Our 2nd Japanniversary: a look back.

We celebrated our 2nd Japanniversary on April 4th, so I’m a bit late with this post. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last week mentally reviewing our 2 years living in Japan. On one hand, it seems like we just arrived. On the other hand, it seems like we arrived years and years ago.

We have grown and changed so much. Our marriage and relationship has evolved and we’ve figured-out this whole being married thing. It’s kind of weird to be married. Like, it’s the coolest, most awesome thing to live with and share everything with my very best friend. If you’re unmarried, I can tell you this — it’s worth waiting for and waiting for the right person. It’s a little crazy to me that we got married a year and 10 days after our first date, and we moved to Japan just a few months later, but I feel like everything is evolving just as it should for us, and that is a very gratifying feeling.

It’s also wild to me that I have met so many close friends since living here. Most have PCS’d already, but I am so very thankful for their friendship, be it ever so brief in geographical proximity 🙂 A handful are still here, and I am very thankful for the few remaining months we have to enjoy Japan together.

I am amazed at my ease in this country. I am extremely independent and I often go on little, solo adventures. However, I don’t think I’m “brave” or anything like that. In fact, I feel safer and more at home in this country than I do in most places in the United States. Japan is significantly safer for women than the US; though I always remain vigilant and try to make smart judgements, I act independently often and do what I want 🙂 It’s so nice to have that freedom.

I’ve grown to love Japan. I think my desire to move “home” to the USA may cloud an observer’s perception of my love of Japan. I love the Japanese people, I love Japanese culture, and I am so so so so enamored with so much of Japan. This is a country after my own heart, and even my introverted brain is happy on public transportation during rush hour.

I have learned so much about being a “good” partner to a service member, both from my own experiences and from those of my friends. Since all of our marriages are different (and, therefore, the definition of being a “good” partner to our husbands means different things in different marriages), I’ve learned that there is no one way to be a good partner, which is drastically different than what most of us military partners tell each other.

Personally, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my goals and desires for our future. I’ve learned that I’m a horrible “housewife”, in that I hate cooking, cleaning, and other “housewifely” duties. I do them, on occasion, but I’d much rather do school work, workout, or dream of having a job than doing anything around the house … minus laundry. I am great with laundry! I’ve begun meeting privately with friends who have careers that I’m interested in, which has helped immensely. Yes, I want to teach on the university level, but I see myself having a side profession that I can take with me where ever the Navy sends us. I have no desire to stay at home without goals or ambitions of my own. Lots of very nice ladies here are very happy with staying at home and not having any kind of career; I admire their ability to do that, honestly. I, on the other hand, need goals and aspirations, regardless of anything else that happens in our life (like having kids, moving, etc). That’s who I am, and if you knew where I’m from, who my parents are, and how I grew up, you would understand that about me. My husband and I stay on the same page with my career goals and aspirations, and he has vetoed a few ideas of mine (which, btw, is fine because I have *a lot* of ideas). On the other hand, he often gives me bigger and more ambitious ideas, and I think we are now on a pretty focused track toward meeting my goals.

The longer I’ve been here, the more Japanese friends I have, which is the biggest cultural pay-off for me. I’ve picked-up more English students, and I’m finally teaching something that utilizes my masters degree and nursing experience (American-centric medical terminology and therapeutic communication). Our class conversations are extremely in-depth and I am learning so much about Japan from them. I am suddenly in a place where I am professionally fulfilled while living here … and it just figures that I’m leaving in a few months! Boo. Beyond the professional fulfillment, I’m also going on little adventures with my Japanese students, including a recent impromptu shopping trip to Tokyo. Spending time in Japan with a Japanese friend makes the whole experience SO much more educational and fun.

Living in Japan has been an incredible experience — I cannot think of any words to describe my happiness and fulfillment. I will forever hold this place in my heart, and I am thankful that I have at least another 90 days here to continue enjoying and experiencing Japan.

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