After 10 months abroad, it is pretty surreal to be in Los Angeles right now. LA hasn’t changed much, but I sure have, and despite growing up here I feel a fish out of water. Reconnecting with friends and family has been marvelous, but there are some things that are just stressful about LA that I haven’t had to deal with in my year of living in Turkey and traveling around Europe.
Like driving. After 10 months off, it was surprisingly not difficult to get back into. But I had forgotten how driving (and parking!) in LA is practically an Olympic sport, and I am definitely out of practice.
However, being in LA it means that I am getting closer to Japan! My journey to teaching in Japan has been surprisingly smooth, much more so than Turkey. The biggest difference is that this time I have already been hired by a company, rather than moving to the country and finding a job. Everything that my partner and I had to tackle by ourselves I have assistance from the company with: the visa process (which was hilariously complicated in Turkey), finding housing, even mundane but necessary things like getting a cell phone and bank account. I’ve been especially surprised by the visa process. All it has required was filling out a few forms and making two short, easy trips to the Japanese consulate in downtown LA. A far cry from the intense paperwork, poorly translated websites, and anxiety of the Turkish visa process.
I love making lists, and this is a particularly fun one to be able to check off:
Visa – check!
Plane ticket – check!!!
Housing – working on it!
Learning Japanese – slowly, but it’s happening!!!
Getting ridiculously excited – oh my god yes!
I can’t believe I fly 3 weeks from today. I have many more stories of teaching and volunteering in Turkey, traveling in Europe, and doing a work exchange in Bavaria, but wanted to drop in this life update so you all know where my head is at right now. I don’t know if I can properly explain how huge this is. It feels like for the first time in my life, I’m really doing something for me and setting off into the unknown by myself. Until now, I have always done things with my sister or partner or friends at my side, and as delightful as that is, it’s time for me to discover what life is like solo.
If there’s anything I’ve learned lately, it’s that the best way to find yourself is to get a little lost.
Safe and Happy Travels,