In the, “oh, by the way,” category (ITOBTWC, for short 😉 this is Patrick’s newest favorite phrase), we moved to Japan two and a half months ago. We’re living about an hour southeast (I think? maybe it’s just south) of Tokyo. I expected it to be similar to living just outside of Seoul. How wrong I was. There are very few similarities outside of the fact that Patrick is working in a small unit flying the same aircraft he always has… which has ZERO to do with the country.
Reality check, Ash: Japan is very different than Korea. The things I love about Korea are missing and the things I hate about Korea are also missing. The first two months, I hated being here. Everything seemed harder; I couldn’t (can’t) get into the swing of things (and I went through a huge emotional trauma, I’m sure that helped me cope with the move really well, too). I just couldn’t figure out why it seemed so much harder this time compared to the move to Korea. And then I remembered, we just made an international move to a country where I actually had expectations of what it would be like (never a safe option) WITH A TODDLER! Of course, it’s a harder move than our childless move to Korea, where we had zero expectations other than “it’ll be lots of fun and we only have to stay a year if we don’t like it!” Thankfully, right after I had this little epiphany, one of the more seasoned moms in the Church randomly told me not to make any judgements on the place for the first six to eight months. Someone had given her that advice when she moved overseas with a toddler and she found that it helped her have a much more positive view of their new home. And it makes total sense. For us (and I imagine many other frequent movers), it normally takes a solid six to eighteen months to really settle into a place. I can’t make an unbiased assessment while I’m still unpacking boxes and trying to figure out how to get to Costco while remembering to drive on the left side of the road! Why should I think I could?!
But really, it is a lovely country. Everyone is so nice, even our little American community nestled into the suburbs is so welcoming. The weather is super comfortable. There’s so much to see, and easy trains to get us to all the fun places. We get to share another country with our son, and for that I am so thankful.
And when it comes down to it, I know life will be quite similar to life in the States (or Korea or anywhere else where we’re all together). Sam will keep us on our toes and test our patience to no end. When it’s time to leave, I know we’ll be sad to say good-bye to our Japan community… I am so looking forward to the adventure!