Today is our one year anniversary living in Japan. In some ways it seems like it's been forever, but for the most part I can't believe the time has gone so fast. My memories of our first month or so here are so foggy! I was incredibly overwhelmed and such a swirl of emotions - excited, sad, homesick, confused, and trying to be brave all at the same time.
There were so many times in the beginning that I just wanted to go home, or have John handle everything for me. I used to compose about a thousand texts a day to him before deleting them and forcing myself to deal with whatever was going on. It's been hard but it's made me a lot stronger and more confident. I've felt confident and secure in myself before, but it's always been linked to a job I had or an achievement I made. This time, it's just me. In the beginning I felt so off balance here because I wasn't working, and I wasn't sure of my purpose or my value.
Luckily I have a wonderful husband who is loving and supportive, and an amazing friend - Raku - with whom I have developed a pattern of daily life (and fun) that has been invaluable. So here is something I've never said "out loud" on my blog before: I'm writing a book. It's scary, and it's exciting, and in the beginning it almost didn't feel real. Somehow it seemed like cheating that I was allowed to have all this time to just work on it - I didn't have to meet deadlines that anyone else set, or work a certain number of hours per day or week, I wasn't getting a paycheck. Was I really allowed to do this? What if it was all just a waste of my time and John's money? It hasn't been a full year of writing yet, but at this point I honestly believe it's not a waste. I've practiced self-disciple. I learn more about forgiveness and compassion (towards myself and others) all the time. I'm learning the importance of boundaries and how creativity can flourish within that space. I've developed pride in my work, and I've developed pride in myself. As hard as living in Japan is sometimes, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity I have here. There is almost no other way that I can imagine I would have allowed myself to take this risk.
In another year I hope that you're reading (and loving) my book. But even if that doesn't happen, I'm really glad that I get to live here with John, have wonderful friends, and take the time to write - learning and growing through it all.