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Bloom where you are planted 🌻// The journey to feel at home

Velvet, yellow, green leaves that flew when the wind blows. The tiles, the air, the green fields that started to wither. The people. The language. The land. They all remind me how far I have come from home and how far more I can go.

Europe is a place I have dreamt of visiting since I was young and yet I didn’t only visit once nor four times but here I am, making a life here. It feels still so surreal. Until now, I still can’t believe that I uprooted myself, changed my country and my continent.

It has been a year since I left Japan. It seems short but believe me, I feel like a decade has happened. After all these months, I felt one thing I’ve been waiting to feel all along: the air of being home.

But before that, there were so many obstacles and pushing and pulling in between. There were struggles, adjustments, and hardships. It was not an easy road to feeling this and that made this feeling even more precious to me.

When I got here, after the Christmas season and New Year, when everything was settled and clear, the effect of moving came: Frustration. I got frustrated that I cant understand anything, that I can’t get a job, I didn’t have my own friends, My diploma is not valid in Europe. Then panic came: I started to think maybe this was not for me, maybe I did the wrong thing to move to the other side of the world. Maybe they’re right that I am crazy enough to change. Maybe my life in Japan was better and it will never be the same here. I did so much overthink and assumptions to the point of breaking. I questioned myself, my abilities, everything I have done before. I thought maybe this was not the life I wanted. Everything went crumbling for me yet what kept me going (and still keep me going) is my man.

He never gave up in encouraging me. He was always there, supporting me. Even if I get tantrums that were out of this world, he just hugged me and say everything will be alright.

The moment I started going to Dutch school is when I started to pick myself up. Every day I saw people who were struggling the same with me. I started to understand the language and it gave me a little confidence that I needed. It didn’t stop there. I started another social orientation class about Belgium, the laws and more about the country and the more my confidence grew. I was still lost and a little bit scared but I felt like I was going somewhere.

In my social orientation class, we didn’t have any final exams though. Instead, we had a chart. A chart of our long-term goal in Belgium with steps on how to achieve it. That time, I realized how long the journey to fulfillment will be. I saw the effort and time. I went back to my insecurities and fear. I felt like I can’t do this much work just to achieve a normal life I can live in my own country or in Japan. The things I picked up along the way just crumbled.

But, there’s a “but”. I continued on. In the midst of all the disappointments and uncertainty, I decided to move on. I actually did the 1st step that I put on my goal chart: I applied to validate my diploma. It was a start. There were not a lot of requirements but the result is in 6 months: they may say yes or no or continue studying. And as of last month, I got the validation. My degree is finally recognized here! Also, I decided to find a job. In my desperation, I was willing to take anything until I landed on my job now in the hotel industry.

I’m only working for 5 months but it felt like a long time already for I have learned so many things. I started at the lowest. I was in housekeeping and it was the first physical job I have in my life. It wasn’t easy but someone told me that your work doesn’t define who you are. As long as you earn money, like everyone else, you are not a lesser or a greater person. Work is work. And that what kept me going until I got promoted to the restaurant.

I realized that the more you empty yourself, the more you can fill yourself up. I emptied myself of every single thing I had. Even my pride, my own desires, everything and now, I’m filling up the gap, growing, learning and slowly building my life. I lost some but I gained so much more.

I regret nothing. I’m actually glad I moved out of my comfort zone because then I started knowing myself more. I went to a place I knew no one and nothing about and here in that unknown ground, ironically, I found myself.

I know there will be things that will still happen to me but the journey to feel home is this. I am proud of it because it made me into someone I didn’t even know I can be.

Just like a flower that moved into a new pot: At first, it’s okay but it will eventually look like it will die because of the new environment but one should be persistent in taking care of it, nurturing it and giving it the time it needs because one day, it will bloom where it’s planted. Replanted, rather.

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Why I slowed down posting on social media

Scrolling through my newsfeed one day, I crossed one post: a picture of a tongue. To be specific, a picture of her mouth open with tongue out in a super close up to edify the big wound on it. The caption said it was painful. Boy, I couldn’t agree more. It was literally painful (I guess) but it was also painful to see on social media. Do we really have to go that extent? Do we really have to post EVERYTHING we do, places we go, people we meet, food we eat and… wounds we have?

To be fair to this one, she’s not the only one who posted a wounded photo of them. I have seen bloody legs, fingers, and people dying in the hospital, who were in an accident. I can’t help but wonder… why??????????????

