Ramblings, Travel

A Year in the Life

Ha Long BayTomorrow marks one year since I embarked on this journey. Well, it would be if it was a leap year and February 29th existed. But rather than dwelling on the mysteries of the Gregorian calendar, let me take a moment to highlight some of my favorite parts of this journey. 

A lot has happened in this year. A whole lot. The early morning drive from my home in Longwood, Florida, to the airport seems like a whole lifetime away. With this journey has come both good and bad. But, as usual, I wouldn’t change it for the world. We often look at the bad parts of our lives with sadness, wishing it never happened. I see it all as one big learning curve. As long as I walk away from happiness and sadness having learned from it, I feel like I’m on the right track. In fact, I’m grateful to encounter hardship, as it can teach me things I might over look in an otherwise perfect life. 

But enough philosophy, here are my adventures (in chronological order):

  • For the first time in my life, I moved more than 40 minutes away from my childhood home. Maybe 6,000 miles was a bit much but, go big or go home, amiright? Friends
  • I attended the Game Developers Conference 2012, met some amazing new people, and saw some of my favorite people, too.
  • Relaxed in Napa Valley with Samira and my dad for a weekend
  • Met some really amazing friends during a week of intense training.
  • Learned to drive on the other side of the road
  • Started working in a Junior High School in Ibaraki, Japan.
  • Tried some really weird food
  • Enjoyed my very first cherry blossom viewing party.
  • Went on weekend trips to all over north eastern Honshu.
  • Experienced true heart-break
  • Rice planting/harvesting with my school
  • Celebrated a friends birthday where I made some amazing new friends
  • Climbed Mt. Fuji Disney Tickets
  • Visited Hakuba and met Momma Hakuba
  • Stayed in a temple overnight
  • Visited by good friends in Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka.
  • Took a 10 day vacation in Vietnam with some of my favorite people.
  • Saw the Yokohama Fireworks Show which lasted an hour.
  • Pulled an all-nighter in Roppongi (I’ve done a few more since)
  • Went to some great parties thrown by Kris
  • Started to see Japanese culture from an inside point of view
  • Mom visited my school and we toured Ibaraki/Kanto together!
  • Tokyo themed restaurants
  • An illness in my family back home made me question my life in Japan
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with Americans, Canadians, and Japanese friends alike
  • Tokyo Disney Land and Sea
  • Spent a white Christmas in Sapporo, follow by lots of world-class skiing!
  • My cousin visited Japan for two weeks!
  • New Years at the Tokyo TowerHanami Friends
  • Winter wonderland, old village of Shirakawa-go
  • A late-night car crash
  • Went to Sapporo again for the Snow Festival
  • Learned that distance/time doesn’t affect real friendships

It’s been one heck of a year. And to think, I only knew two people in Japan when I got here! Wow. I’m so glad I did it, I know I’ll never regret that choice.

Not to mention, there is still more fun stuff just ahead. A few examples:

  • South Korea for 4 days (tomorrow!)
  • GDC 2013
  • My sister meets me in San Francisco  for her birthday! JJK
  • Re-uniting with friends in Florida and San Fran
  • Helping my family move house 
  • Color Me Rad 5K in April
  • More cherry blossoms in Tokyo
  • Saying a sad good-bye to friends in Japan
  • Promising to see them again, and knowing I will
  • Traveling South East Asia solo
  • Volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal
  • Getting started in San Francisco

What a ride it’s been.


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