November 21, 2016
Laurence Sensei's November web post- For those thinking about living abroad
Moving to a distant country like Japan forces you to learn all the little things in life over again. You have to learn the rules of your new society and what people treasure.
Everything seems a slightly off. There’s nature but the plants and flowers are different. The leaves don't change colour like you remember they do and not at the same time either. There’s fruit and vegetables, but they’re not in season at the same times they used to be. Chicken breasts are cheap and chicken thighs are expensive. Fatty meat is more popular than lean meat. People cultivate the land but instead of endless fields of wheat, canola and soy, there are rice fields everywhere in the countryside.
There’s Christmas, but it’s a day for lovers, not family. There’s Valentine’s Day but girls give chocolate to boys instead of boys giving chocolates to girls. You can get a day off for celebrating a day you never knew was special in the first place, but you also feel like you shouldn’t be working on Christmas day.
Living in another country is worth it. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, evolve and adapt: to become stronger. It’s not always easy. But in the end, it’s an invaluable experience. If you have the chance to live abroad one day, even if it’s scary, even if you’re not completely fluent in your second or third language, please give it a try if you can.
You will become a better person for it.