Packing up

It’s the day before I leave Oregon to go to Japan. I’ve never been outside the country (save for short family trips to Canada and Tijuana) and am having a hard time wrangling my emotions. Excitement, nervousness, sadness, eagerness, ambitiousness, and terror are all mixed up in me right now. I repeat the mantra “this is fun! this is fun!” while I pack up my stuff and look at my content, napping boyfriend, who I will not see for four months.

We went to a friend’s wedding last night and on the drive to the venue and back I made sure to watch as Oregon went by. The humid greenery of the valley was so beautiful, and the forested hills during the drive were awe-inspiring. Even the deserty sagebrush of home is something special to me. I’m taking mental photographs of the view from my back porch so that I can think back on it when I’m in a city where my view will be that of other buildings.

Clothes are stacked in piles next to a suitcase and I walked away to start this blog, finally. I keep procrastinating. It’s a little unreal to think that this time I’m actually doing something. Projects and opportunities have come up in the past, but there’s always been some excuse for why it didn’t get done or why I didn’t see it through. But this time is different.

This time I’m actually going somewhere and doing something. I’m going to another country to try and put the last four years of my education to use. I know it’s going to be a great experience and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I like to tell people that I’m not good at being uncomfortable and so that’s why I tend to stay exactly the same. But I knew I would regret not taking advantage of the opportunities in front of me if I didn’t choose to do this. I had to step outside my comfort zone – get outside my little box. This experience isn’t me stepping outside the box; I’m slingshotting myself out of it! Part of me wonders how I ever got into this and why I ever thought this would be a good experience.

Then I think back to the days last year when I visited my Pop (my Grandfather). He was the strongest person I ever knew and the amount of respect I have for him is enormous. He fought with cancer for a long time, and his strength allowed him to live a full, happy life right until the end. It made me so angry to think that this person who was winning tennis championships in his 70’s and was ten times more healthy than I was could be taken down by a disease. When I told him that I was looking into going to Japan for study, he became very interested and asked me as many questions as his ailing body could allow. At the time, I was thinking of studying abroad. Then my University introduced me to the internship program available through our school.

The internship I chose to participate in is one that will help to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. I’ll be helping to plan events, attend meetings, participate in outreach sessions, and support a great non-profit organization in Tokyo. I thought this internship was perfect for me – if I could help (even indirectly) just one person or one family, it would be so worth it. It seemed so unfair when my Pop died, and I want to help in any way to prevent similar things happening to other families.

I’m apprehensive about a lot of things regarding this experience. Living in a new city far from home, being away from all my favorite people, foods, hobbies and customs will take some time to get used to. But the next 16 weeks will certainly be eye-opening. Every day will be a new experience whether I’m dressed in a suit and accompanying my boss to a meeting with donors for the events or if I’m heading to a university campus to do outreach work. I hope that even in some small way, even if I don’t know about it, participating in this internship will change the life of another person. There’s no doubt mine will change. I’m nervous about it, but eager to see the results.

This entry isn’t as uplifting as I would have hoped, but I wanted to take the time to describe my motivations for choosing the internship I chose and what I hope to get out of this experience. Language skills and business marketing skills will likely increase, which is another reason I felt drawn to this position. In future posts, I am excited to share stories, pictures, and video of my time in Tokyo. I hope that anyone who reads this will find some kind of value in it whether it be to learn something or just be entertained.

Tomorrow at 6AM I get on a plane and will land at Narita airport the following day (about 1 AM my time). I’ll spend a few days in Tokyo, then I’ll travel to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya before beginning my internship next Monday. It’s going to be quite a ride!

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3 Responses to Packing up

  1. Auntie Marsha says:

    We’re with you all the way Baby Alisha! Be safe, stay healthy, and I am so fired up by your blog. Wish we had the chance when we were travelers.

    You are the most remarkable young woman I have ever met.

  2. Aunt Joanne says:

    Execellent blog Alisha! We are all living vicariously all over again through you! Godspeed, safe travel.

  3. Riyo says:

    Dear Alisha! These were really nice pictures! Be safe and take care 🙂 I hope everything is good for you.

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