24 November 2012

Holidays and So Much to Do!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, I know I'm a couple days late, but everything has been so busy here.  I'm leaving in a little over a month, and there's still so much to do.  I'm planning a trip to Muncie and Indianapolis in a few weeks to wrap up my remaining loose ends and to visit with cherished family.  Then there's a family Christmas dinner coming up, plus Christmas.  And I still have to purchase plane tickets, finalize my plans for my puppy's transportation, convert a large chunk of change into yen, figure out what I'm packing and what I'm leaving... the list seems endless.

In better news, David has been posting fun videos and pictures from his Japanese adventures.  Glancing at his facebook nowadays helps keep me excited as I make my preparations.  Soon I'll be posting videos and pictures of my own!

In the meantime, I mentioned in my last post that David and I did some traveling before he shipped out.  Here are some fun photographs from that:

07 November 2012

Turn that Frown Upside Down

So I came back to La Porte fairly discouraged, but still hopeful for the future.  As news of my last weekend in Biloxi spread, a truly wonderful thing happened:

Our friends, our wonderful and deeply cherished friends, rose to the occasion.  Friends showed their support on Facebook, offering words of kindness and taking the edge off of loosing so much.  Friends called to check in on me to make sure I was doing well.  And some friends even sent money to help with our move.  I've been overwhelmed by all of your loving support.  Thank you all so much.

Good things kept on happening.  After just a week in La Porte, I heard back from one of the companies I'd applied to.  I got a job offer in Tokyo!  Hooray!  It's official: I'm definitely, without a doubt, going to Japan.  And the news gets better:  I start my new job in mid-January, which means I'll arrive in Japan just two months after David (he's already there).  That is so much more than we had hoped for, and we're so thrilled that things seem to be working in our favor for the present.  So once again I'll be packing my bags and heading overseas.

With so much good, David and I decided to meet each other's family.  I flew out to New Mexico to meet his mom, and he flew up to Chicago to meet my parents (and some other important people).  So here we are, David in Tokyo and me on my way.  It seems we've tackled our first challenge together.

Friends, I'm feeling pretty good.

06 November 2012

Leaving Mississippi (Part 2)

So I was devastated.  Two police reports in one absolutely victimizing weekend.  But it didn't stop there.

I'd been having some troubles getting my security deposit back from my landlords.  They were supposed to inspect the house the previous week, but of course they waited until I was supposed to have left Mississippi.  With so much happening, I decided to stay in Biloxi an extra two nights so that at least I could take care of ending my lease.

In my extra time in Biloxi, David and I had to have another conversation.  We swung in the hammock David had tied in his towering magnolia tree, discussing the weekend's impacts.  Without the money from my car, I didn't see how I could afford to move back to La Porte, let alone Japan.  That conversation was the beginning of the changing of our luck.

David and I have been dating only since the end of March or so.  Even though we like each other very much, we're both still unsure where this relationship might lead.  We're both hesitant to commit to anything, and we're both approaching this relationship cautiously.  There have been several times over the past few months that I'd convinced myself that David wouldn't care if I were in Japan or not.  As David and I rocked gently in our hammock trying to figure out what to do, every insecure thought I'd ever had about our relationship came flooding back to me.

But then David surprised me.

He told me he wanted me in Japan with him.  He wanted to figure out how to make that happen.

That's all I needed to hear: he and I were in this together.  We still don't know where our relationship might lead, but for now, we're a team.  And we're tackling our first challenge together.

We ran some numbers.  I figured that I could go back to school sooner and get into Japan on an education visa, possibly as soon as January.  I'd been planning on going back to school anyway.  I'd learn Japanese and network while I studied, hopefully finding a job sooner rather than later.  The timing was a little cramped, but after doing a little investigating, we felt pretty confident it could work.  David would help with my plane ticket if I needed it.  A call to my parents made sure I'd have enough quick cash to get back to Indiana.  It would be tight, but it would work.

And so I finally left Biloxi, Mississippi.  I loved my life on the coast, and I already miss some incredibly wonderful friends.  But in the end--- especially after that last weekend---

Good riddance.

Leaving Mississippi (Part 1)

I'm currently in La Porte, but the story of how I got here merits a post, possibly two.

September was a very busy month.  David decided to take some time off work (basically all of October), and we both decided to do a bit of traveling and family-meeting during October before the Big Move.  So September was the month for packing and tying up loose ends.  Things were going fairly well until our last weekend in Biloxi.  Then shit hit the fan.

David threw one of his epic and highly memorable house parties to celebrate moving to Japan.  There were glow sticks, a fog machine, a slip-n-slide, and a host of other festivities.  Many friends showed up.  And some friends of friends.  And at least one thief.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  So our last weekend in Biloxi had a few important events.  I sold my car Friday night, Saturday night was the party, Sunday was the recovery and cleanup, and I was to start driving a U-Haul to La Porte on Monday.

Friday night went well:  I sold my car for $1500, which the new owner paid in cash.  I gave David $100 for something or other, then considered where I should put the remaining $1400.  It was late, so the bank wasn't an option.  Normally I'd put that much cash under a mattress or someplace stealthy, but since the house was torn apart for moving and we had guests staying the night, I decided that the best place for it would be in my wallet.  I didn't want to loose it in the move or accidentally forget it.

We spent the better part of Saturday cleaning and preparing for the party.  I baked many tasty treats.  David made hummus.  We entertained some early guests.  Then the party started.  It really was a good time.  David had devoted much time and effort into making a wonderful playlist.  The slip-n-slide was a huge hit.

But then one of my friends came to me with some bad news.  He'd borrowed my mountain bike to get to work, but someone stole it from his front porch Friday night.  I was pretty upset, but he was so apologetic that I quickly realized we'd work something out and it would be ok.  After all, I still had my road bike.

I went to sleep, but the party kept raging into the wee hours of the morning.  I woke up around sunrise, so I decided to take a walk around our neighborhoods to see if just maybe I could find my bike.  Of course I didn't, so I returned home after filing a police report.

I was talking to David when I had a terrible thought.  I snatched my purse and flung open my wallet.  But too late.  Some one--- some truly horrible, selfish some one--- had stolen the full $1400 out of my purse.  When I say that was my entire life savings, I mean that was my entire life savings.  That was the money I was going to use to buy my ticket to Japan.  That was the money I was going to use to pay for the U-Haul to get home.  That was the money that I was going to use to make minimum payments on my bills until I found a new job.  And it was gone.  Just like that.  I didn't even have it for a full 24-hours.

I collapsed.  Full-on, body-heaving sobs ripped from my soul.  All was lost.  How could I possibly recover from this?

We called the police, and despite his lip-service, the investigator literally made two phone calls, asked a few questions, then essentially gave up.  He didn't even follow-through when we gave him the names of the strangers our friends had seen looking through wallets and picking up phones.  He didn't even have my wallet checked for fingerprints, even though he said he would.  Biloxi Police Investigations disgusted me.  If anything like this ever happens to me again, I will likely just take care of it myself, vigilantly style.  I've never been so disappointed in a so-called "public servant" ever.  I understand finding stolen cash is nearly impossible, but to not even try?  My blood boils just thinking about it.