Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making New Connections

Moving to a new country has been an interesting journey.  Making the decision to uproot our family, and transplant ourselves into a new culture, a foreign language, with few contacts, took some bravery.  Fortunately, the kids and Justin have a built-in social network at school and work.  I've always been a people person, so I wasn't too concerned about meeting people, but creating a new life here has been an evolving process.

Luckily, we were on base for 5 weeks.  This in itself was a good place to acquaint ourselves with others, and our new surroundings.  I never realized until we moved here how many things are offered to military families and Civilians working here long-term.  Free use of the gym, no sales tax, free courses, free Teen Center and no library fines to name a few.  Since the base isn't too big, the opportunity to see familiar faces happens regularly here.

Taking advantage of the classes on base has been a good networking tool.  I've met many new people this way, and it has opened doors to other connections, and friendships.  Next week I start my 12 week intensive language course out in town.  While I'm frightened (and sad since my friend who was going to take the course with me is back with her family in the U.S.) about this new journey, I'm also excited for the learning and networking opportunities this situation will present to me.  I've already seen the sensei who will be teaching my class on a tour we were on about a month ago.  She was one of the tour guides.  Small world!

International lunch with new friends!

Because of the events that have unfolded since the earthquake/tsunami hit Japan, the networks we were forming here have changed.  Many of our friends have chosen to evacuate to the United States for an indeterminate amount of time.  While I have my own self-pity moments, and want things to return back as they were, I've decided to push ahead and make the best of a tragic situation.  Since the disaster, I have met an amazing group of men and women who are still here in Yokosuka.  Some have been working the humanitarian efforts on base, others are Japanese friends I've met through new friends, and some are essential personnel.  Last week I formed a small private group on Facebook for the people who have stayed behind here in Yokosuka.  It was more of a way to have get togethers, to provide support to one another, and to just have fun.  I'm not sure the direction I wanted the group to take, but just felt compelled to start it.  In the meantime, another lady I met has been having weekly International lunch dates with her friends who are still in town.  I feel so happy to be included, and have been meeting some lovely people.  Our next outing will be to view The Cherry Blossom trees (Sakura).......can't wait.

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