Congratulations on the engagement! I’m extremely happy for you and wish you the best. Please be certain to send me your address around the wedding date so I can send you a nice little exotic present from Asia.
I always enjoy hearing from you and reading your insightful e-mails. You are the only friend I have who can write an intelligent e-mail with no spelling mistakes and proper punctuation. Also, it’s full of good solid information instead of those ridiculous forwards I often receive. I also think it’s important to keep in touch with old friends and to be honest, you are the only one who I actually keep in touch with throughout the years! Being abroad for the long-term causes many friends to fade away much more quickly. I’m always astounded when I take the time to survey my life and realize that most of my friends are married (many with children), have houses and careers already! I don’t like being considered an adult and prefer to think I stopped aging at 24. Simply writing my true age and then acknowledging the numbers I’ve written is distressing.
Also, congratulations on your first serious teaching assignment. It makes me smile to think that a friend of mine is now a true teacher! But then again, I realize that Tory Jacobs (remember her?) is a high school Spanish teacher, another friend is a high school French teacher and an old fraternity brother was actually my T.A. in my last year of college. (But that is another story all together.) Again, I’m forced to realize that we are in fact adults. You are well on your way to being a prestigious professor! Congratulations.
As for me, my life will also soon change dramatically. I’ve decided to leave Japan and move to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam. I was struggling the last few months of Japanese class trying to decide my next move when I took a Spring Break trip to Nam with an equally outgoing friend. In Vietnam I discovered a paradise yet undiscovered by the world. There are not so many tourists there due to the image of war and thus many beautiful beaches yet undisturbed by commercialization. The people are extremely friendly even in the face of their insurmountable poverty and if we can accept that the beggars are just good people trying to make a living in their unjust circumstances then Vietnam truly is a paradise. It was during spring break that my next move was revealed and I knew where I would go next.
I have many clear headed reasons for such a move and I’ll share a few. In Tokyo, if I chose to work in the business arena, then I would be a “Salaryman” who works all day long, is paid a lot but then must spend most of it due to the high cost of living. This place is a concrete jungle and there is no room to think. The #1 recreation here is drinking and that is no good for long-term health. Also, Japan and America are mature markets while Vietnam has just unregulated (quite a bit anyway) and is growing very fast. If I move there, I can: learn a new language, visit a beach with no tourists every weekend and thus think and write more easily, get a more exciting job where I make a difference, become even more knowledgeable about the world. Also, I have a few powerful Vietnamese contacts there including the son of the Chairman of the People’s party Ho Chi Minh, and the director of a computer company. I’m going to stay at the directors house while I get settled with an apartment and job. We actually met them by chance at a bar while on vacation. They immediately took to us due to our outgoing personalities and ability to understand broken English easily.
As for Americans, I understand your point all too clearly. You probably don’t want to get me started on them but here it goes. I have no intention to ever go back to America and I actually don’t like associating with new American ex-pats. Some of the long term ex-pats are ok but new ones are morons. They are the most uninteresting, unknowledgeable, monolingual buffoons’ who actually support Prez. Bush!!!! Nobody, and I mean Nobody supports President Bush abroad since his foreign policies have made the entire world unhappy. My image of America is formed by the media and when I see so many people cheering for his rhetoric who understand nothing about what is happening makes me very sad. I have almost come to believe that “the people” shouldn’t be allowed to govern themselves if half of America believes that Sept. 11th is related to the war in Iraq and Cheney can say things such as “If you vote for Kerry, then another terrorist attack will happen.” I am thoroughly disgusted and have had thoughts of changing my nationality.
As for pop-culture, I’m currently listening to the internet radio and the song is Outkast’s Rose which main lyric is “Roses smell like poo poo” or something like that. American culture is going down with the speed of a 400 pound olympic diver. When I return they always ask me if I’ve seen “The Bachelor” or Donald Trump’s show. Actually, when I went back for a family reunion in Tahoe there was a show on called “Who Wants to Marry My Dad!!” Needless to say, I’m never coming back to America if fortune is kind to me.
Ok, I’ve written a novel. Actually I’m due for a major website overhaul and I’ll put more writings and pictures up in the months to come so you can keep tabs on me. Sorry for my rants!!!
How have you been during the past few months? I hope you’re continuing to enjoy Japan. You have the most fun and exciting life of anyone I know. Life has thrown us a lot of surprises and exciting things recently, so I wanted to fill you in!
First of all, Jorge proposed recently! Our wedding is set for August 2005 in Austin, TX. We are super thrilled and our families are delighted too. Jorge even called my dad the night before he proposed to ask permission. The next day we flew out to Cape Cod, MA, for a vacation with my family, so it was really fun to see them face to face and celebrate.
Jorge came to Spain to visit me while we were all there. He and I were not dating at that time but he LOVES Spain and understands why I’m crazy about it. SO he shares my passion for international travel and getting to know new cultures, which is important. In fact, we were considering moving to Spain together a couple years ago, but then I was advised that I should just start my Ph.D. was I was still pretty young–after all, it’s a 5 to 6 year program.
Also, my folks have recently bought a home in the Austin area. They are tired of cold winters on the East Coast, so they’re planning to move down here within the next few months. Austin is so fun that everyone who visits us just loves it–and some people love it so much they decide to move here.
This summer was busy because I “taught” my first class to undergraduates. It was a two-hour statistics and writing lab twice per week. I had to prepare lectures to them about various topics, and also have them work in groups and advise them as they completed their research projects, etc. It totally took over my life for about nine weeks, but it was an adventure and it was fun. I’m doing the same class this fall, but the challenge is to balance it with my own classes and research projects.
I can see why you’re happy to be in Japan. Americans in some ways are learning to just watch TV and not think for themselves. It’s scary. It’s better to take an active role in life, just like you are! Anyway, can’t wait to hear about all you’ve been doing.
Talk to you soon.