If you’re a fan of my Facebook fan page, you’ve probably noticed that I recently changed my cover image. If you’re not a fan, I strongly urge you do; you never know when I’ll blog about you Check out my new design – what do you think?
A little background of my design:
This is an overview of my life journey. I spent a majority of my life living overseas while picking up various cultures and experiences throughout my way, as I explained in my Storytelling in 20 Pictures entry.
Ironically, I’m not exactly sure what I would define as “overseas” because I spent my entire life hopping from country to country, but I don’t identify myself to any of them, not even where I was born. Rather, I consider them “pit stops” of my journey.
Every time someone asks me “where are you from”, I tend to roll my eyes and basically start describing my what you see in my design.
Yellow arrow I started my journey in Germany. I was born to a bi-cultural household with my father speaking to me in German and my mother in Japanese. Of course at the time, I probably wasn’t able to distinguish the two and identified the languages as “daddy’s language” and “mommy’s language”. I went through my first move when I was 3 years old to Tokyo.
Red arrow Living in Japan was interesting. I spent preschool to 1st grade at a German school where I met fellow German-Japanese kids. My life in Japan was like living in a bubble – I hung out with friends who were “my kind” so I feel that I never fully immersed myself to the Japanese culture. I never learned the language in school and only picked it up in conversation. At the end of 1st grade, we moved back to Germany
Green arrow My stay in Germany was short and sweet. I spent the first half of 2nd grade at a public school in Germany and the second half at an all-American public school in Warwick, Rhode Island. For the first time, I hopped on a big yellow school bus knowing only three words of English. Naturally, I picked up the language fairly quickly and immersed myself to the American culture. This was the point in my journey when I found out I am allergic to peanuts, thanks to what Americans like to call “PB & J”.
Purple arrow My journey continued to Brussels, Belgium which still stands as my longest stay at 9 years. I attended an International school where I was surrounded by students representing 56 different nations. I continued learning and speaking English in Belgium like it was the native language and never had trouble getting around. It was as if I expected Belgians to respond in English and I never dared to speak my French. Again, I lived in a bubble and never mingled with Belgians.
Blue arrow This was the point in my journey when I moved away from my parents and started college in Boston. Already within my first year, I was placed in international orientation so I felt like a foreigner from the very beginning. I spent the next 3.5 years traveling back and forth between Boston and Germany during holidays, not to “go home” but to visit my parents. Every time I returned, I felt like I was going on vacation instead of going home.
Orange arrow The big red star marks my current home in Los Angeles and for the first time, I feel like I don’t have to move anywhere. I’m starting to build roots and establish a home by adopting a kitty and gradually decorating my apartment.Yet, I’m still constantly reminded that I’m not from here because of the tedious immigration and visa process that I have to deal with annually. But I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to beat the system and got my H1B work visa so I’m relieved to know that I’ll be here for a while longer.
I can’t say that this is the end of my journey, but for now, this is where it makes me happy