Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve! I’m back at work now, but with nothing to do, woo-hoo! I’ve been reflecting on our lives in 2017 and thinking about what goals I want to set up for myself in 2018.
2017 was a great year for Paul and me. We visited three countries (South Korea, Australia, and the US) and many lovely places in Japan; we witnessed a beautiful wedding in Sydney and reconnected with friends we hadn’t seen in far too long; my cousin and his beautiful wife had the cutest baby EVER; and best of all, we’ve made many new friends from all over the world!
I feel as though this year I’ve really started figuring out what it is I love in life. To put it briefly:
- I love travelling — and especially travelling with others, because for me, experiences are best when shared (especially with Paul!)
- I find enjoyment in places as grand as Sydney’s Opera House or as simple as a small temple in town I’ve never seen before.
- I love trying new food…perhaps a little too much, because I frequently get sick when we travel, so I’m slowly learning how to pace myself!
- I’m learning how to balance my desire to photograph everything I see with actually putting down my camera long enough to really experience what it is I’m seeing.
- I love experiencing new places, new cultures, new foods. I want to see the world!
I’m grateful for the many good things in my life:
- I live in a place where I am surrounded by a fascinating culture.
- I can afford to live comfortably and travel!
- I have patient and friendly co-workers and fun and (mostly) enthusiastic students.
- I have a wonderful group of close friends and a kind, funny, supportive, partner to share my life with.
I really am thankful to live in such a beautiful country!
I’m already pumped for 2018. In March and April my lovely Swiss friend Hannah, who I haven’t seen in years, is coming to visit (with her boyfriend!); we have tentative plans to go on a road trip in Ireland in spring or summer with my favourite sister-in-law (); in December I will be going to see my family in Thailand with my mom and then my family back in the States; and, in order to do all these things, we have decided to stay in Japan for at least another two years! (Also, I’m not ready to leave Japan just yet – there’s still so much of its culture I want to experience!)
As for any New Year’s Resolutions – well! I think the overall goal is to be more mindful. Mindful of my surroundings and opportunities, and to take full, happy advantage of them; mindful of my health and the food I eat; mindful of my interactions with friends and family and being more forgiving; and, perhaps most importantly, mindful of myself, being sure to take care of myself not just physically, but also mentally.
And that’s that! I hope you all have a wonderful 2018 – あけましておめでとうございます！ Happy New Year!