Yesterday I ...
went to watch Yoshi`s nieces` ballet recital (with Yoshi`s sister and her husband, and Yoshi`s mum) at a hall near our house. Kano (age 7, dressed as a carrot) and Koto (age 5, dressed as a tomato) were a bit shy but super cute! Their dance theme was `Cooking` and they were all dressed as vegetables, with the oldest dancer dressed in an apron and holding kitchen utensils.
Today I ...
am 38 weeks pregnant! That means the lil one could come at any moment, and that even if he waits until his due date (April 5th), we will get to meet him in just 14 days!
There are ...
only 14 days until my baby`s due date, AND only 11 days until my 30th BIRTHDAY! This is a good chance to think about the last decade of my life! What have I been doing?? Where has the time gone??
April 2001 - I turned 20 years old (the age of 20 is a big milestone in Japan, but not so much in New Zealand). At this time I was studying at Auckland University (a double major in Psychology and Education), living with my dad (after my parents` divorce a couple of years earlier) in Auckland city, and had been dating my ex-boyfriend for several years.
April 2002 - I turned 21 years old and of course, held the obligatory `21st` - a big party with family and friends to celebrate becoming an adult (even though kiwis can drive, vote, smoke and drink after the age of 18).
About a week after my 21st birthday, I suffered from a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) which is like a small stroke caused by a temporary blood clot. Although it was difficult to diagnose, the doctors blamed the blood clot on me taking birth control pills, which I immediately stopped doing. I was in hospital for about a week while my body regained strength (the right side of my body was weakened by the TIA).
The terror, pain and discomfort I felt made me appreciate life and made me start thinking seriously about my future. Could I stay, work and live in New Zealand? Was I happy in my relationship? What did the future hold?
In 2003 I decided that broadening my career horizons by travelling abroad would be a good idea. I always felt a little like an outsider in New Zealand (much more shy, quiet, serious, polite, introverted... than my friends) and wondered if living in a different culture would help me to grow emotionally too.
So in July 2003, me and my best friend came to Japan on a working holiday visa. We had a year to explore the country and made our temporary home in Tokyo (in a tiny youth hostel in the back streets of Ueno). After a few months (during the height of a hot and humid Japanese summer), the both of us (in long distance relationships with boyfriends back home) decided we were miserable and that we wanted to go home. Our parents (via long tearful telephone conversations) helped us to reconsider, saying that it would be more valuable to use our year-long visas and try to get some work experience to add to our resumes. We listened and took their advice (which I am sure they often regret to this day), subsequently ended the relationships with our ex-boyfriends and are still both in Japan almost 8 years later.
I was in Tokyo (living, working and PLAYING) from July 2003 until January 2005, when I was transfered to Osaka on business.
April 2005 - I met Yoshi on the night of my 24th birthday and we began dating the very next day. After a rocky start, we managed to work through some of our differences (and my stubbornness) and are obviously still together today.
November 2009 - Yoshi proposed to me overlooking the Akashi Bridge (near Kobe, Japan)!
April 2010 - Yoshi and I signed the paperwork for marriage, and officially became husband and wife (a few months before our wedding). We decided to sign the paperwork on the anniversary of the day we first met (which is also my birthday, and the anniversary of my grandparents` wedding anniversary).
July 2010 - We had our wedding ceremony in Nara and shared our special day with about 50 family and friends (and a bigger, noisier 2nd wedding party in Shinsaibashi afterwards).
August 2010 - We found out that I am pregnant (a little faster than we expected, but super exciting anyway).
April 2011 - our son is due to arrive!
* During my 20`s I have done a wide variety of jobs...
Data entry clerk
Wine shop clerk
Wine shop manager
Real estate agent
English teacher / tutor etc.
* and I have travelled abroad and domestically within Japan several times...
Australia (Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast)
Korea (Seoul and Jeju Island)
The US (California)
Japan (Okinawa, Kyoto, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, Tokyo, Niigata, Ise, Toba, Nagoya...)
* and I have lived in more than a handful of areas of both Osaka and Tokyo (including Ikebukuro, Tsukiji, Nerima, Tenjinbashi-suji-6-chome, Nishinakajima Minamigata and Takaida).
I often think back on my early 20`s when I remember saying to myself`I know who I am`, `I know what I want`, `I know everything` and how silly that seems now. There is so much I don`t know about life and love that I want to discover in the next decade.
There are lots of moments and periods of time during the last 10 years that I would rather forget, and lots of stupid mistakes I have made, and careless things I have done (most of them involving boys). Some of them would probably make for VERY interesting reading, but I will spare my family the embarrassment!
BIG hugs and thanks to all the people who made my 20`s the most interesting, exciting and educational time of my life until now. I will leave you now with a selection of photos from my life so far...
A little early, but nonetheless HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY to meeeeeeeeeeee!