21 August 2012

Dōmo Arigatō, Mr. Roboto

Spoiler alert:  I'm moving to Tokyo!

So to pick up where my last post left off, I arrived home in Biloxi and David and I had some heart-to-hearts.  As I said, we figured we had three options: get married, break up, or have me move independently to Tokyo and keep dating.  Neither of us considers a long-distance relationship an option.

As we talked, we realized that neither of us really wanted to break up-- we agreed that if we were both staying in Biloxi we'd keep dating.  Breaking up became a fall-back if the other two options failed.

We kept talking, now about getting married.  That would certainly make things easier.  If we were married the Air Force would pay for me to move to Tokyo, too.  I could live on base and have access to all the base's amenities.  It was appealing.  But we both feel uneasy about getting married at this point in our relationship.  We're just not there.

That left us with the final option: could I move to Tokyo?  Well, simply put, yes, I can.  My internship just finished, so I'm set to move in the next few months anyway to find employment.  I have very little tying me down here.  And I have ample experiences living abroad.

So I can move, but do I want to?  This was tricky for me to work out for myself.  If I moved, could I keep my dog?  How much would it cost to move to Tokyo?  Where could I work?  Can I learn Japanese?  Where might I live?

With so many questions, David and I got to work finding answers.  Most importantly, yes, I can take my dog with me.  There's a process to it, but it's doable.  And Tokyo is supposed to be a dog-friendly city.  So far, so good.  Teaching English is the most likely job I could find since I don't speak Japanese... Yet.  That's right: I'm officially learning my fifth language.  Let's hope it sticks.

As we learned more about the move, the more convinced we were that I could join him.  I figured if I didn't go to Tokyo, I'd prefer to move to Seattle and find a job, most likely as a landscape architect, where I'd make a certain amount of money.  OR I could move to Tokyo and find a job, most likely not as a landscape architect and be making a similar amount of money.  The deciding factor?  Not working as a landscape architect--at least for a while.

Of course, other factors came into play.  I love the challenge of learning a new language, living in a city (and not just any city, but the largest metropolis in the world), being surrounded by new experiences, trying a new career, sampling Japanese cuisine, being in a great location to do some traveling.... Really, there are plenty of reasons to move to Tokyo.  Plus, my boyfriend will be there.

So I'm moving to Tokyo.  David leaves in October.  I'm not yet sure what my plans are, but I'll work them out in the coming weeks.  Wish me luck!

20 August 2012

On the Road Again...

Well, big changes have occurred on our epic bike trip.  Very big.

Annie wrote some lovely blog posts about our first few days after my accident.  You can read them here:

Day 4-8:  Wisconsin is a Big State

Day 9 and 10: Layover in LaCrosse

As a side note, while we were visiting with Hank and his family, we learned that my good friend, Barb, had written a book about cross-country cycling, and SHE HAD NEVER TOLD ME!  Can you believe that?  When I asked her about it, she merely said, "Well, it never came up."  Oh, Barb, how I love you.

After LaCrosse, we headed north towards Minneapolis.  It was LOVELY riding.  Pretty flat and right along the Mississippi River.

Lockes on the Mississippi River!  So cool!

I decided to take pictures of the city signs we passed.

Some are less interesting than others.

You know you're in the north when soda is called pop. 

The river.

I would absolutely go back here.

We stayed here with a WONDERFUL family in a last-minute stay.

Welp.  Back in Wisconsin.

Annie climbs hills faster than I can.

This is our 300+ foot climb up onto the bluffs.  We were tired, hungry, and cranky at the top. 

But thankfully, there was a FANTASTIC organic, locally sourced restaurant waiting for us!

Annie feels better after drinking her coffee.

The sun is setting, but we MUST make it to Minneapolis tonight!

Yay!  Minneapolis!  We stayed with my good friend, Jody.
Ok, and this is where the story takes a drastic turn.  While we were in Minneapolis, my boyfriend called to inform me he was being restationed to Tokyo, Japan.  In two months.  We could break up, get married, or I could move to Tokyo.  He and I had some pretty big decisions to make in not a lot of time.  I decided to cut my trip short and fly home so that he and I could work out what to do.

Annie was understandably really disappointed in me.  I'm sure she was furious, too, but she insisted she wasn't.   I have to say she really is an incredible woman and great friend.  Instead of taking out her frustrations and anger on me, she worked really hard to be supportive of my decision to go home.  Honestly, it was a really hard decision for me to make: I wasn't sure I was making the best decision, just going with my gut feeling.  

Annie ended up deciding to take a flight to Seattle and ride down the Pacific Coast solo.  Meanwhile, I rented a car and drove back to Chicago, then flew home.