2013 was a really good year. It started out rough at first, around January/February when I got sick during a class I was teaching and laid in the school health room for the rest of the day. I realized that my body never got used to the Japanese diet of rice, rice, rice, and that I wasn’t eating a balanced diet. From that day on I decided that I would make sure to eat a salad at least 3 times a week, and it turned out to be the right decision.
I also decided that I would take a teaching course. CLAIR, the organization that sent me to teach in Ono over 3 years ago, was offering grants to people who wanted to take an online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. I decided that I’d tackle it, since I could put it on my resume and also learn how to become a better teacher, even though I’m not sure that it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. My application was accepted and I finished the course a few weeks ago.
I told myself that 2013 was supposed to be the year of music, and it was. I think I’ve been to more concerts this year than any other. I saw MUCC, Bonnie Pink, exist†trace, G-DRAGON, VAMPS, girugamesh, and BIGBANG. But other than music, I was also able to finish not one, but TWO costumes for Otakon (though I admit they were pretty easy compared to past costumes). I also did three fashion photoshoots and my first cosplay photoshoot.
This year was also the most I’ve spent making friends with Japanese people. I’ve always found it difficult to do; maybe I’m just not very approachable. But I did make a few acquaintances, even though a lot of them want to practice their English (despite me trying to practice Japanese). I was supposed to be studying Japanese as well, but my closest Japanese friend and conversation partner ended up going to New Zealand to study English. Come back!!! 😦
I also went through a phase of being lonely and depressed about approaching 25 and still being single. I tried going on dates, but it didn’t really make me feel that much more hopeful. I distracted myself with cosplay, shopping, and looking at photos of my niece, Kaylee, who was born last September.
Then something happened. My grandfather passed away in November. I couldn’t believe it. When I talked to him over the phone in August, there was a tiny voice in my head that told me that that could be the last time I ever talk to him. I’m glad I heard that voice, because I was able to say “I love you, Grandpa” and not feel any regrets about my decision to work overseas. I was also able to see my newborn niece much earlier than expected, which was very much a blessing behind the sorrowful loss of my grandfather.
Going home for a week and a half gave me a much-needed break from work, which was stressing me out more than anything else. I had handled a big elementary school just the year before, so I didn’t understand why this year was giving me such a hard time. When I came back, I decided that I needed to change my outlook on life. I decided not to pursue dates anymore and just focused on my teaching course, and work. But weekends that were supposed to be fun—and they were—were also starting to feel like obligations, just because I so desperately needed to rest and have some alone time. But I plowed through every single day, all the way into the last day of classes.
I have my friend Talia to thank for many of the good things in the year. Her enthusiasm got me into BIGBANG (my new favorite Korean boy band since g.o.d broke up in 2006), “Free!” that anime with all the shirtless high school boys swimming, and Attack on Titan, the super-hyped up series that absolutely deserves to be hyped up. She’s the reason why I’ve been buying so many things with Levi’s face on it. ❤
By the time I turned 25 on December 16th, instead of feeling sad about being single, I was GLAD to still be single. All of the marriage proposals, engagements, weddings, and babies that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed were nice to look at, and I congratulate everyone as they take new steps in their adult lives. But I realized that everything I’ve accomplished this year may not have been possible if I had been caught up in a relationship, and that I NEEDED to be single and have that freedom in order to do what I wanted and needed to do. Instead of wanting what “everyone else” seems to be getting, I’m very blessed to have an alternative. Single life is wonderful at 25, and I hope it gets even better by the time I’m 26.