I've lived long enough to have had lots of major milestones and turning points. I'm lucky in that the vast majority of them have turned out well for me. I had a good education, a great marriage, fantastic children, a challenging career, and now a busy retirement. And one of the benefits of being "retired" - I use the term loosely, since those of you who know me have seen that I'm busier than ever - is that I have the flexibility to travel. Since retiring from my full-time teaching job five years ago, I've been to London, Mexico, and Greece, as well as various attractions in the United States. And next Tuesday I leave for Japan.
I've been to Japan. I was actually born there, but since I was only a year old when we moved to America I have no memories of that time. I went with my mom twenty-five years ago, along with my toddler daughter. It was wonderful to introduce her to my grandmother. They had a great time playing together, and I had a good time with my cousins.
So now I'm going again. I'm excited. A little nervous, but mostly excited. This time I have a little bit of background. One, I've been there. Two, I've got two years of Japanese language instruction behind me. Three, the internet and travel guides have endless amounts of information and I can get answers to most questions with a few clicks of the mouse.
There are a few worries, of course. One, there's always a risk in traveling. Two, I'm going with mom again, and international travel can be a challenge when you're seventy-six years old. Three, though I can get the gist of a conversation in Japanese, I'm in no way fluent - and the kanji is still a mystery to me so I can't read signs (which makes me look like an idiot). And four, my daughter and her husband will join us - and they speak and read even less Japanese than I do!
Whenever I'm excited about a new undertaking, I don't sleep. I imagine I'm not going to sleep much for the next few days. There are endless details to see to. Hopefully none will be major. All I can do is dive in and trust God to make this a relatively smooth adventure.
He's never let me down before.