How tough do I have to be?

Will things be ok just because others tell me so?

My new job is in Yokohama… kids and their school in Tokyo… we are moving closer to their school next month… so they can just walk home… Till then daddy is commuting with them in the mornings (crowded trains) and they make it home by themselves in the afternoons… They walk to the metro station, take one metro line 2 stops… change for another… 6 stops… walk 10 mins…

One day last week they got off one stop too early… they just caught the next train…

Today they went too far 2 stops… started chatting and missed it… they didn’t panic, called me, asked for help… found the right platform and they are now on the right train on their way home…

Tokyo is safe… they made a mistake like we all make sometimes… They found a solution…

I am sitting on a train approaching Tokyo… my eyes filled with tears… When kids called me, there was no panic, but there was stress…

So what that 6 year old here commute to school…

Transition…

I can now say I arrived to Japan over a year ago… a year and 2 days precisely…

Holiday time is over…

It’s been a lovely Summer… We have done so much, spent quality time with family and friends…

Now back to reality… First day at my new job on Thursday… Kids back to school on Monday… loads of new stuff ahead…

one size does not fit all

There is no recipe how to lead one’s life to be happy… one size (way) does not fit all… of course it is nice to be kind but the each of us has different contents of their own treasure chest called happiness… Our own collection of people, values, experiences, objects… that makes us happy… our personal choice, unique combination…

Since I was a little girl, I wanted to leave abroad. The forbidden West Europe was tempting… The empty shelves of grocery shops of my childhood made me crave the sweets of the “West”…

My parents have built a 2 storey house and since I was a girl, I was told, I would live upstairs with my future family… and I have always denied their offer…

I left Poland in January 2000… initially planning to return 6 months later… But London with its freedom, diversity and good wages despite being only a hotel cleaner at first… was too good… so I stayed… and made it my home. That’s where I met many if my BBFs and my husband. That’s where I had my kids… Now Tokyo… Tamed a bit so it’s likable and “missable”… Yes, I actually miss Tokyo now… I miss our house, friends, cats…

There is no recipe for happiness… and it’s not all under our control. I know many people who never left their hometown. I know people who move every few years. I like my life although it is by far not mistakes free. The experiences of living in different locations is one the things that makes me happy. I like the way it stretches my horizons and widens the borders of my tolerance.

Nearly everything in life has side effects… good and bad… The experience of moving abroad means not being able to see friends and family as often as we wish. And when we meet… things are sometimes awkward…

stuffed

Since I arrived to Europe nearly 3 weeks ago… I have been eating all yummy and cheap not easy to purchase in Japan food… mostly cheese… white cheese… and black pudding, and all kinds of marinated herrings… heaven!

What a week

A week full of ups and downs… I survived… yesterday I literally collapsed… fell asleep at 7pm…

Adulthood is overrated… when I was a child, I couldn’t wait to be an adult… Now the pressure of daily chores is often depressing…

Long distance friendship

Nearly 5 months since I arrived to Tokyo… as few of you noticed, I’m more positive these days than I was before Xmas. our visit to Europe was great… seeing friends like we have never been away… catching up… fab feeling. Now back to reality of being 6 thousands miles away from Europe… 

How does it feel when I know my friends are meeting without me… that we are missing kids’  bday parties, weekend camping expeditions this Spring… chatting outside school, park time on a sunny day after school…

How does it feel when I tell them I’m making new friends, going away for a weekend… 

2 months…

Yeah, I’ve been here over 2 months now. And it’s been a rocky road… 

Still struggling to make this place my home… but positive experiences (like our first BBQ in our garden) making things better….

In London I was (still after 17 years there) asked where I’m from… here somehow people more often ask how long I’ve been here… even with my “2 months” answer I’m the new kid on the block… far from being on of the gang… nobody really knows me, and my inner security systems still not letting me be myself… 

Working on my mindfulness skills to enjoy the moment. 

As I was speaking this morning, a metaphor came to my head… 

December 2018

4th Dec

When one feels homesick… And then at the local supermarket finds this… 🙂

5th Dec

Magical clouds in Yokohama today ❤️
BTW yesterday +24c… Today bit windy… Next week minus temperatures…

12th Dec

Yes… I have lived in Japan for over a year now… And still it surprises me… And I love it for it…
So went to a shop and decided to try on a hoodie… And the sales assistant gives me this something and explains I need to put it on my head while putting the hoodie on and also when taking it off…
Mixture of laughter and shock…!!! Just had to take the photos!!!

15th Dec

23 days of Winter break. And I don’t mind calling it that way. Yes, most of the people I know call it Christmas break but I am happy to respect everyone. Winter break it is!

But that’s not the main thought of today…
In the expat community every break like it means change… People move on… To different countries, another 3 years contact somewhere else or the contract came to an end and they are off “home” where ever it can be after years of living an expat life…

And saying good byes does not get easier… But even I (in general not good with transitions) am getting used to it.
My mum has lived all her life in the same city. My late dad moved from one part of Poland to the other.
I have been miles away from my home country for nearly 19 years now… I don’t like change but I don’t let it stop me… I don’t like heights but I cross suspended bridges… And loving the benefits of my decisions… Even though they come with some drawbacks…

31st Dec

Yesterday I saw for the first time Shōbōdan being out on the yomawari… So about four people, I think all men, walking on our street, 3 of them with torches, the forth one claping wooden sticks (photo below, they called hyōshigi – wooden, percussion instrument). Apparently usually they call out “Hi no yōjin” (watch out for fire), they ones on our street just clapped sticks.
It’s winter now in Japan and the air is mega dry. A humidifier at home is a must, lip balms used nearly every hour, body lotions twice a day… Even my kids requested lip balms… Dry, dry, dry… So the risk of fire is significant. Therefore, those volunteers walk daily in the evenings clapping sticks to remind people to be careful and vigilant.
Japan…