Happy 2018!

Hello everyone – I’m back! I can’t BELIEVE it’s already a week into the new year! I had a fabulous time spending the holiday with my family in the States, and now it’s back to work!

My visit in America felt way too short, especially considering that I had a long travel time (two layovers) each way. The initial flight from Japan to the U.S. is around 11-12 hours, so my time on the plane is basically filled with watching movies, eating, and sleeping. Luckily I had no super long layovers this time! In any case, the trip was definitely worth it – I got to see my grandmother, spend time with my siblings and parents, and eat some greasy, salty, sugary American food. Yum!

Now that a new year has turned and I’m back to life in Japan, I’m feeling a bit introspective. I’m curious about what the year ahead holds. 2017 was a year of big changes, and I know that 2018 will also hold lots of new experiences and growth. In some ways, the past year was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, which makes me contemplate how life has a way of turning our expectations on their heads. Life carries a lot of beauty and joy, but due to its frailty and our fallible human natures, there’s also a lot of pain mixed into the joy. The irony is that the pain, as excruciating as it can be, is what makes us better people (if we let it!) and gives God the opportunity to do awesome things in us and to make us more connected to Him.

So, with these thoughts in mind, I’m trying to enter 2018 with fairly open expectations. In a lot of ways, my life here in Japan will be easier than last year, since I’m more familiar with my job and the culture. We’ll also have a turnover of about half our team, so we’ll be getting some new teachers this spring. I don’t have any new year’s resolutions per se, but I definitely want to focus on learning more Japanese and perhaps try to pass one of the levels of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) that is offered here.

Well, I’ve talked a lot about me, so it’s your turn. Any big plans for 2018? Any great (or small) resolutions, or cool ways that God has been working in your life? Leave me a comment below! And to all my family, friends, and valued readers – I hope you have a wonderful upcoming year. Savor the joyful times, and use the challenges as springboards to develop grit and to grow a thriving relationship with God. Happy 2018!

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