Tag Archives: writing

Countdown

Today started my last week in Japan. A week from yesterday I will board a US bound plane for the last time this year. I don’t know when I’ll come back here, though I know that I will. I know that I’ll miss this place. There is a more than small part of me that doesn’t want to leave. It’s the part of me that has come to know this place as home.

I’ve refrained from writing about my time here for a number of reasons but the biggest being that I  knew I couldn’t do justice to my experiences without the perspective only gained from time. Big adventures look awesome in hindsight. In the thick of things there is lots of angst, frustrations and pain. It would have been far too easy for me to fill posts with all of the hard stuff and forget to share the good stuff.

one of the hardest things has been my health. It’s no secret that I have a mystery chronic illness (to be clear, it’s a mystery to my doctor and me, too), but I haven’t done much to explain what that actually *means.* It’s a huge part of my life – something that I deal with almost every day. Life here has certainly complicated and exacerbated things, and it’s something that I probably should have been sharing about.  Figuring out what exactly to share is the tricky part. I want to loop people in, but not gross them out.  I’m working on finding that line. As much as I’d like to pretend that my health problems are minor annoyances that are an infrequent issue, they aren’t. I feel that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to be clear about what I’m dealing with. My medical stuff takes up a lot of spoons, and keeping it close to the chest takes up a few more. Time to change that.

While I’d love for this last week to be no work and all play, our apartment isn’t going to pack itself. Our movers will take care of most things but I still have to sort where our daily personal items are going, (with us for the holidays, dropped off by Will in NYC, plane shipment or sea shipment) do a crap ton of laundry and make a list of absolutely everything we own for insurance purposes. Prepare yourself for lots of before and after pictures and plenty of moving-related complaints. Moving sucks no matter what.

I wish I could find the pause button for life.

Two Weeks Notice

Today marks living in Japan for two weeks. If I had it my way, Will and I would probably never leave. 

I don’t like change. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve has so much of it in the last year. Either way, I dragged my feet quite deeply about moving here. I was scared. I was scared of moving to another new place. I was scared of not being able to speak the language. I was scared of missing my family even more than I normally did. I was so silly. 

I love our neighborhood. It’s perfect. And I do mean perfect. If you had ever asked me to describe my dream place to live, Mikage is what I would have told you about. It’s quiet, but still urban enough for my tastes. There are flowers and trees everywhere, with a train a block away that takes me swiftly to the heart of Osaka. Our apartment is a dream. Hard wood floors, floor to ceiling windows, and a soaking tub that I can actually cover myself with water in. Even if I hated Japan, I could hide in this little slice of heaven forever. 

The language barrier isn’t as high as it was when I got here, and it’s getting shorter every day. I admit, I’ve lost a little bit of momentum in my learning, but that’s due to how much of the day I spend exploring the area. It’s a trade off I can happily live with. I’m starting to track words that I see out and about. Even if I have no idea what anything means, I can still sound words out and that gives me a certain amount of pride. Most things can be communicated through hand gestures and pointing, and enough people around here know key phrases in English than we can have a short conversation. 

With the exception of the first day here when I was fighting hard against jet lag and total culture shock, I haven’t ever felt alone. I miss my family, sure, but not any more than I usually would. And the constant stream of traveling I have planned (off to England on Thursday) will help keep any feelings of isolation at bay. It’s hard to mope about missing family when you’re planning a trip to the Great Wall of China with your brother and then a week in London with your mother in the same month. 

The only thing I wish was different here was that I had more time to write. I’ve been keeping a paper journal with me so that I can write down what I’m doing with each day, but I always run out of time at the end to transfer all of those thoughts online. I want to share all of my experiences with all of my friends right as they happen! Instagram is helping with that, but I really need to find a way to get everything online. Will has gotten the hang of it over on G+, we’ll see if he has any tips for me. 

Tonight more adventure are in store. I’m about to catch a train so I can meet Will in Kobe. We’re going to a ramen shop that he’s been trying to drag me to since I landed. There will also be some furniture scouting (our place is still a little bit bare) and most likely another pilgrimage to Lush for more bath bombs. The daily soaks here are really eating into my stash. What a hard life. There will be pictures of our evening, promise. 

Stutter

I am always a little bit in awe of my friend, John.

He is a writer, and he manages to post to his blog every single day. There are exceptions to this when he is traveling and taking a break from the internet, but for the most part, I get a notification every day from WordPress in my inbox letting me know that he has some thoughts that he’s dropped on the internet.

I know that this is something that John has spent years doing, and that because he is a writer it is something that he should be doing to hone his craft, but I always feel like a bit of a failure when I can’t string enough words together to make a post about where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s not that I don’t want to share, I post all the time on FB and Twitter, but I always feel that I have an obligation to put something better together for WordPress. Deeper thoughts. Things that will contribute to the conversation of society. When I am stuck in this cycle of self-doubt, I of course never manage to remember that one of the things that John is famous for is taping bacon to his cat and taking pictures of it.

