Monday, January 11, 2010

What a Decade

I've seen more than a few bloggers writing about the highlights of the past decade and thought I would join in, although I am not sure if need an invitation to do so.

2000 - I was working for ABC Rail Systems and living in Fitchburg, a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. I lived in an apartment complex that was located near a park with a pond where geese often rested. I know this because I often went walking very early mornings or late evenings for exercise. I also enjoyed X-country skiing at a local park, and for some reason, I  preferred skiing in the moonlight until someone advised me not to. At that time, I was still working for REM, doing 24 hour shifts on 3 weekends a month, and I was officially single but still seeing Michael off and on. Yusuke and I had been out of contact for about a year, but we began writing letters here and there in the spring. And, one more thing, I took a temporary 3rd job in the spring to pay for my enormous tax bill - it was correcting essays for some high school achievement exams - and it was there that I met Warren who ended up referring me for his old position at Scholastic Book Fairs. I landed that job and started working there in the summer. It seemed like a good time to make some major changes in my life, and since I was moving to a new apartment in Fitchburg in July, I also "left" Michael. What I mean, is that I moved and changed jobs without giving Michael my new contact information and it took him quite a while to track me down. It was the only way to get out of that relationship because I was kind of addicted to him. This is turning out to be long, but bear with me. Yusuke & I officially got back together later that summer, and he came to visit me for Xmas. We got engaged then.

2001 - Wedding planning took up most of the year. I was finding out that Scholastic really didn't pay well, so I was quite poor. My new car payments, slightly expensive apartment & long commute to work didn't help much. I remember that my fridge was empty most of the time, and the only social outlet I could afford was the $2 a week country line dance lessons down the road. Despite that, in March I traveled to Japan to meet Yusuke's family and to attend a wedding. I went again in July to spend more time with Yusuke and finalize some wedding details. At that time, we discussed the possibility of living in Japan (temporarily!!!) because he had a much better job than I did. I moved out of my expensive apartment in September and began renting a room from a woman who owned a condo. It was located much closer to my job, so I was able to start paying down my debts. Despite my money issues, I rocked at planning my wedding though and budgeting it down to a $5000 event, and I was quite proud of myself for that. Our wedding took place in Madison on November 24. Yusuke & his family flew in for the week. I quit my job at Scholastic right around Xmas time and moved back to my parents' house.

2002 - I moved to Japan at the end of January and began working for ECC in March. Yusuke had found a small apartment for us in Inagekaigan, near his parents' house and also near the high school where we met. I felt comfortable with this neighborhood already. I began taking Japanese classes with a teacher in Tsuga once a week, and I joined AFWJ in the summer. We took a few hot spring trips that year. The best trip we took was to Kurumayama in the Nagano highlands. I went back to Colorado to visit Shannon and to Wisconsin for Xmas that year.

2003 - I took on the job as Journal Editor for the AFWJ Journal and began learning how to use the design software. I also was offered the Native English teacher job at the same high school where Yusuke and I went and began working there in April. That job really stressed me out in the first few months and I began having a few health problems because of it. Luckily, they hired two more teachers in August so things got there are 5 native teachers working there. We went to Kurumayama again in the summer.

2004 - My parents came to visit for the first time in March. Shannon and Jill came later that year in July. I was still editing the Journal so that kept me very busy. I was becoming good friends with some other AFWJ members like Kaz and Louise. We are still great friends to this day. Rather than return to WI for Xmas, Yusuke and I took a road trip called the Music City Tour, and we traveled to Nashville, Memphis & New Orleans.

2005 - This year we had a lot of changes. I lost weight using the South Beach Diet and then we also signed a contract to buy our condo. Most of the year was spent preparing for that, but I did a bit of traveling as well. Kaz & I went to visit a friend (Wendy) in Osaka, I went to Nagoya to visit Amy O., and Yusuke & I spent Xmas in WI and then roadtripped with Shannon out to Colorado.

2006 - We bought Max from a breeder in Chiba and then moved to our condo in March. In June, I attended the AFWJ Convention in Kyushu and then got pregnant upon my return. Ha ha. Shannon came to visit in July, and I went home to WI for a couple weeks in August. We spent Xmas in Japan.

2007 - Ailin was born in February, and I was on maternity leave for the whole year. I started the Bilingual Babies group with a friend, and later started the Craft 'n' Chat events with another friend. Both still going strong although I no longer participate in Bilingual Babies group.

2008 - Ailin went into daycare and I returned to work in February. A couple friends and I started the Bilingual Kids Club, which is still going strong. We visited WI and Colorado in July & August. Shannon got married so I stood up in her wedding. For Xmas holidays, we went to Okinawa instead of going home to WI again. Oh, and I got pregnant with Luka in September.

2009 - I started maternity leave in May and Luka was born in June. We traveled home to WI in November and stayed for about one month. I finally began doing digital scrapbooking.

There you have a nutshell. I actually think that the beginning of the decade was much more exciting, but I think I am much happier now.

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