Rule Number One- Move! And I did move on Monday, October 23rd. My mother had spent Sunday evening packing bags with the contents of my newly purchased wardrobe. Meanwhile, I was prepping or as the Brits say revising, for an upcoming test. On Monday morning, my mother drove to an airport in the Midwest (located in a neighboring city). Meanwhile, I dozed in and out of sleep when I was attempting to prep for the damn test. By 14:00 hours (military style), I was on my way to a brand new life.
The city I've moved to is on the east coast of the U.S. but it isn't la citta de Nueva York. I can't do New York F*nkin' City anymore. I'm 35 years old and I want to own the place where I lay my head (eventually). And I know that ain't going to happen in the Big Apple.
I have family in this new place that I'm trying to call home. Mia fratello (my brother in Italian) lives here. And I officially have two friends living in the area. I think I'm pretty well-off. I have a theory that a person needs at least one true friend to survive in the world. It is great when you're blessed with lots of good friends but if you have one person whom you are comfortable calling at 3 in the morning, you have a support system.
However, all things even dreams coming true must come to an end and mine did on March 9, 2006 when I landed at the Newark International Airport.
I've been in the U.S. for 1 week. It feels completely normal yet a bit strange to be back home. I was abroad for over 2 1/2 years (two years in Japan).
People keep asking me, "how was it?" I actually have no words to describe the last 7 months of my life. I have been/was living my dream. I hope you have or will have the opportunity to make one of your wildest aspirations come true. It is an amazing and empowering feeling.
Please note that I plan on writing several more posts about my travels in the very near-future. Then I'm not sure about the future of this weblog because I've changed, things changed, and I can't figure out how blogging will fit into my current reincarnation.
I recommend these airlines, bus companies, and tour agents!
because it is my 35th birthday! I know that I don't look a day over 28 (Thanks for the compliment!).
I've realized that I'm in the midst of a mid-life renaissance. Right now, I feel very good about my life. Of course, there are more experiences to gain: new career paths to walk, more lands to travel, friendships to nurture, family to adore, a story that must be written, and the exquisite joy of watching new life come into the world. VIVA Ms. WORLD!
P.S. Has anyone else noticed that we are in the midst of baby season? It seems like everybody is having a baby or had a baby, while moi, the Singleton, was out globetrotting.
I disappeared for awhile to take care of some important business: dealing with reverse culture shock and health issues. Now I'm back but not in blogland. I don't have the heart right now to deal with the blogsphere, so please enjoy the archives!
I'm supposed to be writing a book but sometimes I can be found reading.
Here are some good reads I've enjoyed so far this summer.
by Tia Williams. This is an African-American chick-lit book. I picked it up because I wanted to prove to myself that badly written books get published all the time. But I picked up the wrong book because it was well-written for the genre. It was also a very enjoyable read.
Project Girl by Janet McDonald I've been picking up lots of memoirs because of my own writing project. I have a special interest in memoirs written by African-American women. This book was richer and more moving than I expected. I thought it would be a story about a girl getting out of the ghetto because she was intelligent. It is so much more than that. The plot had more ups and downs than I anticipated. I loved it!
The works of Marjane Satrapi Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian born graphic novelist now living in France. She has published at least 3 books in the U.S. about her experiences in Iran. I have a great interest in Iran (I tried to go there last year doing my BLACK GIRLS RULE WORLD TOUR but couldn't get a tourist visa. I also desperately wanted to go to Beirut, Lebanon too.) Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is about her life in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. Persepolis: The Story of the Return is about a period of her life spent in Austria where her parents sent her to get educated and enjoy life in a free society. It isn't a very happy tale and Satrapi ends up returning to Iran. I liked these two books the best. I also read Embroideries which was interesting but not as powerful as the Persepolis series.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy by Alison Bechdel This has complex and very original graphic novel has to be one of the best reads of the summer. Bechdel is a well-regarded creator of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. This graphic novel is about her childhood and her relationship with her decorative arts-loving father. It was so good that I re-read it.
