Tomorrow 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?
- 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
- 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 Tower
- 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!
- 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.