Back in the states

I’ve been back in the US for just over a month now.

I made the decision to leave Japan about two weeks before departing. I returned home on August 23rd. I left for personal reasons: namely, I was over-stressed and experiencing some health problems. I left my teaching job and my best friend behind.

I returned to the US 3.5 months after having arrived in Japan. I was stressed, in need of a doctor and dentist appointment, a general emotional mess, and 17 pounds lighter (not a bad thing).

Around 3 weeks after returning to Wisconsin, I was hired on the spot to a barista position at a local coffee shop. I’m glad I started working shortly after coming home as it’s helped ease my transition back into my local community and US society. Outside of work I don’t really have much of a social group outside of my family, whom I live with (my parents and brother). At work, I can see acquaintances and people from the area that I know. It’s a good thing. without it, I would never be social at all.

I am trying to reconnect with old friends, but after being in Japan, and even before then, I’ve drawn away from a lot of my old high school friends to some extent. It would be nice to make new friends or to reconnect more with old friends. For now though, I am fairly content. I’ve developed the habit of a taking a 3 miles walk on the country roads near my home at least twice a week to keep up with the walking habit I developed while in Japan. I used to walk everywhere. The weather has been spectacular this September- warmer than usual, which makes for wonderful walking.

016.JPG

A corn field I see on my walk near my house each week.

There are times where I really miss my life in Japan. I miss my best friend, the train announcements, little phrases in Japanese, the snacks, the city bustle (sometimes). I’ve gained back 5 pounds I lost. But for now, the comforts of mom’s home cooking, inside jokes with my brother, hugs from dad, and so forth keep me going.

I don’t know what’s next, but for now, I know it’s good to be home in Wisconsin.

 

Advertisements

Nearing departure

As I near departure, I’m enjoying the little things around me.

I spent the last five days with my boyfriend. It was so lovely to see him, but it was sad to say goodbye. We spent time shopping, (I’m all stocked up on work clothing now) playing D&D with friends, (twice) and finishing the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

My Japanese visa arrived in the mail today. I have my passport and Certificate of Eligibility back and I am set to fly out in about less than two weeks. I’m counting down the days.

I’m excited to go, but it’ll be bittersweet. There are many beautiful people and places I will miss from home in Wisconsin & Minnesota.

These photos are from a walk around our property today with dad and our dog, Cosmo.

13087761_10153533276537727_920211407449100115_n13082618_10153533275627727_5990843603850668745_n13096284_10153533277332727_5102614566521618444_n13062412_10153533277397727_8958370355137248057_n

The budding photographer

I made the decision the other day to purchase a Nikon d3300. I’ve never owned a nice camera in my life, so this is exciting for me. The digital camera I own I received at Christmas 8 or 9 years ago, and I stopped using it around 2012 because the quality is too grainy. Since then, I have relied on my iPod touch 4th generation to take photos, which has actually worked out pretty well all things considered. However, my iPod is nearly out of storage space, even after deleting hundreds of photos. I also wanted to be able to take high quality photos, particularly while I am in Japan. I would like to have lasting memories of my experience living abroad that I can look back on. Hence, I purchased my first DSLR.

I have to read through the user manual more closely, though I’m glad to say I learned a thing or two just my testing out my camera today on a “fun run.” I’m a quick learner if I set my mind to learning something. 🙂

I hope to purchase my plane ticket to Japan tomorrow. I nearly bought one today, but I wasn’t quite ready. I expect to leave right around one month from today, or in about 28-29 days. If you have any tips on buying plane tickets, I’m all ears.

Here are some snapshots I took at my house today. Enjoy!055

018003

030

 

What happened to the fall?

Well, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. If there’s anyone out there still following me, I salute you, dear friend. I simply don’t have the time to update regularly, and while I’m in school, my life doesn’t seem interesting enough to post about.

What have I been up to for the past two months? I’ll make this as brief as I can.

I’ve fallen out of love. And into love again. I’m in a new relationship, and I’m happier than I could have imagined. My boyfriend’s name is Brandon, and we are very compatible together in terms of interests, personality, humor, etc. We were coworkers this past spring/summer, which is how we met.

12105926_10201084642355002_5866372919649966916_n

Brandon and I, October 2015

I am halfway through my last semester of college. My grades have been excellent thus far, so I am rather pleased. Classes consume much of my time, but they’re fairly enjoyable overall. Shakespeare online is my least favorite class, simply because I find old English to be a bit dull and difficult to understand. I’m also Vice-President of the World Student Association, and we’re in the process of planning Cultural Night, the largest event on campus, which is coming up in two weeks time.

I am having some car troubles. I have to replace my front brake pads very soon. The oxygen sensor is also not working, but I will wait on repairing that for a while yet (it’s not a dire fix, while brakes on the other hand are very important).

I am beginning to think about life after graduation now. To be quite honest, I’m a bit afraid for life after graduation. Student loans will be looming over my head in the near future; I have mountains of debt to pay. I will likely be living with my parents as free room and board can’t be beat. However, job prospects in my hometown are slim as I am from a town of 2000 people. I will likely move back to the Twin Ports area after a few months, or perhaps head somewhere like Minneapolis for a job, next summer or fall at the soonest I’d imagine.

I want to teach abroad next fall, but the deadlines for applications are coming up too quickly, and focusing on school now takes up too much of my time. I wanted to apply for the JET program for 2016, but the deadline is so soon, and I didn’t have the time to collect all the needed forms and to complete the paperwork. Perhaps next time. I’m still thinking South Korea could be a viable option for next fall.

To be continued, friends.

Let’s try and finish out the semester strong.

It’s All Good!

Yesterday, my check engine light came on. I was on my way back to my apartment after a nice weekend visit to my parent’s place. I brought in the car this morning, and the mechanic told me the gas cap was loose, which caused the light to come on. He didn’t charge me for this little fix!

My weekend was lovely and filled with seeing my parents, cuddling with my dog, baking peanut butter cookies, and perusing through some light studying.

The weather is in the low 50s now and is projected to be around 50 the entire week. After emerging from the frigid, below zero temps and piles of snow, I am thankful for the warmth. My energy levels are much higher when the sun is out and the temps are warm!

Next week is spring break; I’m off for the entire weekend. If the weather continues to be this glorious, I’m hoping to do some biking and possibly hiking.

In other words, it’s all good. 🙂

Spring is a short drive down the road & thoughts about graduation

March is here. The weather is starting to warm up a bit in Wisconsin!

I posted a status on Facebook the other day that seems to ring true for us, “you know you’re from Wisconsin when 18 F feels like a heatwave.” Of course, it is nothing compared to weather in Mexico, but for us, 20 above is warm during this time of year. I saw at least one pair of bare legs today already. I wouldn’t go so far to say that 20 degrees constitutes skirt or short weather just yet. However, spring seems as though it could be around the corner. I’ve heard that we’ll be having 30 degree weather in the next few days!

Spring aside, I’ve been thinking a little bit about what will happen after I graduate from school. This fall will be my last semester. I started looking into Peace Corps, and I want to learn about Americorps as well. I started a tentative application to the Peace Corps just to make sure I can be on top of the game, especially if I want to be leaving the country shortly after graduation. I have much to research.

Spring break is approaching soon. That will be the optimal time for me to look into these programs and think about what the future holds.

Until next time,
Sarah.

p.s. I can’t believe it, but it’s been about two months since I visited Oaxaca! I miss that place something terribly. Mexico may have to be in my post-grad plans somewhere as well. 🙂