Cafe Trinity by Wendy Lo This is a book of beautifully written poetry book with Japanese drawings by a new talent on the American poetry scene. You can't find this book in a bookstore or library so if your interested, please click on the title and pick it up.
I have a quiet truth that I must share with you all. I'm in mourning. For what you ask? For my former life. I miss Japan but the bigger truth is that I miss what my life in Japan represented- opportunities to travel, exploration, adventure, and lots of fun.
Yes, I did work during my 2 year tenure as an English teacher. However, the teaching bit came a little easy to me. I'm a born organizer and planner, so I was always on top of my lesson planning. Work was easy for me. My after-school life was good, sometimes amazing. I miss knowing that I have 20 days of vacation to use for my pleasure and dreaming and making plans to go to countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia, or Oceania. How many Americans have jobs that give them 20 days of vacation a year? I've also realized that I'm a very social person. I have not having a significant social circle in my life. I have friends in the U.S. but most of the them are on the East Coast or West Coast. I have few friends in the Midwest.
Honestly, I feel like I had an amazing life in Japan. Now I'm back in the U.S. and I feel sentenced to a life of work and no travel. I miss having the opportunity, time, and funds to travel to different countries. I feel like a sort of travel lust monster was created when I landed in Japan.
Please note that the photo was taken by Dr. Mike S.
I woke up this morning and guess what was on my TV, WORLD CUP! I'm very
exciting to see a game instead of reading about it on the internet.
(Please note that I don't have cable or satellite TV and I don't
believe in paying for television unless it is PBS.)
watching the Ghana Black Stars, who are up 1 goal vs.Czech Republic's 0
goals. The next game is the USA vs. the Italy. I'm so happy!
Now, I must admit that I don't fully understand the standings system. I'm going to immersed myself in the World Cup then work on my contribution to the African-American literature cannon.
What I really want is to complete my "shitty first draft" of my book project and formulate a near term plan for my life but that hasn't happened yet! So, what I want right now is the book above!
I've returned to the travel section of the bookstore and it isn't a good thing. I'm getting nostalgic. I'm getting worked up about places such as Tunisia, Kolkatta, and Ghana.
In television news, I'll admit that I watched Dateline's interview with pop star Britney Spears. As I watched the interview, I realized that the U.S.A. education system (K-12) has failed many people in our society. Why can't Britney talk intelligently? Matt Lauer, co-host of the morning talk show Today, asked Ms. Spears about the qualities that she values in her husband wanna-be rapper Kevin Federline, she said, "His heart is awesome." Yeah, ok!
I feel sorry for Britney because the U.S. tabloids have been very mean to her in the past few months. I check out Us weekly from the library and read Star as I stand in line for groceries, so I know these things. Of course, she couldn't have known that marrying someone who seems very loser-ish would bring on the contempt of American tabloids. I do think Britney needs some a little more media training so she doesn't chew gum and sound so dumb in TV interviews.
Today is a reading day. My goal is to complete On Writing Well which is a simple yet brilliant book about writing. However, instead of reading the book, I've been worried about my next step in life. What is a young woman with a fine education, strong writing skills, a love of travel, and no foreign language mastery going to do for money? I'm stumped too! I'd also want to continue indulging in my love of travel which means I need more than 2 weeks of vacation per year.
When my mind ventures into this territory, I kept thinking about applying to this organization. I even thinking about joining this organization too. During the fall of 2002, I applied for a Fulbright grant to study in India and to the JET Program for a teaching spot. I also signed up to take the Foreign Service exams for the U.S. State Department. I got my applications for the Fulbright and JET in on time. But I skipped out on the Foreign Service exam because I had no time to prepare for it (The Fulbright application took up all of my time when I wasn't working full-time or completing a business reporting course to finish my master's degree.). Now I think I could be State Department material but the next test is April 2007!