Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Plans for the New Year

My very first glimpse of Japan, in March 2010
This coming March will be my 3-year anniversary in Japan. The time has flown by, but oddly it feels like I've been here longer than just three years. So much has happened during that time: I settled into life in Sendai, explored Tohoku, became an aunt, improved as a teacher, survived a 9.0 earthquake, visited many famous places, climbed Mt. Fuji, moved to Tokyo, backpacked through Hokkaido.... and so much more. Perhaps best of all I learned a lot about myself and my own culture, and made a lot of wonderful friends. 

The unforgettable view of the sunrise on Mt. Fuji
Meeting my nephew James
Some of my favorite Eikaiwa students
Japan, and Sendai especially, feel like my home-away-from-home. I moved around a lot growing up and lived in a lot of very different places, which gives me a special appreciation for the places that I really love. Cities are like people, they have unique personalities and there are some you like and some you don't- and some you can't help falling in love with. 

Photo montage shamelessly taken from Wikipedia
My plan when I first came here was only to stay for about three years, and that time is coming up soon now. It's hard to leave, especially when you've got a decent job and a good community of friends, but I've decided that it's time for me to let this chapter of my life come to a close. I feel a lot like I did when I left Portland, a bit torn between sadness and excitement. 

I will miss you guys!

 So here are my plans for 2013: 

  • I will finish my contract with my current job around March 20th, then spend a week traveling with some friends in Japan before we go our separate ways.
  • In April I'll go to Dallas and spend the next however-many months spending some quality time with my family there. I can't wait to see them again and to get to play with my nephew James everyday.
  • Sometime toward the end of summer/early fall, I'd like to move to Europe and spend a year working and traveling there. I'm still considering my options regarding what country and what kind of work I'll do. My main reason for going is to travel and visit friends there, so I'm pretty flexible about what I do. Basically I'd like a decent paying job in an interesting city, hopefully not too far away from some mountains so I can get my hiking fix on a regular basis.
It's hard to believe there's only a few months left here in Japan. I'm trying to make the most of that time by doing some of the things I've always wanted to do and hanging out with my friends as much as possible. I feel really lucky for getting to experience these past three years. And I can't wait to see what adventures the future holds.

Image from here


  1. Lovely post Maura! I look forward to hearing about your adventures in other parts of the world. My Europe vote is for Switzerland, you could climb the alps!

    1. Thanks Arika! Switzerland is definitely in my top five, I have to go climb the alps one day. :D

  2. Hi Maura,

    For the past two years I've been quietly reading your blog and in wandering back in memory to the time I've spend in Sendai and thought it's about time I'd drop a line back. It's good to hear from you! I can imagine you want to get back to the states and at the same time don't want to leave Sendai.

    It's sad to loose my prime source of Sendai-news-fix but who knows, maybe there's also something to report in Dalles ;-) (I thought you were from Portland?)

    If you decide to go to Europe: your always welcome in the Netherland! Please contact me as I also have some good friends in Hamburg, Munich and Italy. Take care and say hi to Fumiyo for me.



    1. Hi Lars, it's great to hear from you again! I've always been wondering how you've been since you left Japan. What are you doing now?

      I would love to visit you in Europe someday. Thank you for your comment, let's keep in touch!