It’s easy to waste words on social media. Why is a blog so sacred? I’m sure the lack of privacy is a part of it. I could lock down certain posts, but then why bother to type them? Why not keep them in the bound journal that I keep with me. It’s not like I have nothing to write about, either. I’m on the second leg of my two and a half month long bounce around the country.

I think one of the most frustrating parts of this struggle is that I don’t know where this goal comes from. I have no desire to be a writer, though I have occasionally daydreamed about winning a Hugo. There is no story that I feel the need to tell, just guilt when another day passes without a post. Writing helps keeps the mind sharp, but so does reading and being creative in other ways and it’s not like I’m skipping out on that.

I will say, that writing here helps me explore my thoughts, and that is always a good thing. I very rarely start with something specific to say, just a nebulous thought that I want to hammer out and writing seems like the best way to do that when Will isn’t around to talk to. Writing this post has helped me trace some of these feelings to my desire to be good at everything, so I’ll always be needed and always have a place. The fear of being useless or forgotten manifests in odd ways.

But my fingers are getting tired* and there is a consuite full of friends waiting for me. I think chatting with them will help much more with my fears than sitting alone in a semi-dark hotel room wondering what the internet will think of my word choice.

*Another reason I could never be a writer, my hands cramp up waaaaay to quickly for me to have a word count of any substance to hit.

Writers Block

My mind is never a quiet place. If I’m not working on something, I’m worrying abut something. So it’s confusing and frustrating when I can’t write anything. I’ll sit wherever I’m at, and face down the piece of paper. I’ll stare at it, glare at it, hell, I’ll probably even rip it up and throw is away depending on the mood I’m in.

And it’s ridiculous.

I’m supposed to be writing about my life (something that you’d think I’d have a handle on at this point) not about global warming. I’ve gotten over – with the help of my vlogging- the idea that I shouldn’t write because nobody will read, but now I’m stuck on what’s acceptable for me to write. Part of the reason I have this website is to flesh out my web presence, which is important when trying to find a job in my particular area, but if I’m going to write, I’d like to write about something that doesn’t bore the shit out of me. But, you know, it also shouldn’t be something that will keep me from getting hired.

So, where is that line? I have no fucking clue, but I’ll let you know if and when I find it.

VEDA Thougts

While I did recently take a bit of a break from VEDA do to real world priorities like homework, so far, I’ve really enjoyed the process. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve joined the Vlogtastic Five and from now on, I’ll be doing two videos on Friday. You can find my regular daily videos here and my Vlogtastic Five videos here.

Doing the videos has been really fun, and I’ve found the upload and go style of updating to be  very freeing. No worrying about scripting things out, or making sure that you’ve left enough time in-between sentences for a ‘proper jump cut’ (sentence I never thought I’d say…) or remembering to change the direction your chin is pointing every once in a while for extra emphasis… it’s a lot. It becomes a job. I’ll be doing my Vlogtastic Five posts like that because I think the group is going for that look and I’m happy too, but it will certainly require some extra time and effort.

I’ve also found that vlogging is helpful emotionally. There is a great community out there beyond just my friends and family who are incredibly supportive. I used to have the giant block that kept me from writing, and initially from posting vlogs that were what about what I was actually thinking because I feared that someone would judge me from what I type or say. I’ve gotten more relaxed about what I say in the videos, and it’s gotten easier for me to blog, which is an unexpected benefit that I really appreciate.

That’s all for now. I need to jump on the homework pile before it attacks me.

Hello to Everywhere

Yesterday I got a fair bit of traffic. Not outstanding numbers, but good for the first day of a blog that was established…well, yesterday. So go me for numbers! And go you, for reading!

The most interesting bit about the numbers yesterday were the international hits. I know who’s reading from Ireland (Hi Gareth!) and fairly certain about the folks from Canada, but I’m lost when it comes to those from Britain and Malaysia.

I know a few people in London, so if they’d found this through my Facebook page or my Twitter account, then nifty. Turns out the Publicize function for WordPress works after all. But Malaysia?

To whoever you are, drop me a note please. I am intensely curious.

Time to Commit

In the past it’s hard for me to commit to just about anything. Well, except sleeping. Sleep and I have a very serious relationship.

But this last month, I’ve been digging in and doing a lot of growing up. I know I’m not done, I’m only 21 after all, but I’m getting there. I’m digging into my school and personal commitments and really focusing on my priorities. I’m going to bed early, getting up early and making sure that I get everything that’s important done in-between.

I’ve always like writing, and blogging. In fact, if I hadn’t hidden them all because I’m terribly embarrassed by my past writing attempts, you’d be able to find half a dozen old blogs with half a dozen different usernames. But it’s always been a hobby that’s gotten thrown in the lowest, largest, filled with crap desk drawer when other things start screaming for my time. No longer. I bought this domain name, I’m going to use it! (A relationship similar to my gym membership…)

So, I’m here now. I’ll be playing with different designs and changing fonts. Keep an eye out for new exciting things! I can’t promise any of it, but I can certainly hope for it.