Since I moved to Belgium, I almost completely stopped posting things on my social media accounts. Occasionally, I still do but not as regular was I done before and I didn’t do much before either. My mom was worried about me because she was always waiting for my posts on facebook. But, not posting doesn’t mean nothing’s happening in my life. It’s actually the other way around.

I slowed down posting because…

  1. I don’t feel the need to put everything on social media. I don’t have to rub my life to anyone. If anything, I want to post something that has a meaning or… relevance.
  2. When I am doing something, I always forget to take photos. Yes, I do now. Maybe because people here don’t have the need to take pictures every single time they meet. No one uses their phones when we go out and I never thought of using mine as well.
  3. Lastly, I just had a 3-year long distance relationship with my boyfriend. Back then, I post everything I do so he can see it and I post our pictures all the time because it’s something rare to happen. Now that we are settled in one country, I don’t feel like posting anymore. I don’t need to update him of my social network—he’s always with me! And I don’t feel the need to take a photo of us together—we’ll be together for a while now!

I know… it’s a free world, a free social network. It’s a place to say your opinions and use your freedom. I have no right to say, don’t post this or that. I just wish people limit their postings. I just wish they know where the borderline is.

When someone is dying, please… for the love of life… don’t post their antagonizing photos. I feel bad for them because they can be seen like this and will be remembered like this. If you’re in the hospital, please… put your attention in getting better and not uploading your selfies. We don’t need to see everything—not your injuries, not 200 of your selfies, not your new things and not your life 24/7.

I want you to go out there, have fun and put your phone down. Live for the moment and stop wasting time waiting for likes.

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Just a multiply account v3.0

I never believed in the theory of Darwin that humans evolved from apes. Maybe because I was raised in a Christian family and I believe in a Supreme Being than Science. For one, I can’t set to mind how we started as a bacteria that became a fish somehow, had some legs… you know the theory.

However, I believe in evolution. Everything changes and it evolves to something else. My blog certainly did. (You didn’t think this is just seguing of my writing, did you? Gotcha. Lol)

I started blogging in High school. It was blog diary. It’s still up until now and I still cringe every time I visit it. I went to multiply.com in college and I did pretty well there. I blogged better and with more sense; Unfortunately, Multiply died. I didn’t save most of my blog posts and after some longing to it, I created this blog. The name suggests that I miss my old unsaved one.

I started this, as far as my memory remembers as a blog named, “Deperadang Nobelista” (A Desperate Novelist). I still have all the banners I made for the perfect site. That was my version 1. Then, I got bored of it and deleted everything then put some sort of artsy background. That’s my version 2—but to be honest, unlike the first version, it doesn’t have a point.

I write for self-expression and yet I don’t feel like my blog have a theme. It’s so random! I sometimes envy my friends who have more concrete with their blog theme: one of my friends writes about restaurant reviews; considerable since he finished restaurant management; other with Japanese animae. I just flow in whatever that comes into my mind.

Until, recently, while making a new banner for my front page, I just typed in three words without thinking: books, travels and life. Exactly what my blog is about.

I have reviews some of the books I’ve read and to tell you, I have more. Also, I posted some travels I had and again, I have more.

So for the latest version of my blog, it will be these three things. I couldn’t be happier.

After years and years of blogging, I finally found the niche I am comfortable with. An evolution.

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Snow in November

Sorry for posting too much today. I only had the drive now and if I stop, I don’t know when will it come back. lol

So… After 54 years, it snowed again in the Tokyo area in November.

It was funny because we have been hearing the news a week before but I never really thought it will happen because it never really snow in November in our area. In Hokkaido, sure but at this part of Japan, it’s still Autumn. The peak of winter here is always January to February and then by those months, it snows. I told myself, it won’t happen; it was just a forecast.

Yet, I woke up that Thursday. I went down to the living room and opened the window: It was, indeed, snowing. I was amazed and puzzled at the same time.

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I wore my long down jacket, my snow boots and my big umbrella. I was chilly but I was still in shock. I went to the convenience store to withdraw some money for my train pass was low of load and I forgot my umbrella there lol. I remembered it as I entered the train.

Good thing I have another umbrella in my bag (smaller and folding). I rushed through the people to catch my bus but… I missed. After 54 years, it snowed in November and there was I: Walking to school for about 30 minutes under the drizzle.

It did snow roughly the whole day. My students were lost of focus as they were watching it fall. It was really beautiful when watching it.

