(I know it is a tad late but it still counts!)
And talk about a crazy and amazing year. So much has happened that changed my life forever. So here is my recap of the important events (that I can remember) that happened this year (in order? Not in order? As I think of them ^^;)
1. Creating a sexual communication class. Last Spring semester was the first run of the sexual communication class at my university and it was pretty fun. Granted most of the time (if not all of the time), we were coming up with stuff on the fly and experimenting with what worked and what didn’t but hey, it made for a fun experience. Now we will take the class forward with a textbook that I STILL need to write my sections for. I would blame my lack of a proper laptop that could work at my speed, but as someone very near and dear to my heart told me: “a bad craftsman blames his tools”. But by creating the class, I made my CV that much more impressive.
2. Getting accepted into the JET Program. May 8th (I think…) was the day that changed my life forever. I got that upgrade email saying that I have been short-listed into the JET Program. Of course, I was excited to go to Japan and teach, but I never expected to get so much more out of this experience thusfar. It has only been five months but I have pulled from this living and working abroad thing more than I expected (more on that later).
3. Graduating with my master’s degree by passing my thesis defense. After hours upon hours of reading, writing, crying, drinking, and sometimes a mixture of all four, I finally produced a product that I felt proud to show off and say that I made it with all my blood, sweat, and tears. Although it was one hell of an ordeal with scheduling conflicts, making deadlines, and driving around trying to find that ONE book and couldn’t find it, I was able to finish it in the summer and add another degree under my belt. Two down, one more to go! One day, you will call me “doctor”. 😀 But in all seriousness, that was the biggest accomplishment of my life up to that point and I will cherish all the memories I have made with the people I have met during my time in graduate school.
4. Preparing and leaving for Japan. The month of July this year was so hectic. My defense was on the 11th (I think…I have a terrible memory) and I was hopping on a plane to go live in Japan on the 27th. Talk about time crunch! I was running around, buying gifts and worrying about that, getting copies of my thesis made (which still messed up somehow), hanging out with friends, and all while trying to spend time with people before I ship my ass to Japan. Shopping, packing, more shopping, reflecting on life. July made for a very stressful yet exciting month for me this year. It was rough leaving my family and friends behind while I embarked on my new journey to Japan on my own, but I am happy to have such a supportive network.
5. Living in Japan. I have done so much and yet so little here. I have met some amazing people whom I’m sure we are going to be friends forever (as long as we put in the effort haha) and I have seen some interesting things. And yet I have done so little because I have not yet traveled outside of the Kanto region (that was until this past Christmas when I went to Nagano). I haven’t gone north or south or more west yet, but I do have plans for those! I also want to travel around Asia too (although in the next year, that may be difficult due to timing).
6. Meeting a special someone. September 23rd, post Tokyo Game Show. We met in person during Tokyo Game Show after knowing each other online as acquaintances and hung out in Tokyo the Monday afterwards. I didn’t expect he would be someone who would change my life forever, but let’s just say he came into my life at the right time when I needed someone most. I cannot say much about this person but I can say that he means a lot to me (let’s call him Ozy since he’s Australian).
7. Visiting home and seeing what changed. I didn’t expect so much to change in such a short amount of time but it did. People getting involved in big and exciting things, relationships forming and breaking, and an overall reverse culture shock that made me both appreciate what I had in California and miss what I have now in Japan. I am sure in the next few years, many other things will change and I will just ride it out and be excited to the new world I return to (assuming it didn’t turn to shit).
8. The year of firsts. First time living on my own and being an adult (or at least trying to). First time working an actual 9-5 job (and I am still getting used to it because I grew used to a sporadic schedule for what, three years?). First time playing in snow. First time eating maaaany mysterious yet tasty things. First time decorating my own space (I did not think there were so many things to consider!! Like a color palette, which I totally decided on blue, black, and white). First time grocery shopping for myself (and trying new things). First time cooking for myself (and failing miserably sometimes). First time making a budget (and yet still not stressing about money). I kinda went balls to the wall with this living abroad thing and so far, I am not freezing or starving to death so I would say I am doing pretty good.
Although I tried to highlight all the positive moments this year gave me, there were some not so positive moments. The incident with my dad, the weeks I went through assessing what I wanted in my future and many sleepless nights devoted to that, not getting into the JET Program at first, assessing who my friends were back home while here in Japan, and most recently my PS3 being broken (it is only heartbreaking because I have a stack of games I want to play but can’t now).
But 2014 proved to be a pivotal point in my life that opened the door to a world of opportunities that I dived head first into. It was definitely a roller coaster ride that was quite enjoyable.
What about you? What are some of the highlights of 2014 for you? What do you expect in 2015? If you want to read mine, check out my post about 2015 goals!