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Friday, July 10, 2009

Moving to Okinawa, Volume 1

I am beginning to prepare for the biggest move of my life.

I feel anxiety. I cannot stand moving. I despise moving. Moving my home is very unnatural to me. I have tears. I have to say goodbye to my dog. I have to sell the car I love. The Army will pack all my things, each and every meaningless thing, but I am just getting rid of special collectibles and some of my sweet stone collections because I have grown tired of packing and unpacking them. I am dismal. I am sad. This is not in my nature. I am dark. I am tired. I do not sleep. I feel anxiety. Constant lists in my mind. No energy.

But then my darling daughter makes me smile.


And then I look at a picture of an Okinawan beach.



And I get through another day.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Becca, It will get better. Christine and I have moved 4 times in the past 3 years. For three years prior to that we put everything we owned in storage except a few pieces of luggage and we handed over the keys to our house and let a family live there; first when we lived and studied in Brussels and again when we lived in Amsterdam.

    We have learned quite a lot about what matters in life. What things make us who we are and what things -abstract or material- are merely clutter. We have repeatedly gone through the liquidation, consolidation and elimination of our material possessions. Sometimes objects are missed though most of the time either forgotten or gladly not remembered. Everything can be replaced, except of course the lives of the ones you love and those that love you. You will come to find that having the opportunity to clear the junk we all accumulate and finding new, better, prettier, etc. junk is one that not many people get, nor would they ever choose to.

    Focus for now on the aspects that you will soon find most difficult. First, The separation from family and friends needs preparation, make sure you spend as much time now with those you are leaving and keep in contact once you have gone. You will value the fact that you were able to build stronger bonds when you are divided by an ocean. The memories will help you through the times of loneliness.

    Second, I suspect your forthcoming international adventure will be quite different than mine and Christine'. Being stationed on an army base will be an immediately recognizable community - one in which everyone shares a common bond. Nevertheless, learn as much as you can about the culture, language and customs of Japan - before you go. Try to find videos and documentaries on the internet even if not in english that show daily Japanese life in todays context. Try to pick up on some of the language, there are many free sources though I do believe the Army offers Rosetta Stone to transfers.

    Christine and I have experienced the very real existence of culture shock. We found ourselves in the middle of one of the largest cities in europe, in the pouring rain, treading cobblestone streets, dragging 4 large rolling suitcases, 2 large garment bags, 2 backpacks, and a paper shopping bag of last minute carry-ons. No one spoke any english and we couldnt find our apartment; (one rented sight unseen we figured out why it had been unseen) there was no comfort in watching TV as we hadn't had time to learn french before departing. A bad Idea as we soon found ourselves in business classes being taught in french.

    We made it through, we learned to enjoy it, on a later trio to europe we returned to Brussels for a few hours just to walk past our old apartment. We have much to reminisce about and we are fond of the experiences we gained and the memories we will forever have.

    Perhaps one of the most surprising things you are likely to overlook - the unexpected feeling of reverse culture shock when returning 'home'. You will have found that you miss Japan and the life that surrounded you there.

    So Fret not. You only live once - accomplish as much as you can in the limited time we have. Enjoy this time of change and remember that it is making you a much stronger and richer person who will never regret the day you changed your world.

    Good luck on your journey.
    Best Regards,
    Tim Rafferty

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  2. TIM!!!!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to type this. It is amazing. I love you for it. I may even have to seek you ouot for strength in the future!~!! I would love to hear more about your travels and experiences some time. You are very cool and very blessed. Thank you :) You have helped me.
    Love, Bec

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  3. I'm almost afraid to ask - but have you found a home for your dog? I really hope so. If you still have time, don't be afraid to post an ad on Craigslist.org in your area. "free to good home" works well. It really does. (It still hurts to say goodbye though)

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  4. I did find a home for my dog!!! Thank you for asking. Dear friends offered to take her and it was my first choice of where I would want her to be, if not with me :) Thank you for asking.

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