I have no idea if it’s because of Global warming but my dad said it’s Japan’s way of saying goodbye to me. Because, you know, one of the many meanings of my name in Japanese is Snow. Yuki. Yukifutemashita. It rained Yukis. LOL

 

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Ticket and a list of things I need to do // The Big Move

A date.

It was the hardest for me to pick. When should I leave Japan and When CAN I leave are two different things.

First, I got my visa 21st of November. I went with my Mom because she wanted to know how to go to the Belgium Embassy and I kind of taught her. (Although, I’m sure she didn’t get a thing). We rushed through the busy stations to be there before 5pm and rushed back home to reach our house in time for her work. Tiring was such an understatement.

But, I got it. My visa. On my hand.

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The next step was crucial: When do I leave?

Well, there were a lot of things to consider. I would love to do it same as someone I know who flew 3 days after the visa came out but, sadly, I can’t. There are a LOT of things I have to do before flying like:

  1. Resign from my job
  2. Train the new teacher replacement
  3. Withdraw my residency from the city office to cut my residence tax
  4. Cut my phone, iPad and internet bills
  5. Pack my things and send some to Belgium
  6. And some more I can’t remember but I really have to.

I listed all these things in my notebook and then I realized I needed time. So, we decided to leave late December. Finally, it was decided and approved by my parents. After Christmas because my mom wants me to be here on that special day and before New Year so I can spend New Year with my Schatje.

Next step: What airline?

Well… as we all know, Christmas season also means peak season for air ticket. And, yes, it was all expensive.

I always pick the cheapest ticket because I can sleep anywhere anyway. Haha However, I’m more frequent with Emirates (Great service, nice plane and cheap most times) so I checked their rates and it was so high this season. My second bet, as always, was Qatar Airways (I love their service, too!). The price was, as I expected really high as well. My next and last option was Turkish Airlines. I flew with them once and it was okay. But then, they also have high rates this season.

So, Red and I looked for other options. After looking at ANA, JAL, Aeroflot, and others, we were down to Etihad and Swiss Airlines. Still a bit expensive than usual ticket I buy but, the cheapest we can find. I haven’t flew with the same flight ever. UAE and Switzerland are both nice countries to transit as well. But, it went down to one thing: TIME.

With Etihad, it will take me 24 hours to reach Brussels. Wow! I’m used to flying 18~22 hours but I have never experienced 24 hours. It’s 12 hours from Tokyo to UAE, 5 hours stop there and 7 more hours to Belgium. In contrast, Swiss gave me a total of 15 hours fly time! Topped the fastest I will have to date! Really! 12 Hours from Tokyo to Switzerland ; 1.5 hour transit and 1.5 hour flight to Brussels! And so, we decided to fly with Swiss Air.

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But, of course… there’s a TWIST.

Red’s dad said we have to hope there won’t be any snow storm when I land in Switzerland. My nerves, I didn’t even thought of that.

Oh well, we will see!

Japan Travels · Uncategorized

Autumn in my heart Feat. Tokyo Skytree

Japan may be popular with cherry blossoms but autumn seems to be a pretty season for trees, too. There are a lot of different other colors but my girl friends and I decided to visit Meiji jingu Gaen popular for their yellow ginko trees in November.

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Photo not mine / CCTO
That photo is the perfect photo of the place. Of course. But, you should know upfront: there’s so much people at that spot.

My friends and I went there November 20th, which they say is the best bloom of the trees yet not everything was yellow. TIP: Visit the place late November to early December.

Any how, we still enjoyed the view and managed to take a lot of good photos.

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Meijing Jingu Goen is located at Shinjuku, Tokyo.Nearest station is Aoyama-ichyome. From there, it’s a 5 minute walk to the Garden.

From Aoyama-chiyome, Skytree is only 5 stops away (Oshiage Station) so we decided to pay a visit and eat dinner there.

Skytree is the tallest structure now in the Japan with 634.0 meters. It opened March 2011. TRIVIA: The first few years I visit Japan (I come every year for 6 years before decided to stay), Tokyo Tower was still the biggest structure here. I was here when Tokyo Skytree was built and open.

Anyway, The structure is a telecommunication tower. The usual color differs on the season. When we went there, of course, it was colored red, blue and yellow–the autumn colors.

Tokyo Solamachi is the mall around Skytree. There are a lot of things to do and to eat with inside.There are also illumination at the viewing deck because Christmas is coming! Usually they have an ice skating rink outside every Christmas season too but I didn’t see it this year. Or, maybe, I didn’t noticed it.

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Tokyo is such a beautiful place and I, for one, is still and always will be in love with this city!