I have decided to reflect on this past year today, eleven days before I entered into the beginnings of marriage, living abroad, and being away from all of the people I love, to be with one man that I love. I decided to write earlier than the actual day I arrived to Japan mainly because I have absolutely nothing else to do today. Plus writing makes me feel a little more productive and a little less alone. Another reason, that I realized just as I began to type, is that the days leading to my departure from New York were so important for so many reasons, that it actually brings tears to my eyes. I think writing that last sentence made me so emotional because that is exactly how I felt in those days. However, my tears then were filled with love, heartbreak, and fear. My tears right now are full of love, heartbreak, and gratitude. And that is purely because the Universe has taken care of me.
One week after we got married, Dan left for Japan. For two months I wondered when I would finally be able to go and live with him. It angered me that it was taking so long, because all I wanted was to be with him, and it seemed like not even getting married could make that happen. Finally, two weeks before I was set out to leave, Dan was told what day I would fly out. That gave me two weeks not only to pack and prepare for the move, but to also spend as much time with people as possible. I was so excited to have a departure date, but I also dreaded saying goodbye to everyone.
At the time, I had few fears about living in Japan. My greatest fears, the love, and the heartbreak inside of me, were of no longer being surrounded by the people that I loved to be surrounded by. This meant no more watching TV and drinking tea with my mom, no more hanging out with Pinar, no more telling Pinar’s dogs that they’re dumb with my dad, no more weekly walks with Linda, no more going to Jimmy’s house and laughing hysterically or going to the diner. There would be no more chatting with Denise and Nicole on the couch, no more going to the meeting on Saturdays and seeing my friends, no more trivia night with the guys, and no more seeing Pookie, my fifteen year old pug that I knew was going to pass away sooner than later. These thoughts ran through my head very often, and it overwhelmed me each time. It also didn’t help that Muge and Ashton lived in Boston, and I knew I had to say goodbye to them earlier than desired. I was somewhat in denial during the little time that I had with everyone. It was not until I actually had to say goodbye to everyone, that it hit me hard. I would keep a good face until I got into my car and drove away.
My fear was that things would never be the same and that I would lose these people, other than my family. My fear was that I would be forgotten or replaced.
My feelings are the same as I feel love and heartbreak, but they are different as I feel gratitude, because looking back, I have never felt so much love than when I did when I said goodbye to everyone. I have also never felt so much love when I went home to visit. Needless to say, my fears were disproved. I am so grateful for these people.
Those were the days before my arrival to Japan. Although I have blog posts on my feelings about living in Misawa, I think I should point out the differences, for myself.
When I first arrived, everything was strange to me. Everything was so unfamiliar, but not in a bad way, more like you’re on vacation or something. Dan was on nights for the first three months, so I didn’t get out much. I had made friends with his coworkers and Demi, but I still didn’t do anything, nor did I really see any of Japan other than base. For a long time I had nothing to do and I missed home. And I was afraid to leave the apartment without Dan. For a while I had thought that moving to Japan was a terrible mistake. You would think getting Kumo would have helped with my loneliness, but even that relationship took a while to blossom. He didn’t want my attention as much as I wanted his. It’s actually still kind of the same way haha. The difference is that he wags his tail when he sees me and his personality has come out. I didn’t love him immediately. I love him a whole lot now. He is the doofiest dog I have ever encountered and it’s the best thing ever.
Anyway, as I felt that I had made a terrible mistake by moving to Japan, a couple of friends pointed out to me that I was not much happier while I was living with my parents and not with Dan. This was true. I enjoy living with Dan. I like seeing his face everyday, and I miss him when I don’t see him, like if he is on nights and I don’t get back from whatever I’m doing before he goes to work. My heart felt a little more full when I was in the states though. I had a job (although I wasn’t crazy about it) and other than Dan, I got to see the people I love all the time. But I also didn’t feel completely full because I wasn’t with Dan.
Since I have been in Misawa, I have seen surrounding cities, I have been to Okinawa and Tokyo, and I have a bunch of friends that I really enjoy being around. Plus…. I just got hired for a job!! It’s not related to social work in any shape or form, nor does it pay much, but it’s something! And I’m excited for it. I’ll be working with Demi too, so that makes everything better. I’ll be a Recreation Assistant where I will do projects in the wood shop, frame shop, and arts & crafts center. I will elaborate more on what I do once I actually start. For now I am just doing pre-employment stuff like getting a background check, physical, and fingerprints. It’s a FLEX position, which means that I am guaranteed zero to I think 40 hours, and the amount that I work depends on the needs of the facility. However, I don’t think many people work there, so I may be getting more hours than they said. I think it’s a good start for me and a good way to ease back into employment. I am looking forward to work with my hands too. Lately I am having a calling to creativity. I wrote a children’s book that I still need to revise and edit, but if anyone has nothing better to do and wants to illustrate for me, you will absolutely get credit and half the little money we might get if it gets published! Enticing, I know. I’m going to attempt to draw, but I’m thinking that it is not going to come out well.
Anyway anyway… I am no longer afraid to leave the apartment without Dan anymore. I have been to many places without him, although I would still like to go to more places with him. I have made friends without Dan’s help, and I am not so miserable about the cold this time! I still miss everyone back home and I would prefer to live in the states so I could be closer to everyone and actually get a job in my career field, but I am actually happy here. I no longer feel as though I am only a visitor. This is my home right now.
I was so sad and so worried that things wouldn’t get better, but they did. I knew it would take time, but I was inpatient. I had trusted that the Universe would take care of me, but I didn’t know when. In hindsight, I was being taken care of all along. I felt the things that I needed to feel in order to grow. And when the next few years pass and we move back to the states, I will see more ways that I had been taken care of. I will see more reasons why my experiences are necessary for my continuous development as a person, a wife, a friend, a family member, and a social worker.
Now an update on the expected puppy: Long story short, it didn’t happen. The woman gave the dogs to other people, and only one to my neighbor, which she kept. I was really upset, but that was just my higher power doing for me what I could not do myself. As lovely as it would be to have a new puppy, I still want to give all of my attention to Kumo. Plus the thought of potty training a puppy in the winter sounds awful. And I am starting a new job so I wouldn’t be able to give the puppy as much attention as it needs. I do know that Kumo is much happier with other dogs though. We have had Yoshi the corgi here recently and we had left them alone for hours, and nothing was destroyed other than toys. When Kumo is alone, something is always destroyed, and it is not a toy. Plus he really only eats a good amount of food when there are other dogs around. When there aren’t, he rarely eats, unless we put something special in his bowl. Kumo will get a brother or a sister one day, hopefully soon, but this just wasn’t a good time. I wouldn’t have accepted that if this mishap didn’t happen.
Thank you for reading, especially this post. It felt important for me to write, so I appreciate you reading it.