F*ck That Sh*t
How three little words helped me get over my 6-week hump.
Well, it’s been about 6-weeks now since we’ve moved to Tokyo. It’s about the time where the newness has worn off and from what I’ve been told, you start to get a bit frustrated.
Yes, it’s hard when you move into a new apartment and can’t figure out how to work the appliances because they are all in Japanese, but we live in Japan! (Hello, Google Translate my new best friend.)
- Yes, it's more work to buy pillows for your beds because you can’t just load up your car with 6 of them. (Hello, home delivery for only $10USD.)
- Yes, you didn't know that when swimming laps in the pool, you don't go in circles, but stay in the same side of your lane. (Hello, friend I ran into at the pool that filled me in.)
But guess what, if those are my biggest issues, we are GOOD.
I think what has helped the most in my transition is something a fellow mom told me. Here’s why…
Since I have moved here I have been trying to go native. I didn’t want to be the obvious American who stands out amongst an incredible culture. In general, all the women here are so impeccably dressed with their shoulders and knees covered in the most fashionable linen frocks. And whenever I travel somewhere, I like to blend in. If I am traveling to Paris, I pack a suitcase full of black. When I travel to LA it’s all bohemian sundresses. But I am not here for a week. I live here. And somewhere around week-4 I was talking to a mom about how it was getting warm and I wished I could just put on my tank tops and shorts. She looked me square in the eye, pointed at her own shorts, and said:
Those three words have granted me an incredible amount of freedom to let me do me. The next day I put on a pair of cutoff jean shorts - and it felt AMAZING. Now, let's be honest, I hope to embed so much of this wonderful place into the fabric of my being and I am grabbing the skirt over the yoga pants 75% of the time. But once in awhile, it is nice to weave a piece of what I know into my life here. I then started applying this mentality to other aspects of my life:
I bought a travel stroller that has been great, but last week our huge BOB stroller was delivered and man it is amazing. Anders can jump on with Chase when he is tired of scooting and it makes carrying lots of stuff a breeze. I thought I would never push such a big stroller here and I wouldn't dream of bringing it on a train or to a crowded part of town out of respect to others. But for neighborhood trips to the park, it is heaven.
When I visit a new place, food is one of my favorite ways of truly experiencing a culture. For some reason I had the idea that now that we live in Japan, we must only eat Japanese food. But this big city actually has so many incredible international options to offer. While I initially felt guilty about it, I have started exploring all different kinds of foods here and they are ALL amazing. And yes, sometimes you can't shake your roots so peanut butter, a big salad and Taco Tuesday just feels right. But it is about balance, so every time we go to the grocery store to get our usual family staples which are surprisingly easy to find (i.e. yogurt, tortillas, pretzels, ketchup, etc.) I let the boys pick one new "only in Japan" item we have never tried before. And yes, I have a weakness for the bakeries here cause sometimes a bagel feels like a big NYC hug.
I think part of the expat experience (and being 40) is embracing your roots and being comfortable with who you are. But it's also about continuing to grow, evolve and being open to all the new things the world has to offer. So, here's to the mom who helped me get over my 6-week hump, knowing that eating a Ritz cracker while listening to Taylor Swift as a touch base from time to time is ok and hoping this "F*ck That Sh*t!" mantra stays with me for the rest of my life.