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Sunday, January 27

Now What?

Last week were finals. My final finals. My final papers. My final days of classes for that long eluded bachelors degree. Words cannot express how proud of myself I am. Yet, I feel like I shouldn’t make a big deal of this. Frankly, I feel like the rest of the world is looking at me like… well, yeah… ‘bout damn time. So I shouldn’t even mention it besides in quick passing, right? I simply shouldn’t draw attention to the fact that I am just now achieving something my friends all achieved years ago, with many of them now finishing masters degrees and doctorates. Who the hell am I for this tiny accomplishment? Because of this awkwardness, I only directly told my parents, two friends at home, and a handful of friends here who understood my wish to go out and get a little wild this past weekend. I am proud of myself, yes, but I am still wishing to brush the whole incident off as much as possible.

So why mention it to the internet then? Well, this is my journal of my time here in Japan above everything else. Why not write about this mixed bag of emotions I find myself mulling in? I’m not asking for pats on the back, nor do I really deserve them. It only really matters that I am proud of myself. One friend who was directly told gave me a little email lecture filled with love and admiration. She just completed a dual masters degree in law and journalism. Just having support from a woman as smart, successful and lovely as her is enough to make me glow inside and, at the same time, hang my head a little more for taking so long to get here. My parents are incredibly supportive and proud for doing something that few in my immediate family have. My husband has also been wonderfully supportive in so many loving ways. If he hadn’t agreed to the whole move overseas giving me the time to do this, it wouldn’t even be happening. He encouraged me every step of the way in heart and in mind. Ever since we met, he has never treated me as less than him because I wasn’t educated in the same way as he was… even when I swore on multiple occasions that I was. I was planning on skipping the graduation ceremony in Tokyo in April, but after several discussions with him, I have come to the realization that he really wants me to go. He wants me to see his pride in me. This coming from the guy who skipped his own college graduation.

So the hard part is over. Now what? I’ve been battling this question for awhile. Part of the point of coming to Japan was to get ourselves debt free. A regular job would certainly help that cause, but the opportunities here are either slim or difficult. For now, the plan is to up my substituting hours to that end and also start teaching English to Japanese. Yet, I am not willing to waste a life opportunity here. If things work out as we expect (and I never count on this, but only use it as a gauge), we might be back in the states late this year or early next year, which means that it is back to a daily 9-to-5’er for me. The months left will surely fly by, but I am being given a good amount of time to experience and enjoy even more than I have in the past. My first goal is to get back into the arts that I love so much – I found a new sensei in the Kozan School of Ikebana which I will start with in February and I will get back to drawing and also learn some skills in sumi-e (Japanese painting). My second goal is all about health – committing myself to one hour in the gym five days a week and eating even healthier than I already do. My third goal is focusing on Japan – it’s time to buckle down and pick up more of the language and also explore a bit more avidly.

But for today, it’s time to go prop my feet up and read a book simply for fun… because it’s just been too damn long since that last happened. Come tomorrow though… I’m updating my resume with the words: “Graduated April 2008, University of Maryland, Bachelors Degree Majoring in History.” Hip-hip-hooray!


Anonymous said...

I congratulate you on your accomplishment! I left college and never finished. My brother and sister did get their Bachelors so I suppose I was a bit of a disapointment but school was just not for me. I hope it opens some doors for you.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS!! You did awesome! I am so proud of you. I only wish I could follow in your footsteps!

ablykins said...

Woot- congrats!!! Don't sell yourself short- this is a huge accomplishment worthy of more than a couple pats on the back!