2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for many of us.
2020 began with a great deal of hope, plans for travel, and a chance to learn new languages and experience new cultures for me. I moved to Japan with my husband at the end of 2019 eager to learn more about Japan, learn Japanese, and take in as much Japanese culture as possible. I hoped that I would get to travel to many parts of southeast Asia as well.I had always dreamed of exploring that side of the world with all its majestic jungles and beautiful beaches.
2020 taught me that I don’t always get what I plan to get. This past year has been a wonderful opportunity for growth and self reflection. It was a difficult and painful journey of understanding myself and how my past shaped my present and how I can choose how it will shape my future. I learned the value of true friends and the value of community by not having easy or any access to either friends or community during my time in Japan.
The spring and summer were the hardest months this past year. With the pandemic I had to stay home and could not make new friends or get to know the people in my community. It wasn’t all bad. I learned how to paint during that time and found great joy in being creative. I also learned the value of the friends who were thousands of miles away but took the time to reach out and make sure I was doing well. I hope I showed them the same kindness.
The fall and winter however brought me great joy in friends and in love. As 2020 drew to an end I discovered wonderful friends who taught me the importance of patience and how it pays off. I had a wonderful time enjoying their company in my home and was honored to visit their home. I experienced Japanese hospitality first hand and a rare chance to visit someone in their home in Japan.
I found great happiness watching my husband go after his ambitions. I watched us grow as together we learned how to better understand the challenges of moving to a new area of the world. We were given a wonderful opportunity to rediscover our values and gain a clearer understanding of our future.
So while 2020 was not filled with all the wonderful discoveries of new places, it was full of wonderful discoveries of my existing world and self. For 2021 I hope I get to take the lessons I learned from 2020 to build a foundation for the decades to come. Happy New Year everyone!