Getting Ready…

Hello from Ohio! I can’t believe it’s already been one week since we arrived! It has been a full week for our team – getting to know each other, learning about Japanese history and culture, and studying the Japanese language. The setting here is absolutely beautiful; the church at which we are having our orientation is like a lodge, with a spacious upstairs area that has a kitchen, a library, a huge room with a fireplace, and a balcony with a picturesque view of the field and pond behind the church.  A very generous family has allowed us to stay in their home, which is just a couple minutes’ walk away from the church, so we get some nice walking time in as we head to the church every morning and come home at night.

View from the church balcony

The church community here is amazing, offering their support through their prayers, their kind interest, and their hospitality. Every day, someone from church brings in lunch for us, which we heartily enjoy as we give our minds a break from learning. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and love shown to us, and it’s so comforting to realize that these wonderful people will be thinking of us and praying for us as we head to Japan. I was so excited to go to Japan with the support of a team, but I didn’t expect to have the support of the whole church community here as well!

Our team has spent some quality time together this past week, even making time for a few fun activities like bowling and hiking. It’s been fun to get to know the unique personalities of each person, and to see us start to mesh as a group. Although we all have different backgrounds and motivations for coming here, it is really cool to see the focus for God that each person has, and the heart that each has for following Him into this new adventure.

This week we are wrapping up our orientation, taking three more days to study more about Japanese culture, the jobs we will have, and teaching techniques. On Thursday, we get ready to head to Columbus, where we will stay overnight so that we can head out early in the morning for our flight on Friday!

Although I have some trepidation about finally going to Japan and starting a new job there, I’m also excited. God has provided and blessed in such awesome ways up this point, and I know He will into the future. The adventure has only begun, yet already it is amazing…



And So It Begins…

Tomorrow’s the day! Well, sort of. Even though I’m headed on an adventure to Japan, the “Japan” part doesn’t actually start for another couple of weeks. However, my orientation in Ohio – where I’ll be studying Japanese, learning about the culture, and getting to know my teammates – does start tomorrow. I’ll be getting up in the wee hours (or at least by five) to head to the airport for my flight to Columbus.

The past week has gone zipping by, and it feels like the past couple of days have been on fast forward as I’ve been trying to pack in everything I need to do. My room turned into a disaster zone while I worked on organizing and packing. This is me, two days ago:

However, I’m happy to report that I was finally able to stuff all my desired items into two suitcases and two carry-ons. My room is back in order, and I have been able to tie up most of my loose ends, which I am thanking God for. I was even able to sell my car today, just in the nick of time. Yay!

Well, tomorrow will be an early start with lots of adrenaline churning around in my body, so probably the smart thing to do is to turn in for the night. I’ll bid all you blog readers a final farewell from Maine!

One Week to Go…

So how easy is it to stuff enough personal belongings to last two years into two suitcases? Answer: not very. Last weekend, I did a “mock packing” just to get an idea of whether or not all the things I want to bring would actually fit into my two suitcases. I have one big one from last time I went to Japan, plus a smaller one my parents gave to me for my 18th birthday. I was really hoping to get by with just those two, but there was no way it was all going to fit.

Change of plans: I ordered a rolling duffel bag from Amazon to replace the smaller suitcase. I tried my fake packing job again, and this time…success! It looks like I will be able to bring most of what I need/want. Luckily, the apartments provided to us teachers are furnished, so I don’t have to worry about bringing any housewares or bedding. That means more room for clothes, gifts, toiletries, and a few personal items. And shoes. Japanese feet tend to run small – I’ve heard women’s size 8 is about as big as it gets. And of course, I wear 9.5. Which means I’d better bring all the shoes that I want, because I can’t count on finding any well-fitting ones over there.

There are also the cultural things to consider. For example, because Japanese people wear separate shoes (or slippers) when going inside houses and schools, I need to have separate pairs of indoor and outdoor shoes. Also, Japan is big on gift-giving, so I need to have some gifts on hand to give to people I meet, especially those who help us or are doing us favors (e.g. our employers).

On the plus side, almost all my shopping for the trip is done. That means I can spend this week (my last week here!) on final details, like organizing my room, filing my taxes, and waiting breathlessly for my visa to arrive. In many ways, it feels surreal that I have only one more week before I head to Ohio. I’m starting to get a few butterflies here and there when I think about all the upcoming changes. It’s like jumping into the deep end of a pool for the first time…you know it’s going to be scary, but you also know that you have to do it anyway. So here’s to taking plunges…




This Is the Month!

Well, it has finally arrived. March is the month in which I start my new overseas adventure – going to teach English in Japan! It has felt like a long road sometimes since I first started seriously looking into teaching jobs in Japan about a year ago. Of course, working in Japan has been a dream of mine for a long time, but for many years the timing just didn’t seem right.

But after I graduated in December 2015, I decided that I really would like to try teaching in Japan. I started looking into different opportunities, but the one that stood out the most to me was the Wakakusa English Program. I sent them an application last February, and in the subsequent months continued thinking, praying, and looking into other opportunities. Nothing appealed to me as much as the Wakakusa program, so I was very happy when my application led to Skype interviews and then eventually acceptance in the program!

My contract with the Wakakusa program is for two years (!!), and I will be teaching English in Tamura city, which is in Fukushima prefecture. The employers are Christians, and I will be going over with a team of other American teachers and working with some teachers who are already there. I know that there are going to be a lot of new (scary!) experiences and culture shock, but I also know that it’s going to be a fabulous opportunity to learn, grow, and gain new perspectives.

My plan is to keep this blog regularly updated, so please check in from time to time if you want to know what’s going on! Also please feel free to post questions and comments below. If you are interested in learning more about the program I’ll be working with, check out this link:

Talk to you all later!

(Note: comments can be added by clicking on the title of the post and scrolling down to the comment section. There is probably a better way for me to set it up, but, well….I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m new to all this blogging stuff. 🙂 )