It’s almost the end of winter. I can feel that the weather is slowly getting warmer and I’m becoming more anxious to see the beautiful, cherry blossom filled spring that I’ve been waiting for since forever. For the past month, I’ve decided to stay indoors, partly because it’s cold and partly because I was in a super money saving mode. I feel that this hermit lifestyle set me into a monotonous routine. Wake up, go to work, work, come home, eat dinner, sit around, sleep, then do it all over again. A part of me says, Hey! You’re living in Japan. Just go outside and walk around. I haven’t really listened to my inner self since it has been too cold and windy. With all the excitement of moving abroad, I now realize that it is possible to have a monotonous life, even when living in a foreign country. If you’re not constantly traveling, you can settle into a comfortable lifestyle and fall easily into that daily routine. I want to get out of this feeling and find that excitement of being here in Japan.
I’ve thought about the things around town that I want to do, just to get out of my apartment and be able to experience life in my town. With the next coming month, I’ve decided to change that monotonous lifestyle and add a bit of color to my life by:
- Reading in a café, once in a while. It’s one of my goals to read more, so why not step outside and find a comfortable café to sit, read, and enjoy Japanese café life. I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, now I’m reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m not sure what to expect from Never Let Me Go. We’ll see what happens!
- Hiking. Another one of my goals is to be more outdoorsy. My dad would always take us hiking when we were younger and we would complain a lot, but secretly, I loved it. I love being outside and being one with nature. There are a ton of mountains here, so I’m sure there are a ton of beautiful hikes to do.
- Working up the courage to ask more coworkers to a meal. I’ve had lunch with a few coworkers and I loved being able to talk to them on a more personal level to get to know them better. I would love to get together with them again as well as ask more people out to eat. It will also help me practice Japanese!
- Going on more walks/bike rides around town.
- Going to the onsen. Relaxation time!
These are the activities I hope to implement more within the coming month, in order to get myself out there a little more. I’m also happy that these activities don’t cost a lot, so my wallet will be very happy. I hope this will bring me back to feeling the excitement of living in a foreign country. I truly love being here and I don’t want to take my experience for granted.
Have you had the experience of falling into a monotonous lifestyle as an expat? Do you have any advice to find the excitement of being in another country again?
Linking up with Weekly Wishes
Wow, what a year this has been (okay, now I sound like I’m writing in someone’s yearbook). No, but really. This was probably one of my most memorable years I’ve had so far in my life. It’s a year like this that motivates me to keep pursuing my dreams, opening myself up to many great opportunities. I learned you need to put yourself out there, even just a tiny bit, whether it’s trying new foods, talking to people even when you can barely speak their language, or moving across the world. Putting yourself out there is the biggest ignition to opening yourself up to amazing opportunities.
Even though I’m not sure what my dream job is or even which direction I should be taking, I always tell myself, live in the now. If I keep thinking about that future job, I’m going to miss all the little precious moments here. This year, I did a lot of thinking and a lot of changes in my thinking. I’ve grown to live more positively, by looking for the positives even in the not-so-good situations, to live everyday with a goal in mind, and to grow as a person each day.
Some of the biggest events that happened in 2013 include: traveling to Disney World with my family (love love love Disney and spending time with family), getting accepted to the JET program, graduating from college, moving to Japan, pretty much everything that has happened in Japan so far, celebrating my two year anniversary with Mark, and celebrating Christmas and my birthday in Seoul. I’ve been all over the place, accomplished major life events, and have been on an emotional roller coaster this year. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me. In continuing my stay here in Japan, I know that a lot more traveling and amazing opportunities are bound to happen.
Goals for 2014
New Year’s Resolutions? Nahhh. I feel like ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ are just a beginning of the year kind of thing. You’re super motivated and excited to strive towards these resolutions, but after a month, you kind of forget about them. For me, I think it’s better to make yearlong goals because just the name itself makes me more motivated to keep them and strive to towards them.
