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Tuesday, June 13

Every Intention of Bettering Myself

It is pretty obvious that we are embarking on a journey that will introduce me to a place that will provide me with numerous explorations and many different cultural experiences. With that, I will get the chance to make new friends and set up a new home in reflection of a new country’s fashion. But these are all things that I could do anywhere we lived or visited. I am honestly thrilled about the area we will be living in, but there is so much more to the whole affair that excites me. What I truly look forward to are the other opportunities.

When you think of a move like this, it is all about the opportunities. Maybe I am overusing the word when I talk about the move, but those opportunities are endless. Can you really overuse a word that so completely portrays “endless” to your heart? Think about having a door opened to you that would allow you to do the things that you have always dreamed of. That’s what really excites me about this trip. I am being presented with so many opportunities to do things that I never had time to do because I worked too long and too hard or because we didn’t have the extra cash or the extra time. This is probably the biggest reason why I am so eager for this chance.

It is also pretty obvious that I have an immense list of interests. The things out there that I have longed to see and do are so copious and the list is always growing. There are some solid things that I feel are important for me to accomplish. Things that I feel are important for me to be a success personally and professionally. And there are also more abstract things that I would like to do just because of an immense love for them or a need to know and understand more about myself and the world around me. I want to realize what makes me passionate. What makes me happy. And what I could pass on doing for the rest of my life (I would add skiing to that list off the bat). Most people try to figure these things out in their formative years and by the time they graduate college, they have a pretty good idea of who they are. I don’t think it works like that. In your early years, it is just too much to ask of yourself to pick one thing to be fervent about and become the best at when you could have 80 years left of experiences left undone because you didn’t change your focus. Why not spend your life learning out about all two hundred things that you love and want to do rather than narrow yourself down to one or two in the dawn of your years on this earth. You could turn a corner any day and find something new and interesting. Why stop yourself from doing it because you have too many commitments already on your plate?

But that is what I have done these past few years. The time has come to stop that practice. I want to find beauty and animation in every new encounter. I want to hone my interests and talents as well as find at least twenty new things to become zealous about. It is time that I make a pact with myself to not let every day life get in the way of trying something new and different. And this move is the golden opportunity of my life.

For years, I have wanted to go back and finish my degree. I got my associates degree not far out of high school. Then I worked on my bachelors while I worked full time. It was never an easy road but I kind of liked the pressures of trying to do it all at once. Then I moved to Virginia and really wanted to enjoy the DC experience so I held off on my last two years of schooling. I am still not sure this was a good idea or a bad idea. I have had a hard time motivating myself to go back after the freedom I have of nights open to whatever chance brings my way. But it has been good that I gave myself that time. I was feeling pretty burnt out when I got here. Finally I did find the motivation to get back into school and finish what I started, but not really the time. The time I always forced school into just didn’t top the things I put there in place of that. Like enjoying time with my friends and family. This move will allow me the opening to go back without taking away from those other truly important commitments. I have even found a school online that I like and can finish my degree with, permitting me to have the right amount of free time I will need when we have visitors. As far as concrete opportunities, this is number one for me in what I want to accomplish with my time overseas.

Along with never enough time while living in DC, where traffic can sometimes keep you in the car for an hour each way, I have always wanted more free time to volunteer. I have already made contact with someone about volunteer opportunities overseas. With my medical background, I want to get re-updated on my certifications and start with the Red Cross as soon as possible. Who knows, I can always come back home with a paid position with them if I play my cards right with the degree program I have chosen. All of this is such a blessing to me. I will not have to work in the traditional sense of the word during these three years that we are away and I can instead focus my “work” on two things that mean so much to me personally now, and professionally later. But I do not want to weigh myself down with only big expectations. I want to make sure I give myself the time to appreciate the area and what it has to offer.

When we first debated the moving overseas question, Japan was not the highest on the list. I had big dreams of places like Italy and Greece! I could see myself sitting on a Tuscan vineyard enjoying a daily wine stupor or laying on an island beach sipping iced Ouzo while staring out at the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. And Kimono Hubby would be there feeding me strawberries and pizza and rubbing my feet. Okay, I didn’t really except the last part. But the first was definitely part of my overseas vision. I would, of course, have loved to move to these places. But Japan has opened my eyes to something bigger than a love of fine wine and good food.

The Far East conjures thoughts of a certain lifestyle. A Zen way of life. People are more interested in self-contemplation and intuition making you a better person than believing that devotion in one supreme being is your only way to salvation. I do not fault or disregard anyone’s religious beliefs, but I do feel that there is more to it than faith. And here I am moving to a place where I can learn from great, enlightened minds. I can take more time to understand the differences between religion and spirituality and guide my life in a healthier direction. I want to learn inner calm through meditation and yoga, something which continually eludes me in an area where you have to be moving faster than the person beside you and doing everything two times bigger and better. This move is providing me with that very opportunity, to find peace and contentment within myself and not by the things I can attain physically.

Let’s not forget that the Japanese are known for many more teachings than strictly the spiritual sense! There are some other trades I intend to pursue when we arrive. Ikebana is the Japanese art of floral arrangement. Emphasis is placed on balance, harmony and form. I am really hoping to find an instructor that would be willing to teach me this art form to help me become skilled at a pastime that I would love for life. And if I ever get to open that flower shop, I think it would be a technique that could prove very profitable. Never hurts to think ahead!

We received information the other day about karate courses that are available to us. I have done a little research so far and it looks like Aikido could be for me. I don’t really think I am the type to be a karate chopping mofo so I think I should stick with a self-defense expertise. Aikido uses principles of non-resistance to debilitate an opponent’s strength. Basically more like a bad ass Buddha than the vengeful Bride in Kill Bill. I got me skills that you all don’t even know about yet! I’m also hoping that competence in Aikido could help me to not fall down and crack my head open every time I do the notorious Karate Kid move.

Then there is always the question of to kid or not to kid which many have asked us about. We do plan on having children in the future. I want my children to have the opportunity to see amazing places and do amazing things with us while they grow. But let’s be realistic. How many people have children and think, hey! The Far East would be an awesome place to vacation with our precious, little baby! It is much easier to think of a vacation in Europe than to a country where they may or may not eat dog. We know so little about life in Japan and that side of the world. The unknown is so scary for someone on their own, let alone with small children. I think God had a hand in it when we were chosen for Japan. This time, this experience, is perfect for us just as we are now. No tiny attachments. Just two people who are ready for a change and don’t mind to rough it when necessary. Well… as long as roughing it means a relatively clean bathroom and maid service. Some of the countries we want to visit are not places that as the overprotective mom that I am sure to be would want to papoose my children around. To do this as just the two of us, couldn’t have been a better fit or a better time. So kids are still a wish but probably not one we want to or will be realizing any time soon.

This move is the key to all of these things. Every thing that I want to learn and experience to make myself a better, calmer, more balanced person. It’s all about the opportunity… and how I will use it.

A cousin stated something recently that I knew in my heart but had surprisingly never voiced. The credit for this door laying wide open for me should be said and heard. This opportunity is something I have always wished for and it took such a very long time coming. There is only one person to thank for providing me with it. My loving husband. I am blessed for so many reasons. But mostly I am blessed because I have someone in my life who understands and shares many of my interests and curiosities in the world around us. I am blessed with someone who isn’t afraid to work hard to get us where we have dreamed of going. I am blessed with someone who wants to experience every little thing this world, this life, has to offer us. And I thank him so deeply for sharing this journey with me. I can’t wait to see what will happen next for us.

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