Question via Facebook:
How did you come to live in Japan?
Story time! Once upon a time was a little girl with no friends. Her family always had to move because of her second father’s job, and this took them overseas. There many of her classmates mocked her spoken English, so the little girl stopped speaking and started getting into fights, pick-pocketing, and generally doing bad things. When her younger brother was born she was left to care and raise him while her parents worked. While she understood her parents were working, she was also eight years old and not at all ready to care for and raise a baby.
Eventually the family moved back to their home country; there, once more, the girl was mocked for her English for sounding like the foreign country she had come from. The girl reverted back to not speaking, being angry at everything, and hurting herself. It was a very hard time in the little girl’s life. Then she made a friend. Well, actually a person decided they would befriend the girl. The girl was not on board with this idea and did everything she could to make this person leave her alone for a long time.
One day, this ‘friend’ introduced the girl to Sailor Moon, and for the first time she thought how nice it would be to fight and protect friends, for the first time she saw bonds stronger than family via friendship. And she desperately wanted that. So, the little girl threw away the name she’d been given in order to help her change herself. She had to undo years of hate, mistrust, and self-hate. Her first friend stayed faithfully by her side through all of it, even though it was a very bumpy road and the girl made many mistakes and lacked the emotional maturity to express herself through non-anger/violence.
Through Sailor Moon the girl became interested in Japan. She studied the culture and history and, when she got to high school, she studied the language. One day she would live there she vowed. Many people told her it was impossible, especially her parents, but it only made her more set on accomplishing it.
The little girl was now a lady in her last year of university. In less than one year she’d have the 4-year degree required to work abroad. But, she was in love.
How could she bear to leave the person she loved for a childhood dream of teaching abroad for one year. Her last long distance relationship had ended in heartbreak and finding out that boyfriend had been cheating for four years. Long-distance relationships did not work, she was certain of this.
Then the love broke up with her and accused her of stealing from them. She was crushed. She tried to kill herself. She began to fail all her senior classes. With only six months until graduation things looked bleak. The girl thought maybe her love had done this to spur her to follow her dreams… No, they were just a self-loving jerk-face who listened to their mom’s rumors.
The girl spoke to each of her teachers. She explained her situation and how she had failed herself and them. But she told them she wasn’t giving up. In six months she was able to bring back all of her grades to top scores. She sent applications to eighty-seven English schools in Japan, chose one from the many that had offered her work. She won an art competition and, with the prize money, bought a one-way ticket to Japan, packed two suitcases of all her worldly possessions. And she left.
The first city had an abusive boss.
The second got bought out.
The third was near the epicenter of the Tohoku Earthquake and she was injured.
The fourth was where she met a guy who lived far away…they started dating anyway.
The fifth was where she moved in with the guy after five months of dating.
The sixth city is where she lives with that guy, who became her husband after a year of knowing each other, and they’re celebrating their 5th year wedding anniversary in two days.
And through all of this crazy, life- and globe-spanning story she has always had the support and love of her first friend and younger brother. It took a long time for her to realize it’s OK to make your own family from people who love you, just as you are, no matter where you are.