Continue to learn more about Japan and Japanese culture.
Become a better global citizen. This is pretty vague, but I would like to learn more about current events and cultures around the world, and help out in the community more. I hope to spread my love of travel and cultures to others and hope it inspires them to look into learning about different places.
- Start more humane shopping. Even though it’s very difficult sometimes, because I love the styles and the cheap prices, I know that those prices are cheap for a reason.
Travel more. There are so many beautiful places to be seen in Japan and I’ve barely been anywhere. I also want to travel to other countries in Asia, but there’s so much to do and so little time! With that being said…
Save more money. I would like save more money so I can spend that money on traveling and eating amazing food. I need to cut back on my convenience store runs and buying useless things (why did I even buy that plastic flower faucet decoration?).
Be able to hold an entire conversation in Japanese without resorting to an English word. It WILL happen this year! Nowadays, my conversations are short, but there are times when I throw in English when I don’t know the Japanese word, hoping that the other person knows the word. I know I’m slowly getting better, but there’s so much more studying and practicing to do.
Go out for more walks and stretch more.
- Video chat with my parents more. I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve talked with them since I moved here because that number is miniscule. I’m sure they want to hear from me more and hear about what I’m doing.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but definitely a good start to my new year. I can’t wait for all the new adventures and experiences I will be able to have, especially because Mark is moving here in April! I’m so excited to be able to travel and share these experiences with him.
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s make it an awesome year!
And yes, I love using that picture above.
How did 2013 treat you? What are some of your goals for the new year?
//Linking up with Weekly Wishes//
It’s been a while since I’ve taken apart of Melyssa’s Weekly Wishes link up and since it’s the beginning of the month, I’ve decided to set some goals for October. The weather is finally cooling down and I’m getting more and more accustomed to life here in Japan. I’ve finally gotten used to waking up early (I wake up at 6:30 on the weekends without an alarm now… who would have ever thought? I’m a who loves their sleep too) and have gotten into the routine of having a full time job. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m actually making money. There are times when I feel like I’m still at an internship, working to gain experience for free. I honestly wouldn’t mind not getting paid because I love this whole experience so much, but of course, it is nice to have money. *enter a weird, shifty smiley*
My Goals for October
- Make a study plan and stick to it – I’ll be honest… studying Japanese hasn’t been going very well. I usually study when I have some free time at work, which doesn’t get me very far. I’ll study one grammar point every now and then and a handful of new vocabulary words every week. When I first started working, I would be sooo tired when I got home and wouldn’t want to do or think about anything. Nowadays, I’m getting more used to my daily schedule and don’t feel like crashing when I get home. I need to use my time wisely and get at least an hour of studying every other night.
- Budget, budget, budget! – I’m also getting used to recording every cent I spend during the week and I’ve been doing a pretty good job remaining within budget. However, there are times when I go over budget in some categories or I don’t plan correctly. I need to take the time to think about my expenses and not forget to include some payments. My Seoul trip is coming up in December and I need to start saving for that now! I’m so excited and can’t wait to go back, but I also have an Osaka trip planned the month before, a possible hiking weekend, then Kyoto right after I come back from Seoul… Ah! That’s a lot of spending, so I’ll definitely need to buckle down on my spending. I hate you Japanese bakeries and all your amazing, heavenly bread.
- Try to talk more with my students – I’ll admit. It’s pretty hard to talk to my students at lunch. But I can see why they probably don’t want to talk to me during lunch. They don’t know English and they have no idea what to ask me. I also don’t know what to talk to them besides, “What food do you like? What color do you like?” But I will find a way.
- Always keep learning and improving myself – This is kind of vague since I’m not exactly sure how I will do this, it kind of just happens over time. One of my biggest things is to always be learning new things, whether it’s more about Japanese culture or more about how to communicate with people, there are so many things out there to be learned. Learning and growing go hand in hand and I’m always looking to improve myself to be a better person each and every day.
I hope you all have a great and productive week!