but surely. Rosetta Stone estimates it should take around 200 hours to complete the program. I estimate more than double that. It takes me a lot longer to get a passing grade (over 90%) in each section than it suggests.
Most of you came to this blog because you follow me over at Kacey's Kitchen. You know I
I would really love to cook like the locals and learn lots of new techniques and dishes. I would love to do most of my shopping off base at Japanese markets. It could get overwhelming and time consuming at first...navigating my way to the stores while not being able to read street signs, navigating my way through the store while not being able to read signs for products I've never seen before and don't know how to cook with. Without wanting to put too much pressure on myself, once we get into our house and unpacked, I would like start out cooking 1 new dish (Okinawan, Japanese, etc...) a week. While I would love to tell you all I'm going to come back in 3 years cooking only Japanese dishes (oh, and trust me, we would LOVE that), I'm going to START off with 1 new dish a week using local ingredients and increase that as I get more comfortable. I also hope to participate in the Okinawa Island Produce CSA project, which is similar to the Bountiful Baskets program I used while here in Oklahoma. OIP has been 'down' since the typhoons last summer...but hopefully it'll pick back up.
Unless you are a freak, making friends isn't easy. I wouldn't say that it's hard...it's just not as easy as it was when I was young and in school. Moving around every few years doesn't help.
We are so lucky to know another couple over in Japan. We met them a few months ago at our TDY location and became close friends. They headed to our new base in December and doing well getting settled in and giving us the scoop on what to expect when we arrive. We look forward to seeing them again soon and go explore the island with them! I feel a little spoiled moving to another country and knowing someone there, but hey, I'm totally taking it!
I hope to volunteer a bunch while in Okinawa, and who knows what kinds of groups and clubs we may become a part of...but I don't think we'll be at a loss of meeting people. There are going to be tons and tons and tons of people in the same situation we are, with lots or resources, away from familiarity, and with lots of things on our 'to-do' list.
There are so many things I want to do while over there, and I'm so excited to get started! I'm going to try a blog a few more times before we arrive in Japan, but we'll be traveling a bunch, so we'll see how it goes.
Is there anything that you would like to know about our adventure? Leave a comment below!!
A Japanese writing style (along with Kanji, Katakana, and Romanji). Hiragana and Katakana are part of the 'kana' systems, with each character representing one sound in the Japanese language. Hiragana is used for words which there are no kanji. It's all very confusing to me.
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