Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Has it been a year?

...That's what I've been saying to myself this past week, as I've realized that it's been a year since I came to Japan.

Me, Tim, Adrienne, and Kele on one of our first nights in Sapporo.

I remember being so nervous on the plane, not knowing what to expect, and feeling totally unprepared for living in a foreign country. I had never even left the US before (not counting the time we went to Chihuahua, Mexico with Nate's dad).

But here we are, still alive and kicking and LOVING where we are and what we're doing. I think a lot of it has to do with Sapporo - this is just such a wonderful city, with amazing people. Of course, I haven't really checked out the other parts of Japan, but anyway...

It's just so funny how things have worked out so well here, in Japan of all place. I have a job that I absolutely enjoy and now I'm going to be teaching high schoolers....again! Nathan's got a great ALT job teaching elementary schoolers, with most of his schools requesting him to come back. And I can't say enough good things about Ethan's experience at Hokkaido International School! Granted, sending him to a private school has been a sacrifice, and we're not able to travel as much as the JETs do because of it, but I think it's worth it for Ethan to love where he goes to school.

This week, Nathan's in the US for his grandmother's funeral, so that's left me and Ethan to vacation this week on our own. We're planning some trips out of the city, but so far, we've been discovering and rediscovering all that Sapporo has to offer - it's such a big city, and there's so many parks, museums, shops (ahem, that's more for me), and a zoo that we haven't seen yet. Sure, we've lived here for a year, but it's OK to be a tourist sometimes.

I think I should also mention all the amazing friends I've met this past year - Japanese and ALT. This year, I've become friends with some of the most wonderful people I've ever met, and sadly, a few of them left this year. They've welcomed me and my family, and in doing so have become part of our family as well. With them I've experienced Japanese karaoke, all night dance parties, 80's movie nights, and good conversation. It just doesn't get any better!

And this past Friday, we met with our friend Natsuki and some of her friends to see a fireworks show along the Toyohira River. It was seriously the most amazing fireworks I had ever seen, and as I was watching them with our new friends and a few thousand other Sapporoians (is that how you say that?), I couldn't help but pretend that these fireworks were just for us, celebrating our first year living here.

So here's to another year in Japan! I'm looking forward to seeing what it has in store for us!!

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