Originally Posted by PTree15
I'm so jealous. Would love to have done that back in my college years.
If you could sum up your life in one word right now, what would it be?
But I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way... is that possible? haha.
Originally Posted by Nickle00
Hey Claire!! Okay, I'm FINALLY back on VB
. FOR REAL this time and now that I am I will be a regular in this thread. I'm the one that petitioned to get this started back up again and then I dropped off the face of this website. Anyhoo, on with my question:
I know you've lived in Spain and are currently in Japan. What got you started living overseas? Where do you plan to go next? What do you love the MOST about living in a foreign country and what do you love the LEAST about it?
1. My last year of high school I was signed up to take college level Spanish, and I requested to use my free period to take beginning French. The school counsellors told me it's impossible to study two languages at once, and if I did it I'd fail out of high school and work at McDonald's forever so they wouldn't allow it.
I wasn't happy! So in college, I decided to start a second language, and wanted it to be a little difficult, so I went with Russian. Studying Russian suddenly made me realize how much I love languages. I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I didn't feel comfortable speaking Russian yet (and figured Spanish was more useful) so I went with Spain. It was an amazing year, and I knew I had to do it again.
Also, I was going to apply for the Peace Corps, but in college I had recurrent bronchitis and sinus infections, so they told me I'd probably not be accepted. A friend said, "hey, I think I'll go to Japan, you should come, too." So, I said, "eh, what the heck, why not?"
Glad I did!
2. I'm in my second year here, and planning a 3rd, quite possibly 4th and 5th. After that, I can't continue in this program anymore (and probably will be ready to move on), so I'm thinking I'd like to go to Russia for a year or two. I'm also considering Taiwan, but mostly because I fell in love with Taipei and it's plethora of vegan buffets!
I'd also like to return to Spain eventually. I'm willing to consider most anywhere, though. I'm also considering becoming a permanent ex-pat eventually. Not sure I want to return to the US.
3. I most love getting such a first-hand look at another way of life. It's so different living somewhere than just visiting. I really feel like I live
in this town, even though I look so different, speak a different language, eat different food, get stared at... I also love the perspective it gives me on the US. I've learned a lot of things about how American I am and the good and bad things about the US that I just hadn't considered until I'd seen them from another culture's perspective.
I also love how much I've learned about what it feels like to be different, and to be an immigrant. It's quite humbling.
On that same not, I least like my constant foreignness. Both in Spain and in Japan I like being foreign most of the time. It makes me different, and as a typical American I enjoy that.
But every now and then, I just want to blend in.
In Spain, it wasn't so much of an issue - I spoke reasonably good Spanish when I got there, I didn't look that different, etc. But in Japan, I got here and was completely unable to communicate, was completely illiterate, look totally different, etc. You can never escape it. Even at school, where I have these amazing colleagues and students, sometimes I just can't quite fully explain something because of the language barrier, and it's really frustrating, particularly if it's something important to me.
Does that make sense? I have great opportunities being foreign. I don't have to fit the rigid societal pressures the Japanese face. I can be weird. I can open up people to the world outside Japan they may have never encountered before, besides in movies and such. I am a curiosity to everyone. But... I am a curiosity to everyone. I have very little privacy because of it, and no matter how good I get at Japanese or how well I master the customs, that will never go away.