I'm in New Zealand now! How did I get so lucky? Part of it was the birth lottery that I was born in a great country. But that I can come back here with my kids for the Japanese summer is because of choices and support from my husband and family.
The last summer in Japan ever
Last summer in Japan, I had a 2 year old at home and 5 year old home from kindergarten. It was tough to say the least. Every day the weather is either roasting hot or raining and it's always humid and sticky and HOT. Where we live we are surround by a lot of nature. Which is lovely. Except in summer when that nature bites you, stings you and is generally terrifying. We are talking mosquitoes biting, massive wasps, the size of your thumb coming to our garden making it a no go zone and not being able to walk around our neighbourhood without having to watch out for snakes. Argh. If we did go out, there are about 3 indoor cool places for kids to play so with active little kids, it really is not a fun time of year. I swore next year I would take my family home to NZ for the summer holidays.
But how to make that happen?
It wasn't as simple as finding the money for 3 plane tickets. Actually finding a very reasonable flight to New Zealand was super easy.
What was more difficult was revamping my life so that I could actually leave Japan for more than 10 days. Somehow, I'd found myself "trapped" there, because of my work. I was terrified of "disappointing people" by quitting.
First thing was to look at all of the commitments I had to my time.
I had several part time jobs teaching English for various schools that meant I always needed to be in Japan. I was on committees for various things and all sorts of other random things were keeping me busy.
Then I looked at everything and saw which ones were making it difficult to leave Japan. I had an online English teaching job that paid well and I could do it from home. It was stable money too. But it was the thing that brought me the least joy and quite frankly I would have a feeling of dread in my stomach on the days I had to do that work.
So I quit.
I thought they would say, "No Jayne! Don't leave! Here! Take all the days off you want, just don't leave!!". What they said was: "We're sorry you are leaving. Good luck!"...turns out I wasn't really disappointing them after all.
Almost as soon as I left that job, a different opportunity came to me that was more flexible. As long as I had WiFi, I could do it anywhere in the world and at a time of day that suited me! And I kept slowly but surely pruning the things from my schedule that would keep me tied to Japan as well as the things that didn't fill me with joy.
Here I am one year later:
Enjoying the cool but not freezing cold weather of the West Coast of New Zealand. My two children are going to NZ primary school and kindergarten from Monday for about a month. I'm spending more time with my New Zealand family and surrounded by the beautiful nature (that doesn't attack you!) that New Zealand is so famous for and that feeds the soul. I've been out running on the hard sand on my very own deserted beach. It really doesn't get much better than this!
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