This past weekend marked our fifth anniversary of moving to Japan. In the space of a single breath I can feel like it was only yesterday that we moved here and also feel like it's been ages that we've been living here. I say that every year, don't I?
I can still remember the days leading up to our move so clearly. Final goodbyes to friends and family members, the chaos and excitement and fear. I still remember eating breakfast in the airport before we boarded our flight. With memories so clear, it's hard to believe so much time has passed.
I remember the early days. When other expats would ask how long I'd been living here I felt so embarrassed that my answer was measured in months rather than years - like I had something to prove. I remember how much every single new thing felt like such an adventure and how heightened my emotions were. It was almost like been a teenager (or maybe a toddler?) again. I remember what a triumph it was to reach our third year here, because I had doubted we would make it through our second.
But now I've built up a history living here. The are so many things I will never forget, like the restaurant I sat in with Raku, drinking at lunch, as we watched the 2016 election returns come in. Or meeting my godson when he was less than a day old. But also small things, like eating udon with Raku every Christmas or the hilariously doomed hikes John and I manage to take ever year to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
I've been cleaning up all the photos on my phone, and coming across so many good memories. So here are just a few to celebrate the last five years.