Thinking about this trip to Guam and I promise I will try not to keep harping on about it, got me thinking how much I have evolved or how far I have come.
I've been in Japan for over eleven years. I was very much influenced by my brother when I first came and relied on him for a lot of my everyday needs. I gradually made my own friends and of course I met my husband-to-be. But I always had someone to call on if I were in trouble or needed advice. I didn't need to delve into my personal resources much.
Six years ago I was pregnant with my first child. There was no way I would have given birth here in Japan if my husband weren't with me every step of the way. The first year after the birth I had a multitude of visitors, house guests and a trip home which helped me get through it. I found the life of a stay at home mother very isolating. And I guess at times overwhelming. I was very inwardly focused.
During the second year I branched out via the Internet and found two women's groups to join, both online and in real life. There was even a playgroup. These things improved my life immeasurably. I met women in the same situation as me for the first time. I made some great friends.
Flash forward to now. My confidence as a wife and mother pushed our family to make a huge life changing decision. We moved out of the city where my husband had lived his whole life. We sold our house and built a new one out of town. I got a car and actually started driving. My husband became a commuter. This all happened last year.
In the early years of marriage I would not have even dreamed our life today was possible. Moving has been the best thing for us. Having a car has been amazing. I can do anything, go anywhere. It makes life so much easier. Having a say in our family's future was empowering although I didn't realize before how little say I had before.
Earlier this year I drove to a neighboring prefecture and stayed with a friend for a few days. I was really proud of myself for driving over there and driving around while we were there. That trip has changed a lot for me. Now I don't worry about the baby's sleep routine and food requirements quite as much. I realize it's OK to eat out sometimes. I don't worry about getting lost.
Which brings me back to Guam. Meeting the women I have met in these past five years has been so wonderful. Hearing about their experiences, the hurdles they have overcome and witnessing their triumphs has made me believe in myself. And so I can dare to think that I can travel internationally to a completely new place on my own with two children.
Thank you all of you. I actually feel like I am starting to bloom.