Progress: Halfway to ?

It has officially been 6 months since we arrived in Takayama (6 months, 6 days in Japan total). We arrived at our current home on April 21st, to find much the same weather that we are experiencing now, with cooler days & colder nights, only now we know our way around town, we know where to find most things we need, and we have even driven quite a ways out of our town a few times (next week will be the furthest drive yet, all the way to Kyoto & Osaka!). When we first arrived, we were nervous to go too far off roads we familiar with, since we had no maps, no phones, and no real way to ask for directions any longer, and now we can’t wait to drive as far as we can go!

We are making some progress in our Japanese studies – listening to local Japanese radio stations, and watching Japanese movies with english subtitles, is helping us grow more accustomed to understanding the language more. Listening & understanding is always the difficult part! Our reading skills are moving along, and before 2012 is finished, we will start studying Kanji (the much more complicated writing system!).

We are both 28 years old now, and we agree that making the biggest change we could think of has been the best idea. 8 months ago we were plugging away at jobs we didn’t really enjoy and wondering what job we would be doing 6 months in the future (because it sure wasn’t going to be the ones we had then!), and now we are halfway through a year-long contract at a job that we love, in a place we love. We are honestly enjoying every minute of it! Not a Friday goes by where we feel like it’s been a long week – we are so surprised every time we realize it’s Friday already… How many people that you know can say that? There are so many people our age or even older, who are just working for the weekend, wasting 8 hours or more of every day (that’s 1/3 of EVERY DAY!) doing something they truly don’t enjoy, just to pay the bills or earn money they don’t always need. I lost track of the number of times in Chicago, where I was riding the train into work before the sun was up, thinking ‘well, at least tomorrow is Friday’… and then realizing it was only Tuesday… it sure makes for a long day ahead and an even longer week! Nowadays, I no longer spend my work day desperately searching for another job. (and I haven’t quit this job once! …my old hotel people might get that one. 😀 )

So if you have some crazy thing that you’re thinking about doing it, ask yourself why you’re not doing it, then stop making excuses and just go for it – try to do something crazy and see what happens. Now, i’m not recommending that you buy a ticket overseas and expect to just find a job out of nowhere, but do some research, send in an application, and ask other people who have done similar things for advice and make a serious plan. It’s always good to have a backup plan, but don’t be afraid to try just because it’s different or unknown… Or because it might not work out!

Have you done anything that made a drastic change in your life? What was it?

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